Written by Lizbeth Gomez-Pinacho
Opening a show in October, the New Brunswick band Valentine’s Day performed their singles “Modelo,” “Spineless,” and “Love Island.” The audience immersed themselves in the performance, bobbing their heads and swaying. The vibrations echoing from the instruments could be felt throughout your whole body. The colorful lights only made you gravitate more towards the angelic voices of Sarah Dowdy and Ariadna Uribe. This band distributed playful and chaotic energy, embodying youth. Throughout their performance, Valentine’s Day made sure to crack some jokes, causing laughter to echo throughout the basement show.
Valentine’s Day is an all-women of color and queer band that includes Ariadna Uribe (vocals), Sarah Dowdy (vocals), Emily Tronolone (bass), Stage McKinnon (lead guitar), and Nishta Venkatesh (drums). The bandmates roughly knew each other prior and began reaching out to other aspiring artists to form their new band. The New Brunswick band formed around June 2021, quickly cultivating a fanbase. They formulated their name by using a band name generator but ditched the idea when they came across names such as “Shadow of Death,” states Venkatesh. Upon came a name that had Valentine’s in it and Venkatesh expressed how she hates the holiday – inspiring the band to name their group Valentine’s Day.
The band had their first performance in September 2021 at Dermast Hall, sharing their music with other students. Tronolone, bass, shared “it was super fun, I felt like they were enjoying the vibes, I felt like we were enjoying the vibes.” The bandmates expressed that they were enjoying the new experience and having fun with the audience. Uribe, vocals, shared that they already had “people raving about valentines day,” highlighting their talent.
When asked about the early process of performances, the bandmates shared how they tie other artists’ songs into their show. This allows the audience to connect more to the band’s interests and see who they take inspiration from, including artists such as Queen, Arctic Monkeys, early Panic! at the Disco, Led Zeppelin, and Avenged Sevenfold. Each has their own music inspiration, but most take interest in alternative and indie music.
When looking deeper into their music, Dowdy, vocals, shared the writing process and meaning behind their single, “Spineless,” stating that their single revolves around mental illness and having to cope with people who are giving mixed signals. Once Dowdy finished the lyrics she sent the song to McKinnon, lead guitar, and from there she began working on the guitar. The rest of the band later gathered to develop the song. Valentine’s Day said that their motive to create a band was to be able to “share with others,” and that their music is meant for others who deal with similar experiences. Being an all-women of color and queer band, the group hope to “bring visisiblaity to that” and contradict the stereotype of how queerness is perceived. Uribe sums up this idea by stating, “You can look however you look and still be different things.” Though still a new band, Valentine’s Day hopes to release an album in a year or so, and are still exploring genres and experimenting with music.
Photography by Christain Gomez (IG @v3nusasab0y)