The Culprits
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The Culprits

Cornelius, North Carolina, United States | SELF

Cornelius, North Carolina, United States | SELF
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"Making Waves in Music"

"Tennessee High School Swimming Trio "The Culprits" Making Waves in Music -- February 10, 2009

"We all work on our individual music and lyrics, but it all comes together when we are The Culprits." - Nick Evans

Feature by Allison Whalen

ST. BONAVENTURE, New York, February 10. THE Sewanee, Tennessee band The Culprits recently recorded a demo CD of original songs. However, it's no surprise the first song The Culprits' played was a cover of Led Zeppelin's "The Ocean", or that frequent references to water appear in the lyrics of the band's original songs. After all, before teenage bandmates Zach Blount, and brothers Nick and Will Evans could jam together, they swam together.

Zach, Nick and Will all began swimming on their town's summer swim league at the age of six. The town of Sewanee, which has a total population of 2,500, boasts 40 swimmers in its annual summer league. Freshmen Zach and Will, 15, now compete alongside Nick, 17, on the St. Andrew's-Sewanee School swim team.

This year, all three boys will compete at the Tennessee high school state meet. However, the road from summer swim league to state cuts was definitely the one less traveled.

Since the small town of Sewanee has no year-round swim club and is an hour and a half away from Nashville, the nearest city, Zach, Nick and Will realized they'd have to seek out pool time on their own if they wanted to improve. The boys began to supplement their summer league and school training with morning practices at a local university.

Each morning during the school year, the boys rise at 5:30 a.m., beating even the morning sun to the University of the South's pool. They swim or lift weights for an hour and a half with the college team, and then promptly drive to school where they grab breakfast and begin their day. After the final bell rings, it's off to high school practice, which runs for two hours. By six, the boys are out of the pool and ready for band practice at 7 p.m.

Although The Culprits balance their time between the chlorine and music, they can appreciate the similarities between both.

"Swimming and music both involve rhythm and building technique. They are all about tempo," said Nick, who sings vocals and plays guitar in The Culprits.

Will, the drummer, also draws connections between the band's dedication to swimming and their passion for music.

"Swimming takes an insane amount of dedication, and we take that dedication and apply it to aspects of our lives like music," said Nick. "Swimming basically puts the structure in our life."

Nick and Will are no strangers to structure. They began playing their instruments at a young age.

"Will and I have been playing music all our lives. Our parents never allowed video games, instead we had instruments," said Nick.

Nick and Will's background in guitar and drums made Zach and his bass a logical fit for the band. The trio explained that things fell into place when Zach showed up after school to perfect his guitar skills. From there, the boys quickly began to experiment with their own music and lyrics. At The Culprits' first performance they played an original song, "Kinds of People," for a St. Andrew's-Sewanee school function.

The Culprits, who describe their unique sound as alternative indie rock, now write and perform all their own music. Despite Zach's confession that girls serve as a muse for the band's music, it's obvious that swimming also plays a role.

"There is a lot of mention of water in our songs, even if it's not necessarily about swimming," said Nick. "Swimming gives us time to think about our music."

Zach agreed.

"I think of bass lines during practice, even though it makes it hard to keep track of laps too," said Zach.

Inspiration isn't the only thing that spills over from swim practice, however. Even though the boys specialize in different events, their competitiveness follows them home from the pool once in a while.

"Will and I have been racing against each other since we were six, and now that we're in high school we race against Nick too," said Zach.

Most of the time the competitiveness gets left in the pool, but sometimes traces of it can wind up at The Culprits' band practices.

"Nick might come up with a song idea and run it by the band, but Will might not think it's a good idea," said Zach. "So, there might be a little fighting, but I try to stay out of it."

Despite any small creative tiffs or pool rivalries, The Culprits' hard work ethic and catchy music has catapulted them on to the music scene. The band has recorded a demo CD and performed at local festivals and colleges. The boys were recently approached by the organizers of Bonnaroo, a popular four-day music and arts festival in Manchester, Tenn.

