Passion, self-expression and emotional vulnerability can be key devices in producing genuine and authentic music. For the local Columbia band Charlie boy, these aspects are key in order to deliver a unique sound to its music.
Kat Hammond, the band's front woman and songwriter, said she her emotions are greatly on display when she is performing their music.
“This is how I feel, and it's more my of (emotional) release, and it's my way of being able to say it,” Hammond said.
This desire to spread such feelings through Hammond's singing has been well perceived by listeners, like first-year marine science student Leif Sawyer.
“I think my heart rate was low when I was listening to it, and I liked that," Sawyer said. "It was very relaxing song."
The initiative Charlie boy takes to implement such sounds have been prevalent in its creative process since the creation the band in 2020. While a rough year for most people, Hammond and the rest of the band members decided to use it to their advantage by creating something with the time COVID-19 gave them.
“COVID is what built Charlie Boy," Hammond said. "It was supposed to be just a bunch of friends just playing music and experimenting, and then it just turned into that.”
The band sticks to its roots, taking the melting pot, experimental approach that brought them together during COVID-19 and implementing it during rehearsals and recording sessions.
“Some songs form so naturally," Hammond said. "There's more leeway, and I love it because you can hear everyone’s input on everything.”
The free form creative process that Charlie Boy practices gives all of its members a chance to express themselves and showcase their talents, according to the band's guitarist and producer Tyler Gordon.
"There's a little bit of improvising as far as people are free to kind of play with the song however they want to go about it," Gordon said. "There's definitely plenty of space to try stuff in every song."
As fluid and natural as it may come for the of the band, Hammond is very particular about the sound she's looking for when recording. She said she is passionate about sticking to the unique sound that sets the band apart from others — a vision that is often difficult for her to communicate to the rest of her bandmates.
“The most frustrating part is not being able to convey exactly what I want," Hammond said. "I don't know how to explain it, because in my head I’m like, 'I want it to sound tinny,' or 'I want it to sound like you're in a hallway.'”
While Hammond prides herself and the band in their ambition to produce unique sounds, she also said music she listened to as a child has influenced Charlie Boy's sound.
“I was very lucky at a young age to be exposed to a lot of different genres of music," Hammond said. "My parents definitely had a huge impact on that.”
She said her inspiration comes from 60’s, 70’s and 90’s grunge, and while she doesn't like to limit the band's sound to one specific genre, she credits artists such as Kurt Cobain and Dave Grohl as her main musical inspiration.
“(Dave Grohl) taught me something important," Hammond said. "There's no rules or limits to music, there's no box. Coming from him, I'm like, 'That's pretty cool.'"
However, Hammond said avoiding these limits and boxes can be a bit of a struggle due to the environment Columbia provides in terms of the music scene.
“The problem is, there are no venues to play," Hammond said. "There's really no growth unless you start playing out of state, which is what we started doing."
Gordon said that while Columbia musicians are often met with struggle due to a lack of venues and resources, the local music scene is still flooded with artist with very good talent and skill. .
"I don't think we have enough venues as far as live shows go, but we have, talent-wise, we're good," Gordon said. "We've got so many people in Columbia that are just really, really good at what they do."
This belief in Columbia's musical talent is why the band said it refuses to allow Columbia's lack of resources to hold it back. Charlie Boy plans on releasing its debut album by June and is expected to reflect Hammond’s interest in 60’s and 70’s music while mixing in some 90's and psychedelic sounds.
"I didn't think I would ever be playing music like this," Hammond said. "Whenever I heard (the band) all put it together, it's just really cool."
Correction: A previous version of this article misspelled Gordon's first name. This issue has been fixed.