- FUN FEATURES
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Cheshire native Chris Sellas began like so many other musicians: playing in his garage with a group of friends solely for the joy of making music together.
But, unlike a majority of aspiring musicians, his band has gone from the garage all the way to some of the best stages in the region and, this weekend, Sellas’ group will be performing in one of the bigger festivals in the Northeast.
Bring Our Music Back (B.O.M.B.) Fest 2011 will be held Saturday and Sunday in Hartford at the Comcast Theater. Sellas’ band, Cosmic Dust Bunnies, will be one of a handful of local bands chosen to perform during the two-day concert, alongside some of the bigger names in music, such as Weezer, Snoop Dog, and Coheed and Cambria.
It is an exciting step forward for Sellas and the Cosmic Dust Bunnies, and he is excited for the opportunity.
“We have really been getting some great opportunities,” said Sellas. “Last year, we played our first big festival and it was a little nerve-wracking. We haven’t played on a stage as big as (B.O.M.B.), but I think we play better the bigger the crowd. Our idea is to keep them going and keep them dancing.”
Three of the four band members are from Cheshire, including Sellas, who plays the keyboard, drummer Eric Hyland, and guitarist Matt Dempsey. Their sound is unique. There are almost no vocals. Rather, the musicians rely on their skills on the instruments to play an electronic jam-style that Sellas explains as akin to dance music at a club, only played live for audiences.
Their style presents an interesting challenge. While most bands play specific songs, allowing for rest in between their selections, Cosmic Dust Bunnies pride themselves on continuous playing, moving seamlessly from one song to the next with almost no interruptions. It means a lot of perpetually playing for the musicians, something Sellas admits can be challenging.
“It can be tough, especially for our drummer,” he explained. “There are times when he just has to keep on playing all the way through.”
The group formed in 2006, but separated for a while as each member went his own way to explore different music influences and personal lives. However, in 2009, a friend asked the former band to rejoin and play at a party. The members agreed, and enjoyed the experience so much they decided to re-form Cosmic Dust Bunnies.
“Since we’ve gotten back together, we’ve been getting better and better,” he said. “It keeps us growing as a band all the time.”
With their free-flowing style of play, Cosmic Dust Bunnies looks to provide a different experience for their fans every time they play a gig. “We try to make our songs a little different each time we play them,” Sellas explained.
It’s one of the reasons why the band has developed a loyal fan base, something Sellas admits still amazes him.
“We have people who now make it a point to show up at all our shows,” he said, with a laugh. “I almost still can’t believe it.”
B.O.M.B Fest is one of several gigs the group has, including a show tomorrow at Stella Blues in New Haven. They will also be playing a big music festival in New York and Sellas hopes to attend more such events up and down the East Coast.
With their new success have come new pressures. When the group first began, it was simply for fun. Now, the members have to juggle family life, even careers, with their budding music life. Sometimes, there is little chance for rehearsal, making it difficult to stay sharp. Yet, Sellas doesn’t describe these as obstacles, only as challenges, and states that each band member enjoys taking them on, and overcoming them, to be a better group. “Sometimes, it can be good because it allows us to do even more improvising,” he stated.
As for the future, Sellas wants to continue doing what the band has been doing: performing locally, playing festivals, developing a fan base, and seeing where it leads.
“It has been a great experience, and I can’t wait to see what happens from here,” he said.