For now, the band is concentrating on preparing for the high school state meet, while still trying to find as many gigs as possible. The boys talk regularly with producers and promoters in Nashville about joining festival circuits.

Even though The Culprits are new to the music scene, the thought of live performances in front of screaming crowds doesn't make them uneasy. In fact, Zach and Will claim that swim meets make them more nervous than being on stage. Nick disagreed, saying he is more anxious for performances, but only because he has to sing.

One thing The Culprits can all agree on is the positive relationship between their success in the pool and on the stage.

"Swimming is a very competitive sport where individual times matter a lot. But when you put everyone together and the team does well – it's amazing," said Nick. "It's the same with the band. We all work on our individual music and lyrics, but it all comes together when we are The Culprits."

Visit The Culprits' MySpace Page to listen to some of their music." - Swimming World Magazine

"The New School: I AM Meets Music's Rising Stars"

The Culprits, an extraordinarily accomplished trio from Sewanee, Tennessee, prove that with talent, energy, and most importantly,commitment, success will result! The Culprits' story as a developing band is quite unique. Three young and talented musicians playing covers for enjoyment quickly evolved into writing and performing original songs for audiences. The scales of which continue to climb! When The Culprits began playing small events and later larger community performances, they stopped to evaluate how truly marketable their music was...
...Musically The Culprits are not easy to define. This is mainly due to their seamlessly flawless integration of so many styles. With elements of pop, funk, Brit pop, and rock this band shows no signs of slowing down. - I AM NY Magazine

"Sound of Live Thursdays"

Last week, sophomore student performer, Nick Evans, returned to the Union's 900 Room with acoustic and electric guitars in hand to showcase his band's music and his own solo material. Nick and his band, The Culprits, are no strangers to Davidson. Nick frequently plays Live Thursdays, performs at the Summit Coffee shop on Main Street, and held a concert in the 900 Room with the rest of his band mates last semester.
From the mountains of Sewanee, Tennessee, The Culprits consist of lead singer and lead guitar, Nick Evans, his brother on the drums, Will Evans, and close friend, Zach Blount, manning the bass. Formed in 2008, the band describes their music as indie-pop, focusing on crafting big sing-along hooks that contain a sense of edginess compatible to the sound of their main influences: The Kooks and The Strokes. The trio has released two EPs to date and performed all along the eastern seaboard including recently, at Musikfest in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. The band almost got the chance to play at Bonnaroo this summer, the third largest music festival in the US, but fell short, coming in second place in a heated competition among more than 1,000 bands.
So what did Nick have in store for his first Live Thursday performance of the year? Without his two other band members, Nick stripped down his material to showcase his singer-songwriter prowess. The first half of his set consisted of new songs such as "Plastic and Flame" and "What She Wanted" and old favorites like "Lemonfair," bringing up images of daily life in Sewanee. The audience responded well to the new material, but immediately perked up to the second half of the set, featuring a cover of John Mayer's "Who Says," and the sing-along Culprits earworm, "She Loves the Beat."
The performance showcased Nick's growth and maturation as a songwriter. He jokingly explained to the audience that someone at Musikfest said The Culprits were too much of a "do-do-do" band, criticizing their wordless choruses. Regardless, the criticism fueled an outpouring of inspiration from Nick and The Culprits this summer. After the show, Nick explained how the band worked on a lot of new material in hopes of recording a self-produced full-length album at a studio in Ohio in early May. The future for The Culprits is gleaming bright as more gigs are planned and efforts are made to secure a spot at the Bannaroo festival in 2012.
As for Nick's future, he hopes his current study of the Music Theory at Davidson will aid his songwriting in the long run. However, he insisted, "I don't think too far into the future. I just hope I can possibly pursue music at a professional level." Nick dreams of making it big, but for now, he remains as one of Davidson's prized musical talents.
- Davidsonian

"The Culprits"

A hot young band known as The Culprits, offers a fresh breath of simple and relatable tunes to the indie pop genre. The band competed in a contest for a spot in Tennessee’s world famous Bonnaroo music festival. Out of hundreds of other bands they finished 2nd. They did not make it into Bonnaroo, but by no means is that an indicator of this indie pop band's tremendous potential. The Culprits fuel their music with passion, but take a lighthearted but serious approach to the sometimes sappy landscape of pop music.

