Sitting Down with Couch the Band

// Image courtesy of Couch (The Band)

Couch is a Boston-based band comprised of seven talented musicians, inspired by funk, soul, and jazz genres. Couch has grown from a long-distance band recording music from college dorms across the country to touring as a band! Band members Tema Siegel (Lead Vocals), Zach Blankstein (Guitar/Bass) and Jared Gozinsky (Drums) recently talked with WHRB to discuss their journey as Couch.

How did Couch get started?

Zach: We thought it would be sort of like a music collective. When we would come home from college, we would meet up for a break, we would try to record something, although the group of people would vary. But we ended up just solidifying the core seven of us and the rest is history.

Tema: The summer that we formed, Zach got a horrible concussion. Every time that we wanted to write or rehearse, we had to go to him because he couldn't drive and meet up in his basement with the lights off and just sit on his couch and take it really easy so as to not overstimulate his brain. We just spent the whole summer on his couch in the dark writing and recording and getting the band going.

Zach: So now we’re Couch!

I’m sure you've had to face many different challenges as a band, including balancing school recording, performing and a pandemic. What are some of the challenges that you have faced as a band and how did you work to overcome them?

Tema: We were a long distance band for the past three years. Everybody was at a different college except for Zach and Jared, our drummer, so we couldn't rehearse. As a result, we couldn't take gigs and we couldn't meet up to write music together. So our output was really slow compared to a lot of other bands. Because of that, we learned how to write over FaceTime and how to record really out of our own bedrooms with our own equipment, and how to rapidly record and we were home on breaks together.

It was challenging and frustrating at times, but it actually kind of set us up to deal with the pandemic, maybe better than some other bands who recorded in studios or rehearse, you know, regularly with each other. We already knew how to write over FaceTime and record alone with our own equipment!

Couch has a really unique style and sound, featuring influences from pop, funk, soul and jazz genres. Who are what are some of your musical inspirations?

Jared: Nate Smith, especially within like the past four or five years has been a real big influence for me and my rhythmic understanding.

Zach: Band-wide, Lake Street Dive and Lawrence and in terms of newer bands Sammy Rae and Melt, some of whom we were fortunate enough to become friends with or have mentor us in different capacities. There's such a beautiful, friendly scene right now of jazzy pop-accessible but musically interesting music that I think tickles many different types of people. You know, the jazz student who's looking to have a career in poppier music, or the pop person who is into seeing live shows, there's just within the genre, so much access for different types of people, that I think it's it's hard not to be influenced by people who are doing it right now at a very high level.

Couch the Band released a fantastic EP about a year ago and is currently working on a new one. How has your process changed from your old release to your new one?

Tema: We've been able to play (new releases) at shows and gauge people's reaction to them and see what lands and what doesn't land. We're also able to play them at shows, arrange them for shows, and then reimagine them for the recording because they don't have to sound the same when we record them. But that's not something we ever thought about before. Before, we weren't thinking about how an audience would respond to a song, we were just recording what was like in our heads. So it's already an incredibly different process.

Zach: We also want to play against people's expectations in a way that will surprise them and excite them musically.

Tema: We've got some new songs, Poems and Let Me Hold You, that we've been playing at shows. There are some stripped down versions of them on YouTube that we did with Firehouse sessions, and a full band version of poems that we just posted on YouTube as our submission to the Tiny Desk contest. So we're starting to give people little snippets of things, hopefully to tide them over until the full project comes out.

Listen now:

Firehouse Sessions

NPR Tiny Desk Submission

How can WHRB listeners best support and connect with Couch?

Tema: What really makes a difference is when people spread the word, so adding our music to their playlists, especially if they're like, collaborative playlists or public playlists, sending our music to friends, sharing it on social media, inviting friends to shows because our shows can only happen if people show up to them. And so the more friends people bring, the more we can keep doing what we love.

Zach: Shout out some to artists that we also want people to listen to! Zoe Sparks; Her music that's coming out is insane. Ella Atkinson, who tours with us on vocals. She has an amazing single out, and is working on new music. Q-Tip Bandits, also friends with us on the road right now. Hush Club, a Boston based band with a sort of indie rock 60s flair.

Zach: For anyone listening or reading this, if there's an artist that you're interested in, or think you might be interested in, give them a shot, buy a ticket to their show, buy their record, buy a piece of merch. It's such a saturated market. If there is someone that you feel like you're connecting with, they're very tangible ways of showing that so go for it.

Jared: We keep our website updated with any kind of upcoming shows. That's a great place to find that kind of info for Couch.

Spotify: Listen Now

Apple Music: Listen Now

// Elyse Martin-Smith ‘25 is a staff writer for The Darker Side department.