“I’ve watched bands with these people I looked up to, and I always thought ‘Man, I want to do that so bad,’” said Braiden Williams, flicking a cigarette between his yellow-painted fingernails. “I just wanted to play with guys who were my best friends, and, now that I’m doing that, it’s surreal.”
Williams, vocals, along with bassist Jack Feinberg and drummer Gordon “Gordy” Lauffer, make up the slacker rock band HomeTime.
Williams’ wavy vocals are somehow soft and rough at the same time—think a Mac DeMarco and Yellow Days hybrid. Feinberg and Lauffer’s sounds are more versatile. At times, they ride along to the vocals and, other times, they challenge it with a faster beat.
“[Williams] was playing a lot of chorus-y, poppy rock stuff,” Feinberg said. “Me and Gordon were like, ‘Okay we’re going to play faster now,’ and the sounds meshed really well together.”
The Harrisburg natives originally met in high school at Central Dauphin, though they didn’t start playing music together until later. Williams started performing at a few open mic nights, but he felt like his sound wasn’t complete. He messaged Lauffer, asking him if he wanted to perform with him and, together, they started playing at the open mics. Still, something was missing.
“After [performing at River City Blues Club one night], we were, like, maybe we should have a bassist to get a more complete sound,” said Lauffer. “So, I hit up Jack. After that we actually started doing shows and taking [our music] a little bit more seriously.”
Feeling more complete, they started performing at whatever places would take them, writing all three of their names on sign-up sheets. In recordings, their sound is chill and sometimes dreamy; their live performances are packed with energy.
According to Lauffer, after another performance at River City Blues, a guy came up to them and, in a slurred voice, said he loved their energy and wanted to know who they were.
It was an all-around consensus that they wanted to create a band. They wanted keep this feeling forever. But first they needed a name.
During the car ride home that night, they brainstormed names, shouting out anything that caught their eye. There was “Aces” after the hardware store, “Arrows,” and finally “Home-Time,” a sign on a a dingy building. It was a virtual, flipped Snapchat coin that sealed their fate, and they became HomeTime.
The three started officially playing together under the name in December 2017. Their first EP, “Bird,” released this May, features four melodic tracks, all produced, written and recorded by the band. The inspiration behind “Bird” came from a nasty breakup between Williams and his ex-girlfriend.
“Things that are going on in my life, I like to incorporate it,” Williams said. “It’s kind of therapeutic.”
With only a few months of together, HomeTime has already made a stamp in the Harrisburg DIY music scene. They performed shows at Underground Bike Shop, Little Amps, as well as basements and garages.
Along the way, they’ve become close with other DIY bands such as Club 27, Concrete Beach and Grapefruit Cannonball.
“There’s something about the Harrisburg music scene. Before we were in it, we really didn’t know much about it,” Williams said. “There’s so much I love about those DIY spaces. It’s not just playing. You can jump out into the crowd. It’s more personal. The people are right in front of you.”
Up next, HomeTime is performing its first all-ages show at the House of Music, Arts & Culture (H*MAC), then on to Tonawanda, N.Y., then back for a show in Lauffer’s garage. Even though their first EP is out, they’re still working on stretching their sound, which they hope to do in a full album they anticipate releasing in August.
“In so many ways, we are lucky,” said Feinberg. “We’ve met so many people who are like us and who we’ve become friends with, and there are so many people who support us. Yeah, we play a lot and practice a lot, but we wouldn’t be doing that without all of our friends and all the other bands who support us.”