Hailing from Sewanee, Tennessee, The Culprits make music simply because they love music. Drawing from influences such as The Kooks, The Police, and The Strokes, the band produces an energetic and optimistic sound. The band members include vocalist/guitarist Nick Evans, Bassist Zach Blount, and drummer Will Evans. What started out as a few friends hanging out with instruments in a basement, soon led to an EP in 2008. Since their initial EP, growing success has allowed the band to release a second EP in 2010 and expand their lineup of live performances. Still, the band stresses their love of music and desire to keep their songs reflecting their passion. “It’s still about three guys making music,” comments Nick. “We love it, getting paid for something you love is a blessing.”

The Culprits are pursuing greatness in what they are passionate about. Starting in high school, the band was able to appeal to an older audience with their catchy energetic tunes. “It’s pretty cool being in high school and having college girls dancing to the music you wrote in your bedroom the night before,” says Nick. They want listeners to connect with their music, and describe the goal of it as this, “we want listeners to hear a song for the first time, and not have to listen long before it resonates with them.” Their surprising rise in popularity during the Bonnaroo competition attests to their appealing style and energetic sound. In just two nights of the competition The Culprits climbed a hundred places and finished 2nd. Much more popularity and success is almost certain for this young band in the future.
The Culprits make sure they can continue making music by handling the business side of it as well. Focus and dedication enable them to keep moving forward with it. Even as they become more and more successful, the last minute tuning of their instruments remains a pre-show ritual.

The Culprits are about celebrating life and love with their energetic, optimistic, and upbeat sound. They are in this movement. They are maximizing their gift and passion. They are in it to impact the world by doing what they love. R.U.N. IT? -

"The Culprits' "She Loves The Beat""

Sewanee, Tenn.'s The Culprits play a brand of indie pop that draws from the likes of The Proclaimers and Frank Turner. They sound far more stereotypically British than they do southern rock.

"She Loves The Beat" appears on last year's Around Around EP, which features a tune called "1964" as well. You can really hear that their sound is firmly grounded in that era of rock. - CHART Attack

"The Culprits Release Second EP"

Despite their lead singer’s departure this fall to Davidson College and a major flood that kept them out of their intended Nashville studio, The Culprits have managed to win new fans with their latest EP, Around Around. The second recording’s four tracks include the title song “Around Around,” and a major crowd-pleaser from their live shows, “She Loves the Beat.”

The three-man group (Nick Evans on lead vocals and guitar, Will Evans on drums and Zach Blount on bass) began the writing process for Around Around in early 2009 and ended with over ten new original songs. With the guidance of previous Warm Gun Records producer Chad Erickson the guys chose the four tracks to record for their second outing. “If there is one word to describe the EP it would be ‘upbeat,’” says Will.

“Last spring the Nashville studio we were planning to record in flooded,” explains Nick. “Thanks to Prof. Stephen Miller, we were able to move our recording to Sewanee.” The band hauled their gear into St. Luke’s Chapel on the campus of the University of the South, to begin recording. Zach adds, “Recording is tedious work; your performance and technique has to be flawless, which can be difficult at 2 a.m. I think Sewanee was ready for us to finish, too. Exam week is not the best time to plug up an electric guitar in the middle of the night, but we didn't get too many complaints.” The hardest part of the process for the band was trying to be patient through the five months of production. In October the tracks, which also include “1964” and “Neon”, were finally mastered and ready to be heard.
IndieShows Blog says of the new EP, “I’m feeling pretty good right now. The culprit? The Culprits! I’m listening to “Around Around” right now and seriously, as soon as I clicked play, my worries fled my body to make room for this great, catchy music.”
Now the band is trying to maintain their live performance schedule despite Nick’s distance. Zach and Will are currently juniors at St. Andrew’s-Sewanee School. “Nick is expecting us to follow him to Davidson,” says Zach, “but we’re keeping open minds.” Will is currently looking at Princeton and Zach is considering his options, including Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio and the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. In the meantime, their home base of Sewanee, Tenn., just 20 minutes from the site of Bonnaroo, provides plenty of time during breaks for writing and playing. When summer rolls around The Culprits plan to take complete advantage of their reunion with a full performance schedule.
- Sewanee Messenger

