The Seen
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The Seen

Omaha, Nebraska, United States | SELF

Omaha, Nebraska, United States | SELF
Band Rock Alternative


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The Seen @ Pizza Shoppe Collective

Omaha, Nebraska, USA

Omaha, Nebraska, USA

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Justin Kucks played poker, sipped beer and swapped stories with buddies.

A typical guys night out? Not exactly.

Did we mention Kucks arrived home with more than 3,000 diapers — enough that a pickup and SUV were needed to haul them?

Kucks, who's 31, was guest of honor at a type of party becoming more common in Omaha and around the country.

They're called "dadchelor" parties or diaper parties. Think of them as kind of a bachelor-type party for dads-to-be, but usually a lot tamer than those beer-soaked bashes before marriage.

Here's how they work: Friends take an expectant dad out for one last fling before midnight feedings, daycare drop-offs and other dad duties kick in. Sometimes buddies bring diapers, gift cards and even a diaper bag as presents for the dad on deck.

The parties are so new that sociologists are still trying to figure out how they originated and what significance they carry. It's likely the parties are a response to the growing role men play in parenting.

These parties may sound a little like a baby shower, but they sure don't look like one. If there's any hugging, it's just the two-claps-on-the-back man version. Definitely no squealing over pink footie jammies — or guessing what kind of baby food was just sampled.

Not that there's anything wrong with that.

But you might see high fives, cheers after a touchdown and guys devouring manhole-cover-size plates of buffalo wings.

Kucks' buddies threw his party at the Loose Moose Bar and Grill, a northwest Omaha spot with two dozen TVs that has hosted four dadchelor parties in the past year. Dad parties also have cropped up at the Blue Jay bar near the Creighton University campus and the Dundee Dell and Krug Park bars in central Omaha. Johnny's Hall of Fame Bar in downtown Des Moines has hosted two in the last six months.

Beer and scotch tastings highlighted the dad parties at the Dell. The expectant dad and pals tossed darts at the Blue Jay and watched sports on a 52-inch plasma TV in a basement party room. Guys at the Des Moines bar munched pizza and rooted for teams in college and NFL games.

Kucks' party drew more than 30 guys on a Saturday afternoon this spring including his dad, uncles, softball teammates and co-workers from Automatic Data Processing.

"It was awesome,'' he said, "hanging out and seeing everybody."

His party featured a poker tournament that he ended up winning.

Around the country, groups of guys have flown to spots such as Las Vegas and Miami for dad parties, said Ysolt Usigan of, a web site for first-time parents. Golf outings and trips to watch professional football and baseball are popular.

Usigan said dad parties started popping up five years ago and have become more common the last couple years. Some dad parties in other parts of the country are actually called, awkwardly enough, "man showers."

Chris Rezac of Omaha organized the party for Kucks. The two met as freshmen at Burke High School and became fraternity brothers at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Rezac has hosted dad parties for other high school and college friends.

Baby showers give women a chance to celebrate a friend's motherhood, Rezac said, and men deserve the same.

"The girls get a party,'' he said. "Why can't the guys get a party?"

Ryan Callinan said that was part of the motivation for a dad party he organized at the Krug Park bar last month for 23-year-old Buck Blanc, a fellow member of The Seen, an Omaha rock band.

Julia McQuillan, a sociology professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, said that with men playing a bigger part in parenting, it makes sense that they would respond with baby showers of their own. The amount of time dads who live with their kids spend each week caring for them has more than doubled since the 1960s, according to the Pew Research Center.

Because of that bigger role, fatherhood is more life-changing than it was decades ago, McQuillan said. The dad parties are a way for a man's friends to recognize and celebrate that shift.

"The idea is — your life is going to change and you're expected to be there for this child,'' she said. "That's really powerful."

Men also want to show their friend that they will help, even though they may not know a size 1 diaper from a size 2.

Callinan said a new dad needs to know his friends are there for him. He said the party he organized sent a simple message: "We've got your back."

Bradford Wilcox, director of the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia, said the dad parties seem like a healthy trend.

"It signals to guys you can be both a man and a good father," he said.

Kucks said that theme surfaced at his party. Many who attended were new dads or were planning to have kids. So though even though they jawed about Husker football, they also shared stories about 2 a.m. diaper changes.

Kucks' wife, Lea, said she was happy his friends turned out to show support.

She said the truckload of diapers — easily worth more than $500 — was a bonus.

By the end of the party, diapers were stacked more than 8 feet high.

