The Daily Tar Heel

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Friday November 26th

From dorm room to rooftop: Meet the UNC band The Northbounds

<p>Bryan Truong and Conner Mann practicing in their North Street house. Truong and Mann are a part of the 5 member Northbounds, a local band that frequents Chapel Hill bars, rooftops, tailgates and more. Photo courtesy of Bryan Truong.</p>
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Bryan Truong and Conner Mann practicing in their North Street house. Truong and Mann are a part of the 5 member Northbounds, a local band that frequents Chapel Hill bars, rooftops, tailgates and more. Photo courtesy of Bryan Truong.

When Conner Mann and Shane Stephens first bonded over guitar in Winston Residence Hall as sophomores, they had no idea they would start a band out of their house as seniors.

Mann and Stephens teamed up with their roommates this year to form The Northbounds — a UNC band who has been paving their way in Chapel Hill’s music scene, playing for students at tailgates, parties, bars and their rooftop. 

The band is comprised of five seniors, who came together through shared connections and musical synergy.

The members thrive off playing together for a crowd in an exciting atmosphere, Stephens said.

The band got inspiration for their name from North Street, where the members of the band live together in the same house. The proximity of the band allows for frequent jamming and musical collaborations.

“Our living room is basically just a drum set, five guitar amps, and a P.A. system,” Stephens said. “We have this whole little setup so we can practice for sets and play a lot more shows.”

Stephens knew the Northbounds’ drummer, Tad Ghanem, from his first year at UNC. Bryan Truong, the band’s keyboardist, happened to live on the same floor in Winston his sophomore year.

Truong knew the bassist and co-vocalist, Mitchell Hedrick, from his first year.

It was the beginning of their senior year that they all began playing together formally and realized they could capitalize on the cluster of musical talent in the North Street house.

“We just organically came together,” Mann said. “We weren’t really searching for people.”

The members of the band have different musical backgrounds that mesh together when they play. Some of the members have been playing rock and pop music for years, while others have been classically trained in formal lessons since they were children. 

“The talent per instrument is pretty high for sure,” Truong said. “When you’re playing with other people that are really good, it makes you want to practice even more.”

When Stephens first invited members of the band over to his house in Cary last year to cover some songs, they enjoyed feeding off each others’ talents and saw a glimpse of what was to come in the following year. 

“That was my first time playing in a cover band setting," Truong said. "Before that, I had only really played classical music and covers by myself. We just kept on doing it. When we all ended up living together, we were like ‘Might as well.’ I’d say it worked out pretty well.”

The band primarily plays covers by artists such as Tame Impala, Mac DeMarco and The Black Keys during their live shows, but the group has written and performed a couple of original songs that they hope to record and release by the end of the semester.

The Northbounds enjoys the group dynamic and the different backgrounds of each member, Mann said.

“When you’re playing with other people, it creates a different energy,” Mann said. “We all have different strengths and styles, and it’s cool to see how people progress musically through different routes. It’s all connected.”

arts@dailytarheel.com

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