German Village Gazette

Soul Monsters

Local musicians hope their jingle wins contest

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JENNIFER NOBLIT/THISWEEKNEWS
Members of Soul Monsters (from left), Joe Yamakawa, Hiro Passalacqua, Tatsumi Suenaga, Alan Becker and Chris Culbertson recorded and filmed a jingle and video for Folgers that made it to the top 10 in a national contest.
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Acting grumpy in the morning wasn't a stretch for most of the members of Soul Monsters when they filmed a jingle video for a Folgers coffee contest.

The performance by the band that includes four Dublin graduates must have been convincing, because the group made it to the top 10 in the national contest and has a chance to win $25,000 and a mentoring session with Gavin DeGraw.

The video that receives the most online votes will win.

"The general idea of Hiro (Passalacqua) being all happy and everyone else being grumpy, that's like it is anyways," said Alan Becker, a 2007 Dublin Coffman High School graduate who filmed and produced the video for the band. "He's always happy."

"I'm a terrible actor," Passalacqua agreed.

Soul Monsters, which includes 2010 Centennial High School graduate Passalacqua, 2010 Coffman graduate Chris Culbertson, 2011 Dublin Scioto High School graduate Joe Yamakawa and Tatsumi Suenaga, who graduated from Coffman last year, has been together for more than two years, although the last year has been spent without a drummer.

"We're missing a drummer who's on a year-long service project," Passalacqua said.

Soul Monsters got together at the Unification Church of Columbus.

"We know each other because we go to church together," Culbertson said.

"Hiro and I started playing music with each other five or six years ago. Joe and Tatsumi also had a band and we came together for an open-mic night."

The band meets once a week at Passalacqua's residence in northwest Columbus to practice and often plays together at church.

They also play occasional gigs, including an upcoming show June 28 at the Basement.

The band includes guitars, a bass and ukulele and its members play alternative rock.

At shows, the group performs some original songs and covers of the Strokes, Black Keys and Incubus.

Yamakawa heard about the Folgers jingle contest on a commercial and the band decided to go for it.

The song was written in three sessions and recorded, then the video was shot.

"We recorded the song five or six times and used the track we liked," Culbertson said.

"We had a meeting to talk about it and filmed here in five or six hours," he said. "Alan went home and edited it."

The band also appointed Becker the leader for the project.

He received the call from Folgers about making the top 10 while he was in class.

"I was trying not the freak out in class," he said.

Band members attend Columbus State Community College and Ohio State University, and keep busy with music and work.

Culbertson said he's been working to promote their Folgers jingle full time and even filmed a jingle about the jingle.

"I emailed (OSU President) Gordon Gee," he said. "He posted it on Facebook and Twitter. He emailed me back."

Culbertson and Passalacqua won a Dublin Idol contest in 2010 with a performance. Culbertson is hoping to see that repeated with the Folgers contest.

"I hope the Dublin community will support us," he said. "You can vote once a day."

To see the Soul Monsters Folgers jingle and vote, visit folgerscoffee.com/folgers-jingle/finalist/chris-c.

Other songs by the band can be found on the SoulMonstersMusic YouTube channel.

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