For the members of The Third Floor band, balancing the responsibilities of school with furthering their career can sometimes be "overwhelming."
"There’s a lot to do. And I have pretty bad ADHD, and sometimes it’s hard for me to focus on a single thing and really get things done," Nicholas Guzman, the band's lead guitarist and keyboardist, said. "I haven’t really built a system yet to get everything out of (my head) and somewhere I can put it on a list and check it off."
Second-years Ryan Pellatt, Neal Goldberg, Logan Cory and Guzman have come a long way since meeting their freshman year while living on the third floor of Capstone House.
“We were just four guys. We (would) jam and play music on our floor,” Guzman said.
Now, The Third Floor has grown its audience, while also speaking on major topics through its lyrics. Pellatt, who writes most of The Third Floor’s songs, said almost every song he writes is about mental health.
“One of my favorite songs to play is called ‘Man on Fire,'” Pellatt said. “It’s a song very much about coping with mental health, with substances and doing so in a very unhealthy manner, which I’ve definitely done before. The song is more of a hyperbole.”
According to Cory, the drummer, another one of their songs, "Rum and Coke," is primarily about substance abuse, but anyone who listens to their music can find something to connect with about mental health.
"People can lean into the lyrics to that. They can relate to it,” Cory said. “Everybody has the capacity to do really anything. They can vent their capacity to be in that spot of darkness and live through that for whatever the four and a half minutes ... (they) can listen to the drums and the guitar solo and thrash their heads around to it and get into it — it’s whatever people want it to be.”
Goldberg, who plays bass, said he enjoys funneling his feelings into something positive by being able to play with his other bandmates.
“There was a low point in the first semester of freshmen year, but I think playing music with these guys and really getting into music helped a lot with my mental health, and figuring out how to write a song to express that emotion has been really cool," Goldberg said.
The group's first official gig as a band was in November of 2021 at the Koger Center for the Arts' Loading Docks, and it was only 15 minutes long. Since then, The Third Floor has played at venues such as New Brookland Tavern, Jake's on Devine and Southern Belly BBQ.
However, for Pellatt, the best part of being in the band doesn't revolve around venues, but rather hearing people sing along to the lyrics he wrote.
“Playing one of the songs that I’d written and we had rehearsed together and hearing people, seeing people sing the chorus to a song they had heard for the first time,” Pellatt said. “That was something that meant so much to me.”
For Goldberg, the best moment came when his family saw the band perform for the first time this past semester during a show the group played in Charleston. At this point, it all came together, as he felt more confident in his bass skills and had put in so much work.
“I think that was a really cool thing because it's something that, when I go home, that’s what I talk about. It’s the thing I do outside of school, and it was really cool to see that pay off and to see the people that you really care about get to watch you do what you love and watch you express yourself,” Goldberg said.
While they have experienced stressful moments, Guzman said the band and music, in general, are both positive outlets for his mental health. Playing his instrument after a bad day helps relieve stress, he said.
“If I just have a bad day, anything, going home and just getting lost in an instrument is one of the most blissful experiences that I can have,” Guzman said. “Really, really getting into it, there’s almost a point where your brain just turns off and you just flow, and you’re no longer thinking about what notes you’re going to hit. You’re just doing it. You’re doing what feels right. You’re speaking with the instrument.”