From the Studio

‘The Nudes’ band has minimalistic vibe, escape from daily life

Nalae White | Staff Photographer

Each member of "The Nudes" has a full-time job. Mim Readling and Eric Lanious are high school teachers while Shauna Roloff is a nurse and Phil McAndrew is an illustrator.

UPDATED: April 14, 2017 at 9:30 p.m.

A few years ago, Mim Readling moved to Syracuse from Ithaca and didn’t know anyone. Eager to start playing music again, she logged onto Craigslist Musicians and posted an ad searching to start a low-fidelity band reminiscent of The Raveonettes or CocoRosie.

One response stuck out of the crowd: Eric Lanious enjoyed the same bands and lived right down the street from her. Readling and Lanious both play guitar, and after an awkward first encounter, they began getting together once a week to write songs. The now-close friends consider their original music as a creative challenge more than anything else.

The duo decided to go electric after adding drummer Phil McAndrew. All the band needed was a bassist, and Readling was set on having a female bass player. Shauna Roloff was already a friend of Readling’s, and although she did not know how to play, she owned a bass, and that was good enough for them. Luckily, Roloff found the instrument was easy to learn. The band of four is now The Nudes, and they have been playing together for four years.

Lanouis said Readling’s voice can be compared to that of Joni Mitchell, whose music, along with that of Neil Young, plays a major influence in the band’s sound. Both Readling and Lanious write the music for the band, but their writing approach is different, making the collaboration an original sound.

“I can tell which songs I wrote and which songs he wrote because structurally they’re really different. Like mine are pretty straight forward and melodic and almost have a formula and Eric’s are weird,” Readling said with a laugh, adding that what she meant was that Lanious has more abstract thinking.

“I like noisy, messy guitar bands,” said Lanious.

The band agrees that the best songs are songs that the two have collaborated on together.

“He’ll come up with a really cool guitar part, and Mim kind of makes it into a bigger picture,” said Roloff.

The lyrics for The Nudes’ songs — a band name sparked from the group’s minimalistic vibe and a painting that Lanious has in his basement — stem from influences from the band’s everyday life, including wacky things Lanious’s children have said.

Each member of the band has a full-time job. Readling and Lanious are high school teachers while Roloff is a nurse and McAndrew is an illustrator. These commitments force the band to be practically planted in Syracuse, with maybe an occasional trip to Ithaca or Rochester. In Syracuse they have performed at an array of venues, including at Otro Cinco April 11 and the opening night reception for “How I Learned To Drive” at Syracuse Stage on April 7. In addition, they performed at Rock for Reporters last week in Schine Underground, Spit House, Scarier Dome, Spark and Funk ‘n Waffles.

McAndrew draws flyers for many of The Nudes’ shows. Not touring does not bother the band at all, and, in fact, they love performing at the same venues over and over.

“It really strips away a lot of ego because there’s no point. Like we’re playing at the same three restaurants in front of three of our friends who are the only ones who (care) anyways you know?” said Readling.

“I would be totally happy if we didn’t even play shows and just got together,” Roloff said.

“Yeah, I just like having these guys at my house to play and it’s fun,” Lanious said, agreeing with his bandmate.

Although the band agrees creating music is for pleasure and not something serious, they have recorded music as well. Their latest recording was a collection of six songs released on Bandcamp almost exactly a year ago.

When other people hear The Nudes’ music on Bandcamp, they think the band is very chill and quiet, when it reality their live music is quite loud. That’s what makes a venue like Otro Cinco the perfect environment for the band.

“I think like everyone who works at Otro is in a band,” said Lanious.

Said Roloff: “We get to play music with our friends at a restaurant where all our friends work.”

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