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Evan Schwartz on Playing God Polyphia Cover  

By Emma Dognin  

On March 8th and 9th, the Songwriter’s Club hosted its cover showcase. Musicians performed their original takes on songs by some of their favorite artists. Performances ranged from Skyler Rosen’s impressively speedy cover of “Stick Season” by Noah Kahan, which bore a likeness to Olivia Rodrigo’s cover of the song, to Hayley Brick’s precise cover of “Feeling Good” by Nina Simone. All performances were unique and showcased the talent of the performers. However, one cover received an abundant amount of praise and went viral on YouTube, receiving upwards of 72K views: Evan Schwartz’s cover of Polyphia’s “Playing God.” 

Evan performed with band mates Matt Welling (drums), Casey Flusser (bass), and Christian Sese (2nd guitar). The piece bore an uncanny similarity to the original in technique, exuding an atmospheric fever dream feeling. I was able to interview Evan Schwartz on his relationship with music and his cover’s success.  

Evan described how Polyphia is his favorite band and he has been listening to them for the past couple years. “I heard about them in 2016…but I really started listening to them at the start of high school, and when 'Playing God' was released…I was like this is just the greatest song ever, and I said to myself, I’m gonna learn it and I practiced it for like a year straight…my dream was to be able to perform it sometime, and I was finally able to achieve that,” he said.  

Evan plays four instruments: he has been playing piano for ten years, bass for approximately seven years and guitar for about five years, and he taught himself drums. He is a committee member of the Songwriter’s Club and is a part of the Lagond Music School in Elmsford.  

“I’ve been going there (Lagond Music School) since 2018, and that’s kind of where I started learning bass. I picked up the bass in sixth grade, I played bass in a band there…but then I switched to piano…I was taking lessons with a private teacher, and it was kind of classical, but I wanted to start doing jazz and funk. The piano is kind of my main thing at the school…In 6th grade, I was in a really big heavy metal phase, [I loved] Iron Maiden, KISS, Metallica, Megadeth…that was kind of the inspiration for starting bass, and from there I branched out to guitar and drums,” he said.  

He explained some of the things he loves most about music. “I like all genres. I’ve always listened to all sorts of music. I appreciate music for the craft and the hard work any sort of artist puts into it. But if I had to pick [a genre], I’d say instrumental rock, throughout my high school years that’s been my favorite, instrumental, progressive metal. I always listen to the instruments,” he said.  

He also makes his own music and described making a studio in his basement during COVID, where he records stuff and comes up with song ideas.  

“I’ve been playing music my whole life, I’ve been raised with it, my dad’s a musician. My dad plays guitar and bass. Ever since I was little, I was always playing music. My dad was exposing me to it as much as he could…and that influenced my love for it,” he said.  

When asked about the aesthetic he tries to portray with his sound he said, “I would say futuristic. I love really modern sounding music, I’d like to write complicated things; I find that really fun. I always appreciate the intricacies and the complexities of songs.”  

After high school he wants to major in business and study finance but discussed the debate between majoring in music or business, and how he plans on doing a music minor. He described being interested in producing and music technology and hopes to continue pursuing music. He concluded by encouraging people to follow their passions.  

Be sure to check out more Songwriters Club Performances on their YouTube Page: The Songwriters Club at White Plains HS. The next showcase will be May 17th and 18th —buy tickets to see original songs! 


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