In this week’s Featured Artist Friday we take a look at Elmhurst space age groove punk band Engine Summer. Engine Summer’s three members are lead singer and guitarist Jeremy Marsan, bassist and vocalist Ben Kostecki, and drummer Ryan Ohm.
Engine Summer was originally founded by Marsan and former drummer Phil Courtright, with Kostecki and Ohm filling out the roster over time. While the trio has only recently come together as a band, the band’s three members have known each other for a number of years.
“We've all been mates since hi-school in and out of different bands,” said Ohm. “We had a rather stellar community of young locals putting on house shows and encouraging each other to be better musicians. As that faded, we went to college & learned the other joys in life like booze and 1099 jobs. But we eventually found ourselves together and still happy as clams to be rockers and in each other's good graces. Now we just bounce jokes around and have fun being some genuine bucko's, but have no mistake; we're still in it for the money.”
The band released the first studio album with their current lineup this past week on Halloween. The album, titled “Trophy Kids,” is comprised of 15 songs which last around 30 minutes in total. The trio’s new album treats the listener to a unique indie sound that is on full display from the moment you hit play.
By following the embedded playlist at the top of this article, you can order your own copy of “Trophy Kids” from Engine Summer’s bandcamp website.
In addition to releasing their album, the trio also debuted their new music video to the album’s title track “Trophy Kids” last week. The link to their music video can found at the end of this article.
“That was a big undertaking since we did all of the mixing/recording in house,” said Ohm. We did that will also figuring out artwork, the best place to print vinyls (Czech Republic!), to shipping it around endlessly and still doing so (give us a shout!), to making videos and yadda yadda - fun stuff but definitely one hell of an undertaking.”
As a group, the band strives to push each other in practice to become the best musicians they can be. The trio’s chemistry allows for the band to continue to build off each other and create songs that they are proud of.
The band will begin writing their songs after building off each other’s energy in a jam session or will pull from ideas they get during their day to day activities. The most important part of the songwriting process for Engine Summer is that the three good friends are hanging out together.
“There's a bit of catharsis and angst for sure, said Kostecki. “But the deeper root is probably our time hanging out, whether its the Friday Night Fish Fry near Jeraldo's place or a bonfire deep into the night with good friends. There's that soundtrack you're imagining in the background, but when you try to put it on, you can't think of the track name because it doesn't actually exist yet.”
Once the band finds their inspiration, the Elmhurst trio undergoes a ten step process to make their idea into a full fledged song.
“Step 1 of the process is to get together,” said Marsan, “Then we’ll build a chair or fix a moped or something, then after that it’s time to grab some beers. Step 4: [censored]. Then we set up gear while listening to Al Green, or a band from Fat Possum Records. Step six is where we jam, then when we hear something we like, we begin to write the song, then step 8 we re-write, step nine is re-write it again, then we pause to slam a can, and the final step of the process is we re-write.”
Engine Summer’s next shows to date will be coming up in December. Their first show will be Friday, December 1st at the Cubby Bear in Chicago. Other bands that will be performing are DeKalb pop-punk band Sad Jokes and Chicago band Chive.
The Elmhurst trio will also be performing Friday, December 8th at Cole’s Bar in Chicago. Other performing acts include daysee and Sports Boyfriend.
“Sometimes it's small goals like convincing people we're actually Brits," said Marsan. “And other times it's loftier goals like convincing someone the $5 they paid and 45 minutes they gave up was actually worthwhile and wouldn't have been better spent watching Netflix or masturbating.”
Next week’s friday spotlight will be Peoria EDM artist PVPABEAR. If you haven’t already, be sure to check out Whiskey Point Sessions with Brandon James over on our YouTube Channel and to follow our Facebook page and Instagram for more content.
(From left) Drummer Ryan Ohm, bassist Ben Kostecki, and lead singer and guitarist Jeremy Marsan of Engine Summer. photo provided by Engine Summer.
Bassist Ben Kostecki performing at one of Engine Summer's summer gigs. photo provided by Kostecki,
Engine Summer during one of their performances. photo provided by shugarecords.com
Lead singer and guitarist Jeremy Marsan during one of Engine Summer's performances. photo provided by shugarecords.com
Engine Summer's music video for the title track of their new album "Trophy Kids."