By Natalie Ahlers
Saint Augustine has never seen a group quite like the Mystery Bunch. The newly formed band consists of Skyler Robinson, Erick Villalobos, Ian Bunch, Tim Kelley, Alexander Biel and Evan Ulsh. They were drawn together by their shared love of music and desire to make people happy, according to guitarist Eric Villalobos.
The band plays a wide variety of music ranging from Eminem and Jay Z to Bob Marley. They also throw in some originals in their set, as each band member writes music. "You can’t put our sound into one genre or category,” says Villalobos. They describe themselves as high energy and interactive, taking inspiration from artists Roy Hargrove, Bob Marley, Stevie Wonder, Peter Frampton, Bill Withers and many more. The band is motivated by the music scene in Saint Augustine and admires local artists like Chillula, The Space Heaters, Kapowski, and Evan D Music to name a few.
Mystery Bunch was spontaneously conceived at an open mic event despite never having played together as a band. They were immediately approached by local venue owners and offered gigs in the area. As for the name, “The Mystery Bunch,” it derived from a combination of the drummer’s last name and their unpredictable music style. They have since played at venues including Planet Sarbez and Colonial Oak.
Since they are still working out the kinks of being a new band, some challenges have occurred, which include finding the time and place to rehearse. “We live in a gated community where the average age is 85-90, so they don’t love to hear drums banging,” says Skyler Robinson. “It’s hard to play drums quietly, and our drummer Ian, he loves to play loud.”
As for the future, they are hard to nail down as the name suggests. They have no concrete plans but are savoring the experiences of evolving and being a new band. “We’re not a big band, we don’t have a set tour date coming up, but we all have a reason to play and love music,” says Skyler. “We’re looking to tighten up and just get better as we go.”