They have gone through different band members, three vans and long nights with little-to-no sleep before class the next morning, but members of the band Vineyard said they manage to play and tour while also being full-time K-State students.
Members Jeremy Cline, senior in entrepreneurship, and Hunter Owen, senior in social sciences, said that even though it can be tough, they continue to grow every day as they learn new skills from both K-State and being in a band together.
“It’s weird to think about where we’ve come from because I feel like our journey together has been constant change,” Owen said. “With members, songwriting, technique, just our personal lives. A lot has changed and is still continuing to change.”
The band includes two other members, Tanner Bott and Jake Trease, both 2014 Manhattan Christian College graduates.
“We formed our band thanks to Craigslist, the online dating for bands,” Owen said.
Owen said he reached out to Cline and then the band “just clicked.”
Since coming together as a band, they have experienced many transitions, including changing their once folk-sounding music to more indie rock.
“I’ve learned so much from being in a band,” Owen said. “About myself, about music, about life.”
According to Cline, Vineyard performed three shows in a weekend during its first couple of months. They would be out until 3 a.m., and they would still be driving back for their classes, and sometimes work, in five or six hours.
“Sometimes it definitely gets personal,” Owen said. “You’re frustrated, you have studying to do, you have homework. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve written papers in the van or had to do tests. One time, Jeremy and me walked into a bar, and we might have 20 minutes before we have to go on stage, and we’re on our laptops submitting quizzes and stuff.”
Between getting assignments done, they spend a couple of hours two or three times a week practicing. Cline said the band members have struggled balancing classes and band responsibilities.
“It’s super stressful, it is, but those weekends, even when they were frustrating, we’d miss them,” Owen said. “We’d get four hours of sleep and go to to class, and we’d sit there and we’d be like, ‘Man, I wish we were in the van going somewhere else today.’ It’s about balancing both.”
Bott said he understands where Cline and Owen are coming from when talking about the struggle of scheduling priorities.
“To be honest, it’s not easy,” Bott said. “We’re all such busy people. We’ve all had our struggles with balancing our responsibilities. I’d say that it’s important to do what you love but to also prioritize.”
Cline and Owen said they learned how to prioritize their time while attending K-State. Cline said he does the band’s bookkeeping, scheduling and more. He said he wants Vineyard to perform for as many years as possible, which means more than just rehearsing.
“I think you’d be surprised,” Owen said. “I’d say only 50 percent of being in a band has to do with playing music. It’s keeping a schedule, the logistics, the budgets. I was originally in a business class, and if you want a crash course in business, then start a band.”
Balancing real-world responsibilities and being a student can be tough, though.
“Just like school, just like work, there’s challenges,” Owen said. “That’s how you grow and find out what you’re made of. (Being in a band) is just another part of our life where we learn problem-solving.”
Cline said situations come up where the band has to learn how to problem-solve. For example, when their van breaks down, the members have to figure out what to do with their equipment and get back in time for work in the morning.
Owen recently had the chance to set up a practice for Chance the Rapper because of his internship with a music company in Chicago. Cline and Owen said they feel like it is all worth it when they have the chance to perform.
“Sometimes it’s really frustrating,” Owen said. “But as soon as we step on stage, it doesn’t matter anymore. It’s like bliss. It’s like a release. You take all your frustration out.”
Vineyard has had many gigs at K-State and has had the chance to open for Lindsey Stirling, dubstep violinist, in 2014. The band’s next performance will be at 8 p.m. Friday at the Wareham Opera House.
“K-State has been super supportive,” Cline said. “Anytime anybody comes to our shows, it means so much. I feel like I never know how to properly thank everybody.”
Both Cline and Owen said they want to work in music for the rest of their lives in some way.
“I think that people should keep at whatever they’re doing,” Cline said. “You learn so much with it all. We failed a lot, but you also learn from that. So I think that everyone should find something they’re passionate about and just pursue that, like it’s all that matters.”
Reminiscing about the long van rides and rushed quizzes completed before shows, the band members said they would not trade their lives for anything.
“Sometimes it’s hard, but it’s worth it,” Cline said. “As weird as it’s been, I wouldn’t trade any of it.”