Common Interest’s first performance endorsed by audience


Tam Vu Chi '24

(Left to Right) Daniel Tyebkhan ’23, Olivia Brand ’23, Vu Le ’23, Cray Case ’25 (in the back), and Max Taylor ’23 perform in front of the Schaffer Library Plaza. They are known as Common Interest, and they deliberately chose songs that have a sustainability-related message.

Jing Chen, Co-Editor-in-Chief

Earth Day at Union culminated with lively cheers from the crowd to Common Interest, a band consisting of five Union College students from diverse backgrounds. This recently born band comprises vocalist Olivia Brand ‘23, drummer Cray Case ‘25, guitarists Vu Le ‘23 and Daniel Tyebkhan ‘23, and bassist Max Taylor ‘23. Common Interest kicked off its first formal performance for Earth Day, received with astonishment, excitement, and appreciation from the audience. 

While each member comes from a different part of the world, they find their community on this very campus. Brand and Case come from the east coast states of Vermont and Connecticut and Tyebkhan from California on the west coast. Le is from Vietnam and Taylor is an exchange student from the United Kingdom. Their academic interests diverge as widely as their hometowns, ranging from humanities to STEM. Taylor admits that “we all have different backgrounds,” and when asked what brings them together, the answer boils down to their commonly shared interest—music.  

The brand initially sprouted in the fall term of this year as normalcy slowly restored. Le has always known Tyebkhan as a first-year and met Brand, Case, and Taylor through professors and classes. These casual acquaintances quickly evolved to form a tight-knit, tacit relationship this year.   

Each member of Common Interest feels the unspoken synergy in the band. When asked what the atmosphere is like in the band, Brand expresses that everyone is “unique” in their own ways. Le adds that “we’re all very different people, but when we come together, everyone has a role.” Taylor describes each person’s energy in the band, starting with “Olivia as the pop perk, Cray with the funky beats, me having the punk grifts, Dan giving the wind mellow, and Vu as the person who brought us together.” Brand agrees with Taylor’s feelings, remarking that Le is “definitely the heart of the team.”

As the band meets and practices more often, Taylor notices that “the chemistry has really improved over time and we’re all growing as musicians together.” Brand responds with a parallel message, noticing that “when we first started playing, we all had our own styles… But now we learn how to play together and use nonverbal cues to read each other, and now we are in sync, coming together, and riding the wave.” 

Besides the musical aspects, each member grasps important skills including teamwork, communication, and leadership. Tyebkhan explains that “everyone’s open to receiving feedback and switching up what they’re doing,” to which Case echoes that this “makes it easy playing to each other.” Vu feels the same way, revealing that “we’ve come a long way. Getting together was hard, but we found out how everyone could listen to each other.”

This is the first-ever public showcase of Common Interest, and as Case indicates, Common Interest is “definitely open to doing more campus-wide school events.” To support the cause of sustainability and environmentalism, the team “chose songs that fit the vibe.” They see music as a “powerful tool” that can “be used in so many ways” for “good purpose and cause.” They also show their appreciation toward WRUC’s Managing Director Maya Gempler ‘23, thanking her for “letting us use the equipment and being very supportive about it.” 

For musical inquiries, Common Interest can be reached on Instagram

Common Interest with the audience and the Nott Memorial (Tam Vu Chi ’24)
Common Interest and the crowd. (Trey Everett )