"The Culprits: Guilty of Good Music"

“I’m feeling pretty good right now. The culprit? The Culprits! I’m listening to “Around Around” right now and seriously, as soon as I clicked play, my worries fled my body to make room for this great, catchy music.” - The Hype Machine Music Blog

"iTunes Fan Review #1"

The Culprits are a great band with amazing music! Their style reminds me of U2, Coldplay, and even the Beatles. here is a song by song review [of the demo album]:

1. What I've Heard: The beat in this song isn't the best The Culprits have made, but the lyrics are good and flow with the music. 4.5/5

2. Card: I love the guitar in the beginning and then the singing. Then the drums start at the perfect moments. The bass goes well with the guitar, and the lyrics are great. The recording quality is also best on this song. 5/5

3. This Time Again: One of The Culprits' more up-beat songs. This Time Again has a good feel to it, and the lyrics are great. And at the end there is an amazing piece of synthesizer that fits perfectly with the rest of the song. 5/5

4. Only: This song probably has the best lyrics, and has great drums. 5/5

5. A Pigeon Song: The beginning to this song has an amazing beat, that it keeps until the end and the vocals are amazing. Probably my favorite song. 5/5

6. In Side: This song has two different distinct parts, a beginning, which is slow and almost sad, and then an up-beat end that makes a great ending to this album. 5/5 - Apple iTunes

"iTunes Fan Review #2"

Ya'll are awesome! Great balance between the instruments, and fun, uplifting music. Great summer music. - Apple iTunes


The Culprits-EP
Around Around-EP
November Creek-Single



The Culprits are an Indie Pop band from the mountaintop town of Sewanee, Tennessee. Drawing their influence from The Kooks, The Strokes, and The Police the three guys together create an energetic and youthful sound that will keep you humming all day long. (or singing in the shower!)

Before the music, all three guys swam on a summer swim team. They stuck with swimming together through high school making it to the state championships three years in a row. Will and Nick being brothers began to dabble in music as early as middle school and one day Zach was simply invited to come over. At first he brought a guitar but later stole his Dad's bass and began to bring it to practices. (He has his own bass now.)

In the Fall of 2008, the guys traveled to Plymouth, PA to spend time in the studio to record their first demo album. The compilation includes six tracks including "Only" and "This Time Again." The Culprits promoted the short demo at local festivals around Middle Tennessee, college events, and other small venues.

Motivated by some initial success and eager to return and record more the band started writing material. The writing process for Around Around began in early 2009. The band's second EP, Around Around, was released onto iTunes in late 2010. It was described as very different than the first Culprits EP and definitely more polished.

Most recently the guys recorded their Christmas single "November Creek" at their home studio in Sewanee, TN. The song November Creek was written by lead singer Nick Evans while away at Davidson College, in NC for the semester. In college Nick began to work on a more folk inspired sound. This can definitely be heard in the lyrics and waltz meter of "November Creek."

The Culprits' tunes range in style from a tasteful pop ballad to a pretty impressive wall of sound for only three instruments. The lyrics are simplistically poetic and are easy to relate to. In a repetitious pop market The Culprits add new flavor. If you have listened to music at all during the last five decades, you'll find these guys lively, catchy, and fresh.

To learn even more about The Culprits (like you haven't heard enough already!) and to see more pictures, get updates, and more join the band on:

the official website: or

Myspace, Facebook, and Twitter

Thanks and keep listening!

Band Members