Local boys of Earnest on a roll at The Catalyst

Having just recently played at the famed Catalyst in Santa Cruz for a crowd of more than 700 people, it is safe to say local indie band Earnest, made up of high school students from Palma, Monterey and Salinas, is on a roll.1379704_652746624757231_852193183_n

“I remember walking onstage and hearing so many people screaming”, singer and banjo player Jack McClelland says of their first time playing the legendary venue. “It gave me this rush and excitement and pure joy that I didn’t know existed in the world.

“It was really weird going to school the next week after that concert,” the front man says. “I felt like a rock star, but whenever someone asked me how my weekend was, and I told them ‘I played the Catalyst,’ no one could really understand that I had had a near religious experience on that stage.”

Earnest, composed of McClelland, bass player Harrison Spencer, guitar player Alex Bezdjian, drummer Jacob Butorac and keyboard player J.D. de Lorimier, was formed in mid-2012, and has gone from playing house parties to opening up for sold-out shows at the Catalyst.

Their melodic blend of infectious indie-folk has thrust the band into the forefront of the local music scene. Their first music video has received over 5,000 views in a few months, and another one is on the way.

The band also released its eponymous debut EP in March 2013 to an enthusiastic response from listeners.

But balancing school and band commitments can get pretty difficult for the high school students.

“We are all pretty dedicated to schoolwork, but we also recognize that we have a commitment to Earnest that is sometimes just as important as school,” says McClelland, recognizing the distraction that the band can be to his schoolwork.

The band mostly self-promotes with the help of manager Devin Thomas who works for Dubrock records, the label which houses the Holdup, the band which Earnest opened up for at the Catalyst.

As for the future, McClelland says they have plans to continue making music as Earnest after high school.

“We have talked about and are pretty sure we are going to try and keep the band going next year even though most of us will be away at college.”

“We’ve still got half a year before any of us for sure go away,” McClelland says. “But we are even keeping the option open of taking a year off, just to see where the band could go.”

Their music can be found on iTunes, Soundcloud and on YouTube under the profile of earnesttheband.

-DAY GUDMUNDSSON