Student Spotlight: Exit 13 brings an eclectic, fun sound to sophomore summer
Featuring students with diverse musical backgrounds, the band joins Dartmouth’s live music scene.
Courtesy of Deborah Jung
At the beginning of sophomore summer, Exit 13 was formed — becoming the newest addition to Dartmouth’s student-driven music scene. Named after the Hanover exit on Route 91, the band features lead vocalist and guitarist Sami Lofman ’24, keyboard player Amethyst McKenzie ’25, saxophone player Devontae Lacasse ’24, bassist Christian Caballero ’24 and drummer Kirusha Lanski ’23, who also plays in the student band Shark.
Lofman said the band formed out of each individual’s passion for music and their search for a fun way to fill their time.
“What unites us is that I think we are doing it purely for fun,” Lofman said. “We genuinely did not realize bands get paid until a few weeks in. It was definitely a funny moment when I told Amethyst we were getting paid for our first gig … we’re doing it purely because we love music, and [because] it’s fun to perform.”
According to Lofman, the band was established within the first few weeks of the summer, though she noted that coordinating practices was initially difficult because of everyone’s busy schedules.
“Getting the band together was not the easiest thing,” Lofman said. “This band happened out of sheer willpower. I’ve been super grateful.”
Each band member emphasized how their different musical talents and tastes contribute to their unique sound.
“My taste is more chill and Indie, whereas Amethyst and Christian are more metal and rock,” Lofman said.
Lacasse said that being in the band has helped him work on different styles of music, despite his classical background
“When most people think of the saxophone, they think I play jazz,” Lacasse said. “I’m classically trained, actually — but playing in a band, I’ve really improved my jazz-playing skills, and I’m looking forward to continuing that on my foreign study program next year.”
Lacasse, McKenzie and Caballero each play in the Dartmouth Chamber Orchestra, which predominantly plays classical arrangements. While Caballero said they typically play the bass, they can also play percussion to fill in for Lanski, in addition to playing euphonium and trombone for the orchestra.
“Christian is such an integral part of the band — [they are] such a good presence and bass player with great music taste,” McKenzie said, adding that she and Caballero bonded over their love of similar artists, such as the English rock band Muse. “They actually got into bass because of Muse, which is funny because it’s one of my favorite bands.”
Lofman said the group plans practices on a week-by-week basis.
“Somehow we have just worked with this group,” she said. “Everytime we have a rehearsal, we will plan the next one on the fly — we usually [practice] once or twice a week, but maybe more if we have a show that weekend.”
Each band member shared that playing in a live band has required a different outlook on performing: Stage presence and energy are more important than technical perfection. And when a band exudes energy, the crowd gives that energy right back — Lacasse said the band’s first show at Bones Gate fraternity was a highlight of the summer for him due to the crowd’s liveliness. He added that the band has made his sophomore summer experience unforgettable.
“We come together to play great music we all enjoy,” Lacasse said. “It’s truly been an amazing seven-week journey.”
Members of Exit 13 expect the band to live on, even after the end of the summer term.