Popping Up: The Narrative

Becky Bain | May 18, 2010 11:51 am

Popping Up is our recurring look at new artists making noise on the music landscape. Because, hey, Madonna and Britney were once unknown, too.

We know Internet stars like Justin Bieber and Esmee Denters have YouTube to thank for jumpstarting their careers, but New York-based indie band The Narrative has another website to credit for bringing them together—Craigslist. Vocalists Suzie Zeldin and Jesse Gabriel first met one another in 2007 through a Craigslist ad looking for like-minded musicians, and after jamming together for awhile (Suzie also plays keyboard while Jesse handles guitar), they picked up Charles Seich as their drummer to record their EP Just Say Yes.

Their six-song album caught the attention of tons of music fans and MTV—so we can already imagine the good things to come when the band releases their debut 13-song LP this summer.

Check out the story of The Narrative below:

THE NARRATIVE IS: Suzie Zeldin (keys/vocals), Charles Seich (drums) and Jesse Gabriel (guitar/vocals).

HOMETOWN: Long Island, N.Y.

MUSICAL INFLUENCES: Every member of this indie band has truly eclectic musical tastes, which allows each one to bring a different sound to the group. Suzie grew up listening to ska, punk and emo, while Charles draws inspiration from Radiohead and film composer Thomas Newman, and Jesse adores hip-hop and 60s rock.

WHAT THEY SOUND LIKE: If Sara Bareilles joined The Temper Trap or The Academy Is. Listen to “The Moment That It Stops” from their EP Just Say Yes to see for yourself:

[wpaudio url=”//static.idolator.com/uploads/2010/05/3-The-Moment-That-It-Stops.mp3″ text=”The Narrative – The Moment That It Stops” dl=”0″]

MUSICAL BACKGROUND: Suzie has been singing for as long as she’s been talking! “My grandma would teach me to sing Russian folk songs and then record them on a tape player,” the singer recounts of her childhood. Suzie then took up piano lessons and quickly began writing her own songs, “but didn’t really start focusing on it in any serious way until I got to college.”

Jesse, the band’s lead guitarist, was a late bloomer. “My parents liked to push instruments on me, but I wasn’t really having it,” he tells us. “I didn’t have the motivation back then to do much of anything other than play video games, but I liked to write songs.” After briefly attempting to pick up the piano, violin and tenor sax, Jesse finally learned guitar and fell in love with it. “I’m still awesome at video games, too.”


Charles never had to be forced to pick up an instrument while growing up, but his focus wasn’t always on drums. “I started playing Euphonium [a wind brass instrument] in fourth grade and continued playing through college,” he tells us. “I was lucky to have some really supportive music teachers in school who pushed me to learn new instruments and to write.”

FIRST BIG BREAK: “I think all of our breaks have been relatively small at this point, maybe more like cracks?” says Suzie. “Playing CMJ [the annual New York festival put on by College Music Journal] last year and South By Southwest this year was a pretty big deal for us.”

EVEN BIGGER BREAK: Songs from their EP were featured on MTV’s The Real World, and the band had their own showcase on Absolutepunk.net and MySpace Canada. “I had a dream that The Narrative headlined at Madison Square Garden, but I had no clothes on,” says Charles. “Does that count? I think it should.” We think so, too! Check out the band’s premiere video blog as part of Absolutepunk.net’s “Unsigned Showcase” feature:

THEY GIVE GOOD ADVICE, TOO: The Narrative shares some tips about being an indie band embarking on tour—and possibly playing to very small crowds. “Make the best out of every situation,” advises Suzie. “If there are only five people in the room, don’t be bummed about it. Meet all five people and make sure that they all come back to see you the next time you come through.”

Jesse has some other practical advice for life on the road: “Practice carrying heavy things up and down stairs and convincing yourself that you’re really really into it. Basically you want to get to a place where if you could choose money, women/men, power, or carrying heavy things up and down stairs, that carrying heavy things up and down stairs feels like a competitive option.”

NEW ALBUM: The band is set to release their 13-song LP this Summer. Check out a preview with the demo recording of their new song, “Fade.”

[wpaudio url=”//static.idolator.com/uploads/2010/05/Fade-Demo.mp3″ text=”The Narrative – Fade (Demo)” dl=”0″]

OUR VERDICT: With the ability to switch between fun, happy-go-lucky tunes and soft, mournful melodies, this trio from New York is worth rocking out to. We have a feeling they could easily fit in with Pete Wentz’s band of merry misfits on his Decaydance label, or score a sweet spot on an Alice In Wonderland-type soundtrack if given the chance.

Check out The Narrative on PureVolume to stream the exclusive track “You Will Be Mine” and get a free download of their Brand New cover, “Tautou.” And go right ahead and @reply the band and all their Twitters (@the_narrative, @narrativesuzie, @narrativejesse, and @narrativecword) to say hello!