Do-it-yourself spirit drives three rising Reno bands

Team Francis

Synthpop trio Team Francis has been busy performing and recording.

I hated it when I first moved here in 2010. I didn’t like the wind, the casinos, or anything that I thought was “Reno culture.” It wasn’t until I started playing in bands around town and immersing myself in the scene that I started noticing the drive and grit of the local arts community.

Through these attitudes Reno has developed a diverse and determined DIY ethic that courses through this town. From new recording studios like Ballast Studios on Dickerson and The Danger Room in The Potentialist Workshop to the custom fashion accessories made by Dirty Needle Embroidery and Royal Flush Leather in Dick Diamond’s Golden Jackal, Reno is filled with the kind of people who simply do when they see something that needs to be done and, just like the three bands featured in this article, aren’t afraid to do so with the means they have at their disposal.

People With Bodies

People With Bodies, lo-fi in the doorway.

People With Bodies

Local indie/surf trio People With Bodies recorded its debut self-titled EP in drummer Fil Corbitt’s dad’s basement. When asked about the lo-fi nature of the recordings, Corbitt is quick to explain the the texture is due to their set-up and engineering knowledge, “I had a four-channel mixer and some mics that I borrowed from work and we were in a hurry to just make it as good as we could and figure out the rest as we went.”

Born from former Reno group Martin Howls Corbitt, People With Bodies’ EP featured only guitarist/vocalist Kent Irwin and Corbitt. Since then, the group has added bassist Mark Nesbitt and recorded a full-length album with Watson Meyer (bass for City Wolves) covering the engineering duties. The new release is due out in the next few months and while the production value will be improved, the songwriting will be similar in its focus on narrative and storytelling.

PWB will be making its first festival appearance this month at Treefort Music Festival in Boise, Idaho. Keep up with the guys by following People With Bodies on Instagram and checking out their website,

Jonathan Rolling

Jonathan Rolling on the beach at Lake Tahoe.

Jonathan Rolling

While many bands take the “quick and dirty” approach to recording their own material, singer-songwriter Jonathan Rolling took about a year to record his debut EP “Lines.” After a handful of false starts with bands and various studios, he decided to record the EP himself, “I took Tom Gordon’s class and got some mics and a good interface and decided, fuck it, I’ll do it myself so I can have the quality control I want and so I could obsess over it the way I like to obsess over things.”

The EP’s production is the perfect complement to Rolling’s clean, clear voice. Songs such as “Better” and “Defective By Design” may focus on shortcomings but they resolve on the kind of hopefulness that make Rolling’s songwriting so intriguing.

Team FrancisTeam Francis

This synthpop trio has been all over local bills lately and with tunes as infectious as the ones featured on “2015 Demo” it’s no surprise. The group features siblings Samantha Gates on vocals and keys and Ivan Gates on drums as well as Roo Burns on guitar. Their demos were recorded in Carson City by Ivan and Samantha’s father Vince at the music store he owns called Play Your Own Music. Although only three songs have been released, there is an album’s worth of material almost ready to go, Ivan say: “Within the next month here we’ll get some copies made and release the full length, hopefully. And then we’ve got four new ones also that we’re going to be recording soon for an EP.”

Team Francis will be at St. James Infirmary on Saturday, March 19, with Astro Tan and Sleeping Lessons.

-Spencer Kilpatrick

About Spencer Kilpatrick

Author Spencer Kilpatrick graduated from the University of Nevada, Reno with a degree in English. He hates the Lakers and his top three emcees are Blu, Earl Sweatshirt and Nas.

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