An interview with Marina City frontman Ryan Argast
“A mix between Fall Out Boy and Avenged Sevenfold”
-Producer John Feldmann on Marina City
The 2017 Independent Showcase series continues this Thursday, February 9 with Chicago alternative rock band Marina City
Likewise with The Millenium, Marina City will rock Business 111 from 7 to 8 p.m. and follow with an hour-long Q&A session. Tickets will be $3 for students and $5 for non-students. Two-night package deals for the remaining shows are $5 for students and $7 for non-students. All tickets are available for purchase at the door.
The Chicago Nightlife Awards “2016 Band Of The Year” winners formed in 2012 and quickly paved their own path into the pop-punk scene. In 2016 alone, Marina City played two weeks of Warped Tour, played Riot Fest, recorded and released live acoustic EP Lost Doesn’t Mean Alone, and recorded with renowned producer John Feldmann (Blink 182, The Used, Anthony Green, All Time Low, Good Charlotte, Beartooth, etc.). Marina City has shared the stage with major artists, such as State Champs, Senses Fail, Real Friends, and Drake Bell. In addition to playing Warped Tour and Riot Fest in 2016, Marina City has performed at CMJ Music Marathon in New York City and SXSW in Austin, Texas.
Marina City took their name from the residential/commercial building complex called “Marina City” in downtown Chicago. The Marina City towers are a prominent feature in media, such as being placed on Wilco’s Yankee Hotel Foxtrot album art and in the backdrop of multiple popular films, including The Blues Brothers, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, and The Dark Night.
Ahead of Marina City’s first show of 2017, lead vocalist Ryan Argast spoke about the Chicago scene, artistic influences, working with Feldmann, and upcoming new music. Check out Ryan’s interview below:
TS: Marina City formed in Chicago 5 years ago in 2012. How did the band originally come together?
Ryan: I was a solo act signed to a production deal and the original members of Marina City were my backing band. I knew Brian Johnson (Guitar/Vocals) for years. He played in bands that my band used to play with all the time. In fact we were in a band together before my solo project. I met Matt Gaudiano (Keys/Vocals) while doing the High School drama club. We found Eric through Craigslist. When I had a chance to renew my production contract I decided to opt out and asked the guys if they wanted to start a new band together. Everyone agreed. Once the band was playing shows we added Aaron Heiy (Bass). Brian, our original lead guitarist, and I knew him for years. When our original lead guitarist left to settle down, Todor Birindjiev (Lead Guitar) auditioned after seeing a bunch of social media posts.
TS: What other groups were band members involved with before Marina City?
Ryan: Nothing big. We were all in our own high school bands. Most of our bands played together.
TS: Marina City to me sounds like a mix between post-hardcore, pop-rock, and pop-punk. What were the major influences of Marina City during the formation of the band? Who would you call major influences now?
Ryan: That mix would make sense. Those are all genres we were really into. Our style is definitely going to change. Our influences right now have been Maroon 5, Bruno Mars, Justin Timberlake, Fall Out Boy, Panic! At The Disco, PVRIS, Twenty One Pilots, Don Broco, The 1975, Emarosa, and just more Rock & Soul kind of music. We hope we really own our sound in the next record. Do something more focused.
TS: Who are your favorite bands currently from the Chicago scene?
Ryan: There are so many! 7 Minutes In Heaven, Sleep On It, Bonfires, Commonweather, Homesafe.
TS: The quote from John Feldmann "a mix between Fall Out Boy and Avenged Sevenfold" is awesome. How has Feldmann's quote affected the recognition of Marina City?
Ryan: We probably wouldn't have been able to do this show at this University without it! haha! We've been able to gain a lot of attention because of that quote. We hope that we can just take full advantage with it.
TS: Describe the experience of being able to record with Feldmann. What separates him from other producers Marina City has worked with? Which of his many produced albums was he most proud of?
Ryan: The dude knows how to create hit songs. He can do it in just a few minutes and he will give you multiple to choose from. He knows exactly what he is doing and he can do it quickly. Watching him work was just a treat in itself.
TS: What are your favorite John Feldmann albums?
Ryan: Oh this is a tough one. He has probably produced half of my favorite albums. Honestly D.R.U.G.S. by Destroy Rebuild Until God Shows was one of the biggest influences on this band when we were first starting out or even Lies For The Liars by The Used.
TS: According to Marina City's Twitter page a new album is in the works. Can you preview what the new album may sound like?
Ryan: Well we have over 40 songs written for it and only 6 have been approved by our manager. These may not even make it. Recently we've been hitting a groove in our songs. We are really digging this Rock & Soul / Funk Punk kind of vibe. Who knows if it will stick or not. Just know there will be a lot of blood, sweat, and tears going into the making of this album.
TS: Marina city is an independent band. What are the greatest advantages to remaining independent? Vice versa, what are challenged Marina City has faced remaining unsigned?
Ryan: The advantage is that we own everything and we can literally do whatever we want. The downside is that our reach is slow and limited. We don't have all the great resources a label can provide. We do the best we can but the right label could really "amplify" what we are doing.
TS: Lastly, "The Alley Capital Masquerade" is clearly the the most popular hit, exceeding all other songs by over 200,000 listens on Spotify. When this track was written and recorded, did the band know they created a future hit?
Ryan: Haha no not at all. The song is completely different than how we initially wrote it and we weren't even in love with the changes we made. But in the end the song paved the way for us to start working on a sound we think can be unique and recognizable.
After Marina City fills Business 111 this Thursday, February 9 at 7 p.m., likemelikeyou play their first show ever Thursday, February 23 to close out the 2017 Independent Showcase series.