Initially playing parties here in Fort Collins, out of the back
of an old pickup with an archaic p.a., members of local band Sweet
Nectar began developing what would become one of the most popular
local Fort Collins hip-hop groups.
The lyrical front men of the band, Gabe Smith aka “Bantar” and
Ben Schrer aka “The Fool” met in high school and began making
music, sharing a common passion of hip-hop and poetry. Smith and
Schrer began playing with members of local bands Listen and 3 Peas
whom they continue to collaborate with for shows. Sweet Nectar and
3 Peas combined to form the Sweet Peas, a group that is a common
facet of the local scene.
In 1999 they met deejay Nicklas Gindler aka “Scratch Kerouc,”
and formed Sweet Nectar. Their style of poetic hip-hop has been
described by some as “cigarettes and metaphors,” defining the
band’s unique sound that abandons attempts to fill their songs with
catchy content and easy verse, chorus rhymes. Instead, the trio
concentrates on enveloping an eclectic sound that encompasses many
musical sounds and contains messages and story-like
“Sweet Nectar is an innovative project at the forefront of the
Fort Collins underground scene, epitomizing the unique synthesis of
hip-hop and funk, which Fort Collins music is progressing towards,”
said James MacDowell, a CSU Psychology graduate and owner of CFS
Productions, which has promoted Sweet Nectar a number of times.
Their first gig at the Boys and Girls Club of Steamboat was the
beginning of what was to become many gigs that have launched them
into local familiarity. Playing local venues such as the Aggie, the
Starlight and Mishawaka amphitheater have given them a vast local
following. They have also been well received in Bozeman, Montana
“I had never been to Durango and it was a great experience that
our music could take us somewhere I had never been. Really, that’s
our goal, for our music to take us places we’ve never been,” Smith
The dynamics of the band are rather close knit and their strong
relationship is reflected in their three-way unity onstage. They
not only have good fan relations, as they are willing to discuss
music with anyone and can be found after performances mingling with
the crowd, but they also have good relationships with their mothers
saying they wouldn’t be where they are without them.
“People are always requesting Sweet Nectar at the music stores
here in Boulder,” said CU Engineering student Jay Price, “I caught
them at the Fox when they opened for Listen and couldn’t get them
out of my head.”
The band described themselves as a live band and said their
stage performances are irreproducible in the studio.
“We consider ourselves to be a live band more then any other
description given to us,” Smith said.
And fans seem to agree.
“I saw them last Friday at the Starlight and the sound was
amazing. I moved up to the front and couldn’t take my eyes off the
band. They were so animated and hot. Their lyrics were incredibly
quick and smooth. I’m a huge fan,” said Liz Zipse, a senior history
The band draws from a plethora of musical influences including
Tom Waits, Poets of Rhythm, Z-Trip, Quannum as well as many jazz
influences such as Charles Mingus, Charley Parker, Miles Davis and
John Coletrane. All contributed to their unrivaled sound. Their
debut album “Sweet Nectar” available at The Finest, features
varying sounds that allow it to make its mark as a serious CD, as
it includes many tone shifts of the energetic lyrical quality to
slower, smooth hip-hop featuring local musician Tom Topel on
trumpet and other purely instrumental songs.
Sweet Nectar will be playing with Lifesavers at the Starlight on
October 25, as well as November 7th with the Sweet Peas ensemble.
Sweet Nectar would also like to accept any challenges at Ping-Pong
or Street Hoops 2 and may be reached at (970) 419-8723.