The Sunday Music Drop is a weekly radio series hosted by the KQED weekend news team. In each segment, we feature a song from a local musician or band with an upcoming show and hear about what inspires their music.
Isaac Butler Brown and Noah Pawl Silverman St. John are childhood friends. Over family dinners and long conversations, Brown says they formed a friendship that give him an “original sense of what friendship as therapy should look like.”
They also feel safe taking risks together — so they started a band. Brown and his friend Griffin Camm were at a wedding when they saw their friend and drummer John Spencer playing with his punk band, having returned to the Bay Area from New York.
“He’s killer at drums and I thought we should just make a pop punk band,” said Brown. “Noah and I had been freestyling and doing a lot of, you know, one off musical things and many, many shared moments of musical creativity … and this just immediately mades sense.”
A couple of months later, they brought in their friend Ben Klausner on second guitar, and the pop punk band Adventure Playground was born. The sound is what St. John describes as a “duality of punchiness and loudness on one side, and on the other side … shiny and sweet.” Brown adds that their music has “huge amounts of power and sweatiness. It smells kind of funky, but also it’s like, you take a little taste of it and it’s like, ooh, so sweet, you know?’”
Their song “Hands on Me to Heal” comes from a tough time in songwriter St. John’s life. It was a time when, living in his childhood room — which he described as “the most chaotic possible depression room in the entire world” — he would drink coffee, play guitar and write in his journal.
“It was one of those mornings this … burst of lyrics came out. I was really inspired by the Modern Lovers and Jonathan Richman’s vocal performance, which is sort of not exactly what the song ended up being in reference to … but, that’s what it originally was heavily inspired by.”