Dopamine makes a pleasurable comeback

Vera Fong, Reporter

Energy reverberated through the Black box as students filled the seats to see Dopamine, who had returned with its first comeback of the year. The band is comprised of the juniors; Pranneil Thankavel (‘21), the Lead Singer and Rhythm Guitarist; William Selkey (‘21), the Bassist and Secondary Singer; Sam Patterson (‘21), the Pianist and Lead Guitarist; and Voughn Rowell Torres (‘21), the Drummer. The name “Dopamine” was chosen by the band because of the chemical’s induced feelings of pleasure, as they learned in their psychology class. “Just what we want you to feel when you listen to our music,” says Thankavel.

Amidst the performance, everyone was having a swell time. The Black Box was packed with engaged students bobbing their heads to the sound of the beat. Torres says that his favorite part on stage was “when the bright light [was] on my face and I [could] barely see people’s faces. But I can hear them smiling and singing along.” With the bright lights and large audiences, performances might seem daunting, but Selkey says, “Honestly, I don’t feel that nervous. I just get this euphoric feeling when I hear the audience clap. After countless practices, I sometimes forget that what the audience is hearing may sound completely new to them.”

For Dopamine, the key to sounding pleasurable is practicing. Despite their busy schedules, the boys make sure to find about 4 hours a week to practice together. “During practice, we sometimes jam and play together. Nothing in particular, we just play stuff that sounds good,” says Selkey. “Before the concert, though, we try to practice as much as possible… around 12 hours a week.” And in the weeks before the concert, the group decides on which songs to play. “It’s a pretty casual thing, during a practice any one of us might suggest a song, which is then played and judged by the band members. Songs might be switched in and out of the set list as close to a performance as 2 weeks,” says Thankavel.

Performing well isn’t the only thing they need to keep in mind. Selkey says, “As we’re having more concerts, we’re also realizing the importance of stage presence. The more energy we give to the audience, the more they will give back. The audience wants to see confidence and emotion in us, and I have realized that so much of this is conveyed with posture. That’s why Pranneil sits for some songs and stands for others. We also make the transitions between songs quick to keep the energy in the audience up.” He also adds that they are thankful for staff like Mr. McBride and Mr. Pronley, “and all the great people who made these performances possible. Without them, our band wouldn’t be a reality.” The group knows that Dopamine itself is not a “one-man-band”, and is grateful for everyone alongside them.