Since debuting at a sold-out House of Blues show, Marina City has steadily been gaining an ever-growing fanbase through their energized performances, willingness to stick around and talk/take photos/sign all the things, and standing in line, handing out stickers and music. They have toured across the country, playing Warped Tour, Riot Fest, CMJ Music Marathon, SXSW, and have shared the stage with Go Radio, Senses Fail, Amanda Palmer, Drake Bell, State Champs, Real Friends, and more. They’ve been featured in MTV News, AltPress, Rocksound Magazine, Absolutepunk.net/chorus.fm, PropertyOfZack, Pupfresh, and Red Eye Chicago. They’re also six of the nicest, most talented, and hardest working guys you’ll ever meet.
Alternative Press Magazine called Marina City the “#2 band to watch at Warped Tour 2016” stating that “This theatrical six-piece has the artistry and determination to give Brendon Urie (Panic! At The Disco) a run for his money.” Marina City features lead vocalist Ryan Argast, guitarist and vocalist Brian Johnson, keyboardist and vocalist Matt Gaudiano, drummer Eric Somers-Urrea, bassist Aaron Heiy, and lead guitarist Todor Birindjiev.
We caught up with Marina City after their June 9th performance at the Emerson Theatre in Indianapolis, Indiana.
AF: The original group was Ryan, Ricky, Eric, Brian, Matt, and Nick. You guys were all the surviving members of disbanded groups, right?
Ryan: Yes we were. All of us were from different bands from the scene and just wanted a redo, which is why we made this project.
AF: How did you all get together to form Marina City? Did you know each other prior?
Ryan: All members of the original group were in my backing band when I was a solo act signed to a production deal with a well-known producer. I opted out of my contract and asked the guys if they wanted to start over as a collective band. I guess the rest is history –haha. Aaron joined shortly after we created the band. We knew him for years from the local scene. Todor joined about 2 years ago when Ricky wanted to settle down and he responded to our try-outs.
AF: Let’s talk about getting stranded. You guys gave a booker a couple grand, left for a tour, and then it turned out that there was no tour, and were stranded in the middle of nowhere.
Matt: Yeah, it was my first tour and I was still in high school. I had missed out on being in the spring musical and doing normal high school things and when we found out there were no shows I was frustrated beyond belief. I thought that everything that Marina City worked for up until then was wasted and I had a sense of hopelessness take over me. It totally worked out in the end but at first I was pretty doom and gloom.
AF: I’ve seen Marina City play everything from sold out House of Blues shows to basement shows to tiny theatres like the Emerson. You guys always manage to give the crowd the same high energy show, regardless of how many people are in the crowd. How do you keep that energy?
Ryan: That’s the job description; if we can’t do that then we won’t go very far. Luckily we have a big imagination and just always imagine 100,000 people screaming for us, hahaha.
AF: The last couple of tours you have done (current one included) have been different. You started incorporating your acoustic versions of songs, which was a whole new experience. What made you decide to switch things up like that?
Ryan: Well we didn’t have much of a choice. The tours we’ve been going on recently have been acoustic and they wanted us to be acoustic. However, for us, we didn’t want to go up there and play the same thing with just less instrumentation. We thought it would be more interesting if we did something completely different. This way fans have more of a reason to come to our shows too! The shows would have been boring for us if we did the same thing over and over. We thought it would be fun to see how we could stretch ourselves.
AF: Marina City does their recording up in Detroit with Craig Owens now, right? How did that come about?
Ryan: Actually we didn’t. Our latest record, Terminal, coming out later this year, was recorded in Toledo with Jordan DiSorbo (Ex-Before Their Eyes) and Craig did vocal production with us there. Craig is our manager.
AF: This is a really old-hat question, but do any of you have a favorite tour story?
Eric: I think Cliff Diving was the wildest thing we’ve ever done on tour. It was a long time ago but I’ll never forget it.
AF: You mentioned Marina City is working on a new album. What’s your process? Lyrics/music first? Is there a big music circle where you all come together and spitball ideas? Do you divvy up the work?
Ryan: We all come together in Matt’s basement and literally jam until we find something that is really cool and we want to work on. Typically, I start writing melodies while we are writing the music to see where the song is going. I finish the song by writing lyrics.
AF: If you guys could open for anyone on tour, who would it be/why?
Matt: I would say Bruno Mars. Who doesn’t love Bruno Mars?!
AF: If you guys woke up one day and had no musical talent, other than being super sad, what would you be doing?
Matt: Well, I’m already super sad but I love doing other forms of art! I like fashion, graphic design, drawing, so I’d try to do that as my main gig I suppose.
AF: What’s next for Marina City? You guys have done Warped Tour, Riot Fest, countless tours, and now a national tour.
Ryan: Finally release a new record and just keep touring on that! Look out for Terminal!
Wrapping up their first-ever national tour with Say We Can Fly and Call Me Krizma, Marina City will be setting out on tour with Funeral Portrait in August. They’ll also be headlining for the first time in two years August 10th and 11th in Chicago and Indianapolis to celebrate the official release of their new EP, Terminal.
Terminal Release Shows:
8/10: Indianapolis, IN
8/11 Berwyn, IL
Tour dates with The Funeral Portrait:
8/12: Raleigh, NC
8/13: Richmond, VA
8/14: Philadelphia, PA
8/15: Amityville, NY
8/16: Stanhope, NJ
8/17: Manchester, NH
8/18: Stroudsburg, PA
8/19: Rochester, NY
8/20: Buffalo, NY
8/23: Lansing, MI
8/24: Newport, KY
8/25: Toledo, OH