Get off the Couch! Interview with funk-soul band Couch – Lea Zaharoni

Couch is a band with a long history and an exciting future — blending pop, funk, soul, and a handful of other genres, the septet has had a busy 2022. In the midst of a tour, they’ve released three singles, some of which were written over FaceTime during the pandemic. Danny Silverston (keys), Zach Blankstein (guitar/bass), and Jared Gozinsky (drums) talked with WBRS about their already dense career and plans for the future.


What’s the deal with the band name?


Zach: We formed when I had a concussion — a pretty bad one — so when we first started meeting up it was in my basement in the dark on a couch. It became the home for songwriting and for becoming friends with each other, and hanging out was largely, well, on the couch. 


You’ve talked before about being a long-distance band by the time you all were in college — how did you all meet before then?


Danny: Zach was assembling a crew of jazz and funk musicians in the greater Boston area — for example, I’ve been playing Jewish music with Zach for many years. We were going to the same temple. So I called some musicians at Wellesley that I knew, who were Will (Griffin, bass) and Jeff (Pinsker-Smith, trumpets and brass). There were a bunch of different iterations of the bands way back when we were in high school. Tema (Siegel, vocals) went to high school with me, and Jared went to George Washington University with Zach, but everyone else is from Boston. 


Zach: I think there was a concept for Couch going into college, but it was largely the band that preceded Couch — it became an offshoot of that band. The initial idea was to build the East Coast version of these West Coast music collectives with rotating rosters that we’ve admired, like Scary Pockets. There’s these staple music directors to each group, but it’s really exciting to ask, who’s singing on this one? Who’s playing guitar on that one? We wanted to create our own Boston version of that within our community network and friends. 


Did growing up in Boston inform the band?


Danny: So many people in our network are from Berklee. The most quintessential Allston funk band that no longer exists was the Jeb Bush Orchestra. We were fairly close with their management, and Zach definitely fostered some relationship with them and that helped get us into that scene. 


How does it feel to grow in popularity after starting out as friends playing together for fun?


Zach: It’s exciting and surprising when we get any listenership. There’s no guarantee that putting something out results in people listening to it. I think we’ve been extremely lucky. We’re making art to fulfill ourselves as people but also to satisfy what we hope is some desire for this type of music out there. It feels like when people listen to the music, it satisfies both our creative desires as well as how we hope it’ll be consumed.


Does it feel like you’ve “made it?”


Jared: Well, we don’t have the blue check mark yet. In all seriousness, the “we made it” moment is the freedom and the ability for us all to be able to do it full time, or when Couch becomes our full time job. 


Danny: This summer we got to open for Lake Street Dive, which was a really great opportunity, and we got a million streams — but I think conceptually that is not the framework we’re operating in. We’re playing bigger and bigger venues each time, so at what point do you say that you’ve made it? When you’re playing the Royale, or TD Garden? From our perspective there’s this constant grind of going through the motions, and it does yield really exciting things. 


Zach: I like the visual of a snowball — with momentum, it just gets bigger and bigger as it goes. Maybe some snow falls off, and it’s two steps forward and one step back. We’re young at this, and a lot of what we have done for the past year, especially with getting to tour, is making mistakes and then doing it better the next time. 


It’s clear that Couch is a group of people who really love each other. It just so happens that they’re also extremely talented and passionate. The music is at the forefront, but behind it is a real and wholesome companionship that has carried them to great creative triumphs, and will surely continue to do so. 

Follow them on Instagram at @couch.theband and their website to keep up with new tour dates and releases. Danny designates their most recent single, “Saturday,” as “the best, most funky, most danceable tune.”