Bencoolen
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Bencoolen

Washington, Washington, D.C., United States | Established. Jan 01, 2014

Washington, Washington, D.C., United States
Established on Jan, 2014
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"WRGW Reviews Bencoolen at DC9"

Bencoolen is a band where each member has been able to hone in on their personal skills while collaborating with the other members. Its success stems from its talented members who come together to make great music and allow each other to show off what they’ve got, a trait that will allow it to go far in the future.

Lead singer and guitarist Paul Gregg has a soulful quality to his voice... his high notes’ killer vibrato shows his expertise, but his voice has a quality about it that makes you smile. He could be singing about popcorn and I would still enjoy listening to him.

Spencer Perry did exceptionally well in filling the shoes of regular saxophonist Ian Baker. I love Bencoolen’s use of a sax in their arrangements because it adds a warmth to their songs and diversity to their music. It isn’t often nowadays that bands, especially young bands, use instruments other than guitar, bass, and drums and it’s a trait that sets Bencoolen apart.

Kevin Mathieu, the band’s new drummer, is also proving to be a great addition to the band. Plus, he drums barefoot. Ain’t nobody got time for shoes.

During the show, bassist Eric Burke exhibited clear signs of funk influences. His funkarific bass lines reminded me of Flea at times, which is the highest of all the compliments that I could possibly give.

And then there’s Teddy Scott. What can I say, the man is the man. He had some pretty sick solos throughout their set and I admired his passion throughout the performance. It was so clear in his playing that Teddy loves this band and loves playing music. I think he’d be perfectly content playing to a crowd of five people because he focuses on the music rather than the fame. It was refreshing to meet someone who truly loves what they do and has the drive and motivation to do whatever it takes to pursue that dream. The best way to explain his fervor is to watch him play. Just look at those facial expressions!

Overall, Bencoolen’s sound is reminiscent of sex–building up and climaxing at the perfect moment. They remind me of Sublime’s “Santeria” with their groovy soul meets funk vibe. - WRGW


"Bencoolen delivers refreshing sounds of alt. rock, jazz to D.C."

The jazzy, rock sounds of Bencoolen — a band of five friends from George Washington University — are taking D.C. by surprise with unique tunes that are beyond the range of average college students.

Meet the Members:
Teddy Scott: Guitar – Senior civil engineering major
Ian Braker: Alto Saxophone – Senior systems engineering major
Paul Gregg: Vocals/guitar – Junior civil engineering major
Eric Burke: Bass – Senior civil engineering major
Kevin Mathieu: Drums – Sophomore economics major

Bencoolen was born “out of the ruins” of an old band that Scott and Braker started, before meeting Gregg through shows and Burke through classes. Mathieu was later added to the band when he auditioned to be the drummer.

“He was actually the third drummer to come out but he was the only one who was confident and excited,” says Scott. “He played barefoot.”

Thus, a band of five GW students — all affiliated in Greek life, yet in four different fraternities — came together with a blended sound unlike any other in the area.

With a diverse range of ideas and personalities, the guys of Bencoolen don’t feel as though their music fits perfectly into one specific genre.

“We can’t really describe it as a genre besides alternative rock with a saxophone. We’re more than just a generic alternative rock band but you still hear that sound with the baseline,” says Gregg.

Despite this identification, each of the members credits his own musical inspiration that has contributed to the overall uniqueness of Bencoolen. Gregg finds inspiration from artists such as Foles and Brand New, Scott from Dave Matthews Band and The Revivalists, and Braker from classic saxophone legends such as John Coltrane and Joshua Redman.

These influences also affect the songwriting for Bencoolen. While Scott and Gregg both share the title of “songwriter,” Scott writes more “bluesy, jam” inspired songs while Gregg writes alternative rock music..... - USA Today


"Been Chillin' with Bencoolen"

The student opening act at Fall Fest and Spring Fling is quickly becoming a coveted spot for up and coming acts in the music scene here at GW. It’s a chance for bands that have been playing to hundreds to step up and play to thousands. When I asked the band Bencoolen what their greatest moment was thus far, there was a unanimous agreement that nothing they had done yet could top their Fall Fest experience. Yet.
Bencoolen is comprised of five students who all attend the glorious George Washington University. However, that this does not make them a “college band,” and the five of them are successfully doing everything they can to keep that label from dogging them. Important to note: saxophonist Ian Braker’s playing has been proven to cause intense feelings of sexual arousal among unsuspecting concert-goers. Be warned.
If you’ve listened to their recently released debut EP (and you should), it shouldn’t take an article to tell you these guys incorporate a laundry list of influences to comprise their signature sound. Not to make this sound like a science experiment, but let’s see if we can dive in and dissect what goes into creating this unique sound.
Opener “Waiting Room” begins with Kevin Mathiue’s powerful, metal inspired drumming. One by one the rest of the band members fall in, and I’m immediately struck by how full this band sounds. This is maximalist, welcoming rock music that really does grip you from the beginning. It’s impossible to call one member the backbone of their sound, as each one takes turns maintaining the rhythm while others take turns in the foreground. At one point in the song though, I’m fairly certain there are three solos going on at once. The song also introduces one of the most interesting features of this band: they’re a rock band with a full time saxophonist. While this may not sound very ground-breaking, the saxophone is typically used as an accent in rock music (aside from ska), mainly because it’s incredibly difficult to do. To see it so masterfully incorporated into an entire EP is quite impressive.
“Hold On,” the second song off the EP and my personal favorite, alternates between guitar and saxophone throughout. It’s a duel of who can out-blues the other. And where the defining moments on the other three songs on the EP seem to be where the band speeds up, the abrupt down-tempo switch early on in the song feels like a cavern opening up in front of you. The rest of the song feeds on the tension of teasing a breakthrough that never comes, but continues to dissolve into spacious and equally powerful moments where we see the band at their jazziest.... - The Rival


"Video Premiere"

Today we premiere the video for “Remember” by Washington DC-based five-piece Bencoolen. The single comes off the band’s debut album Daydream (out March 8th, 2019), and showcases how their live energy can translate to the studio. - Relix


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

Photos

Bio

Bencoolen is a maximalist rock band that includes blues, funk, and soul influences in their sound. The band features soaring vocals, swift sax lines, and huge guitar tones. Bencoolen grabbed a hometown sell out show in Washington DC in September 2018. They have also supported Marcus King, Spafford, Mungion, Atlas Road Crew, Mondo Cozmo, and Big Something. The band landed major festival slots at Firefly Music Festival in 2017 and at Musikfest in 2018.

The band is teamed with Juliana Todeschi from PFA for album and tour publicity support. She also manages accounts for Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, Living Colour, and Chris Robinson Brotherhood. 


Band Members