Not long after Dropping Plates, an emerging band based in Boone, started playing gigs in Boone and Raleigh in late 2019, COVID-19 hit.
“With COVID, obviously everything kind of shut down,” said band member Ben Burrows, who is from Winston-Salem. “We had about 16 gigs lined up before all that happened.”
Instead of feeling down about their situation, the four band members, all students at Appalachian State University, put their talents to good use.
“We decided to make the best of a bad situation,” Burrows said. “We decided to start writing songs and recorded a song over the summer.”
On Feb. 1, Dropping Plates, an indie-groove jam band, released its first album, “Family Dinner.”
Singles from the seven-track album include “Sonic Identity,” “Padlock,” “Wishy Wash” and “Wave.”
Britton Sear, a native of Winston-Salem, made several videos for the group featuring songs from “Family Dinner” that are now on YouTube.
Burrows, 22, plays guitar and keyboard and sings in Dropping Plates. He previously performed with the bands Carolina Crossing in Winston-Salem and Friendly Reminder in Raleigh.
The other three band members are guitarist and singer Jake Fain, 22, of Winston-Salem, bassist Aaron Huntley, 19, of Raleigh and drummer Forrest Britt, 20, of Wilmington.
Fain was the frontman for Your Mama’s Favorite Band in Winston-Salem. Huntley was a member of several bands in Raleigh — Phluphy, Snack Time and Qualian — and was in a band called Old Lacy last year in Boone with Britt.
Initially, Huntley and Britt would play “intricate baselines and cool drum parts,” which they called indie groove. Then Burrows and Fain, who were looking for a bass and a drummer, joined them.
“Ben and Jake are fantastic at harmonizing and melodies,” Huntley said. “They really put together the indie groove.”
Together, the four members combine their separate backgrounds in music to create this indie groove,” he said.
Why did the band members settle on the name “Dropping Plates”?
Huntley said they played together for a month without a name.
“We had thrown out maybe like 200 different names and we settled on Dropping Plates,” Huntley said. “The runner up was Dinosaur Party.”
Fain’s mother was one of the main reasons they chose Dropping Plates.
“I had texted a picture of the list to my mom because she was very curious about what the band names were,” Fain said. “She liked Dropping Plates because it sounded like Talking Heads.”
All members in the band have birthdays within about a week of each other in June — two of them have the same birthday.
They named one of the songs on their debut album “Highway Cake” because they bought Huntley a cake on his birthday, but Burrows and Britt forgot they had left it on top of the car they were riding in along a Winston-Salem highway.
“It fell out on the highway and we picked it up and took it back and everybody was none the wiser,” Burrows said. “Then we told them it was on the highway.”
Huntley said he just kept eating the cake.
“It was a little crunchy from sand on the highway,” he said.
The band and its music
Dropping Plates was becoming well known for its live performances before the pandemic.
The TApp Room is one of the venues where they have performed in Boone.
Joshua Keranovic, venue manager/talent buyer for The TApp Room called the group a “great up-and-coming band in the Boone music scene,” adding that they had a successful show about a year ago.
“They had the place practically at capacity, which is a huge feat for a first- time band.” Keranovic said. “We had another show on the books for April, but then the pandemic hit and we had to cancel everything unfortunately.”
He said he is eager to bring the Dropping Plates back to the bar.
The band members said they can’t wait to get back onstage — to tour and promote their new album.
“Family Dinner” is available on all streaming platforms.
“I really think that our debut album creates a lot of different music backgrounds, like genres that each musician in our band pulls from,” Britt said. “It really incorporates a lot of versatile songs ... You will definitely hear riffs and licks that originated from a specific musician in our band throughout the entire album.”
Burrows said everyone in the band has a unique style of playing.
“Everybody brought their own style and playing to the music, which I think was really cool, and everybody was very open to everything. I thought that was really awesome.”