I Feel Strange Gives Student Musical Ambitions Apotheosis

The Pomona College student band I Feel Strange has entered into the 5C limelight in recent months with pop-punk-influenced covers and original songs.

Comprised of drummer Cary Friday PO '19, bass player Coleman Solis PO '20, and guitarist/singers Olivia Wood PO '20 and Tim Curtis PO '20, I Feel Strange has performed at various 5C campus events, including Farm Fest, Nochella, and the Motleyland. Typically, the band has one music cover per set, which is currently “Psycho Killer” by Talking Heads.

The band was originally formed by Solis and Wood, who started playing music together during the second semester of their first year. While other people would join their sessions, Solis and Wood expressed that these collaborations were not conducive to their goal of creating a band. However, when Friday and Curtis showed up for practice one day, something just “clicked,” Wood said.

I Feel Strange’s first performance was last March at Scripps College’s Motley Coffeehouse, which was a short time after their establishment as a band. While they were billed as “Admins,” they asked the crowd whether they liked that name or “I Feel Strange,” during the set, and decided upon their name due to the audience’s resounding encouragement.

Friday, Solis, Wood, and Curtis all grew up playing music. Friday started playing the drums in fifth grade, when her drums teacher at the time emphasized “playing with other people” over learning with traditional instruction.

Solis was first introduced to the bass in elementary school because he was “the only fourth-grader tall enough to play [the instrument],” Solis said. Since his first exposure to musical instruments, he has played in multiple bands, including his sixth-grade band, Isosceles.

When he was just four years old, Curtis began playing the piano. Music later transformed into a therapeutic method, as he recalled: “Whenever I have been bored or anxious or anything, I will always play music.” After receiving a guitar for his fourteenth birthday, Curtis noted that he has since been writing songs every day in his room.

Similar to Curtis, Wood has also been dedicated to writing music, which she started doing in the fifth grade. Wood was introduced to the piano during this time, and also learned how to play the ukulele in high school, but has only been playing guitar for the last two-and-a-half years.

Wood said that her “songs derive power from speed and volume over being intricate,” leaning on her passion for the guitar over complex techniques.

With regards to their musical collaboration as a band, Wood said that I Feel Strange is “one of the best things I've done at Pomona so far” – a realization of her lifelong aspiration to join a band during college. Curtis agreed with Wood’s positive reflection, adding that the practice room has become a “place of interface,” rather than “an escape” from the rest of the world.

“I can’t think of a better way of being with other people than playing music,” Curtis said.

Wood and the other band members laughed at how they are “always late” to practice. Their practice schedule is contingent on their upcoming shows, but they try incredibly hard to regularly meet at the practice room in the basement of Walker Hall in order to run through the set list at least once. While the band members acknowledged the existence of a practice schedule, they admitted to veering off from their plans, frequently improvising music for an hour over the original scheduled practice time.

I Feel Strange’s official Facebook page is their primary source of publicity, but they shared their desire to expand their online presence in the future and potentially upload songs onto SoundCloud. In the coming weeks, I Feel Strange will be performing at Pomona's Doms Rock on Friday, Nov. 11. ​

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