Celery Teeth, one of Starkville's local bands, is well known for its unique combination of punk sounds and light-hearted lyrics.
The group is comprised of four Mississippi State University students: vocalist and guitarist, June Hunt; keyboardist, Joy Cariño; bassist, Trevor Wycoff; and drummer, Vinny Brocato. Before the band became the MSU staple that it is today, it was simply a pair of high school students, Hunt and Cariño, who had a passion for music.
Hunt and Cariño are alumni of the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science located in Columbus, Mississippi. They met at a theater camp called Summer Scholars and immediately began playing music together. The following school year, they recruited more band members, and that is how Celery Teeth formed.
Dynamics have shifted since then, including Cariño switching from violin to keyboard. There has also been the addition of two new band members.
June Hunt remembers the first official Celery Teeth show.
"Our first show was just me on guitar and a friend of mine on drums," Hunt said. "We played at a skatepark. Needless to say, things are much different now."
The band's most recent performance took place at the Shackouls Honors College Annual Semiformal Friday, Nov. 15 which was hosted in the Colvard Student Union's Dawg House.
As Celery Teeth took the stage covered in green lighting, the band appeared to fit in well with the dance's "Raid Area 51" theme.
Hunt's powerful vocals drew in crowds of people just passing through the Union. The doorway might have been covered in caution tape, but it did little to deter onlookers from finding the source of the unique ambiance set by the band's sound.
Celery Teeth is certainly an interactive experience with Wycoff hopping on top of speakers and Hunt going into the crowd with her microphone in hand, encouraging dancers to sing along.
"You don't know the lyrics," Hunt said at one point to the audience, "but neither do we."
Before ending the almost two-hour performance, the band reminded audience members to drink water and take care of themselves. Judging by the casual attire seen throughout the room, at least half of the crowd was lured in by the sound of the band rather than the dance itself.
Hunt, a junior English major at MSU, is the group's songwriter. Hunt said songwriting is a hobby that she has enjoyed since the age of 12. Hunt credits her lifetime love of music and creative expression as her motivation for picking up songwriting, singing and playing instruments.
Hunt's favorite part of being a member of Celery Teeth is essential to bands everywhere—playing music together.
"My favorite part is playing music with others, which is pretty inherent to what a band is, but it's nice to have people to bounce ideas off of and explore new sounds with," Hunt said. "Everyone contributes to the songs, and that push-pull between all of our styles is something I love."
Cariño has played piano since she started taking classical lessons at age eight. However, the keyboard is new to Cariño, as she only began playing the instrument a year ago. Cariño had nothing but kind words about her fellow band members.
"They're all amazing and so talented," Cariño said. "We all are pretty easygoing too, which makes it easy for us to get along. All of them are hard workers, super talented, and roll with the punches so easily."
Cariño described Wycoff, Celery Teeth's bassist, as "spunky, kind and thoughtful." Wycoff is a sophomore music major. He typically keeps himself busy as the graphic designer for The Streetcar and with classical and rock guitar ensembles.
Wycoff has been the bassist of Celery Teeth for the past 10 months, but he has played the guitar for almost seven years. Wycoff is the only member of the band not originally from Starkville, as his hometown is Dothan, Alabama.
Wycoff said his favorite thing about Celery Teeth is the unintentional, against-the-grain sound.
"We're incredibly loud sonically, and the songs are honest and in-your-face, which I don't usually see a lot of around here," Wycoff said. "But it isn't on purpose, it's just who we are."
Before Celery Teeth's latest performance for Shackouls Honors College, they performed on Halloween night at local coffee shop, Nine-Twentynine Coffee Bar. Milo King, the manager at Nine-Twentynine, could not think of a better band to perform on the holiday.
"They bring something very new and different to Starkville," King said. "It was a super loud and fun night. Everyone dressed up and had a great Halloween."
The band's newest addition is drummer Vinny Brocato, a junior history major, DJ at WMSV 91.1 and League of Legends player for the MSU Esports Club.
Brocato joined the group in September. He has a background in music, having taken drumming lessons since he was in elementary school.
Brocato said Celery Teeth has given him a musical outlet as well as been a way for him to relieve stress. He says has not been stressed in a long time, and his bandmates definitely help with that.
"I love my bandmates, and I think we are all our own individuals, but that keeps the ideas, conversation, and just time together in general feeling fresh," Brocato said.
One of the biggest mysteries surrounding the local band is the origin of its name, a detail Hunt fleshed out when describing Celery Teeth's "lore."
Hunt came up with the name while building an effects pedal, a circuit that allows guitars to create sounds not otherwise possible for the instrument.
Her effects pedal had a white enclosure, but Hunt wanted to somehow involve the color green. While taking a shower one day, Hunt said she asked herself, "What's green and white all over?" The answer, Hunt noted, was obvious: celery.
"The effects pedal never worked, and I quit trying to make it work long ago," Hunt said. "But the name stuck."