The 254

Suede

By Kevin Tankersley

Getting the Band Together

It’s sometimes tough to get all the members of the band Suede together in one spot, to coordinate the schedules of five musicians who all have day jobs. And it’s made even more difficult by the fact that Ashton Yarbrough, the bass player, lives in Hawaii, where he works for an airline. The band did manage to get everyone together on a recent Tuesday afternoon at Spring Street Baptist Church in Waco, where they often gather to rehearse.

In addition to Yarbrough, Suede consists of drummer Demetrius Allen; Jesse Nemons, lead singer and saxophone player; guitarist Jonathan Sais; and piano player and self-described “sub, sub, sub guitarist” Stephen Williams.

While the band has been active for two years, “Me and Demetrius have been playing together since 2015,” Sais explained. “We were just playing together. We didn’t have a name for it.”

Suede came together slowly, as the band built around Sais and Allen.

“Me and Demetrius, we were always playing together. We played together at church. Then I met Jesse in high school. We started playing together. I met Steve at MCC,” Sais said.

“We were in jazz ensembles there,” Nemons added.

Williams joined after coming to a jam session.

“And that’s when I started playing with y’all. Then Ashton just showed up at a gig one time,” he said.

Yarbrough says he’s known Allen since middle school, when they met at an All-Region Jazz competition. Although Nemons went to a different high school than Sais and Allen, they met at a house party. He didn’t officially join the band until last summer.

Suede’s roots lie in R&B, funk, rock and jazz. They like to play music “that will make you feel good or dance,” Williams said.

Nemons calls the genre Fusion — a little Stevie Ray Vaughan, a little gospel.

“We like to mix a bunch of genres and blend them together,” he said.

“We’ve covered everybody from Silk Sonic to Bill Withers and Gregory Porter,” Yarbrough affirmed. “Stevie Wonder. We’ve even covered Beyoncé and Pentatonix.”

With five members in the group the dynamic can be interesting, but the guys love the connection they’ve made with one another.

“Everybody’s so talented. Everybody is so good at what they do that it takes pressure off everybody else,” Williams said. “You can just do you and be yourself within the band. You don’t have to try to do too much to please the crowd because everybody’s already so good, and they have their own stuff to bring that you can just have the freedom to be yourself in the band. And it kind of just adds together. You don’t have to go out of your comfort zone to do good things in this band.”

Yarbrough says the draw is getting to play with talented musicians.

“When I get to play with these guys, there’s so much that we can do that I don’t feel limited in any way. If I’m with other groups, there’d be songs that I’d never even consider bringing to a band to cover.

We can suggest some of the most off-the-wall things to do,” he said.

“I like that we have this weird connection,” Allen added. “Like definitely me and Ashton, we can play a song and we’ll get bored, and it just clicks in a weird way.”

“We don’t have to plan certain stuff.

I feel it’s like telepathic, and we just do it,” Williams said.


Trials and Tribulations

Live gigs are on a sort of hiatus at the moment, as Suede is working on a bunch of original songs for an album that will probably be out sometime this year. The single
‘Trials and Tribulations’ is already available for streaming.

Allen plans to take the band as far as it can go.

“Hopefully, at least one national tour, maybe an international [tour],” he said.

“We are the deciders of that.

The fact is it’s about how much work we put in and how badly we want it. It’s up to us to decide. I’m sure everyone wants to go as far as possible,” Nemons said. “It’s honestly crazy because we’ve grown so much

in such a short amount of time. We still have a long ways to go, but looking back a year ago, two years ago, it’s crazy how far we’ve come, how much the chemistry continues
to grow as we get better as a band. The more time we spend together, the better we get, every single time. And that’s a really good feeling.”

Information on the band can be found at TheSuedeBand.com, where there are links to each member’s individual Instagram accounts as well as links to the band’s social media platforms.