At the beginning of the month, Columbus said goodbye to two powerful forces in the Ohio State musician community. Sierra Mollenkopf, who started First Responder, moved to New York City for a graduate program at NYU, and joining her is Cameron Carr, the man behind the band Trying.

Although the duo will certainly be busy in the coming year with school and work, neither has plans to stop making music. In fact, both First Responder and Trying are currently in the process of creating new releases.

Photo by Joel Ruby.

Whether First Responder’s new material will be recorded as the band’s first full-length or several EPs is still up in the air. However, Mollenkopf made sure to record lead guitar and drum tracks before leaving Columbus to avoid pricey studio time, so anything that’s left can be done in a studio apartment. 

“I’m excited because Cameron’s here with me, and he’s got all of his recording equipment,” said Mollenkopf. She’s sad to record without drummer Zayn Dweik, who was always “super amped” in the studio during the band’s first EP, but she’s enthusiastic about what’s to come.

In an ideal world, Mollenkopf would be able to keep working with that band from Columbus. Unfortunately, since that isn’t really an option, she plans to finish school before seriously looking for new members. 

“If I want to start a full band project again, I want to be able to really dedicate my time to be present,” she said. First Responder began as a solo project, and Sierra said that she’d like to play a few shows alone or with Cameron, who played guitar for First Responder in Columbus, while she’s still at NYU.

Photo by Collins Laatsch.

Trying, Carr’s solo project, operates a little differently: unlike a “traditional” band, he records nearly every instrument by himself. For live shows, a talented few join Cameron onstage. Since the plan was always to leave Ohio after graduation, he spent a lot of time looking for collaborators who wouldn’t mind only performing live. “In Columbus, my experience was pretty awesome, where some people were really excited to be involved even if they weren’t at the center of things,” Carr said.

Although it’s technically Cameron’s project, the Columbus band did have a big part in the personality and presentation of Trying – Kelsey Yappel designed all of the merch, for example, and the little figures that adorn most of it are her trademark. 

The goal for Trying’s new album is early 2018. Despite having the recording done, Carr wants time to get settled into their new apartment before adding the finishing touches. Until then, however, you can listen to Trying’s recent EP, titled “21”.

I’m experimenting to a certain extent with doing an elongated single sort of thing, so essentially we have “21” out first, which is a single with very little details about the album, and it comes with one bonus track that we’ve been playing live and an alternate version of one of the songs that’ll be on the album,” said Carr about the EP. “So it’s not stuff that will be on the album, but it’s like, ‘Here’s a single and here’s some other stuff to make it a little bit chunkier.'”

Although they miss the close-knit DIY community and the Olentangy River Trail in Columbus, both Cameron and Sierra are excited about the new city. Sierra is happy to report that despite cold stereotypes about New Yorkers, there’s a sense of community among strangers, and that everybody looks like they belong – including the city’s newest talented musical duo.

Originally published on Indientry on August 24, 2017.