Noticing Icarus: Significant Suffering

Band made up of CU students and alumni creates music to bring attention to what makes us human

by Allison White

Music plays a significant role at Cedarville University, from student choirs to chapel bands. Noticing Icarus, an indie rock band created by a few of Cedarville’s own students and alumni, brings a fresh, unique sound to the musical culture on campus.

The band currently consists of David Grandouiller, Brandon Apol, Connor Smith, Calvin Hitchcock and, the newest addition to the band, Ben Heath.

Grandouiller is the lead singer and plays the acoustic guitar, Apol is the lead guitarist, Smith plays bass guitar and also incorporates the upright bass, Hitchcock is on the keys, and Heath is the drummer.

Through the years, Noticing Icarus has performed in The Hive, on the hill beside the student center, and in Chuck’s. One of their performances was a Christmas special in Chuck’s for Campus Christmas including some clever renditions of popular Christmas songs.

Noticing Icarus performing in the Cedarville Opera House. [Photo courtesy of Noticing Icarus]

Noticing Icarus began its initial steps when Grandouiller and Apol played in the Battle of the Bands in the Cedarville Opera House. Although they were just beginning they found that they liked playing together.

Apol then went searching for more members after Grandouiller booked a gig in Columbus and expressed the need for a full band. Eventually, they built the band up with Smith, Hitchcock, and a series of drummers. After a lot of brainstorming, they agreed on the name “Noticing Icarus” and the band was official.

Grandouiller came up with the band name. At the time, he had been thinking a lot about the mythological character Icarus after reading a poem about a painting titled “Landscape of the Fall of Icarus” by Pieter Bruegel.

Despite the title of the painting, Icarus is actually an insignificant part of it. It is meant to show that suffering is insignificant to anyone that it is not happening to. Suffering goes on without people noticing. The name “Noticing Icarus” is a play off of this work of art. The idea, Grandouiller said, is to focus on noticing the things happening in the background, to pay attention to the sufferings that make us human.

Grandouiller said that when he writes songs, he usually brings an idea to work on with the band.

“It normally comes out totally different than when I originally envision it,” he said.

The band works together to shape the song into a work of art that resonates with their listeners. Sometimes, Grandouiller brings in a specific vision for a song and they try not to deviate too far from it, but many times he will just bring in a rough idea, sound, or lyric to work with.

“We are really just driven by the fact that we are a bunch of friends who just like playing together” Hitchcock said, and the others wholeheartedly agreed.

“I think these guys are some of the highest caliber musicians, thinkers, and artists that I may ever have the grace to work with,” Apol added. “And the friendships have been a huge blessing to me.”

The band members have high respect for one another and they know how to have a good laugh, Hitchcock said.

It has been difficult for the band to find time to practice since Apol is currently in Alaska, Smith is working in the Dayton area, Grandouiller is working on his masters at OSU, and Hitchcock is in the middle of his senior project. Despite the differences in locations, they continue to practice and plan for the future.

“None of us are certain about what our future holds,” Hitchcock said, “but as long as we are all able to, we will still be playing together.”

The band is currently working on recording some of the music from their first show they played in The Hive. Those songs were popular with the fans and Noticing Icarus seeks to re-record some of those live tracks for the listeners.

Among the songs they perform “Groove 2” is one of their favorites to play. They are excited about their new music that is in development and they enjoy playing those songs in rehearsal as well.

Their goal as a band is to be open and honest about their art.

The lyrics are “my record of engagement with Christianity,” Grandouiller said. “I want to offer an honest, vulnerable faith community to my listeners.”

The songs are produced with honest intent to accurately reflect real things such as doubts or missteps, and what those look like for real people.

“We strive to play with excellence in order to draw an audience who then can have healthy community as a group,” Smith said, “especially as Christians”

In addition, Apol said that writing music together “taps into what it means to be made in God’s image — God is a social being and a creative being … It’s also really God-glorifying to be able to make new things and point to Him with it.”

The members of Noticing Icarus are increasingly appreciative of one another and their encouragement. Grandouiller said that although he had the vision for the band, Apol was the one who went out and recruited others to make it all happen. They are grateful for every person who is in the band, and those that played with the band for just a short while.

Noticing Icarus seeks to direct attention to the suffering that happens in the background, that most people wouldn’t notice.

“Empathy is integral to humanity,” Hitchcock said. “Being open to that is an incredible thing, and I think our music reflects that.”

Allison White is a junior organizational communication major and arts and entertainment writer for Cedars. She enjoys learning about cultures, traveling, and petting as many dogs as she can.

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