Marina City survives Windy City

By Alex Stedman

From stolen equipment to trying to maintain friendships among six young men, Marina City has already experienced its share of hardships in the music industry.

The group persevered to win second place at last year’s Biggest Mouth, a competition featuring Columbia musicians, played two shows at the House of Blues and performed at Michigan’s Rockapalooza. Though the group is primarily described as pop–punk, they said they will soon be flirting with music on the heavier side.

Lead singer Ryan Alan and bandmates Brian Johnson, Matt Gaudiano, Ricky Sutton and Eric Somers-Urrea, talked with The Chronicle about forming Marina City, playing at one of Chicago’s most iconic venues and what’s coming next.

THE CHRONICLE: Your Facebook page says you’re built from the ashes of four Chicago bands. How did that turn into Marina City?

Ryan Alan: All of us have been playing in the same venues since back in 2008. When all of our bands ended, we decided to call up all the people [who were left]. We thought, “Hey, you’re the one who made a lot of moves. Let’s hook up.” We ended up going on Craigslist and checked on a bunch of drummers, and it turns out we found our drummer on there.

You guys played the House of Blues a couple of times, which is pretty exciting. What was that like?

RA: It was a dream come true. Basically, everything that you thought would happen, happened. The show we played actually sold out. There were 1,500 people there. We’re just really glad and proud that we were asked back.

On a sadder note, you guys suffered a bit of a tragedy last March when your equipment was stolen. Can you explain what happened?

RA: It was two weeks before the first House of Blues show. We were super excited and trying out for Biggest Mouth at Columbia. Afterward, we decided to go park in a garage, and we went to go get some food. When we came back, the back window was broken into and everything that was in there was gone. We did everything we possibly could to make sure we can get [the equipment] back. We never did, but we were able to start an Indiegogo, which raised over $3,000 for us, and were able [to buy all] of our equipment back. I think that was more powerful than playing House of Blues. The fact that people cared enough to help was amazing.

Your fans really came through for you. You seem pretty active with them on Facebook.

RA: That’s our favorite thing. On our Facebook and our Twitter, sometimes we’re not even promoting. We just like to use it as our own personal thing because we feel we have a personal connection with a lot of our fans. We’re not that huge where we’re getting fans from all over the world. We might, but our fans are really our friends, so we make sure that if you’re not our friend, we become friends with you. I think that’s what’s cool with us. If you’re taking the time to listen to our music and support our music for our dreams, then you’re our best friend.

With so many of you in the band and dealing with school, how do you manage to get together and practice?

RA: It’s hard, but it really comes down to how dedicated you are. I’m the only one in college right now. Three guys have graduated college. Another kid is in high school. With a schedule like that, we’re busy with our school stuff, but we decided that if this is what we really want to do, then we really need to focus on this.

What can we expect from you guys in the near future?

RA: We are recording with Zak Jablow, a professor at Columbia, and his friend Alex Prieto, who actually just worked on the new Pierce The Veil album. Those two have been working with us on a new song called “Falling Up and Breaking Down.” The new song will hopefully be released soon. In December, our plan is to do a little stint of shows and to do a five-song EP. We’re already starting to write for our new EP. So we’re doing a lot of headline shows, especially in Chicago, and just working really hard.

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