Modern Baseball hits home run in pop-punk community


Courtesy of Talia Miller

(Left to right) Sean Huber, Ian Farmer, Jake Ewald and Brenden Lukens of Modern Baseball, which charted on the Billboard 200 after the release of its second album You’re Gonna Miss It All. the band will appear at Riot Fest in Humboldt Park on Sept. 14 at 6 p.m. on the Revolt Stage.

By Assistant Arts & Culture Editor

Guitarists Brendan Lukensand Jake Ewald founded Modern Baseball, an emo pop-punk band known for its eclectic style, in 2011 while they were still in high school. Bassist Ian Farmer and drummer Sean Huber later joined the mix.

The band independently released its first EP, The Nameless Ranger, the same year. After the release, group members attended college in Philadelphia, where they have gained a strong following in the city’s music scene and released their first independent album entitled Sports. The band self-recorded its new release You’re Gonna Miss It All, and since the release earlier this year, the band has played shows non-stop with groups such as The Wonder Years, I Am Avalanche and The Get Up Kids.

Modern Baseball will play a Riot Fest aftershow with The Get Up Kids Sept. 12 at the Bottom Lounge, 1375 W. Lake St., and will also play the festival itself Sept. 14 at Humboldt Park. 

The Chronicle spoke with Lukens about the band’s recording process, its sound and landing on the Billboard 200 chart.

THE CHRONICLE: How would you describe Modern Baseball’s sound?

BRENDEN LUKENS: I’m not sure, to be quite honest with you. I really like that we get put into a bunch of different genres because it’s kind of like a no-limits thing for us. [It just means] we kind of can do whatever we want. I really like when people categorize us as power-pop, but that’s just me.

What was the recording process like for You’re Gonna Miss It All, and how was it different from the process of recording Sports

With Sports, Ian [Farmer], Jake [Ewald] and I walked into the studio with these acoustic demos and we were like, “Okay, let’s make these full-band songs.” It took a month to record Sports. With You’re Gonna Miss It All, we went into it having all the songs fully demoed. We had a plan for how we were recording and when. I guess the best way to describe it is that recording You’re Gonna Miss It All was planned out and Sports was not. We went into the studio between tours for You’re Gonna Miss It All and knocked out the entire recording process in two weeks.

Why did the band choose to self-record Sports and You’re Gonna Miss It All

Most of it comes with Jake and Ian’s majors [in college] being in the music industry. They’re going to school to produce and record music, so most of it just comes from that. We get control over what we want to do, we can spend as much time as we need to spend on stuff. It’s just a more comfortable setting when it’s just all of us together in the studio dying of heat and enjoying each other’s company.

What was it like to balance college and recording?

This is our finals week. I go back to school in January. Jake and Ian had summer classes that are ending this week. Prior to that, we took off for The Wonder Years tour [in the spring]. So, everyone’s set to graduate half a year later than they were supposed to. It’s pretty hard [to balance it all with] the amount of time that we have at home. Our next touring process starts on Friday. We’re going to Riot Fest, and then we have one day to get home from Chicago and then we fly out to the United Kingdom. Then, we have three days before we go out for an entire month with The Wonder Years. It’s a lot of bouncing around, but we get to go out and play songs we wrote and everyone’s screaming the words, so it’s nice.

What advice would you give to others who might also be trying to balance music and education?

The way that we always looked at it is that school comes first. The only times we would ever have trouble working everything out was because we kept school as much involved as we could. So, as soon as we found out about tours, the first thing we would do is contact our advisors and be like, “Hey, this is what’s going on, how can we make this work?” So, keeping your school involved in the entire process really helped us out. Also, just keeping a calendar is nice. 

You’re Gonna Miss It All charted on the Billboard 200. How did that feel?

Our friend who runs this publication called Property of Zack was talking to us and he was like, “It’s gonna chart. Just wait!” We all just kept telling him to shut up. When it happened it was just nuts, honestly. There were no words to describe it.