Who’s in Terra Cotta, and how did the band pick its name?

Akul Narang plays the viola, Mya Ison sings, Ben Hogewood plays guitar, and I play saxophone and sing. Akul lived on a street named Terra Cotta Drive [in Raleigh] in high school, and that’s how we got the name. 

How did the band come together? 

We’ve always been playing together. Ben and Akul would jam together in high school, and when Akul graduated, Ben reached out to me, and we started doing a couple gigs. We were part of this band called Extra Sauce with a few other Enloe High School people. After we graduated, Ben reached out to me with Akul that summer about recording an album, which became Terra Cotta. We just recorded it in someone’s basement that was set up to be a studio, which is pretty cool. We all got together, and we recorded some tracks we wrote in high school and a couple new original tracks, which was the EP Terra Cotta. Akul and Ben knew Mya from high school, and she ended up recording with us, and it all turned out great. 

Do you write all your own lyrics? 

Usually whoever is singing will write the lyrics. So, for our song “Good For Now,” I had wanted to sing on it, so I just wrote the lyrics. Then, Mya wrote her part when we decided to put her on the song. Whoever is singing writes their own lyrics, because it ends up meaning more when you write your own lyrics. 

What was the process of writing your single “Good For Now”—which has been streamed more than 100,000 times on Spotify? 

Ben sent me the track that was going to be “Good For Now,” and it was super stripped down—basically a couple of guitar chords. I remember I was on the way to a haircut, and I really liked it; I started humming along to it. Second semester of my freshman year was winding up, and we met at Akul’s house, and we ended up using this really crappy mic he had and recorded it with just the chorus I had written. It just sat there for a while, half done, and we just kept adding instruments and no voice to it. There was an emptiness in the middle where Mya eventually went. We ended up meeting up again this past May and used a different mic, and ended up releasing it in June.

What’s the meaning behind the song?

It’s about two people who are distant but want to get back, reminiscing on their times together. It was very musical and fun to write. It screams our own identity, and it isn’t one particular genre, which is what I really like about it. 

What do you like about making solo music, and why do you go by Selwood for your solo work? 

The process is definitely more streamlined. I guess it’s also a more pure expression of who I am. When I make music by myself, it’s my inspiration and my influences that directly impact the music, which I think is really cool. Selwood is actually the name of my street, and I just thought the name was cool.

Find Terra Cotta and Selwood streaming on Spotify.

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