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Spring Sing 2022: Lot 3’s members tie together mixed musical tastes in ‘Untethered’

Lot 3 members huddle together on top of a parking garage, paying homage to the group’s namesake. When they debut their original song “Untethered” on the Spring Sing stage, the musical collective will blend genres, incorporating the different musical tastes of each member. (Photo by August Suchecki/Daily Bruin. Photo illustration by Ashley Shue-Lih Ko/Daily Bruin staff)

By Jordan Mula

May 17, 2022 3:32 p.m.

Starting from humble beginnings, Lot 3 is now amping up its audience.

The self-proclaimed musical collective will be performing an original song, which will be released the day of the event, at this year’s Spring Sing. Guitarist and third-year public affairs student Harry Frahn said the song it will be performing, “Untethered,” will be a medley of music tastes and release the day of the concert. Lead singer and third-year theater student EJ Chen said the collective began as a cover band, playing sets at fraternities and doing backyard gigs before it developed its original sound while practicing in an on-campus parking garage. While the collective has played with a variety of musicians in the past, Chen said he, Frahn, third-year theater student Ian Gibson, third-year theater student Xander Ambrose and third-year theater student Gil Weissman will be the core group performing at the event.

“It was supposed to be a one-time gig,” Chen said. “Gil and Harry were jamming out, playing around with chord progressions and bass lines. … We were practicing at Parking Lot 3, and I was looking around me, and I was like, ‘Okay, this is the spot right here.'”

In the group’s beginning stages, it was just a bunch of friends who all liked making music together, Chen said. Back when it was a cover band, Chen said the group built a set together, which led to a couple of members getting splinters – prompting their original name, Splinter Kids. When a certain parking lot on campus grew to be their home base for practices and “jam-seshes,” Chen said, the group made the transition to its current moniker, Lot 3.

[Related: Student releases studio single following success of musical content on TikTok]

As the collective was composing its song for Spring Sing, Weissman said, the group scheduled three to four Zoom calls per week, giving each member homework to think of verses and melodies. The members began by discussing what they wanted the song to be about, Chen said, emphasizing subjects that were more meaningful to them in that moment. He said “Untethered” specifically centers around the theme of not wanting life to pass them by, with a carpe diem attitude for its lyrics.

“We all felt like we were stuck in this cycle,” Chen said. “Especially with COVID-19, just (being) trapped and seeing them (the group) like, ‘I can’t do anything’ or ‘Your chances are limited’ and ‘Life is a little bit more boring and dull.'”

(From left to right) Third-year theater students EJ Chen, Gil Weissman and Ian Gibson practice their Spring performance as Chen sings alongside Weissman on bass as Gibson stands behind. While the group began as cover band, Chen said the group evolved into a musical collective through collaborating with artists of genres. (August Suchecki/Daily Bruin)
(From left to right) Third-year theater students EJ Chen, Gil Weissman and Ian Gibson practice their Spring performance with Chen singing alongside Weissman on bass and Gibson standing behind. While the group began as cover band, Chen said the group evolved into a musical collective through collaborating with artists of genres. (August Suchecki/Daily Bruin)

With this realization, Chen said the group wanted to break from this monotonous perspective and make a song to accentuate the necessity of seizing the day. With Spring Sing now returning in person, Chen said he expects “Untethered” to be a fitting tune to compliment this enthusiasm. As the sound took its shape, Weissman said, each member of the group brought their own groove to the music-making regimen.

With everyone having their own taste in music, Weissman said they often push each other out of their musical comfort zones. From funk-inspired melodies to the hymns of psychedelic rock or to indie grime, each member of the group brings their own genre and lyricism to the song-making process, Chen said. For example, Weissman said he gravitates toward funk, while Chen is into softer ballads, blurring the line between classic pop tropes and grungy rock. When speaking about what each of them brings to the table, Weissman said Chen is especially versed in emotional lyricism, and since Weissman and Frahn have been playing together for a while, they have a musical chemistry that spills into the group when they play.

[Related: Alumna navigates death, grief and the afterlife in self-produced debut EP]

When thinking about spring quarter, Chen said performing in Spring Sing was always part of the dream. He said this will be the collective’s largest audience yet, which is why he expects it to be an experience of energy and thrill. With a couple of the members having backgrounds in theater, Frahn said they know how to engage the crowd.

As written in the Lot 3 Instagram bio, Weissman said the group considers itself more of a collective since it simply began as a group of friends who liked music and eventually brought in more friends who also liked music. Frahn said that even now, the collective sometimes experiments with bringing in new musicians to some of its performances. However, Frahn said the performance for Spring Sing will be the core group.

“We’re only up there for one song, and that’s our one chance to show the audience who we are, what we can do,” Chen said. “The energy is going to be so incredible in the stadium for us to leave it out and give it our all in that one performance.”

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