Emerging from the Oxford music scene is Cousin, a culmination of five best friends who play for many audiences in town.
Cousin includes lead singer and guitarist Ben Lilly, guitarist Adam Field, keyboardist Bill Perry, drummer Jake McAnally, and bassist Warner Ray. With sharing musical experiences and all offering different musical talents, the friends decided to form a band.
“Cousin was, in many ways, a group that kind of created itself,” Field said. “We were all ready to reach more people and to reinvent ourselves in terms of what we played and how we performed, and I guess that’s how Cousin was born.”
Cousin has performed in venues, such as Rafters, the Lyric, and the band members’ fraternity house, Sigma Nu. They recently won third place in Phi Mu’s philanthropy event, Bonamu. They are taking some down-time next month and will be revisiting the scene with a new setlist and potential for original songs at the spring party Woodstock.
Field describes the band as a “group of well-trained musicians who wish to put on a good show.” All members have been playing instruments since high school, mainly teaching themselves. Lilly said he always wanted to be in a band, but it can be hard to find a good group. When he got to college, he found people who shared the same musical interests and aspirations.
The band wants to write original songs and members have ideas. Ben Lilly has been working on his own songs.
“We have a couple that we have started on, but they’re definitely far away from perfection,” Lilly said. “It’s hard to pinpoint our inspiration for each song because there’s so much collaboration and ideas between all of us.”
Lilly also said it can be difficult to find time to write songs while being a student. However, the songwriting process is not simple. Band members need time for discussion, jamming, and piling stuff together.
Cousin band members are inspired by ’60s and ’70s music and modern day alternative rock. Cousin tries to appeal to broad audience of all ages. They know most college students don’t know every Jimi Hendrix and Beatles song, so they have been incorporating songs by MGMT, an American psychedelic rock band formed in 2002, and others of this era.
Field has been working on his own music. He wants to produce an EP. His inspirations are Herbie Hancock, Albert King, and Bach. This EP should be released within the next couple of months with a link on his Instagram page.
Being part of a band has helped band members learn how to listen, and this reflects how they perform. All five are in sync on stage, bobbing at the same pace and acknowledging one another consistently.
They hope to gain experience and have a good time. They don’t have dreams of succeeding on a national level. They want to get their name recognized by people around town and have fun with crowds.