By Kieran Webber
Engine Summer are a band that totally encapsulates the phrase DIY. They all write their own music, design album artwork, flyers & music videos. It’s more than just a band they’re an aesthetic. The Chicago band have become a well known band in their hometown, playing regularly in the indie clubs. Their brand of off kilter indie-psych is a delightful listen and it’s likely that soon they’ll be heard around the world.
Recently the band released their new album ‘Back-street Boys’ and we wanted to get to know more about the boys behind the band.
Kieran: Being a band in Chicago must be exciting, from the outside in it appears to be a thriving music scene. What’s your experience?
Engine Summer: There are so many cool people willing to spend their Monday nights in a dive bar listening to band after band, and we have no idea why. Beer is cheap here, so that probably helps. As does seasonal depression. Also, all the bands here are pretty supportive of one another and have fostered a great DIY community. Not to mention, the annual lasagne party is amazing.
Kieran: When you started Engine Summer did you have an idea what you wanted to sound like or was it a natural progression?
ES: We wanted to make the kinda music that plays in our heads when we’re stuck in traffic. Dancey, catchy, a little weird, interesting chord progressions, a monologue about personal fitness. Honestly there’s no agenda; just music we enjoy that’s genuine & interesting to us, and that we think other people will dig too. If they don’t, no worries.
Peep the new video for ‘Under The Sea’ here:
Kieran: What influenced you guys growing up and why did you start playing music?
Jer: Growing up we had some amazing Midwest math rock/emo bands play basement shows around here: La Dispute, The Reptilian, Loose Lips Sink Ships. It’s not the kind of music we play now, but it was very inspiring to see at that age.
Ry: My father told me at 6 I could join the Coast Guard or be a rock n roll star. I chose the latter.
Ben: My parents used to always have wild cocktail parties where’d they move all the furniture and get toasted while blasting the Stones and dancing. My love began there.
“Honestly there’s no agenda; just music we enjoy that’s genuine & interesting to us“Engine Summer
Kieran: How did you come up with the band name Engine Summer?
ES: We took the name from a novel called “Engine Summer” by John Crowley. It takes place thousands of years in the future, and they come across old relics from our age like a Kool-Aid container, thinking it must’ve been a god we worshiped. It was a good read.
Kieran: What was the influence behind your new album ‘Back-Street Boys’? Did you do anything differently with this album?
ES: When you think of how a boy band is marketed, it’s always a group of guys who do everything together; going around town, hitting the slopes, consoling each other after a break up. After a couple years in the band, we realized we DO do all those things together. But instead of being cute, it’s kind of sad and co-dependent. Like three half-drunk millennials living in a bubble of our own humor/sarcasm, faltering our way through the gig economy. Also, this is the first record we recorded straight to tape at Treehouse Records in Chicago, on the same mixing console Pink Floyd used for The Wall.
Kieran: You spent a fair amount of 2019 touring and playing, was there a highlight?
ES: We got the absolute best chicken parms at Ariemma’s Italian Deli on Staten Island, NY. If you go, ask for Mario and tell Bruiser sent you! Otherwise just bed bugs, new friends, fast times and a broken arm.
Kieran: Are you planning on doing it again this year?
ES: We have a big ski trip planned in February as the annual band corporate retreat. Besides that we have a lot festivals in the works and some runs around the States.
Kieran: Do you have any 2020 goals?
ES: Play our first show in the U.K. and party with the locals (hit us up if you have any tips!)