Student band enters the Boston DIY scene

Squitch is touring nationwide starting this May. / Photo courtesy of Charlie Debevoise

“Fruit punk”—a more lighthearted offshoot of punk music—is band Squitch’s genre of choice. Freshman Emma Spooner started Squitch her senior year of high school, and now the trio is working on their second album, playing shows, and planning a tour for this May.

Freshman business of creative enterprises major Emma Spooner fronts Squitch as lead singer and guitarist, while freshman visual media arts major Emma Unterseher plays bass and Northeastern University junior Denzil Leach plays the drums.

Squitch’s tour will start in Boston and end in Chicago, bassist Emma Unterseher’s hometown, while stopping in several cities along the way. The band plays within the “DIY scene”, which describes a network of smaller shows in private residencies, rather than established venues.

“I want to break into the DIY scene in Chicago, which is like the house-shows scene, and it’s all organized through Facebook. It’s very similar to Boston,” Unterseher said.

Squitch formed in Spooner’s senior year of high school when she started writing music that she viewed as better suited for a band. She met Leach in their New Hampshire high school’s band class and together recorded Squitch’s first album Caterpillar Killer in Sept. 2016.

“[Leach and I] had been friends for a long time and I’d always written softer, more acoustic stuff,” Spooner said. “But then I started writing stuff that would sound great with a full band, so we started jamming, and we decided to record an album.”

Unterseher became Squitch’s bassist after she and Spooner decided to live together after meeting on the Emerson College Accepted Fall 2017 Facebook group.

“I really like playing bass,” Unterseher said. “It’s been interesting to not be the front person of a band. I like being the person that helps build the sound.”

Spooner credits Emerson College for creating a sense of excitement among the group’s concertgoers.

“[Emerson students] get excited because there’s only so many bands from Emerson, so when there’s one playing shows they’re excited,” Spooner said.

The name Squitch came from a game Emma Spooner and a friend played in high school. They would replace “sh” sounds in words with “itch” sounds. When they played this game with the word squishy, they came up with “squitchy.” The term became a running joke and Spooner thought it worked as the band name.

While the band described their initial music as “fruit punk,” Leach said that Squitch’s music has become darker, and they feel themselves moving away from the label.

“We didn’t want to just be like, ‘We’re an alternative band,’ or ‘We’re indie rock.’ It just really doesn’t mean anything anymore,” Leach said.

Spooner said queerness is an apparent theme in the band’s music.

“There [are] already a lot of queer people in the Boston DIY scene and in Boston in general, so that’s a part of our audience,” Unterseher said. “And [Spooner and I are] both queer, so that just happened.”

Freshman Lily Myrick has been friends with the members of Squitch since they began playing in Boston and attended most of their shows.

“They’re really fun. [The shows are] all house shows, so it’s always a very cool atmosphere, and it exposes you to a lot of local Boston music,” Myrick said. “Usually I’ll go for Squitch and discover like three other bands on the bill.”

Squitch is currently focusing on releasing their next album, but fans can stay up to date on show announcements through the band’s Facebook or Instagram. Their music is also available to stream on Bandcamp and Spotify.

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