Student band, Focii, rocked a full house of about 25 people early this month with their upbeat energy and style. This up and coming band impressed attendees and attracted onlookers at one of their debut public performances on March 3 at Forte Yogurt in downtown Merced.
Vocalist Robert Hodge belted out lyrics as Allan Harrell drummed out song beats, Kenny McBride played as lead guitarist, Al Castelli strummed on bass, and Keegan O’ Hare performed on the rhythm guitar. Focii’s unique sound of progressive alternative rock stems from inspirations such as the Red Hot Chili Peppers, AC/DC, Van Halen, Muse, E40, and Feeling Gravity’s Pull.
Coming from different musical backgrounds and experiences, the band got together in the summer of 2011, meeting in UC Merced’s Musician Chorus. During the winter of this year, Focii was busy with song writing and practicing, allowing them to focus now on performing and promoting their band.
“There are times when we’re in practice and one person will start off something and then another person will get in, and then there’ll just be a full 10 minute jam session,” stated Allan, giving an idea of how Focii’s practice sessions are typically carried out.
With an introspective feel in terms of lyrics, the band’s songs are created with a very realistic viewpoint on life, covering a diverse range of experiences. “It’s interesting because a lot of our lyrics [are] very different. It’s My Turn has a not-too-happy kind of feel to it, whereas Midnight Skydiving is more of a longing for someone,” said Robert.
Apart from looking forward to opportunities to demonstrate their talents on campus and perform at more live shows, Focii plans to collaborate with other musically ambitious students and to become better known to the Merced community. The band already performed at Al’s Billiards in Turlock on March 10, and they plan to have follow up performances in Merced at The Partisan and The Ark.
Focii advises students to follow their ambitions and not show hesitation when chasing their passion. “Since getting to UC Merced, I’ve wanted to do something with music from the get go, and I was like – well I wouldn’t have time for it, I have schoolwork – but if I hadn’t [hesitated] and just gone for it, I would have had more time to be doing this awesome thing that I’m doing,” stated Al.
This band is one to watch as more opportunities for them to showcase their talent unfold. Focii hopes to eventually become widely known and is working hard toward that end. Updates on show dates and other activities that the band is working on can be seen on Focii’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Fociitheband.