The Tractor Beams: a band with a voice that needs to be heard

Nowadays, new artists in the music industry rely heavily on auto-tuning, synthetic sounds and other computer generized tunes. As these voices and genres are popularized, they are arguably resulting in a more uniform music industry that discourages creative exploration.

However, Rich Ajlouny , English Department, has challenged these trends by starting his own band called The Tractor Beams, which Samuel Rivera, Science Department, also plays in.

“I write songs and bring in people crazy enough to work with me. There are five of us, and Mr. Rivera is the drummer. The owner of Trail Head Cyclery, Lars Thomsen, is the organist and keyboardist. I sing and play the guitar and harmonica,” Ajlouny said.

Mr. Ajlouny and his band perform in local music gigs often; recently, they played at Santana Row. They have also attracted larger crowds at venues in downtown San Jose and downtown San Francisco. Mr. Ajlouny says he would like to play at more venues and even at Leland someday.

“The music we like to play is out of fashion; I call it ‘sit down old man’ music or ‘songs from the woods’ music. I like to describe the music as ramshackle. In this day of auto-tuning and drum programming, my band excels at ramshackle performances with missed lyrics and forgotten chords, false starts and bum notes,” Ajlouny said.

With his acknowledgement of the differences between his own music and the music that has become ubiquitous in our society, his band sets the example of raw, bona fide music that seems to be fading in the music industry. Bands like his inspire future musicians to be unique and dare to take on adventurous strides with their music rather than fall into the pressures of the pop culture.

“It’s totally awesome; I wouldn’t play if it wasn’t enjoyable. This is like a hobby, so it doesn’t feel like work. It’s a lot of fun. The music we play is weird. It’s like, a progressive David-Bowie-meets-The-Kinks oddness. It’s music you wouldn’t necessarily hear on the radio; it’s interesting and dynamic. There’s a lot of different parts that are subtle but are intricacies that make the music,” Rivera said.

Mr. Ajlouny encourages others to create their own bands and learn how to compose and produce original works.

“Have the right kind of [musical] influences. Listen to a variety of old and new music. Read up on the old great musicians. Study them and their works. Then, make sure you have something to say or a message to send [within your own music],” Ajlouny said.

For more information, check out the band’s webpage thetractorbeams.bandcamp.com.