Nathaniel Brancato, '20

Nathaniel Brancato strums guitar while sitting at piano bench in Mabee chapel.

Nathaniel Brancato, ‘20, recalls having a keen interest in music since he was young. Brancato stated that he grew up around some “eclectic” music tastes.

“I’ve always loved music, it’s always been something I’ve enjoyed,” Brancato said. “My dad has always been into like reggae and classic rock, and my mom’s really been into jazz and a lot of different stuff.”

Considering himself as the “born-in-the-wrong-generation” kid, Brancato was hooked on the classic rock styles that he heard growing up. Brancato’s own musical inspiration comes from that of The Beatles.

“You can look at their musical catalogue and find just so many different levels of evolution of songwriters and artists and players. It’s just one of those things that you can go on forever about and it’s one of those things I’ll never get tired of,” Brancato said.

Aiming to get involved in school, Brancato looked to music as an outlet. He began playing the guitar in the third grade. 

“Most of that was mostly like ‘You need to do something,’” Brancato said. “I wasn’t ever a sports guy or a sports kid so it was like play in band, be in school band.”

In high school, Brancato and a friend, Wills Van Doorn, started a band called Ponderous.

“I showed [Wills] some songs and he was like, ‘Man, I really like your songs, these are fun, you know, I really want to make these Ponderous songs. We should do these together,’” Brancato said. “So, it became us two and we got a batch of songs that we had both worked on and gotten together and we made an EP.”

“We have an EP called Innerlude,” Brancato added. “We recorded it and we produced it and [Wills] mixed it and mastered it and then we released it last summer.”

After a short submission and review process, the EP was then made available through Spotify.

As college students living in different cities, recording of the EP had to take place in various locations.

“We do it all in-house. We kind of get a song together and kind of get it working. We’ll write chords, get lyrics going and start adding different instruments,” Brancato said. “With the EP we recorded, it was all done in my basement and we recorded drums in my closet at my house. I would drive down to Columbia with our drummer and we would go down there and record a few things. [Wills] did a lot of work in his bedroom in Columbia so it’s kind of like a bedroom/basement type thing. But the goal is to make it sound like it’s not recorded in a bedroom or a basement.”

Throughout the process, Brancato has received support from friends and family.

“My parents let us practice in the summers and days on end when I was in high school, so my parents have always been cool with it. That’s priceless, probably,” Brancato said. “I mean, my roommates, they think it’s cool. They’ve come to some gigs when we’ve played down at First Fridays, just on the sidewalks and side of the street. They’ll come down and see what’s happening. People seem very cool with it. It’s not some weird thing I’m always trying to shove into people’s faces, but it seems like people dig it. I’ve found some support, people like it. You know, everybody has something they do so why not celebrate it.”

Brancato describes Ponderous’ music as having groove and balance and as being eclectic, expressive, and having clean songwriting and melodies.

“Everybody brings something different to the table… whether you’re playing live or you’re recording something, that style comes through. Everybody has that different kind of music heritage, so I’d say there’s just kind of a lot of different influences and they’re all coming together to make something that’s our take on music,” Brancato said.

You can listen to Ponderous' music at: