Hello, Seattle was formed in the fall of 2011 when Berg and guitarist Amy Maxwell, both from Long Island, became fast friends after they were put into the same group for a project in their audio production class at SUNY Oneonta.
“Amy said ‘Does anybody sing? Because we could record something of our own’ and I said ‘I do!’” Berg said. “She liked my voice and we really hit it off, so that’s where things started.”
Berg said members have come and gone since then, but the current group of musicians are all students at SUNY Oneonta, except Maxwell, who graduated from the college in December. Other than Berg and Maxwell, the band features Andrew Platt on drums, Jason Psanis on piano and Frank Cicciarello on bass. Berg said the five members are “really good friends” and spend time together often.
“We have a mix of personalities,” Berg said, “and we hang out a lot, which is when we write our music. So it works out well.”
The band’s debut full-length album, Improper Greeting, was released last summer, Berg said, and is available to purchase on iTunes, or can be streamed online. The band has performed at OH-Fest 8, opened for Timeflies and Mayday Parade at SUNY Oneonta’s fall concert in September and beat out many other college bands in the 2013 SUNY Music Madness competition, taking second place overall.
Joseph Pignato, assistant professor in SUNY Oneonta’s music industry department called the upcoming competition “a fantastic opportunity” for a band that, he said, has made SUNY Oneonta very proud.
“Hello, Seattle epitomizes what we hope our music industry students will do,” Pignato said. “They’re really good. And they write songs that people respond to. I’m thrilled for them, but not surprised.”
Pignato was the professor of Maxwell and Berg’s audio arts class where they met, he said. He met the other band members through the music industry program, in which they all majored. He said the band, and particularly Maxwell, worked hard to produce their first record entirely at the college’s music studio. They are a professional bunch of young people, Pignato said, and have “an amazing set.”