Local student band School Night loses guitarist Sofie Falasco, which poses a threat to the group’s composure as a female-oriented band.
“We’re going to have to find someone else to fill in for her. We have a couple of people. August Mills is usually our first go to because he picks up the guitar parts really easily,” said Mariana Kuehn, guitarist and lead vocalist for the group. “My only problem with August is that it messes up the gender ratio of the band. It’s always been three girls and one guy, but with him, it’s two girls and two guys. I don’t know, I just like the idea of it being a female-centered band.”
Bassist for the group Alex Mbuthia said Falasco transferred from UNC Asheville to North Carolina State University because they offer better financial and scholarly opportunities.
“She’s an out-of-state student from Richmond, Virginia. She was paying double, nearly triple of what we pay to go to school here,” Mbuthia said. “NC State was offering her more scholarships than UNC Asheville was. Also, some of the programs are better for her over at NC State. Our goal is to try and book our shows as to where Sofie’s able to come up and make it to Asheville for it but we recognize that’s not always a possibility because she goes to school three hours away.”
Because of Falasco’s inability to make it to the shows during the school year, members said they will have to rely on other musicians to step in for her and take her place as the guitarist while she can’t.
“There’s a big part of us that wants to keep Sofie in the band, but it’s kind of difficult for that to happen. If we are going to replace her with someone, we’d prefer them to be female,” Kuehn said.
Even with Falasco, the band still isn’t fully female. Behind the drum kit, School Night has Matty Garau, drummer for Asheville’s Fortezza and State Park Ranger. Because of Garau’s popularity as a drummer in the Asheville music scene, Mbuthia said there’s a possibility that he may eventually not be able to find the time to play for their band.
“I feel like there’s going to be a point where he’s going to have to step back and my goal would then be to find a female drummer. When we started out Matty was almost like a placeholder drummer for us but then he knew all the songs so well and we kept getting gigs and we haven’t found anyone else,” Mbuthia said. “It was just like ‘Matty’s in the band.’ But, the goal eventually is to maybe have a full-female lineup in our band.”
According to Kuehn, most of the female guitarists they know in the Asheville music scene do not fit their style of music that she refers to as shit rock.
“Lots of yelling, cymbals and not really caring,” Kuehn said. “There’s not a lot of female presence in that field. You know, besides Mattie Kendrick being a bassist in Tongues of Fire you really don’t see it that much.”
The band is currently considering Emil Maranchello, a first-year UNCA student from Charlotte, to replace Falasco.
“There are a couple people we have our eyes on, one of them being Emil, they’re pretty good at the guitar,” Mbuthia said.
Emil Maranchello was in a queer Latinx punk rock band from Charlotte called T!O!F!U! That didn’t work out so they moved to Asheville in hopes of possibly being a part of the music scene here.
“Mariana had let me know that maybe perhaps Sofie would be leaving and they would need a new guitarist,” Maranchello said. “I was pretty excited about that. That was one of the main reasons why I moved to Asheville, to be in the music scene and I had been before but it didn’t really work out so I wanted to try it again.”
Despite the complications that come along with finding a fitting addition to the band, School Night said they still plan to perform with Falasco when the school year ends.
“We are hoping to do a tour in the beginning of the summer because our original plan was to do a tour during spring break but obviously our spring breaks and Sofie’s don’t align,” Mbuthia said. “It’s going to have to be this summer.”
“I’ll keep writing music and contributing to School Night in whatever way I can. I may not be there for every show but School Night will always be my band. I know the three of us have come a long way and we’re all really proud of that,” Falasco said.
Music can be found at schoolnightband.bandcamp.com.