Youngsters Make a Splash as ‘Art of Play’Section Two
Poolside at the Sea Shell this weekend, a promising young band called Art of Play impressed the crowd. Just 13 and 14 years old, the four North Jersey boys are already on their way to making a name for themselves in music, using basement recording studio space to release a few original singles on iTunes this summer.
Even with high school and college still in the future, the band has its sights set on stardom. The boys’ ultimate goal: “We’re trying to go mainstream,” lead singer-guitarist Domenico Randazzo said.
To date, one of the band’s most unforgettable experiences was auditioning for “Amateur Night at the Appollo.” Art of Play took first place in the Stars of Tomorrow segment and performed in the Show Off round. Drummer Tyler Volk said it was exciting to be on a stage where famous people had been.
The band assembled through school and parent connections. Volk also sings and raps, so he and Randazzo trade places on some songs. TJ Coon plays the bass and Ricky Webber plays the keyboard. The band’s chemistry is based not on just playing music together but also hanging out as friends, Randazzo explained.
All their parents are devoted supporters in every sense, providing equipment, marketing and audience presence, not to mention transportation to and from twice-weekly rehearsals and an average of three gigs a month. At least two of the boys get their musical inclination from a dad – Coon’s dad is a bass player and Randazzo’s dad plays drums and has the at-home recording space.
“The parents are just the roadies,” said Tyler’s dad, Jeff. He added with a laugh that he is living out his rock star dreams through his son.
Last year, Tyler had the opportunity to sit in on drums with Monte and the All Stars (now known as Richie and the All Stars), and this year Rob Monte (of Monte Entertainment) offered the band a spot in between sets during the afternoon performance of the band Nine Deeez Night. Monte’s Pool Party is a longstanding tradition at the Sea Shell, famous for Monte emceeing from the first floor roof.
Art of Play designs set lists based on what the audience wants to hear, be it Michael Jackson, the Beatles or more current hits, ever encouraged by a positive response. “The crowd really carries us,” Randazzo said.
Saturday’s Sea Shell crowd, packed around the pool and utterly unbothered by the drizzling threat of an afternoon thunderstorm, heard “Billy Jean,” followed by “Livin’ on a Prayer,” with Monte as guest vocalist, and Eminem’s “Lose Yourself,” with Volk out front.
As the young musicians continue to develop their skills, refine their sound and polish their look in preparation for the big time, one quality that already stands out is a confident stage presence – self-assurance beyond their years.
“It comes with experience,” Randazzo said.
To watch video clips and track the band’s progress, visit artofplaymusic.com.
— Victoria Lassonde