Following their (day)dreams

Sophomore band expands music through collaborative, creative process


Morgan Eye

Daydreamer poses for a photo after their performance at Hole in the Wall. The band was invited to play at Hole in the Wall after placing second at Battle of the Bands in the fall.

It’s Feb. 22, a Tuesday.

The Battle of the Bands winners are getting ready to perform at Hole in the Wall.

Hole in the Wall — the famous venue that has hosted some 10,000 different artists including Stevie Ray Vaughn, Shawn Colvin and Nanci Griffith.

And now, Daydreamer can be added to that list.

“It was unlike anything we’ve experienced before,” sophomore Thomas Ross said.

Daydreamer is a student-led band that performs a mix of original work and covers that has recently grown in popularity from performances at Coffeehouse in both the spring and fall, Battle of the Bands, and most recently, Hole in the Wall.

“It’s sort of indie, alt rock type stuff,” sophomore Harrison Knight said. “ We’re a little grungy. And we do a lot of covers, ranging from The Strokes to Radiohead to The Beatles.”

The band includes sophomores Sullivan Banks Gilmore on guitar, keys and vocals, Harrison Knight on guitar and vocals, Charlie McBride on guitar, Phineas Miller on bass and Thomas Ross on drums.

Usually [songwriting] just comes out of nowhere. You have an idea in your head, and once you get people together and start throwing stuff at it, something sticks and something doesn’t.

— sophomore Sullivan Banks Gilmore

“We are, by definition, a garage band,” Banks Gilmore said.

The band has been together for seven years, but in different forms, under different names.

“So we are in the fifth grade, and we’re in a band called Satisfying Explosions,” Miller said. 

“We didn’t know what it meant,” Knight interjected.

“We played one gig with one song, Seven Nation Army, ” Miller continued. “A very professional first gig.”

But the band broke up when each of the members separated and went to middle school. 

So how did Daydreamer come about? The story of the name is simple. 

“I got yelled at by a teacher because I was daydreaming in class,” Knight said.

The story of the band is a little more complex.

Knight and Banks Gilmore weren’t stopped after fifth grade. The two attended Kealing Middle School where the band Flourish was born.

“It was essentially the same band,” Knight said. “We dropped some members, changed the name, and invited Thomas.”

DAY-DREAMY VALENTINES: Daydreamer vocalist and guitarist Harrison Knight and guitarist Charlie McBride perform their song “no name 23.”
According to Knight, the song describes living with those who have mental illnesses who may not have control over their actions, but still wanting to see them happy and successful.
“The audience seemed to enjoy it,” Daydreamer guitarist Sullivan Banks said. “It was nice to have a slower song on Valentine’s day.”
The reaction from the audience wasn’t their only positive feedback, though. According to Daydreamer’s bass guitarist Phineas Miller, a recording was shared with those who couldn’t make it, and it also received a “pretty good reception.”
Collectively, Daydreamer’s members expressed their appreciation for the “comfort” coffee house brought, but McBride had a few more thoughts to share on what the performances meant to him.
“A lot of the people performing I had never even met, but they really opened up and showed their vulnerability and creativity in coffee house. It’s crazy awesome we have this outlet built into the school.”
Photo by Madelynn Niles. Caption by Morgan Eye

Flourish morphed into Daydreamer somewhere around eighth grade, when Miller and McBride joined the band.

The band’s been together for about two years now. They’ve tried out different music styles and sounds as they’re developing their identity as a band. 

“I don’t know if we’ve exactly found our sound yet,” Banks-Gilmore said. “We experiment with quite a few different things.”

A typical practice includes cleaning a few songs and running their set list.

“There’s always some time where Phin and Thomas start messing around, and we’ll all join in, and it’ll just be some improv,” Banks Gilmore added.

Their creative process is a collaborative one that involves all members of the band in different ways.

“Sullivan and I are the writers,” Knight said. “We take turns with who does lyrics and who does instrumentals. We will generally do it in a more folk style, where it’s just acoustic guitars and voices, and then we bring it to the band, teach it to people and see what they do with it.” 

The band works through trial and error to write and create their music.

“Usually [songwriting] just comes out of nowhere,” Banks Gilmore said. “You have an idea in your head, and once you get people together and start throwing stuff at it, something sticks and something doesn’t.”

There’s just so much that you could do with music. There’s no set direction. You can do whatever you want. It’s limitless.

— sophomore Thomas Ross

Through a mix of each member’s different talents, the band is able to create and fine tune their music.

“I try to practice every day and improvise in different keys and then I try to find a riff that works, then show it to the band and see if they like it,” McBride said.

And in the end, that’s where the joy comes from: making music with friends.

“It’s just the idea of all of us kind of being able to just at once make something that we all enjoy,” Miller said.

Because when they are together, the possibilities are endless.

“There’s just so much that you could do with music,” Ross said. “There’s no set direction. You can do whatever you want. It’s limitless.”