When one thinks of teen and tween musicians, thoughts may immediately go toward middle school marching bands or young people playing three-chord cover songs in their parents’ garage. This is something the kids of Konkussion are looking to change. Members Noa and Ella Pourmoradi, 13-year-old twins from Great Neck and Sea Cliff’s Ava and Wes Petersen, 13 and 10 respectively, have come together to create a punk band unlike any other, and they will be taking their talents to Still Partners in Sea Cliff on Dec. 1.
Denise Petersen, Ava and Wes’s mother, said her children grew up around music. Their father, Wes, has played in rock bands his whole life, and the tradition of music on that side of the family goes back for generations. From the time they were young children, the Petersens would bring their children to all of the concerts they attended, which included metal bands like Iron Maiden and punk acts like Rancid.
While their parents are not musicians, the Pourmoradi twins were also raised around music, having taken classes since they were six months old. Their mother, Melody, brought them to a local JCC, where they chose to play in the program’s rock band. There, they met Eitan Prouser, a band coach from the Bach to Rock music school in Port Washington. He encouraged them to enter into the school, and about three years after doing so, they met their band mates, who had begun attending Bach to Rock shortly before.
Since then, Konkussion has been rocking North Shore venues and Battle of the Bands competitions with Ella on vocals and synthesizers, Noa on guitar, Ava on bass and Wes on percussion. Wes came up with the name as they were throwing ideas around, noting that it would be cool to have the “K”s facing each other in the official logo.
In their three years together, they have performed in front audiences reaching over 500 people, not once cracking under the pressure.
“They inspire me,” Denise said, “because to be that young and to be able to get up in front of hundreds of people . . . and with such confidence and such love and passion, it’s like a dream.”
“It’s amazing to watch my girls and these two other amazing kids every day to do something they love so much,” Melody said.
The band mates join Prouser at Bach to Rock once a week, where he helps them pick out songs to play, arrange their original works and share what needs to be tightened. Of all 14 bands he coaches, he said Konkussion is one of the most special, and that even high school students are impressed by their abilities.
“Pound for pound, I think they are potentially my best band,” said Prouser, “but that’s partially because Wes weighs 60 pounds.”
As much as the people around the band may enjoy everything it has done, nobody is happier with the progress Konkussion has made than its band members. Noa said she looks forward to their practices all week. When she is at school, she said that people tend not to understand the musical side of her, so she is thrilled to be a part of something where people empathize with that part of her life.
Ella said that the band is like a family, and the music it plays allows its members to set themselves apart from others. “It’s a different way of expressing yourself,” she said. “It lets you be different from everyone else. That’s very important to me — I like to be different from everyone.”
Wes, a fifth-grader at Sea Cliff Elementary School, said he always knew he wanted to play drums, since he had heard his father play in their basement thousands of times. Denise said it took Ava a little while to settle on an instrument, but after picking up the bass a few years ago, she fell in love. Ava, an eighth-grader at North Shore Middle School, said it blows her mind that she gets to do something she loves with her brother and her best friends.
“I get to express who I am and just have fun with it,” she said. “There’s no rules in music. I can do whatever I want and express myself in a way that isn’t something that comes up every day.”
Wes said his age is not a factor in the way he plays — he plays drums as hard as anyone he knows. He loves music, he said, because of the power he feels behind it. That power sometimes means he does not know what will happen next, giving it sort of a surprise feel that he loves.
Although they are still young and have plenty of time to work on their futures, each member of Konkussion said that music is something they can see themselves doing for the rest of their lives. And according to the people around them, this is a very realistic possibility.
“They can go as far as they want to,” Prouser said. “If they keep up and they build their energy and they develop their original material, I think they can go far because they want it so bad.”
“We just want everyone to know that we love what we do,” Ava said, “and we wouldn’t trade it for the world.”
Konkussion will perform at Still Partners, 225 Sea Cliff Ave., Sea Cliff, on Dec. 1 at 1 p.m. Admission is free.