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Band Pax details group history

Senior+Andrew+Jacob+of+Pax+drew+the+album+artwork+for+the+band%27s+EP+%22The+Mango+Tree%2C%22+pictured+here.++
Senior Andrew Jacob of Pax drew the album artwork for the band's EP

Senior Andrew Jacob of Pax drew the album artwork for the band's EP "The Mango Tree," pictured here.

Courtesy Pax

Courtesy Pax

Senior Andrew Jacob of Pax drew the album artwork for the band's EP "The Mango Tree," pictured here.

Joshua Irvine

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Senior Andrew Jacob has never seen a mango tree in his life.

Which really wouldn’t matter, if not for the fact that both his band Pax’s new EP and the track it takes its name from are called “The Mango Tree.”

“I didn’t know mangoes grew on trees before I wrote the song,” Jacob said.

That anecdote is just of the many idiosyncrasies of Pax, a group consisting of Jacob and fellow seniors Sohail Khan and Jake Reinken. The name comes from “pax romana,” a term from AP Word History, and that’s really all the three band members seem to be certain about.

For one, they’re not really certain how to classify the music they play.

“We don’t know what to call ourselves,” Jacob, the lead singer and lead/rhythm guitarist said.

“Roots rock,” Khan, the bassist, suggested.

Reinkein, who plays drums (“and the tambourine!” added Jacob), was indecisive on that term. “We could be [roots rock],” he said, “but at the same time…”

A term that does eventually come up and stick around is “Beatles-esque.” There’s a comparison to and then vehement defense of the drumming style of Ringo Starr, some momentary tension when it’s insinuated Jacob has been less than successful at imitating his vocal idol John Lennon, and mention of an awkward early attempt between Jacob and Reinken to cover “Eight Days a Week.”

The Beatles mania can be traced back to Jacob, an obvious enthusiast for the Fab Four who is credited with writing the four tracks on “The Mango Tree” (he also drew the cover art). Jacob, Khan and Reinken recorded each of their parts separately, mixing them in Reinken’s basement.

“I was more stressed than I’d ever been in my life making this thing,” Jacob said.

“There was this one part where, going into it, it just never sounded right,” Reinken said in reference to the first track “I Love Soundwaves.”

They persisted and ultimately produced four thematically distinct songs. “I Love Soundwaves,” the first track, is a “traditional rock” song about music appreciation, while “To Forget” and “One Final Word” concern lost love; the latter was described as a “basic break-up song.”

“The Mango Tree” has the most complex explanation; its focal image is variously described as a figure of speech, symbol, and metaphor. “It’s about that feeling when you wanna go back to that better place and time,” Jacob said, though he repeatedly revised the phrasing of that statement.

The existence of Pax itself could be accredited to the feeling Jacob repeatedly explained. After all, it began with two old friends reconnecting; that was Jacob and Reinken, kindergarten friends grown apart who bonded over freshman year water polo.

Jacob had played the guitar since the sixth grade, and despite being what he described as “worse than the average” (he didn’t even know how to play frets at first), he persisted with the hobby, pairing it with his natural inclination towards singing.

Reinken, on the other hand, had played drums since he was 10, taking drum lessons for four years at the Elray Music Center.

The two agreed to a jam session, which led to more jam sessions, which led to the aforementioned attempt at “Eight Days a Week.”

Somewhere in there the two decided to get fellow kindergarten buddy and freshman water polo player Khan in on their act. There was just the small problem; he didn’t know how to play an instrument.

Jacob and Reinken persisted anyway, and after a summer and “so much pleading,” they convinced Khan to learn bass from Jacob.

“It wasn’t for the instrument, it was just to be with these guys,” Khan said of his eventual agreement.

They came up with the name Pax came about midway through sophomore year; “The Mango Tree” was released a few weeks ago.

The band performed at last night’s variety show; it was their first live performance, excluding an informal “Battle of the Bands” between Pax and another student band hosted in Reinken’s basement.

And today’s second show may be their last. The three seniors, all college bound, find it unlikely they’ll perform or release another album.

“If I write enough songs, then maybe, but we don’t have anything planned,” Jacob said.

But then again, Pax is a story about three friends who decided that putting together a band was a decent enough excuse to hang out; by all accounts, it’s done that job well.

“The Mango Tree” is available on iTunes, Spotify, and Pandora.

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