Pride Month in June is a significant time of the year for the LGBTQ+ community, including its wealth of talented artists. Celebrated in a variety of ways, the event brings together millions of participants as they share in the impact that LGBTQ+ individuals have had on history locally, nationally and internationally. Addie Sartino is counted among these individuals.
Pride Month in June is a significant time of the year for the LGBTQ+ community, including its wealth of talented artists. Celebrated in a variety of ways, the event brings together millions of participants as they share in the impact that LGBTQ+ individuals have had on history locally, nationally and internationally.
Addie Sartino is counted among these individuals. The Kansas City-area native, along with her bandmates, comprise local band The Greeting Committee (TGC). Speaking of impact, TGC has made a huge splash on the vibrant Kansas City music scene and beyond. The group, which formed while its members attended Blue Valley High School in Overland Park, Kan., attracts raucous crowds not just at local venues, but on the road when opening for notable acts such as MisterWives, The Mowgli’s and Andrew McMahon—as well as playing major festivals such as Lollapalooza and SXSW.
As a member of the community with a platform, Sartino sees it as her responsibility to represent others—not just during Pride Month, but all year round.
“Pride is important to me as a queer woman because it’s a celebration for members of my community,” she said. “I’m very privileged in the sense that I’m straight-passing, so when I go into the community in general, I get to choose what I display of myself. Because I recognize that privilege, I always want to work really hard to fight for my fellow community members. One way I get to do that is through the band and the platform I’ve been given. I’ve always been really outspoken about all LGBTQ+ life in general.”
We caught up with Sartino following The Greeting Committee’s tour in support of the band’s latest album, Dandelion, which concluded with a spirited set at their hometown venue Uptown Theater.
You just put out your album last year. What are some of its major themes?
Sartino: I would say the overarching theme of Dandelion is the grieving process and all that goes into that: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance. I would say it’s that paired with the idea of watching your life instead of living it. So, all around not the happiest theme [laughs] but we try to pair that sadness with something you can dance to as well.
What was the process like putting this album together compared to your first one?
This was the hardest album to put together, whether that was because of pressures we were putting on ourselves or just facing writer’s block more that we normally had. We set higher expectations for ourselves than we ever had, so we probably had 50-60 ideas alone for this record and then had to slim it down to 10 songs. I just remember it being tougher than any other project we’ve done.
How do you feel it was received both critically and commercially?
I think it was received really well. Because we started so young and our music has been put out since we were 16 years old, fans get to see us grow in our music. The thing that I look for most when we put something out, is whether or not people have seen or appreciated the growth that we’ve gone through. To me, that makes Dandelion successful.
What are some of your musical influences or favorites artists/bands?
I would say my musical influences are probably Lorde, Hayley Williams from Paramore, The Killers, Death Cab for Cutie, The Strokes. Those are also my favorite artists. Taylor Swift is the most awesome, powerful, intelligent businesswoman. I really admire that. I really like Gracie Abrams right now, she’s a new act that I’m really interested in. Chappell Roan is really awesome, she’s been releasing new music again.
What’s it like being in a band that started in high school? Obviously there’s a lot of growth there.
Being in a band that started in high school has been really surreal, really phenomenal. Very high highs and very low lows. It’s a lot of growing up together and there’s growing apart with that and there’s growing together. We endured band therapy, we have always worked our hardest to put ourselves in the healthiest, best situations possible. With that has come really tough decisions, but also rewarding decisions. I think that who you are at 15-16 is obviously going to be different at 24-25.
Where did you come up with the name for the band?
Our guitarist Brandon [Yangmi]came up with the name. There’s a picture of John Lennon wearing a t-shirt that says, “The Greeting Committee,” and it’s a combination of that t-shirt and Brandon liking the word “greeting” from reading in his English classroom.
Describe your sound to someone who’s never heard you.
I always say, music with a groove that you can cry to.
Where do you see yourself as a band in five years?
I feel like if I had been asked that question a year ago the answer would have looked so different. I’m a big-picture person in general and plan very far ahead. So much has changed in the past six months alone that for the first time I can’t really answer that and there’s something really exciting about that. I’m very lucky to have been proven that no matter what obstacles arise for The Greeting Committee, there has somehow been a way for us to persist through it.
What’s next for The Greeting Committee now that you’ve put out an album and completed a tour?
We’ve got more shows coming up and we have more music to release for the deluxe edition of our album, so that’s really exciting. We’re looking at a fall tour. I don’t plan on slowing down anytime soon.
You’re involved with a program called Arts As Mentorship. How did that come about and what is the program’s mission?
Arts As Mentorship is a nonprofit that sets out to empower young people through music, to teach entrepreneurial skills, leadership skills, emotional intelligence, mental health education in general. The staple for the program is called the Rebel Song Academy, it’s 12-week programming, and that’s where Brandon really steps in. He works very directly with the kids. He built Art As Mentorship’s recording studio called The Lab. It’s inside InterUrban ArtHouse. He physically built that with his hands, so very proud of him for that. He had help of course, but he really led that, and watching him be a powerful leader not only in our band but in other groups has been really rewarding. I work on more of the business side and how to network through Kansas City to help get resources for those children that we work with. Our programming is typically targeted to 12–18-year-olds.