June 9, 2012

“Stepdad was forged in an unrelenting bath of summer heat on Chicago’s south side in 2009 by songwriters/producers/college dropouts/solid bros Ryan McCarthy and ultramark on the foundation of their joint worship of Roland Orzabal and Brian Wilson. After a few quick months, the still nameless duo was sitting on a small mountain of songs. The name Stepdad was arrived upon by a random phrase generator and adopted without regard for the impending banality of rehashing that story during interviews. “Wildlife Pop” presents a creative leap forward for Stepdad, expanding their already massive pop sound. “Will I Ever Dance Again” and “Must Land Running” successfully transplant their aptitude for unforgettable choruses into a larger sound bed while the galactic rainforest sensations of “Treasure Hugs”, “Exploring”, and “Starfriends on Earth” create the cathartic urge to sprint barefoot through a gauntlet of scorpions on a municipal trail paved with searing drywall screws (fortunately for listeners everywhere, this compelling inclination would be devilishly hard to act upon).”

The band releases “Wildlife Pop” this Tuesday via Black Bell Records and will be on the bill at the Warped Tour at First Niagara Pavilion on July 12th. I want to thank ultramark for taking time to participate in this edition of First/Last.

  • The first album you ever bought?
  • All-4-One’s self-titled album (on cassette).
  • Your last album bought?
  • It was actually our friend Young Yeller’s EP “Make Me”. It’s completely brilliant.
  • Favorite album of all time?
  • “Songs from the Big Chair” by Tears for Fears and “Pet Sounds” by the Beach Boys tie.
  • Least favorite/most disappointing album?
  • Anything that’s ever been called a “lo-fi masterpiece”.
  • First concert attended?
  • The Beach Boys, my dad saw to it that they were my first 5 concerts. My 6th was a Brian Wilson solo concert. My existing obsession definitely owes something to parental indoctrination.
  • Last concert?
  • Miniature Tigers. They were so good live that it made me want to give up. Great guys too.
  • Favorite concert ever?
  • Daft Punk. I have a feeling that answer wouldn’t change if you asked me again in my 80s.
  • Least favorite concert?
  • For no reason once my friend won a shitload of tickets to see Cinderella, Quiet Riot, Firehouse, and Ratt. Morbid curiosity got the best of us and we ended up going and found ourselves surrounded by middle aged alcoholic men with a constant desire to start fights with anyone near them and middle aged alcoholic women who don’t realize that it’s not 1982 and nobody want to see their tits anymore.
  • Any thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?
  • We’ve only played there once, but it was a good time. Our drummer Jeremy is from Pittsburgh so it does hold a special place in our hearts. Also, Flashdance was set there.

Thanks, Mark. Your music is nothing I expected from a band that’s on the Warped Tour. Thanks for totally awakening my senses when it comes to preconceived notions like that.