Thank You Scientist: Interview

Thank You Scientist, a band born out of Montclair State University, is opening for Coheed and Cambria at the Wellmont Theater.

Behind the music with Thank You Scientist.

Clef, music notes
© Christine Krahl | Dreamstime Stock Photos

If you are looking for a way to kick off the fall season, look no further than the Wellmont Theater. On Thursday, Sept. 25, Coheed and Cambria will be taking the stage, and opening for them is Thank You Scientist, a band born out of the music program at Montclair State University. Five members attended Montclair State, including: Tom Monda on guitar, Ellis Jasenovic on saxophone, Ben Karas on violin, Andrew Digrius on trumpet and Greg Colacino on bass. Other members of the band include Salvatore Marrano on vocals and Odin Alvarez on drums.

The Montclair Dispatch was able to interview Thank You Scientist to get a look inside their music:
How would you describe your music style? Where do your draw your influence from?
Monda: It’s an amalgam of things that shouldn’t work together. Pop melodies with complex weirdness brewing under the surface.  It’s very “rock” but also bears an influence from jazz and classical music.

What is your favorite part about performing live?
Digrius: My favorite part about performing live is the feeling of being in the moment. Personally that means a lot of dancing and screaming.

Have you ever performed in Montclair at such a large venue? What is it like to come back to where it all started?
Karas: The Wellmont will be the biggest venue that we have played in Montclair by far. It’s a nice coincidence that we get to play our hometown in the middle of our first major tour. It leaves our family and friends no excuse to miss it!

What is it like to open for a band like Coheed and Cambria? How would you compare your music style to theirs?
Colacino: Getting to open for C&C is the opportunity of a lifetime for us. A lot of the guys in our band are long time fans, and they are extremely cool guys and easy to goof off with. Getting to hear their set every night is still exciting to us as fans. We hear fairly often from people that the vocal stylings of Claudio from Coheed are similar to that of our singer, Sal. But beyond that I think this is a great bill pairing because we’re both just simply rock bands that have progressive elements and catchy tunes. I think that’s what got the attention of Claudio and Evil Ink Records in the first place.

Many of Coheed’s songs involve some sort of story behind them – would you say there is a story behind any of your music? 
Colacino: The subject matter of C&C’s music is very linear as it coincides with a graphic novel series that Claudio put out called The Armory Wars. I’ve read some of the novels and the lyrics only really become clear if you know the content in the books. Our music is different in that each song isn’t particularly related to any other, more just a singular concept behind each song. Salvatore’s lyrics generally come from his own take on his emotions and experiences from a range of subject matter that many people can relate to. Everything from death, to finding motivation, family and love. There’s no need to read a graphic novel to relate to our songs; contextually they just come from very real life experiences.

How did Claudio Sanchez decide to sign Thank You Scientist on his personal label? How did you react when you first heard the news?
Karas: Claudio found out about us a couple years ago and has been a big fan our album “Maps of Non-Existent Places”. He came out to see us at a gig in Brooklyn this past March where we got to meet and just hang with him for a bit. After that, our managers got in touch and a couple weeks later we were recording live demos of some new songs as an audition for the label. It was exciting when we heard they wanted to sign us. After that we kept our focus and continued rehearsing and composing.

What are you looking forward to about the Wellmont show?
Jasenovic: It’s always a good feeling to come home after being on the road for a while. We also get to play on a great stage for our family and friends who have supported us so far, so that’s a definite plus.
Monda: Wellmont is our “homecoming” show. I’m pumped about giving our close friends and family an opportunity to see us play on a large stage in lieu of a small club.

How did your time at MSU impact your music today?
Jasenovic: While at MSU, I had the opportunity to play and study many different types of music. Between the professors and students I’ve met, I had my eyes (and ears) opened to facets of music I otherwise would not have been exposed to.

What do you want the Montclair community to know about Thank You Scientist?
Diagrus: We’re still working hard on our new material which will be out by next year. We want to thank you guys for all of your support and making all of what we do possible. Please look out for the remixed/remastered “Maps of Non-Existent Places” record that comes out on Sept. 30!

Coheed and Cambria tickets with Thank You Scientist are still available and start at $25 for general admission floor seats! There is limited parking available across from the Wellmont and additional parking along other side streets. Tickets can be purchased online at or at the Wellmont box office. Doors open at 7 p.m. and the show starts at 8 p.m. Be sure to arrive early for parking and get a taste of what Montclair has to offer by supporting Thank You Scientist!

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