Arts & Culture Community Maplewood

Thursday Habit and Marry the Sea Perform at Rent Party on January 11

From Rent Party Live:

When Steve Feldman approached Marc Stern at Maplewoodstock in 2005, he asked him one simple question.

“Have you ever thought about writing original music?”

Stern gave him an answer that 14 years later, is the driving force behind their friendship.

“That’s ALL I do.”

From then, the pair met in Feldman’s house and started writing and recording together, with Stern, who plays guitar, originally playing bass, yet he has said that, “I’m the world’s worst bass player.” Feldman, the band’s drummer, mentioned that the guy living across the street from him was a pretty good bass player, so the two walked across and knocked on his door.

‘Howard opened the door, and we had known each other from a different situation, so then he came over and never left,” Stern said.

Howard Finkel ended up replacing Stern on bass, and the pair turned into a trio.

When in need of a keyboard for one of their original songs, Stern called up Mark Asch, who had played with Stern in previous groups, including the one in 2005 at Maplewoodstock. Asch came over and played his tracks, and now the band was in need of just a singer.

“Mark said, ‘Why don’t you let me try to sing it’? I looked at him and didn’t know if he could because I’d never heard him sing but he wanted a shot at it,” Stern said. “He went into the vocal booth and started belting it out and me and Steve were like ‘Holy sh—dude! You never told us you could do that!’

From there, Thursday Habit was born, and the band has not stopped playing since. They’ve played at local venues and events like Rent Party and Maplewoodstock and have traveled to New York City to play, but focus on writing and recording mainly.

Stern describes their music as alternative-progressive and that their music is “intense and challenging to make, but that’s the fun of it.”

“When we first started it was just Steve and I writing in his basement. There’s only so much you can do when you don’t have a lot of musicians who are skilled in their craft to add the spice to the stew,” Stern said. “I can’t play bass like Howard can, no way I can! None of us could’ve done this on our own whatsoever.”

In 2016, Kat De Bari and Rebecca Farnham had both recently moved to South Orange after living in Brooklyn and New York City respectively. Both had a passion for music, but had trouble figuring out what they were “going to put our musical energy now that we were officially suburbanites,” according to De Bari.

“We met each other at a party in South Orange and hit it off right away and you know and realized that we both loved harmonizing and had pretty similar taste in music,” De Bari said. “We started writing songs and playing each other songs mostly, and then eventually we played one show for south next, which is another event in South Orange six months later or something.”

Maya Ziobro joined the band soon after as well. They went on the play Maplewoodstock together in 2016 and for about the next year, it was just the three of them.

When playing at a show a few months later, John Lopos and Steve Feldman noticed the band and approached them after, basically “begging us to let them be in our band” according to De Bari.

Once the three of them gave in, Marry the Sea became a five-member group and have been since.

De Bari and Farnham are the main vocalists and play guitar, while Ziobro plays violin, Lopos plays upright bass and Feldman is the group’s drummer. De Bari says that she’ll mainly sing the songs that she wrote and Farnham will sing the songs she wrote, but they’ll harmonize over each other’s stuff all the time.

“I think our sound is pretty folky and bluesy. You could even put down soul and jazz.” De Bari said. “Joni Mitchell is as big of an influence for me as the rest of the members.”

When not playing live gigs or writing and recording their own music, the group has big dreams.

“We want a tour. We want to start doing some little mini tours are along the coast to just start out, but we have big dreams of playing in Greece or France,” De Bari said. “We’d love that.”

Both bands will be performing this week at Rent Party along with local band Tri-State. Rent Party is a once a month live music event at The Woodland. The proceeds from these shows help fight hunger in our community. Rent Party supports three local food pantries. They built and maintain a large community garden on the front lawn of the South Orange Elks that raises fresh produce for the pantries we support. Their BackPack Pals program provides a weekend’s worth of nutritious food to about 100 food-insecure kids in our schools. For more information go to

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