By Alex Solari, Staff Writer
Have you ever wondered if there are musicians out there that originated at UMass Dartmouth? Creature from Dell Pond is a trio consisting of Gordon Pond, Alex Mann, and Nick Alvarez that all reside in Chicago, but the band started out on our campus.
As for the name, the group says, “the moniker comes from Gordon’s time living in the UMass Dells as a sophomore.”
Pond is the composer, bassist, and vocalist, Mann is the guitarist, and Alvarez plays the drums and percussion. Both Mann and Alvarez attended Columbia College Chicago, and the group has been based in Chicago since 2014.
In November, the group came out with their EP, Battered Boyfriend. This record did not include Mann and Alvarez though, and instead included Pond with vocals, bass, and organs, Marc Drake with drums, Rob fletcher with auxillary percussion and drums, and TJ Kallaher with guitar.
The record is “rooted in Pond’s past” according to their site, and is “steeped in pith painting stark, heavy silhouettes of the dissolution of friendships and abusive relationships.”
There were many facets of their record that I found interesting, and I was lucky enough to chat with Pond about this record in depth.
One incredibly interesting fact about the four songs on the EP is that they have locations as their titles.
When asked about this, Pond said, “the decision to use locations as the track titles is part of the vulnerability that I tried to exercise with the record’s theme. The street names are all places where main characters of the songs lived/live.”
He went on to say, “Originally, the song names were the full addresses of each person, but I realized that could potentially compromise the safety of those people.”
Another interesting thing to note about this EP is the direct and undeniably honest approach Pond decided to take. A great example of this is in his song “Regis Rd, Marshfield MA”. There’s a lyric in the song that says, “you’ll end up like your dad, hanging dead from a pole.”
Pond explains this, saying, “With this album, I challenged myself to not hide behind metaphors or vagueness in my lyrics. Part of that was using actual names of the people I was writing about.”
“I wouldn’t say it has caused issues, but my life is certainly different now than it would’ve been if I hadn’t used real names,” he continued. “Some of the people I wrote about were not happy about that at all, but I don’t regret it for a second. It was an experiment in healing, and will forever be an interesting document of that time in my life.”
When asked if he felt uncomfortable sharing his deep emotions, he said, “the vulnerability and openness in my lyrics doesn’t particularly bother me. Actually, I’d say it’s a fairly therapeutic process for me to write that way. Sometimes it’s really intense and emotionally exhausting to perform these songs live, but it’s worth it, and working on new material that isn’t as emotionally heavy.”
The last two songs on the EP are “N Campbell Ave, Chicago IL (I)” and “N Campbell Ave, Chicago IL (II)”, which both have dark themes of domestic violence and abuse. Of course, these songs could have quite a positive impact on those who have experienced abuse before by making them feel less alone in their struggles.
I asked him if Pond thinks about the impact his music has on others, and he said, “when I’m writing, I’m not actively thinking of the impact my lyrics will have on others, positive or otherwise. At the time, I’m just trying to find a cohesive way to share my emotions through song.” He went on to say, “with that said, I’m happy for any positive effect my lyrics can have on others who have gone through similar trauma. I thought it was really important to highlight that domestic violence against males is both under-researched and under-reported.”
The band is looking forward to their next record which is still untitled currently. This will be the first record including Pond, Mann, and Alvarez. The three are close friends and are excited to work on this project together. They hope there will be a vinyl release of this EP in late 2017.
UMass Dartmouth should be proud to have such talent come from our former students. For anyone interested in the group’s music, you can visit their website or Spotify to hear their tunes.
The group will also be in New England with Luxotica Lounge Cabaret this April, and Pond will be in Boston with Super Happy Funtime Burlesque at Midway Café on May 24.
You can visit the group’s Facebook page, for details on these events.