Student Artist Spotlight: New sophomore band Pizza Delivery holds first live performance

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Pizza Delivery had their first live performance this weekend and are prepping for more in the future. (Photo courtesy of Ben Putnam ’24).

Bernadette Russo

Somewhere at the intersection of indie rock, indie pop and alternative music lies Pizza Delivery, a new student band on campus comprised of Ben Putnam ‘24 on acoustic guitar and vocals, Tommy Henschen ‘24 on electric guitar and vocals, Christian Festa ‘24 on the drums, Matt Pinsley ‘24 on bass and Anouk Sarma ‘24 on keys. 

The band was founded by Putnam and is a product of his love for and background in music. The group’s name, Pizza Delivery, was first used as a placeholder but was eventually accepted by the group and kept.

“This is something that I’ve wanted to do almost my whole life, and I’m finally able to express myself with the people that I enjoy being around,” Putnam said.

For Henschen, who has played the piano for 10 years and the guitar for more than two, Pizza Delivery is the just kind of thing he has always wanted to be a part of.

“I have never had the experience of playing in a band before. I love music, it’s my favorite thing in the world. And much of my favorite music is bands like these: four or five people, jamming out,” Henschen said. “I’ve never had the opportunity to do something like this before.”

The members of Pizza Delivery all bring a unique influence to their music, including punk from Henschen, classic rock from Festa, progressive rock from Pinsley, rock and pop from Sarma and a love of bands like The Wombats and Green Day from Putnam. The members’ different musical backgrounds and interests come together to create a cohesive and layered sound.

“It’s so much more relaxing to be a part of something where other people aren’t always on the same wavelength as you. That’s where the creative juices get flowing,” Putnam said.

Sarma, who has been playing the piano for 15 years, added that the band’s musical diversity makes for great rehearsals.

“My favorite part about playing in the band is jumping into random jam sessions while practicing our songs and contributing what we can to produce something spontaneous, which sounds incredible,” she said.

In addition to their diverse musical tastes, the members of Pizza Delivery are part of different musical groups and ensembles on campus. Putnam participates in Chamber Orchestra, Festa in Lafayette’s WJRH and Pinsley in Percussion Ensemble. However, according to Pinsley, what makes Pizza Delivery different from these Lafayette affiliated groups is the freedom that comes with being in a student-run band.

“I think we have a lot more time to practice. There’s a lot more flexibility in what we do,” Pinsley said.

The formation of Pizza Delivery has allowed its members to consistently make time for playing music. Festa, who first picked up the drums in elementary school, is thankful for the birth of Pizza Delivery as an opportunity to create music again. 

“I’ve gotten to play the drums again. I’ve gone a long time without playing and it’s good to be able to have a place where I can consistently play and jam,” Festa said.

For members like Pinsley, who have spent many years performing with a school group, the band is a way to channel their other musical passions.

“I don’t normally perform using bass. I was in a concert band in school playing percussion instruments, so I’m excited to do this,” he said. 

Pizza Delivery’s first performance as a band was last Saturday at the Lafayette Arts Society’s Block pARTy. They played covers of “Sunflower” by Post Malone and “Should I Stay or Should I Go” by the Clash, as well as an original song by Putnam called “Drama Queen.”

Before the set, the band encountered technical difficulties with Sarma’s keyboard and a broken part on Henschen’s guitar. Despite these hiccups and their accompanying nerves, the band considers their live debut a success.

“I thought we jammed pretty well together,” Henschen said. “I’m hoping that we improve with each performance and get better and better and have more songs to play and more performances.”

Looking forward, Pizza Delivery hopes to find more gigs. They are currently set to perform at the Lafayette Interdisciplinary Music Society (LIMS) concert on October 15. The group hopes to eventually perform more original songs written by Henschen and Putnam.

For the future of live music at Lafayette, Pizza Delivery wants to see student music groups more integrated into campus culture. Putnam said that he hopes to see the establishment of a designated practice space for independent music groups, and Sarma noted that she wants more soundproof rooms reserved for bands.

“I would like to see live music be more of a regular thing because people look at the live show as sort of a new novelty, especially after COVID,” Henschen said. “I’m hoping to help make it more of a staple on campus.”