Student band to release CD

Allison Corneau

Music is alive at Quinnipiac, and members of student band Camera Shy Paparazzi are no strangers to campus fame because of it. Band members David Blanchard and Craig Castagna recently took home top honors at QU’s Open Mic Night, sponsored by WQAQ.

Both junior mass communications production majors, Blanchard and Castagna started performing together in Likewise, a campus band in which Blanchard covered vocals and Castagna played drums. When an urge came to experiment with various types of music, their new group, Camera Shy Paparazzi, was born.

Just as unique as their musical styling is their name, originally designated solely for Open Mic Night. Blanchard says the duo tossed around names such as “A Cosby Sweater” and “The Dead Pimps of New Haven” before settling on their current moniker. When the group was so well received at the WQAQ event, the name stuck.

Songwriting, however, is a consistent, collaborative effort, Castagna says. With Castagna hailing from New York, and Blanchard from Massachusetts, it was especially difficult over the summer for the musicians to get together to work on their songs. They communicated for the most part through letters and phone calls, where Blanchard and Castagna played songs they wrote on their own over the phone for each other to get feedback.

“The best songs are the ones that we write together,” Castagna said. “I’ve always felt a creative connection with Dave. The songwriting comes easily when I’m with him. Alone I struggle more.”

Castagna credits Blanchard for keeping his “creative juices going,” even when they can’t be writing together.

“I would receive a package in the mail from Dave with CDs, inspirational letters and various wacky ideas for our album,” he said, adding that one of the albums that sparked his interest was Fiona Apple’s disc, “When the Pawn…,” because it exposed him to a type of music he was not usually accustomed to.

Camera Shy Paparazzi have settled on 16 original tracks for their new album, “Sans Genre,” to be released in the next few months. Blanchard believes that the new CD will be a hit with listeners who enjoy their live shows.

“It’s a trip,” he said of the upcoming release. “If people have liked seeing us live, I think they’ll dig this. It has a lot of variety and no two tracks are alike. It’s a little mellower than our live show, partly because we come up with new versions of our songs for when we play live to make it entertaining.”

The group has already garnered praise for one of their hits, “Touch Me,” that is frequently played on WQAQ. Blanchard explained the fan reaction to this song:

“The only two times we’ve played it [live], people have been singing along and screaming like Craig [is] Paul McCartney or something,” he said.

Castagna and Blanchard will be performing as Camera Shy Paparazzi at a state-wide college battle of the bands on April 23. The concert will be held at the Sci-Fi Cafe in New Haven.

The duo is also currently accepting submissions for cover art to accompany their new album. Interested students can email Castagna or Blanchard at their respective Quinnipiac email addresses for more information.

“It’s a chance for creative people to showcase their work in a non-traditional way,” Blanchard said. “Any interpretations are accepted. Expand your mind and do what you want. That’s what Camera Shy Paparazzi is all about.”