Indie Rock band Fort Vine members perform in SURC pit

Nick Oliver, Staff Reporter

Alumna Nyna Nelson returns to Central to perform with band member Trevor Tunison from their indie-rock band Fort Vine.

Nelson and Tunison will perform without two members of the band, Luke Markham and Kenny Johnson.

Tunison was initially exposed to art through his family.

“My father was a sculptor, that’s how he raised our family,” Tunison said. “My mother is also a singer, a painter and an artist as well.”

After college, Tunison moved to New York City in the fall of 2010 to pursue a music career, where he roomed with eventual band member, Nelson.

Nelson had graduated from Central in 2011 with a musical theatre performance degree. She even went on tour with the Central theatre department in Europe.

“I didn’t even get to walk at graduation,” Nelson said. “I was in Europe on tour doing a musical theatre review show.”

Shortly after graduating, Nelson moved to New York with hopes of being on Broadway.

After moving to New York, Nelson met Trevor Tunison’s brother, Westley Tunison, while auditioning for a musical. Nelson needed a place to live and Westley Tunison offered her a room.

“I was like ‘Hi, I’m Nyna and I need a place to live,’ and he was like ‘Hi I’m Westley come live with me,’” Nelson said.

Shortly after Nelson moved in with the Tunison brothers, Nelson and Trevor Tunison discovered they had a knack for not only writing music together, but also for building forts.

“Trevor would play music in his room all the time and I would poke my head in and say ‘oh that sounds nice,’” Nelson said. “Then one day he was like hey I’m building a fort.”

Trevor Tunison found a collapsed tree by the Hudson River, where the public isn’t necessarily supposed to be.

“I was missing the country, because I grew up in Upstate New York and I was basically surrounded by woods,” Tunison said. “So when I first moved to the city I would escape to this small spot of woods in Manhattan.”

Trevor Tunison realized that this fallen tree could be hollowed out and made into a fort, so he bought a hack saw from the hardware store. Shortly after, Trevor Tunison and Nelson began to make a fort.

That tree would become the fort which would ultimately inspire the band’s name: Fort Vine.

Fort Vine’s debut album, “One In The Same” was released this year and the album was fully funded by Fort Vine’s fans.

Trevor said “We knew it was going to cost a lot to do our album the way we wanted to, and to have it professionally mixed and mastered. So we decided to run a Kickstarter campaign.”

Family, friends and fans went to to donate to the cause and as a result, the band raised over three thousand dollars. It was enough to have the album professionally mixed and recorded in Brooklyn, and even to pay for the packaging of the album.

“We were very humbled by the amount of support people showed us through that Kickstarter campaign,” Nelson said.

The indie-rock album has a wide range in terms of musical aesthetic; some songs are almost free form poetry while other songs have a good rock sense to them.

“I would really just describe our sound as indie-rock. Our sound varies from song to song,” Trevor Tunison said. “Lately we have been playing a lot of songs that have a folk-ish vibe to them, and then we play songs that have a straight soulful feel to them.”

In the three years that they have been playing together, Nelson and Trevor Tunison said that their sound has changed a lot and that they like to experiment.

Last May, they did a video series on YouTube called “A Song a Day in the Month of May” in which they wrote and recorded a new song for every day in the month of May; something they hope to do each year.