The Accidentals: Lessons from the road

by Caitlin Cohen

The Accidentals are ahead of their time. The band, made up of Katie Larson, Savannah (Sav) Buist, and Michael Dause are simultaneously learning how to develop as a band and as adults.

Katie and Sav met in their high school orchestra and bonded over their shared love for music. After being offered a production deal upon gradating high school, Katie and Sav had to choose between becoming full time musicians or full time college students. The duo choose to pursue their love for playing music and now have Michael in the band, a debut album titled Odyssey, and have been on multiple tours together.

I chatted with the Accidentals about what they have learned from their experience from starting their musical careers while also becoming adults. They learned how to balance business responsibilities amongst each other, constantly moving from one place to another, and take care of themselves and each other.

 

Caitlin: You had a choice to either become full time musicians through a production deal or become full time students at Berklee College of Music in Boston. How do you think your life would be different if you both chose to go to college instead? 

Sav: It’s almost an impossible question to ask yourself. When we met six years ago, we didn’t think that we would be putting out novels and selling them afterwards or touring full time. So, it was impossible to predict that future… and it’s difficult to predict the other future that might have happened… but the fact we have each other and met each other on this road helps strengthen the idea that this is what we’re meant to do. It feels like a great way to find a compromise between continuing to learn and to grow as a person and also doing what you love.

Katie: When we [made] that decision three or four years ago, Sav and I were on the path to pursue an education… we were always into academics and always had been overachievers. Sav has this huge interest in science, space, and NASA. I love studying chemistry and sustainable agriculture. We both take music really seriously; we were both in orchestra together in high school. We know that there’s a whole other world we could dive into… we’re definitely on a path to go to college, it’s definitely something that’s in the future. We might try to take classes here and there and mix it with pursuing our own business but it’s also one of those times where there’s opportunities elsewhere.”

 

Caitlin: What makes your relationship as friends and also as business partners successful? 

Sav: Katie and I have always challenged each other. We have a really strong mutual respect for each other and our writing. We also have strengths that play off of each other really well. That already sets up a good friendship but when it comes to business, we’ve delegated each other things that naturally kind of align themselves to what we’re good at. Katie takes on a lot of graphic design, film editing, and writes the finances for the band. I do a lot of the prep emails, documentation, contracts, and insurance…Michael brought a great dynamic to the band. He’s good at directions; he knows where we need to be at all times. He knows what route we need to take to be from one place to the other. It’s a strength Michael has that we don’t have. It creates this dynamic of really relying on each other. Whether it is a profession need or an emotional need, we’re all there for each other. I think you have to have that when you’re on the road with each other 24/7 for 250 shows a year.

 

Caitlin: How do you gain a sense of home while on tour?

Michael: I bring some things from home. I travel with a pillow, its kind of safety blanket thing. Sometimes you have to sleep on the couch and they don’t have an extra pillow… and you know, try and call my parents once in a while (laughs).

Sav: I try and establish routine… it makes it feel a little bit more organized and like life is congruent… I have a nightly routine while touring where I brush my teeth, take my dietary supplement (laughs), write down what the day has been like, and throw on a podcast and go to sleep. Routines like that are really helpful for putting me in the right headspace to tour and being okay with travel. The inconsistency comes with being in a changing environment but the consistency comes with how you perceive it.

Katie: We spend a lot of time away from home but are also really lucky that on this coming tour… we’ll be staying with families that are hosting us. In every city we have some awesome people that will put us up in their house and hang out with their cute, adorable pets, or take us for a hike. Or even just a home cooked meal can make you feel normal for a bit. It’s easy to get detached when you play a show and then pack everything up and move to the next city. Staying in a hotel every night can make you get lost in that. There’s definitely a sense of realness when you’re sitting down. Last night, this amazing woman we’re staying with cooked us some potato leek soup and homemade salsa. It was really reviving. That kind of stuff gives you the energy you need when you get stuck in repetitive transit.

 

Caitlin: Why are your songs stories you want to be told and heard? 

Sav: I started out wanting to be an author… I think of it as layers of understanding to different pieces of art. I treat a lot of my song writing like that, I want to make sure every line stands alone and is strong. I spend a lot of time focusing on lyrics rather than lyrics. Once I’m done, I hand the song to Katie and Michael. I think my songs are so narrative because I think music is the way that universe connects with each other and how we speak the same language. It’s relatable, it’s something for when we don’t know how to express how we feel and every line in a song is going to pull an association for each person who listens to it. There’s something really magical in that.

The Accidentals will perform at the Green Frog on Oct. 13 at 7:30pm. Check out Odyssey at: https://theaccidentals.lnk.to/Odyssey