When high school band Fishbug stood on the stage at AthFest Music and Arts Festival, they sang a range of songs about personal circumstances or allergies and watched the eccentric and lively crowd light up as they performed.
Similar performances have taken place at Caledonia Lounge and Hendershot’s as the band got together to perform relatable songs to the Athens locals and express their passion for music.
The band members consist of Stella Perkins, vocalist, Moss Ivy, guitarist, Parker Dillard, bassist, and Isaiah Pope, drummer, who all love to perform in Athens and hope to one day be successful enough to play a gig at their dream venues.
Friends, families and local supporters gathered in Caledonia Lounge on June 28 to provide the band an experience it will always remember. One of the band’s most popular performances, Fishbug members watched fans — including their high school orchestra teacher, Dr. Eunice Kang — gain excitement as they performed some of their hits.
“They’re very creative and never settle for mainstream, normal songs,” Kang said, “I would describe them as ‘technically gifted’... they won’t settle into a niche of normality.”
Kang said she worked very closely with Ivy and Dillard for years and was grateful to watch and experience their growth as musicians, and she can see them going forward to tour.
During the band’s performances, Perkins, the band’s lead lyrical songwriter, sang some of the band’s popular songs such as “Doesn’t Matter” and “Project Mortality.” She said her songwriting technique is based off of “a little too specific times of [her] life” or “not very detailed stuff at all,” when it comes to material she uses.
“We even have a song about not having allergies, which falls along the more detailed part,” Perkins said.
Much like the majority of musicians, Perkins said she tends to write about personal information, which can have its downfall, especially since many of the people she writes about attend the same school.
“With that in mind, the people listening to the songs know what they’re about and who they’re about, which can be scary,” Perkins said.
Perkins said My Chemical Romance and Cake are her main sources of inspiration. The group bases its songs and choices off these bands and try to mimic their style while still adding their own originality to their performances.
The majority of Fishbug’s supporters are friends and classmates, and said they are the ones who get the most excited about their music and performances.
“They get really into it,” Ivy said. “Sometimes they even start to mosh which can get pretty crazy.”
While the band enjoys the excited and supportive fanbase, Fishbug is also supportive of the other local bands in the community. It was this spirit of the music community which introduced the group to Isaiah Pope. Pope has been a drummer for 14 years, but also plays guitar and contributes with other local artists as well. Before Fishbug, Pope performed at talent shows and caught the attention of other musicians which led him to join the band.
“Other bands in Athens really inspire me as well just by going to their shows and and seeing them perform at the Georgia Theatre,” Dillard said. “It’s easy for me to think that that could be us somewhere down the line that motivates me even more.”
Fishbug dreams of continuing its journey to larger venues, such as the Georgia Theatre and hopefully venues in Atlanta.
The members plan to continue to grow together as musicians and spread their passion for music all throughout Athens, given that they are inspired to be a part of the local music scene.
“When we come together, we just really exercise talent and, honestly, I’ve never worked with anyone as productive as Isaiah and Stella,” Dillard said.
The members all agreed the community supports smaller bands and encourage its success by attending the shows, promoting their music and increasing awareness which is what makes the music scene in Athens so influential.