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Young Islands create up-and-coming synthetic sound

A three-man band with no a guitar or bass player to be found.

For most groups, it’s a proposition that sounds improbable, if not impossible.

For Young Islands though, this may be what separates this up-and-coming Belmont band from the rest.

Young Islands is an electronic synthesized pop band which formed last September when juniors Josh Kaltenbach and David O. Ramirez teamed up with Stephen Earnest to create a sound similar to Passion Pit.

“A lot of electronic music is a guy at a computer,” said Kaltenbach, “We’re different because it’s three guys working together, playing synthesizers.”

Earnest and Kaltenbach met freshman year and tossed around the idea of a band. The only thing they needed was a keyboard player, so when Ramirez then joined up with them, Young Islands was born.

Before the group formed, Kaltenbach had recently sold all of his guitar equipment and knew he was ready to start something different.

For all three, that meant bucking the singer-songwriter trend they see all over campus.

“We’re more of a live band than an album band. We write music that people can dance to and not feel awkward,” said Ramirez.

Young Islands technically played their first gig at a house party last fall, but were kept from finishing their full set.

“The cops showed up after we finished the first song, but we still played like two more songs, so we played only about two and a half songs of an entire set,” said Earnest.

The trio continued making their rounds at house shows and have continued to gain support from mutual friends and fans as they begin to publish their work. The group released their first single, “Fun,” on Feb. 26 after accumulating a growing catalog of original music.

“We had no idea where our songs were going to go,” says Kaltenbach.

The hard work all three have now put into the group has led to extended time spent on releasing more singles and an EP in the future.

“We scratch more than we release,” says Ramirez, “We all have this drive to do everything as best as possible.”

While none of the three men know what’s next for the group, they hope that this will continue past college.

“The dream would be for this to be a full time gig,” said Earnest, “Everything’s played out the way we wanted it too so far.”

Being different is something that they are aware of and that won’t discourage them.

“You don’t have to do what everyone says to do,” said Ramirez.

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