Customers stepping into the Loose Moose during the party did a double-take when they spotted the pile of Pampers, Luvs and Huggies, said Chuck Shanahan, the bar's general manager.

"It's an interesting sight to see inside a bar and grill,'' he said.

Kucks' party was in April. On May 11, he and his wife became first-time parents of a little boy named Jett.

Their son is nearly 6 months old, and so far, they haven't spent a penny on diapers. Better yet, no late-night diaper runs.

They received a good mix of sizes, but did exchange some packs for sizes they ran a little short on.

The Kucks stored all the diapers floor to ceiling in their laundry room.

"It looked," Lea said, "like the diaper aisle at Target." - Omaha World Herald

"The Seen" recorded their first EP independently in the summer of 2009 and began showcasing their acoustic set at open mics, street corners, and house parties around the city. The members of the band will be here in studio to tell us their future plans and perform LIVE! - KMTV CBS Omaha

The five relatively young guys in Omaha band the Seen, have quickly made an impact on the Omaha music ‘scene’, and have been able to start drawing significant crowds and curate a fan base in a short time. Having worked with them personally on a couple of shows, I can tell you that a big part of why the band has been able to ascend is because they are very professional, personable and easy to work with. The group started off as an acoustic duo of Ryan Callinan and Buck Blanc who would play open mic nights around the area.
The band formed around the duo and two EPs have been released, fans were won over, and now the band will be recording a live recording at the Slowdown on Saturday Sept. 24 when they perform with City City and Avian Sunrise. The band wants to obviously pack the place and this past Monday performed on KMTV Channel 3’s Morning Blend TV show, and are doing various other media appearances to make that happen. The Seen have one of those lucky sounds that appeal to many people. Coming from an acoustic background adds a strong base to their songwriting, the band is playing a slightly edgy anathematic form of rock music that is not too abrasive and harkens back to an updated sound rooted in the ‘90s that is just now becoming an infatuation of a new generation of music fans. The band on stage is very energetic, and there is a flow to their show live. They will mostly appeal to a young adult crowd, but music fans with a few years on them will also easily be able to connect with the Seen’s sound. I met up with the Seen at Jakes’ Cigar’s and Spirits this past week to talk about how they formed, where they want to go, and the upcoming live recording.

Shout! – How did the band form?
Matt Benson (drums) – There are two parts to that.
Ryan Callinan (keyboards/guitars) – Two years ago, Buck and I were really starting the Seen and it was an acoustic thing and doing open mic’s in an effort to take on more people when it made sense. Matt was the first one to come on and did a show at Stir with us.
Joshua Soto (bass) – Matt and Aaron were also in a band called And Collapse.

Shout! – Joshua, how did you join the band?
Joshua – I had just moved here from Venice, Calif. and was working at Trader Joe’s and doing some bassist for hire stuff in town. Buck also worked there, and he was like ‘I have this band you should come check out.’ I made it out and it started with just an acoustic set with Ryan and Buck and then for the last two songs they brought these guys in. They just melted my face and it clicked. I knew I needed to be with these guys.

Shout! – What appealed to you about the band that instantaneously?
Joshua – Aaron’s guitar, he has a unique style and space with emotion. You heard the dynamics when Matt came in and with what Ryan was doing. It just took me places where it is pounding, but not shoegazer stuff. It just got your attention. And their acoustic stuff was good too, but when the band came on it was like Jesus Christ!
Aaron Maxwell – (guitar) That is what we were going for.
Joshua – That is what I wanted, a band where the songs just build and build.

Shout! – What about you Matt?
Matt – I wasn’t too partial to the Seen as I always played metal. Once Ryan and Buck got all four of us in the room and I was able to play something without putting any math into my head and was able to just go with the flow I was into to it. I have never been able to play with a band where I could just play what I felt.
Aaron – Having Matt, who is experienced in metal, and having him come into a band that is easier to listen to adds another dimension that other bands like us do not have.
Joshua – It’s his technicalities and his dynamics.
Matt – It’s more attractive emotionally. I used to be drawn to music that is just technique, where how good this guitarist and how good this drummer is-is what mattered. But our main goal is to bring the audience to the level that we are at.

