The Student News Site of Sonoma State University

Sonoma State Star

The Student News Site of Sonoma State University

Sonoma State Star

The Student News Site of Sonoma State University

Sonoma State Star

NoVice uplifts artistic community of Sonoma County

In the fall of 2021, Armando Ramos met Josiah Aaron Pel, and now they inspire young musicians to follow their dreams.
Courtesy+%7C+Armando+Ramos
Courtesy | Armando Ramos

On Saturday, March 9, local band NoVice hosted a musician’s showcase at SSU. The event, which featured themselves and three artists from the local community offered musicians both performing and in attendance the opportunity to network, share ideas, and build their portfolios.

Fifth-year theater student and lead singer of NoVice Armando Ramos co-founded the band with guitarist and alumni Josiah Aaron Pel. The two were introduced in a Shakespeare class at SSU in the fall of 2021 when Ramos noticed Pel making beats on his laptop. “I was like, ‘Oh my God, no way, he likes making music too,’” Armando said.

Think… The Strokes, Her’s, and The Cure

— Armando Ramos

Pel and Ramos bonded over their passion for music and similar experiences battling addiction, collaborating to create art that reflects those struggles and captures the complexities of mundane life. Consequently, NoVice was created, the band’s name representing their commitment to overcoming addiction, bettering their lives, and sharing their stories through song.

Growing up in a machismo household, Ramos was initially reluctant to pursue music. “Where I grew up, guys aren’t allowed to sing,” he said. “It was something I’ve always had in me and wanted to do…but bullies [and] family kept me back from it. I’m so glad to be able to be doing it now.”

 “The idea of our music is for us to help heal ourselves. Then if other people connect with the themes, hopefully, they don’t feel alone,” Ramos said. 

Since then, the band has expanded with bassist Kayle Chavez joining followed by drummer Chris Sonntag.  

Over the past several months, NoVice has performed throughout Sonoma County, playing gigs and open mics in local taverns, community markets, and theaters. 

After a show at HopMonk Sebastopol, an audience member approached the band teary-eyed because of a song that resonated with their struggles with addiction. “They said it was the kick in the butt that they needed. That made it all worth it for me,” Ramos said.

Being so involved with Sonoma County’s artistic community, NoVice uses its growing voice to uplift local musicians. At open mics, the band will reach out to student artists offering them shows to perform at, promoting them on social media and expanding their network. 

I want to be real with you, I wanted to do this so I could quit my job. But seeing the impact we have on other people and seeing how we inspire. And we get to work with all these amazing artists. Sometimes I forget about the money.

— Josiah Pell

“Having the community support and seeing the impact we have in our community in terms of audience members and musicians alike reminds us of our purpose,” Pel said. “Whoever we’re playing with, we want everyone to benefit.”

NoVice has many upcoming events including an artist showcase on March 4, in SSU’s Student Center. The showcase, which will feature musicians, dancers, and artists alike will allow Sonoma State student artists to connect with other creative individuals and share their work. 

NoVice is offering its support to up-and-coming artists seeking to network and showcase their talents. For any inquiries reach out to @no.vice.music on Instagram.

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About the Contributor
Aisha Mendonca, Staff Writer
Aisha Mendonca is a fourth year Philosophy major and Women Gender Studies minor Sonoma State.
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