Ahead of Naperville Park District’s Battle of the Bands on May 9, we caught up with Where It Starts, a local pop-punk outfit from Neuqua Valley.
The four-man band consists of Geoff Siuciak, drums; Tom Berard, violin and keyboard; Evan Hock, bass; and Ilan Haskel, guitar and vocals.
We talked with Where It Starts about their influences, the suburban music scene and their upcoming EP scheduled for release in mid-July with recorder Jack Cain. See Where It Starts live at 4 p.m. on May 9 at the Community Concert Center in Central Park.
Q. How did you get involved in the Naperville Battle of the Bands?
Geoff: We actually tried out last year, but we were pretty late to the game and weren’t accepted. But we’ve been working hard all year recording and putting out new stuff, so we got accepted this year and are excited to be performing.
Q. What are you going to be performing at Battle of the Bands?
Geoff: Two originals are required for the show, so we’ll have two of our originals and we’ll be playing some covers that I think a lot of people will know.
Q. Going into a show, what’s your preparation? How are you guys going to be getting ready before you go on Friday?
Geoff: Something I learned from the drum line I was a part of, sometimes you go into a show and you hear the guys before you and you kind of lose confidence in yourself, even if they’re doing something completely different than you. So I bring my guys in for a little huddle, we have a little pep talk like before a sports game. Just like a power circle.
Q. How would you describe Where It Starts’ sound?
Geoff: Genre-wise, we’re pop punk, its kind of heavier alternative rock.
Q. Who would you consider as the band’s primary influences?
Geoff: Bands like Green Day, Blink 182, The Wonder Years, New Found Glory and Yellowcard.
Q. On SoundCloud, you guys have a cover of a Blink 182 song.
Geoff: For our school’s variety show, we wanted to perform something, but I was doing drum line, so I wasn’t available so the band did an acoustic medley of Blink 182 songs.
Q. Did you enjoy covering songs from a band that’s also an influence?
Geoff: Definitely. It was really cool to play in front of that many people and when you’re playing something everyone loves, it’s great to see their reactions.
Q. Have you been influenced by the suburban music scene, especially Naperville?
Geoff: Yeah, especially nowadays, there’s a lot of pop punk bands making it out to bigger scenes like the Warped tour. We draw a lot of influence from bands in the area who live in the same place as us. Especially living in a city where it doesn’t seem like there’s as many problems or as many challenges because of how well-off everyone is here, but its good to expose the emotion behind those who live here, even though it is such as wealthy place.
Q. Where did Where It Starts… start?
Geoff: We met freshman year through curricular music ensembles [at Neuqua Valley] and we’ve also been friends for a long time.
Q. How long have each of you been involved in music?
Geoff: Well I started on violin in fifth grade. Freshman year I switched over to percussion so I could play a drum in jazz band and whatnot, so six or seven years for me.
Tom: I started playing violin when I was 4 years old and I’ve kept at it until now and I play that in the band. And I also got a keyboard for my birthday so I kind of mess around with that and we liked the sound so we kept it.
Evan: I didn’t pick up the bass until after I started high school then within a year I joined the band.
Q. What are some of the venues the band has played?
Geoff: We’ve played the Q Bar and Grill in Darien and Pub Yahoo [American Legion Underground] in Carol Stream. We’ll be doing more local venues and hopefully some city venues over the summer as well as block parties and other public events.
Q. What other local acts do you like to see perform or would recommend?
Geoff: There’s a band called Talk to You Never that we played with recently. A few others are Something to Live By, Far From the Tree and The Blue Fish Movement.
Q. What musical aspirations do you have for Where It Starts, or for yourselves individually?
Geoff: I guess we’ll see where it takes us. I think we’ll always continue music no matter what in some form or another.
Q. If you could sit down and talk with one musician, who would it be?
Geoff: Dan Campbell, his nickname is ‘Soupy,’ it’s a play off his last name. He’s in a band called The Wonder Years. We’ve kind of drawn from his lyrical influences, like overcoming troubles in your life and working against people that might not necessarily believe in you.
What’s the process been like working on the EP?
Geoff: Our singer Ilan writes a million lyrics. We usually work through the lyrics first, then acoustically, then we move over to the drum set. We work with older lyrics, newer lyrics. You learn everything you can outside the studio so you don’t just sit there trying to write songs as you’re going and so far it’s turned out really cool.