Zach Sorgen (vocals/keys), Ryan Thomas (guitar), Chase Jackson (bass) and Forrest Mitchell (drums) formed their band called Thirstbusters a couple of years ago while they were attending Berkeley High School, and since then, they have been inching towards a huge breakthrough into the music industry and have never stopped pursuing their dream to be the next big American band. Despite attending different colleges – Sorgen attends Vassar and Jackson attends Oberlin, while Thomas and Mitchell attend UCLA, they correspond and dedicate themselves to their band everyday, confident that their commitment and love for music will touch the lives of those around them. Fortunately, Campus Circle had the chance to speak with Mitchell about his experiences, goals and upcoming plans for Thirstbusters.

How did you come up with the name Thirstbusters?

Back in high school, “thirsty” was slang for someone who was too eager, screwing up or trying too hard to be cool and failing. My bandmates and I used that word a lot, so during the registration for Battle of the Bands, we asked our friends what we should call our band. They suggested Thirstbusters as they thought we were the opposite of “thirsty.”

Where did your passion for music and drums originate?

I actually have a lot of different interests, but my main ones are cars and music. I like orchestral and classical music and film scores. Because my dad listened to jazz fusion, I developed a fondness for that too. He also played a little bit of drums and was the first person to teach me how to play. Then I just self-taught. My music interest grew and grew, and now it is what I want to do with my life.

What have you learned from being a performer?

Being on stage motivates me to be a confident person. I learned social skills like how to meet and interact with others. I know how to be professional in making music and playing music. I organize my time and my business life accordingly. I manage my time so I can play gigs. Being a performer presents me with a doorway to other cultures, which is a very cool thing.

What do you think it takes to be a good musician?

A good musician has dedication and discipline. Practice all the time, and if you want to be great, study and listen to all kinds of music. You have to understand the frameworks, approach the instrument in different angles, respect different types of music and have an open mind to stay humble. These things will make a huge difference in your music career. Natural ability is important too, but mainly you should be committed, maintain an open perspective and make music a part of your everyday life.

Whose footsteps do you want your music career to follow?

I admire the Dave Matthews Band because their drummer is jazz fusion oriented like myself. This band conducts themselves seriously yet remain down to earth, easy going and fun.

How do you and Ryan communicate with Zack and Chase, since they are not at UCLA?

We communicate everyday through Internet. We have two managers, attorneys and a booking agent. All of us take on tasks and work to move forward into the music industry even though we are not together. During summer break and major holiday vacations, our band is our full-time job. We are patient and know that our productivity will rise despite the distance.

What do you study at UCLA? How do you balance your studies with your band and your own gigs?

I am majoring in Ethnomusicology with a Jazz Studies concentration. I am minoring in Music Industry. I have private drums lessons as well. Currently, I am in a music law class that teaches me about the laws and contracts of the music business. L.A. is an amazing place for a musician because it introduces me to different groups and opportunities. There is always something going on. I aspire to be well-rounded in music instead of one-tracked. I am part of five different music groups at UCLA, which range from Jazz to orchestra to pop to disco. I play gigs that range from a formal concert to private party to awards ceremony to old folks home. I try to take each opportunity as it comes. It is a constant struggle to find balance between studies and music, but each year I am getting better at managing my time. I have many rehearsals during the week, and it is hard to find time to hang out with friends. But my motto is: Don’t ever stop.

What was it like to make your first music video for “So There?”

Making the music video was a lot of fun. We were lucky everything fell into place even though we were stressed because of budget and time. We had a full camera crew, and it was nice to feel what it will be like to be in the professional music world. “So There” was shown on the Disney XP channel, so we even have international fans because of that. Then we made a music video for “Tomorrow’s Saturday.”

What do you guys have in store for your fans?

We are working on a new album (our first one was Time You Awake), which will show a change in direction from the first album. For example, our music video “So There” was “Disney-esque” to help us get through the door, and now we are going to push for our unique sound as we are developing not only as musicians but also personalities. Our new album will show a new, more mature side of us. I believe our music is very unique with jazz flavor and sensibilities that others will enjoy.

We have been really successful, and we are so thankful. Our ultimate goal is to become huge and tour the world. We want to become the next American band while keeping our soul and sound intact to emphasize that we are well-trained musicians. We are all dedicated and are willing to do what it takes to reach the next level. And with some luck, our music will spread to many ears. We have so much exciting stuff coming up so keep checking our Facebook page (and friend us) for updates on our events and album. Listen to our single, “Good Things,” as it is a sneak peek into what our new album will sound like.

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