By Shane P. Donnelly and Joey Long
We recently had the wonderful joy of exchanging e-mails with ultramark, one-third of Stepdad, the band who is playing at C-Haus this Saturday night. They played here last year, and it was amazing, and this year will be even better if YOU go.
Round Table: This isn’t the first time you’ve played at Beloit. How did last year’s show get set up and what made you want to come back this semester?
Ultramark: The first show was the result of an email we received from Phi Psi. They asked and they received. The show was so absolutely bonkers (amazing, amazing party) that we decided the next time anyone said the word “Beloit” we’d hop in the car and be on the way immediately.
RT: Your first EP, “Ordinaire,” was released last summer. What has the band learned over the course of a year, and has it changed how you approach being a band compared to when you first started?
UM: I think we’ve become more intuitive. It’s easier to tell sooner when we deal with incompetent promoters or get a worthless offer. It’s a learning process just like anything else you get involved with, you just have to learn from experience. I’m sure with each level of our career, we’re going to have to repeat it all and get used to another list of processes.
RT: Is the approach you’re taking to writing your debut LP, “Wildlife Pop,” different than how you wrote your EP? How has adding a third member changed the dynamics of your
live performances and songwriting?
UM: The approach to writing was basically the same. Just Ryan and I, ultramark, sitting in front of our respective computers for hours and hours and hours at a time every day. The live performance definitely has a lot more energy since we’ve added a third member, but the songwriting process is about the same.
RT: Which records, old or new, are you guys spinning the most right now? What new bands are you really digging in Chicago?
UM: Right now I’m listening to a lot of “My <3” by Chrome Sparks, “You Are All I See” by Active Child, “The Age of Plastic” by The Buggles, and a lot of Tera Melos, tUnE-yArDs, Reptar, Alexis, They Might Be Giants, and De La Montaña. Haven’t been paying much attention to the Chicago scene, to be honest. Detroit is killing it right now, though. Phantasmagoria, Power, and Nightlife are the only bands you need to know about right now.
RT: If Stepdad could put on a concert anywhere in the world, where would it be? Who else would you play with?
UM: Stepdad, Alexis, and Nightlife live at Budokan.
RT: What’s the weirdest thing that has happened to each of you on tour?
UM: Getting arrested in Merrill, MI. Fitz and the Tantrums coming over to our house for a party once. Being given pens made out of bullet casings by an older gentleman in Nashville.
RT: What are the top 3 things on Stepdad’s Bucket List as a band?
UM: Ryan and I are very interested in film scoring. I still have dreams of a performance on a televised award show for some reason. It doesn’t mean what it used to, but since seeing
Beck perform on the Grammys in the ‘90s the idea just sort of planted itself inside of my head. Doing mushrooms with Justin Bieber.