Though their music evokes past decades, The Narrative’s formation couldn’t be more 21st century: The duo met via Craigslist in 2006.
Suzie Zeldin, 26, who sings and plays the keys, called the ad a “psycho-rant,” but she said she was intrigued by the hilarious way her future bandmate was searching for people with whom to make music. What was even more fascinating, she said, was that they both happened to be from Bellmore and had even attended the same elementary, middle, and high schools.
“I can’t think of another band doing what we’re doing,” said singer and guitarist Jesse Gabriel, 27.
The two musicians, whose most popular song to date is “Eyes Closed,” don’t even like to place their music within any specific genre. They both agree it’s just “not that loud.”
Two years after its inception, The Narrative released its first record: “Just Say Yes.” The six-song CD introduced the band’s style, which mixed male and female vocals with soft rock. The second self-titled album features 13 songs and also incorporates some folk sounds.
The group has toured with Eisley, a rock band from Texas, performed in Warped Tour and traveled on smaller national tours.
“We mixed ‘Don’t Stop Believing’ into ‘Fade’ on one tour,” Gabriel said. “It was a hit.” The entire room sang along to the band’s song mixed with the Journey classic.
Back home, the two are working on album No. 3.
In a cozy Brooklyn apartment with instruments taking up a significant portion of the living room, the Long Island natives lounge around to take a break from recording and speak about their upcoming project.
“It’s more explorative,” Gabriel said. “We pushed certain angles harder,” he said of the album in the works.
The third album will keep the same mix of vocals that fans enjoy, Zeldin added. It will also have more harmonies, plus strings and horns.
“We are definitely hoping to reach a wider audience with this new record,” she said of the project, which will feature a fairly diverse group of songs.
The group is working alongside Bryan Russell, who has produced all the records to date. While Russell has worked with several other Long Island bands, including NGHBRS, he said his relationship with The Narrative is a bit different.
“When you know the artist well enough, you trust ears,” he said. “You can have a more successful collaboration.”
While a two-person band is less common than larger ensembles, the pair said the arrangement works well for them.
“Suzie and I are typically on the same page,” Gabriel said. “At this point, bringing someone else in the decision-making process will be counterintuitive.”
And she agrees: “There’s something special of a two-person dynamic.”
Still, with only two members it means the duo has a lot on their plates. They work hard to juggle various band responsibilities, including selling merchandise, which both members ship themselves.
While they have a great relationship with their fans and even send them personalized thank you letters, Gabriel and Zeldin agree being signed to a label would be helpful.
But, even without a label, The Narrative will continue to make music.
“At least with us, we want to keep doing this as long as our hearts are into it,” Zeldin said.