For some bands, determining the right name takes months of brainstorming. For Just Blush, it was as easy as going to the hardware store.
“Guido (Castellani) happened upon a paint swatch at Lowe’s one afternoon,” guitarist Todd Oravic said. “‘Just Blush.’ Done deal.”
Finding time to practice together, however, doesn’t come as easily for the Scranton group, but the quartet does its best to keep the music coming. The group — which also includes Nick Barno on drums, Andrew Bryant on guitar and Abby Vail on bass — looks to take a hiatus from performing together after its upcoming scheduled shows, so now is the time for anyone who has wanted to catch them live.
Just Blush’s members recently went On the Record to discuss how they grew together as musicians and work together as a band.
Q: How did you all meet?
Todd Oravic: Nick and I met at Wilkes University on the first day of classes and started jamming the Beatles and Coldplay songs together. … Around November 2009, Nick invited me along to a show at Cafe Metro with some of his friends from high school, including Andrew. We quickly became friends and started talking about getting a band off the ground. We had our first practice with our first bassist, Guido Castellani, in March 2010. When Guido left for college that September, Andrew messaged Abby about playing with us. She came over for practice, and we discovered that the four of us worked very well together. Then we just went from there, with a focus now on original material.
Q: How did you each get involved in music?
TO: When I was 4 years old, my grandfather brought this old Harmony classical parlor acoustic downstairs and said, “OK, Jethro (his nickname for me). Let’s play some guitar.” Still have that guitar.
Abby Vail: I went to slap a high five but was too slow and slapped a bass instead. I decided to make it a hobby.
Andrew Bryant: I fell onto a piano and liked the noise.
Q: What is the process like for writing your music?
TO: The process itself ends up being different every time, but it very often begins with some rough recorded demo or idea. We try to not think too much about it, and lately we’ve been doing a lot of free-form jamming together. Jamming is a great way in as far as figuring out what could work well for a song and just trying stuff.
AV: Our writing process varies. Sometimes we already have an idea or a demo that we go into practice looking to expand upon, and other times we just don’t say a word and break out into a random jam for 20 minutes and then realize we made unintentional magic happen.
Q: How have you changed as musicians over the years?
AV: Playing with these guys for so many years has really helped me develop personally. When you play with such talented people for so long, you’re bound to progress. I used to just play it safe and not veer far from root notes, but now I’m always looking to take my bass lines to unexpected places. We’ve all gained different experiences and endured struggles over the years, and I think we each let that sprinkle into our music and allow ourselves growth.
Q: What are some of your favorite memories as a part of this band?
AV: Choosing just one memory to label a favorite is almost impossible because we always have such a great time together, but I’m going to say one of the most memorable experiences we’ve had was seeing Tame Impala in Maryland. After the show, a shirtless man told one of us that we have “impeccable music taste,” and Todd’s immediate response was, “Thanks, I can SEE your pecs!” Every weekend we spent in Penn State recording our album has a special place in my heart as well.
Q: How has the NEPA music scene changed over the years?
TO: Oh man, it’s gotten so much bigger. It’s awesome — there’s always something going on, and a lot of new acts.
Q: What are your future goals for the band?
TO: To be honest, the future is uncertain for Just Blush. We’ve all agreed we’re still going to jam together from time to time — we’re very good at that and love to do it — but we’re looking to take a step back from the project and explore other musical avenues. We’re really glad we got our album done. We said for a long time we were going to do it and we did, and we have always had so much fun doing this, playing for people and for each other. Our last shows for an indefinite amount of time are coming soon, so now’s the time for anyone who’d like to come out: Friday, Nov. 24, at the Keys (as a three-piece with Nick, Todd and Abby) with Days in Transit, and Saturday, Nov. 25, at the Irish Wolf (Pub in Scranton) with King Kidding, Crookshanks and Japan 4. We’ll have our album packaged with our self-released EPs, “Just Blush” and “Live at the Flea Market,” at a discounted price also.