Members of local band Three Story Hill do not agree about how to define the band’s sound.
Keyboardist Terrell Sparks calls it rock fused with rhythm and blues, guitarist Zach Luginbill said he thinks it’s R&B mixed with jazz, and vocalist Ariel Simpson calls it a layer of hip-hop and a jazz fusion with funk.
“There’s not a band I’ve heard with the same sound we produce,” emcee Isaac “Young Prince” Lightfoot said. “We work hard to make our sound original while still covering other songs. We want to bring that feeling that original song gave while at the same time putting our original flair on it.”
Luginbill and Lightfoot founded Three Story Hill after meeting at Musa Soundworks, a local recording studio. Luginbill said he is proud of the band’s eclectic sound.
“I started recording hip-hop instrumentals on guitar and met Isaac at the studio where I was recording,” Luginbill said. “That was about a year ago, and our band has been together for about two months.”
Three Story Hill is usually advertised as a cover band, but Simpson said the members plan to start focusing more on writing originals.
“We’re working on some originals, but the demand is higher for cover bands,” Simpson said. “During shows, you have to kind of slide in the originals in between the covers.”
Lightfoot and Simpson split the vocalist duties.
“If there’s a song that has an MC/hip-hop thing, he’ll rap and I’ll sing the chorus,” Simpson said. “Then we switch and I’ll sing a song, and he’ll rap on the bridge. When we do original music, we take turns. We try to have vocal fusion.”
Most of the band’s original music is composed by Luginbill. Three Story Hill has already recorded two original singles, “On Your Own” and “This Love.” Luginbill said they have several more songs in the works.
“We’ve got about eight songs that will be coming out in the next two months,” he said.
Three Story Hill played a show at the Dunnkirk on March 31.
The band led off with a cover of “Empire State of Mind,” an anthem originally recorded by Jay-Z and Alicia Keys. The music caught the crowd’s attention immediately.
“We try to cover R&B and pop music,” Simpson said.
The upbeat rhythm filled the Dunnkirk, and the dance floor filled with people moving to the music and singing along.
Three Story Hill has played at the bar, as well as several other local venues such as the Bluebird Nightclub and Jake’s Nightclub. Because the band has played only six shows so far, it is still developing a fan base.
Junior Julianna McHale heard the band for the first time at the Dunnkirk.
“I like them. I think they play good songs,” McHale said. “Ariel has a good voice. She’s soulful.”
Band members said they are devoted to their music. Bass guitarist Karl Summers joked that they do almost nothing else.
“We practice playing music, we listen to music,” he said. “When I’m not playing music, I’m listening to music.”
Simpson said she agreed.
“Our heart is in making good music,” Simpson said.
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The IU Auditorium, the Jacobs School of Music and MidWay Music Speaks were all awarded funds.
Performances will take place on Zoom.
The concert airs at 9:30 p.m. on July 25.