They could have been studying civil procedure and professional responsibility, but GW Law School students Andrew Satten and Kirk Anderson traded a night in the Jacob Burns Law Library for the stage of the Rock ‘N’ Roll Hotel Thursday.
With its first album launching in late February, RiverBreaks, which was formed a year ago, has been focusing on developing a unique sound that utilizes each of its five members’ individual talents.
“We incorporate different styles into a rock and roll foundation,” drummer Anderson, a second-year law student, said.
Anderson, whom guitarist Jesse Prentice-Dunn jokingly called “the resident real musician,” holds a music degree from the University of Michigan and explained that though the rock genre is its core, RiverBreaks tries to be eclectic.
“We try to take our influences from techno music and R&B bands, as well as reggae,” Anderson said.
Though technically a new band, RiverBreaks is in many ways a re-creation of the band Caravan that originated at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where Satten, Prentice-Dunn, and vocalist and guitarist Ryan Bailey attended school together. Even in D.C., the band’s UNC roots continue to be a source of inspiration.
“My lyrics come from different settings I’ve been in,” said Bailey, who writes most of the band’s material. “A lot of my lyrics come from the Piedmont [plateau].”
Already a geographic grab-bag with members from Alabama, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia and Michigan, the band’s relocation to D.C. and the members’ individual travel experiences have diversified their sound.
“We’ve gotten to the point where enough of the folks that come to our shows actually know the words to some of the songs and by the end can sing along,” said Prentice-Dunn.
RiverBreaks introduced two original numbers Thursday, “Tell the Girls” and “Don’t Kiss and Tell.” “
I was really happy with the way the new songs went,” Satten said, adding that the band worked well together as a unit and improved its stage presence in this performance.
Satten, who used to work as a law clerk at GW’s Office of General Counsel, has deep roots at GW and in D.C. Satten, whose parents are both GW graduates, said he’s “pretty much been going to all the GW basketball games since the early 1990s.”
Currently in the process of interviewing for post-graduation jobs, Satten said he wouldn’t dream of moving elsewhere.
“D.C. is where you want to be if you’re trying to get into the legal profession,” he said. The band also hopes to build its presence in the D.C. area.
“We just want to continue to be musically creative,” added Anderson. “We want to build on what we’ve started and try to expose our music to as large of an audience as we can.”