By: Emily Meadows
Looking on stage at a Best Friends show, you might see pink hair, blue jeans, bandanas, and shiny blazers. No two members project the same personal taste, instrumental style or stage presence. Nonetheless, they have somehow effortlessly managed to intermix their individual idiosyncrasies and make them into the ingenious and creatively versatile musical child that is Best Friends.
“I just want people to feel inspired by our music,” drummer Jami Calandros says with sincerity, “I want them to feel inspiration for anything.”
As it is customary, and usually quite simple, to categorize a local band by genre, the Morgantown based Best Friends are not so black and white. From the chilled out alternative riffs that can be heard on “All Alone”, to the bluesy rock and roll on “What the Planet Needs is Love” and softer pop, key friendly ballad that is “Black Cloud”, this ensemble remains uncategorized.
Made up of Jordan Pack, Jami Calandros, John Casey, Paris Leonard and Jacob Pierce, every member plays more than one role to make up the pop sounds of the multi-talented group. You will hear the BFF’s utilize a wave of instrumentals on nearly all their tracks, including (but certainly not limited to) rhythm guitars, keyboards, harmonicas and tambourines, alongside the ever-present guitars, drums, bass and superb vocals.
“Everyone is talented, and we’re all trying as hard as we can, so why not?” lead guitarist and vocalist John Casey tells me when asked why Best Friends chooses to modify their positions entirely, all the way down to the lead vocals, avoiding that “staple” sound so many other bands try hard to establish.
“I would feel limited on just one instrument,” says Calandros, “everyone has multiple talents, and we get a sound out of that, and it keeps everything fresh and fun.”
Their most recent performance at the Gluck Theater for Morgantown Sound on February 20, 2012 was the group’s favorite performance to date. With an expanded, matured and well-crafted set, it was easy to sense an authentic good time. While becoming part of an on stage party, sitting in the audience you are if nothing else simply compelled to have fun.
No strangers to covers and constantly full of surprises, they not only closed their Gluck set with the premiere of “Rocking in the Free World,” but unveiled yet another hidden (and really awesome) talent: Jordan Pack’s rap debut.
The dazzling vocal performance allowed Pack, lead vocalist and keyboard player, to spit his flow as well as belt his strong, high-pitched and unmistakable vocals for the surprise cover of classic hip-hop tribute track, “I’ll Be Missing You.”
“We literally prepared it twenty minutes before we walked out of the door to go to the show!” Calandros said, but she and Casey agree it will definitely not be the last time we hear Pack behind a beat.
“We absolutely would love to use hip-hop influences and more rapping [in the future], we already use a lot of it for influence now,” Casey adds.
With a slew of ever-changing performances, it is easy to speculate if the long time friends ever find themselves in a bind of creative differences. On the contrary, it might be just those that keep them together.
“We’re all crazy and different, but it works,” Casey says, “if it didn’t we would all just be a bunch of weirdos on stage.”
Calandros adds that they all appreciate various styles of music, which likely contributes to their ability to craft tracks without discrimination.
“No one’s a music snob, so we all take from the each others differences,” Calandros said, “but we stay on the same wavelength. We have similar influences as well; like I think we could all agree on a heavy influence from Prince.”
No matter what angle the BFF’s are trying to capture your ear buds from, their dedication and love for all music is obvious, and their appreciation for their support and growing fan base is sincere. Calandros and Casey both light up with joy when asked about their fans, and shared how much they truly appreciate the love and support from their already budding fan base. After all, they are your best friends.