FEATURED ARTIST: Alum’s band heads to Coachella


Courtesy The Dead Ships

The Dead Ships are playing at Coachella and SXSW this year. They are set to play on April 16 and April 23 and the band’s SXSW set is yet to be announced. 

By Campus Reporter

The DEAD SHIPS—a garage rock band based in Los Angeles consisting of cinema art + science alumnus Devlin McCluskey and his bandmates Christopher Spindelilus and Alex Moore—will play at Coachella 2016 April 16 and April 23.

In the three years since the band officially formed, The Dead Ships has already released five EPs and played at festivals including prestigious South by Southwest. McCluskey said the band draws much inspiration from groups like Modest Mouse, Broken Social Scene and Neutral Milk Hotel.

The Chronicle spoke with McCluskey about his time at Columbia, The Dead Ships’ early days and his work with

“America’s Next Top Model.”

THE CHRONICLE: What was your time at Columbia like?

DEVLIN MCCLUSKEY: I went to Columbia for four years from 2003-2007 but didn’t end up graduating. I think I just need to take public speaking [to get my degree]. I took a semester in Los Angeles, but at the end of the summer I got a job transcribing interviews on “America’s Next Top Model,” and then that job turned into another job and all these things kept happening. I have been out here for like eight years, expecting to go back, but I just keep getting other gigs.

How did the band form?

I have been playing music for a long time. In college, I used to do open mics and things like that, but I never really had a band. I have just always been writing songs since I was 15 years old. One of the jobs I had [in Los Angeles] was working in postproduction and I overheard this guy [Spindelilus] talking about how he just bought a drum set. He did not really know how to play it, but he was looking for someone to play with. So I just ran over to him and was telling him that I have all these songs and that we should try this out. I think he was taken aback by me bum-rushing him.

How were your first shows?

There are so many venues in [Los Angeles]; there were so many opportunities to play. There are six that I can walk to. I thought it was going to be really hard to try and book a show at some of these places, but it really wasn’t. We put out an EP and from that we were just able to start playing

all these shows.

How did you land the Coachella performance?

We haven’t had a booking agent and we haven’t had a record label—things that big bands had and that would let us get on a big festival. For us it was just about writing good music and playing a really good live show. Coachella wasn’t really on our radar at all. The head of Goldenvoice sent out a bunch of [talent agents] to try and get their opinions on who some of their favorite smaller bands were. We were on some of those lists and now we’re on. It’s still pretty mind-blowing to me.

What is next for The Dead Ships after Coachella?

It feels like it is snowballing right now. We have Coachella, we’re going on tour. We’re just going to see where it goes.