All in the family: junior Ally Martin and freshman Andrew Martin start a band

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Kelly Bowen

Junior Ally Martin and freshman Andrew Martin belt out the song “Zombie” by the Cranberries. The PWest for Bahamas benefit concert was one of their first live performances. “I think [my brother and I] working together makes [our band] good. We come up with some really cool ideas,” Ally said. “We both like music and that's what fuels it.”

Whether they are jamming with other bands in their basement, playing alongside their parents at their father’s live music restaurant, Circa Pub and Grill, or performing at the PWest for Bahamas benefit concert, you can find junior Ally and freshman Andrew Martin rocking around St. Louis. Their band, titled Interrobang, features Ally on vocals and guitar and Andrew on drums alongside their bandmates.

After founding the band in the summer of 2019, the band members debated the name of the band for a while. They eventually settled on Interrobang.

“It was a long process; we didn’t know what to name it,” Andrew said. “Interrobang is a question mark and exclamation mark combined. [We thought] it sounded cool.”

Ally plays guitar and does vocals while her younger brother, Andrew, is the band’s drummer and occasional guitarist. Katie Armbruster, a student at Villa Duchesne School, plays guitar. Quinn Rizer, a student at Chaminade High School, plays bass guitar along with Blake McClain, a student at American Trade School, who was recently welcomed into the band as another bass player. Interrobang also meets other musicians around St. Louis, typically through social media, and plays with them.

“We have an Instagram account for our band and [other bands] will direct message us,” Ally said. “We went to this other band’s house one time and did a house show. Those are always really fun. It’s always good to watch other bands to observe what they do and influence your own band. It helps a lot.”

Interrobang had one of their first opportunities to perform in public at the Environmental Engineering class’s benefit concert. This class organized an annual benefit concert to raise money for a country affected by a natural disaster, resulting in the PWest for Bahamas concert.

“It was kind of weird because it was just parents and people sitting down watching. It’s more fun when people are dancing along, you know?” Ally said. “It was really fun. I really like performing because I like expressing myself. I really like articulating something to an audience, whether it be through dance and cheer or playing music.”

Andrew has been playing drums since he was 10 years old. He felt nervous before performing at the benefit concert, as it was the most people he had ever played in front of.

“It was scary at first because before the show, I hadn’t practiced in a long time and I get really nervous before performing anything. There’s not really a reason besides being scared of messing up, but a lot of my friends were there and it was just nerve wracking.” Andrew said. “As I kept going, I realized I had the hang of it and it felt good. [After the show], I just wanted to watch the videos [of us playing].”

Andrew feels that it is easier to practice with the band by having his sister as a member.

“When my sister is in the band, I have really easy access to talk to her, write stuff with her, practice whenever and so on,” Andrew said. “Practicing all the time as a whole band gets tough with everyone’s schedules.”

Ally also believes the band dynamic is improved by having a sibling in it and feels that her brother’s punk vibe blends well with her metal taste.

“Creatively, we have disagreements and butt heads sometimes, but it’s fun [to have my brother in the band] for the most part,” Ally said. “I’d say I’m into a wide variety of things, but my brother and I have a similar style when it comes to music.”

Ally is glad she can express her love for music through performing with Interrobang.

“I always need a performance outlet, and I’ve always wanted to start a band. So, I just thought, ‘why not?’” Ally said. “I like expressing myself that way.”