In 2015, Clark University students Akiba Davis ’16, Asir Arif ’18 and Diego Baraona Calvo ’17 added “groovy beats” to the annual International Students Association International Journey event. A year later, the trio — transformed into 3 Piece Meal — created “Tomorrow’s Forecast,” their first studio album released Feb. 8 on Bandcamp.
“Tomorrow’s Forecast” addresses climate change and a host of social problems. “A lot of issues being talked about nowadays are interconnected,” Arif says. “We get to utilize our platform and work toward creating a movement.”
In spring 2016, Davis, then a senior, developed a unique idea for his music major capstone — he wanted to work with his bandmates to create an album. He presented the idea to his adviser, Matt Malsky, the associate provost/dean of the college and music professor, who approved the plan.
“It was an extensive process with many layers and tons of producing happening on the side,” Davis says. “At the end of the day, it was more fun than work, but also pressing in an educational way because it was all hands on.”
3 Piece Meal describes itself as an “experimental rock trio that dabbles in the art of bringing people together through funky riffs, groovy beats and thought-provoking lyrics.” The band had its breakout performance on Spree Day 2016, and since then has performed at various venues, showing off its musical talent across the Clark community.
Davis’ capstone provided the group with access to Clark’s recording studio in Estabrook Hall. The band worked into the summer, recording at Arif’s house and adding the vocals to Davis’ instrumentals. Besides these album tracks, the band also recorded and released a single and three full demos during the spring semester, which it used later for promotion.
The band ran into difficulty securing funding midway through the recording process and began looking elsewhere for financial support. Thanks to strong backing from the Clark community, the members raised $3,000 over a three-month period last summer through a crowdfunding page. It was enough to finish the album.
“The Clarkies were behind us. All of our friends, family, and fans really helped us push through,” Davis says.
A lot of support also came from the music scene in Arif’s home country of Bangladesh, where his friend Rakat Zami helped mix and master the album.
“The cool thing about [working with friends from Bangladesh] is that we got to trust them. At the end of the day they had a lot of input,” Arif says.
The band draws inspiration from a number of artists and takes pride in their unique style. “We don’t say no to new ideas and that has opened new doors and new sounds for us,” Calvo says.
Calvo, of El Salvador, cites John Mayer and Carlos Santana as his biggest musical inspirations. Davis, who started drumming as a reggae artist, says the progressive rock band Yes influenced him. “My parents are both musicians and they have shown me a lot of different artists who really opened my eyes up to all the different ways music can sound,” he says.
Arif says his inspirations are endless. “We listen to everything. I don’t believe in bad music.”
3 Piece Meal continues to practice as much as possible between busy schedules and aims to sign with a label or work with a booking agency. With seven new songs already completed for future release, the band is planning to book a tour throughout the Northeast this summer. You can catch them performing next at Bull Mansion in Worcester on March 30.
“Tomorrow’s Forecast” is available for streaming and purchase from Spotify, iTunes, Apple Music, Amazon MP3, Google Play, Pandora and on their website.
3 Piece Meal photo credit: Carlos Deschamps '16