Student Spotlight: 7-Layer Crunch Wrap Supreme

Since its debut freshman year, Seven Layer Crunch Wrap Supreme has been one of Phillips Academy’s reigning bands, known throughout the school for their passionate performances at concerts and battle of the bands. The four best friends – and bandmates – Duncan Crystal, Matt Renner, Phil Hofer and Bijan Torabi, all members of the Class of 2010, shared secrets about their music style, their interesting band name, and their success as bandmates. Q: How would you explain your music style? Duncan: Umm…Squiggly? Controlled vibrations? Carbonated? Matt: In music terms, alternative metal. Also, we’ve been writing some of our own stuff, and it’s pretty good. Q: Why is your band named “Seven Layer Crunch Wrap Supreme” Duncan: Well, during Battle of the Bands freshman year, which was five days after we started playing together, Steve Farquhar ’07 asked us what we were calling ourselves. Right then, I saw James Freeman ’07 eating something from Taco Bell so I said, as a joke, “Seven Layer Crunch Wrap Supreme,” my favorite meal from Taco Bell. Except then Phil said, “I like that…” and the whole band agreed on it. We’ll keep it until we get so famous that copyright laws become a problem. Q: What is the best part about being bandmates? Duncan: THE SEX! Just kidding… Matt: Phil’s face when we mess up. Bijan: He just gives us this mean, cold “your-timing-is-off” face. It’s hilarious. Phil: Umm… playing drums? Q: How is playing at Quad Day different from other Phillips Academy performances you’ve been in? Bijan: Well, the bad aspects are there’s not going to be a stage and it will be during the daytime. Outweighing those, though, is the 45 minutes we get to play for—longer than any of our other performances—and it will be much more personal. Q: How long have you guys been playing together? Phil: Around five days to one week before Battle of the Bands. We had been talking about starting a band together all that year but we just never really acted on it until the last minute. Then we realized we were actually pretty good, and we’ve been together ever since. Q: From where do you draw inspiration for your music? All: Taco Bell! (Laughs) Really though, The Mars Volta, Tool, Mitch Hedberg, Rusty Shackleford, Tommy Emanuel and, if you can believe it, Chopin are all musical inspirations of ours. Q: How many hours a week do you practice together? Matt: I’d say one to two hours, unless we have a performance coming up. Q: How many hours does each of you practice on your own? Phil: Around an hour a day. Bijan: Probably around an hour a week. Matt: One to three hours a week, with a lot more on the weekends. Duncan: I’m always singing, everywhere I go. I also carry a lyrics notebook to class in case I get any kind of inspiration. You’d be interested to see where it can come from—something stupid you overheard someone say, a really interesting point made in class, even something a teacher does. Q: What are your favorite bands? Bijan: Tool, for sure. Phil: Mars Volta. Matt: Trivium. Duncan: Aaron Neville, because he’s an amazing singer. Q: Is it hard keeping up the band with all the pressures of Andover? Matt: In some ways, yes, in others, it kind of helps us get through it. Duncan: The band acts as a needle to the Andover balloon, relieving the pressure and making really loud noises. Q: Do any of you want to continue pursuing music after Andover, or as a career? All: Definitely. Music is such a big part of our lives; I don’t see us giving it up very soon. Phil: I might want to consider pursuing drumming as a career. I definitely want to go to The Berklee College of Music to study music along with other things.