Patrick Linehan

Student band NONEWFRIENDS. on making friendship and music

group of bandmembers on a rooftop in syracuse

On a Saturday morning this August, a soul-full sound emanates from the second floor of a dilapidated house on Ackerman Avenue. A keen listener can pick out the keyboard, guitar, bass, saxophone, and lead vocals that make up NONEWFRIENDS., a band comprised of five Syracuse University students, Elizabeth Stuart ’22, Jack Harrington ’22, Jackson Siporin ’22, Peter Groppe ’22, and Scott Greenblatt ’21.

Since forming two years ago, the band has grown a following. They have 1,200 Instagram followers, 94,000 total Spotify streams ( and thousands of views on music and lyric videos. They released their most recent song, The Hook, two weeks ago on Apple Music and Spotify, and it has been streamed over 3,000 times. They plan to release two more singles before the end of the year, all while working on a longer EP.

“I think that anyone could be doing this,” said Jackson Siporin, the band’s saxophone player and co-founder. “We don’t spend any money.”

The band’s name originated their first year when the members felt like they hadn’t made any new friends in their first semester at SU. In the years that followed, the name has become somewhat ironic. Siporin says that in addition to the talented musicians, the group has recruited dozens of talented photographers, designers, videographers, publicists, and students with social media experience from across the university.

“There are the people in the band, but there are so many more,” said Siporin. “We created a community in and outside of the shows. From the people holding up the lights in the videos to those singing backup, it’s accessible if you create a collective that cares.”

Siporin says that the key to building this type of collective is to make people feel like they are a part of something, and make it known that they have a stake in it too. He says that any success the band has is shared by everyone that had a hand in it, from the lead singer to the graphic designer who made the cover art.

But many hands don’t necessarily make light work. Siporin and the other band members remember staying in Belfer Archives, Laboratory and Studio, part of SU Libraries, until 2:00 a.m. many nights last spring.  

“We would spend 3 hours listening to the same 10 seconds,” Siporin said. “But that’s just the music industry.”

The hard works pays off when the song is a hit though. After releasing their first song, “Already Gone,” on a Thursday night last December, they played a show Friday night. When Elizabeth Stuart sang the lyrics, which were written by Peter Groppe, everyone in the room sang with her. Siporin looked at Groppe as they played in front of the room filled with people and smiled.

“I’m never going to forget that moment. To have one person sing back a lyric you wrote in your bedroom,” Siporin said. “That feeling is amazing.”

Now part of the band lives together, and COVID-19 has put any in-person shows on hold. But, the group still practices weekly, writing new songs together and learning covers. They are producing videos for the upcoming song releases and working on building a following on TikTok. They plan to sell merch with the band’s logo, and they are also looking to recruit a drummer to join them.

Siporin has no intention of slowing down and has big dreams for the future of the band.

“If I go on a Europe tour with NONEWFRIENDS., I’d be satisfied,” he said.

Story by Patrick Linehan ‘21, LaunchPad Global Fellow

Patrick Linehan ‘21 has always been a storyteller

student in a snowy landscape
Patrick Linehan joins the LaunchPad as a Global Fellow this academic year

Stories have long been the way I process the world. When I first learned to write, I would staple together pieces of computer paper to form handwritten ‘novels.’ I later graduated to Microsoft Word, where my adolescent self would pen ill-conceived characters based on a suburban understanding of the world and whatever novel I had read most recently. When I made it to high school, I suppressed this love of storytelling, opting instead to participate in activities that, in my mind, would result in an acceptance letter from the country’s best colleges. Though I was constantly busy running from a club to work to school to volunteering, I didn’t like myself very much.

After a year at Syracuse, I reconnected with my childhood love for storytelling. This time, though, I realized that the world is already filled with stories. Every person I pass has a complex background worthy of being heard. So I started listening.

That started with a transfer into Newhouse, where I now study Newspaper and Online Journalism in addition to Policy Studies in Maxwell.

I started taking up projects I cared about. I worked with a band on campus, NONEWFRIENDS., who have since become some of my closest friends. I wrote stories for The Daily Orange about housing discrimination, labor policy, and systemic racism. I headed the Shaw Center’s public relations efforts, making videos and writing stories about their incredible work throughout the community. I produced a podcast about an activist in Syracuse, which is part of an award winning series.

And last fall, I got on a plane at Boston Logan to start my trip to Rabat, Morocco. There, I studied journalism under the country’s best. I heard my host-mother’s stories through our limited understanding of each other’s languages. I passed hot afternoons sipping mint tea with the most amazing people I have ever met, Morocco’s LGBTQ activists, who speak their truth in a country that has criminalized them for who they love or their gender identity. Together, we worked on a video to tell their story in a safe and respectful way. We are still friends.

It was through that experience, at 21 years old, that I finally got the courage to say something that I myself had long been pushing down: “I’m gay.”

When I arrived back in the states, I was geared up to start my next project, a deep dive into America’s juvenile justice system with dozens of student reporters from around the country with News21. The project, which investigated a wide range of issues with the system, took 8 months and will be published this week. It was all produced remotely.

These projects, which have brought me deep joy and catalyzed me to grow personally, are just the beginning of what’s possible in a world teeming with stories begging to be heard. And I am excited that Blackstone LaunchPad, the glass box on the first floor of Bird library, is my next outlet, starting this fall as a new Global Fellow and digital storyteller.

So, I’ll continue to tell stories and get better at it each step of the way. But, instead of the computer paper novels that started it all, it will be computer screens broadcasting my words to the world.

Story by Patrick Linehan ’21, LaunchPad Global Fellow

S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications – Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Newspaper & Online Journalism and Policy Studies