Shout! – What brought you to Omaha Joshua?
Joshua – There is a lot that actually built up to it. I was born and raised in Venice and Desoto is a name that goes back many generations there. We had baseball fields and things named after us. Even though it is a beautiful coastal community, it’s a small town and it takes thirty minutes to get anywhere and being a musician it was a bad place to play. My girlfriend was from Omaha, and I had been here and I loved the music scene. It’s an affordable town and you can be an artist here and work a crap job and still have money left over. We wanted to start over and Omaha felt like home. I had played in bands out there and headlined legendary venues but no one cared and everything came to you. Up here you have to earn it.

Shout! – What bands were you in out there where you were playing big venues?
Joshua – I was in this band called the Sixth Chamber. We were a psych heavy blues rock band. We were doing cool things but once they got some small sense of fame, then it became money, drug problems, and personal issues. We were into Black Sabbath, and Led Zeppelin, and doing the stoner rock kind of thing. Then Wolfmother came out and we were like ’oh man.’

Shout! – So what are the plans for the band after this live recording?
Joshua – After the Slowdown show we are going to write some new material and get it out there.
Shout! – What is the songwriting process for the band?
Aaron – Most of the time it is Buck and I getting together and he will have a riff and I will have a riff and we will like go off of each other and present it to the band and if they like it we will work on it from there.
Joshua – You got five dudes and sometimes only two guys are stoked.
Ryan – And that is what keeps it going.
Joshua – But when we all agree on a song then it is like….
Ryan – We record where there is just enough space for all of us and all of our gear. There are two bands that share the space and there are two drum sets. It gets hot, and so we have to go outside a lot.
Joshua – We take that time to reflect and make those choices and we turn down many songs. When we have a good one we are all like ‘hell yeah.’ You don’t want one member in the band that hates to play a song live.

Shout! -So you all have to agree on a song?
Matt – We try to respect each other ideas though and we always at least try it.
Joshua – You are just happy because you have a drum fort in the space. Have you seen his drums? It’s a fort!
Ryan – Matt plays super hard, and sometimes you have to say ‘hey Matt we’re a space band.’
Aaron – He is like programmed to play the drums.
Joshua – He is like a super human cyborg.
Ryan – I was reading about super human cyborgs today. It is coming man.

Shout! – What do you like to get across to the audience live?
Matt – The main thing that we try to do is that we try to audibly personify the feelings that we are feeling. We want them to feel the same that we are feeling.
Joshua – I just want them to have a good time. If you are paying money to see us, we want to entertain you. The songs are a little deeper than that, but we want the live show to be a good time.

Shout! – What are your songs about?
Ryan – A lot of our songs are about the struggles we have and that the band is getting us through those things. I don’t know where I would be if it was not for this band.

Shout! – What do you want to ultimately accomplish with the band?
Joshua – None of us want to be working a nine to five pencil pushing job. We want to play music for a living. The pinnacle of the week is us playing a show. It’s joyful for us and we want the fans to feel that too. If they are working a job all week, we want them to feel the same thing that we are doing on stage.
Matt – There is no high like performing live on stage. - Shout! Weekly


The Seen (2011) - Recorded at Make Believe studios in Omaha, NE The Seen's EP has recieved regular rotation on Omaha's only modern rock station 89.7 The River.



The Seen’s origins can be traced back to a sketchy apartment east of Saddle Creek on Lafayette in Omaha, Nebraska where Buck Blanc and Ryan Callinan wrote a handful of songs on borrowed guitars.

They recorded their first EP independently in the summer of 2009 and began showcasing their acoustic set at open mics, street corners, and house parties around the city.

Drums, electric guitars, and electro beats were at the core of their second EP released in late 2010, a departure from the original sound but still in the same spirit of The Seen.

While the electronic phase was short lived it led to the introduction of a more raw rock sound utilizing a single electric guitar and drums, which they played alternately until drummer Matt Benson secured his place as a permanent member of the band bringing Guitarist Aaron Maxwell with him.

With the additional depth created by Matt and Aaron The Seen was on the hunt for a bassist while chasing a more dynamic sound utilizing Matt’s hard-hitting relentless computer beat brain and Aarons Soothing erratic technically sound atmospheric guitar harmonies.

Answering the call for a bassist all the way from Venice Beach, California Joshua Soto Came to The Seen with the knowledge and experience of a seasoned musician in peak physical condition. With a big bag a bass tones and the only mustache in the room Soto earned his spot within the first five minutes of his first practice.

Ryan Callinan shifted his focus to keyboard utilizing synth textures, time travel, and new space technology and Buck Blanc continues to lead the vocal charge with a sense of haunting purpose and emotional range.

The Seen just released it's first EP as a 5 piece and it's available as a free download on