Photo of band A Simple Exchange.

Courtesy of Morgan Manson

Tinder match led to formation of A Simple Exchange

The local folk band first debuted in Columbia in May 2014.

By Huong Truong | April 14, 2015

Tags: Band interviews Music The Bridge


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A right swipe of fate allowed two young musicians to meet one another and form a band that embodies the soul of Americana folk within the harmonies of both its member’s voices and instruments.

In December 2013, MU senior Morgan Manson was using Tinder when a photo of Lucas Dierker popped up. After viewing Dierker’s profile and seeing that he was a musician too, she swiped right and thus began their musical journey as a duo.

Manson and Dierker first met face-to-face in a Target parking lot to talk before sitting down and singing the song “Poison and Wine,” originally by The Civil Wars.

Enthralled by their harmony created in song, the pair continued sharing more music, covers and originals. Within a week of meeting one another, the duo appeared on stage playing their first show at Gunter Hans in Columbia.

When Dierker met Manson, he was already collaborating with drummer and friend Ethan Sellers, also an MU senior. Sellers agreed to join the group and the trio found violist and backup singer Catherine Sandstedt. Following a few jam sessions and playing around with their sounds, the foursome decided to create a real band. They wanted to be “something simple,” which reflected their music style. With the magic of Dierker’s and Manson’s vocals and Sellers and Sandstedt’s instrumental talents, A Simple Exchange took on the music scene in CoMo.

With a blend of Americana folk, beach-vibe pop, The Civil Wars and a dash of John Mayer, A Simple Exchange can be described as a transparent, harmonious indie-folk band with a homely, joyful spirit. Their diverse influences bring a variety of music genres in their songs. What sets them apart are the ever-constant harmonies created by Dierker and Manson.

“I tell people that my voice is good enough, but standing on its own, it’s not out-of-this-world good,” Dierker says in an email. “It’s my lyrics that I take pride in.”

A Simple Exchange’s lyrics are the core of their inspiration and motivation. Beginning a song, Dierker messes with his acoustic guitar until he finds a theme and lyrics that speak to him. Next, he shows Manson his work, and she adds in her point of view. They toss ideas back and forth until both are satisfied. Then, they let Sellers and Sandstedt listen to the piece, allowing them to add in their parts for drums and viola, respectively.

From there, the band plays it over, fine-tuning and figuring out what sounds best. Throughout the compartmentalized writing process, the lyrics and the harmony of vocals drive the decisions of each member.

A Simple Exchange played its first show as a quartet at The Bridge in CoMo in May 2014.

“It was a little nerve-wracking because we had a big crowd, and we were pretty new to the mechanics of how things work on stage,” Dierker says in an email.

Once they got on stage and the sound was straightened out, “it just came down to focusing on the moment and trying to have fun with the crowd,” Dierker says.

Since then, the band has been named a top-ten band in the yearly Best of Columbia competition put on by Inside Columbia magazine. With its gradual success in music, the band hopes to make it through the enormity of the music industry.

“All the noise out there makes it harder to be heard,” Dierker says.

Looking into the future of its career, A Simple Exchange and their audience have a lot to look forward to.

In May, the band will head to Nashville as a regional act for callbacks for The Extreme Tour, an event that combines music and extreme sports in an effort to connect at-risk youth with resources aimed at creating a successful life.

In June, the band is dropping its single “Something More,” a song written by Dierker a few years back and rearranged to fit the band. The members are currently working on recording new music to release an EP or an album while also planning on touring outside of Missouri soon. A Simple Exchange intends to move to Austin, Texas, by the end of year to take a shot at music in the city's buzzing scene.

Unity, in music and in ambition, allows A Simple Exchange to continue to thrive, Manson says. Even with the band’s growing success, it remains focused on one simple goal.

“Singing is such an emotional experience," Manson says. "I want my lyrics to speak to the heart of someone."

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