Snowday: Locals With An Online Music Connection

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Kia Eshghi and Jonathan Foster pulled two chairs up to a table at the Southampton Veteran’s Hall. They sat down next to each other and smiled—almost in unison.“It’s actually kind of funny,” Mr. Eshghi said, settling into his seat.

“Yeah, so …” Mr. Foster started. “Well, you go ahead, Kia.”

“You sure?”

“Yeah, yeah. You tell it.”

Mr. Eshghi leaned back, took a deep breath and set the scene: Boston, 2004. They were two lone musicians in a busy city with dreams of making it big.

They just didn’t know each other yet.

“I was trying to do my first band as a singer-songwriter,” Mr. Eshghi said. “So I did the Craigslist thing, which was totally not weird then.”

“You wouldn’t get contacted by Nigerian scam artists,” Mr. Foster deadpanned.

“Exactly,” his friend agreed. “He answered my ad looking for a guitar player or, basically, a co-songwriter.”

They exchanged music demo files online and clicked immediately, the men reminisced. They bonded over similar tastes and styles; they wrote each other emails, chatted via AOL Instant Messenger and, eventually, Facebook.

For four years.

Not once meeting in person. Or realizing they both had ties to Hampton Bays, where their families both have homes.

“We still didn’t get together out here,” Mr. Eshghi said of the East End. “Jon first came to my parents’ house in Roslyn to record. We had both just so happened to move back to New York around the same time.”

It was a winter day in 2008. Mr. Foster walked up to the front stoop of Mr. Eshghi’s house. He was nervous when he knocked.

There was so much buildup, the musician said. This moment was a long time coming.

When Mr. Eshghi opened the door, a formal handshake quickly dissolved into a “bro hug,” they said. Then, they got to work.

The tracks they laid down that day were the fodder for their melodic pop-rock band, Snowday, which will perform on Saturday, December 28, at the “People Say …” open mic night above the space that formerly housed Avanti Culinary Market and Citarella in Water Mill. The group also includes drummer Ernesto Karolys and five vocalists, who also cover instrumentals: Ed Marks on keyboard, Michelle Iwaszkiewicz on glockenspiel and percussion, Julian Cassia and Mr. Foster on guitar, and producer Mr. Eshghi on bass.

The Snowday experience is a far cry from Mr. Eshghi’s days playing guitar with the hardcore metal band Unearth. Not to mention his roots: trombone at boarding school in western Massachusetts.

“My parents were just like, ‘Dude, this is not cool,’” he said, and then, in a Persian accent, mimicking the accent of his mother and father, “‘Kia-Jaan, why don’t you play the guitar? It is so much better and sexy and good.’ And I was, like, ‘Burrp, burrp, burrp,’” he pantomimed playing the horn.

“‘This is sexy, too, Mom,’” Mr. Foster said, impersonating his bandmate.

“My parents were, like, ‘No, you have to stop,’” Mr. Eshghi continued. “They made me pick up guitar. I was like, ‘Ugh, come on.’ And then it ended up being my life.”

He laughed with Mr. Foster, who started on guitar at the same age. But for the Southampton High School graduate, keyboard came first.

“I was 8 and it was like, this big,” he held his hands about a foot apart, “with eight keys. But I remember that really doing something for me. My mom actually got it for my sister and I hijacked it. I was just really in love with it right away.”

“So you ruined your sister’s music career,” Mr. Eshghi said.

“Yes, I did.”

Mr. Foster started writing early, albeit mostly in his head. When he finally put his songs down on paper, and his music page on the website Band Camp—where Snowday’s most recent single, “Prickerbush,” is now available for free download—they caught the attention of one Leonard Jackson, who was interested in representing the recording artist in movies and television through his start-up music company Bleed101.

Mr. Foster was immediately suspicious.

“I Googled his stuff and nothing came back,” he said. “I wrote back an email and was like, ‘I can’t find anything on you,’ and I just let it go. A few months later, I was going through my emails and I saw that again. I Googled him then and there was his website, like, ‘Placed songs on this TV show and this TV show.’ I was like, ‘Oh, shit.’ I had written him, kind of, a curt email. So I wrote back to him, at that point, and was a lot sweeter that time.”

It was enough to win Mr. Jackson over. On July 8, Snowday’s demo “Trireme” appeared on ABC Family’s hour-long drama series, “The Fosters”—the group’s first brush with success.

“That was a great introduction to the world,” Mr. Eshghi said. “Here’s Snowday in a mainstream environment.”

“It makes people take a little more notice,” Mr. Foster said. “It just makes them more willing to listen to what you’re doing. I feel like a lot of people need some validation to think that something’s good.”

“Or they just need to be exposed to it,” the producer added.

Recently, the band has revisited “Snowday 2008,” a folder stored on Mr. Foster’s computer of the songs the pair recorded at Mr. Eshghi’s house in Roslyn all those years ago.

Nearly a decade later, they are finally being finished.

“Snowday’s been a weird morph into what it is now. We never really went back to talk about it,” Mr. Foster mused. “I’m just really excited working with you, in general.”

“Same, same,” Mr. Eshghi said. “I don’t think we knew this would be something. I think we definitely started talking to each other with the potential that we might work together.”

“It was so casual at first,” Mr. Foster said.

“But when I look back, because none of it was planned, I don’t think I would have guessed that this would have happened,” Mr. Eshghi said.

“Ten years later,” Mr. Foster said. “We’re just two guys who really like to make music. It’s just kind of working out.”

And this is only the beginning, now that they’re offline—for the most part.

“Still, we don’t even talk on the phone,” Mr. Foster said.

“Not even kidding you, our main method of communication is still online,” Mr. Eshghi said.

“Some things never change,” Mr. Foster said.

For a free download of “Prickerbush,” visit snowdaymusic.bandcamp.com.

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