1. Introduce us to your band!
I, (John Bruner), sing lead vocals and play rhythm guitar, Matt Gordon plays lead guitar, Randy Deadman plays keyboards, JJ Frale plays bass, Drew Gercak plays drums and Austin Deadman plays percussion. Our rotating horn section consists of Jason Deran and Jaime Ruiz on trumpet, Walter Sanchez on trombone and Gabby Bandera on saxophone.
2. How did you guys start out?
I met Matt through a guitar class at Columbia College Chicago. I showed him some of my songs and we clicked pretty fast. Then he introduced me to JJ and from there we kept adding members until we got to our current lineup.
3. Describe your band’s sound.
Our sound is a mix of Radiohead and Red Hot Chili Peppers with a horn section added in. We slide effortlessly through different genres like funk, punk, jazz and hip-hop. We keep a good balance of showing off our musical chops while also focusing on making catchy hooks and melodies.
4. What influences your craft?
Songwriting has always given me an outlet to deal with any struggles I go through in life. A good amount of our songs deal with mental health and addiction issues. I also take influences from some of my favorite bands. Stevie Wonder has been a big influence on me recently and I love the songwriting and lyrics of Father John Misty as well.
5. What makes your band different? Why should people listen to you?
Our sound is so much different from other bands simply because we have so many members. Each member brings a totally different influence to the sound. Because I allow everyone to add in their own style, our sound has become this huge mix of different musicalities. The hard part is making everyone’s parts sound cohesive in the songs, but by this point, I think we’ve mastered our songwriting process.
6. When introducing people to your music, what song should I show them first? What is your quintessential track?
Right now, our quintessential track is “For a Ride”. It showcases our horn section, vocal chops and a ripping synth solo. While all of that is going on, you’ll realize the hook and melodies are already stuck in your head. That’s what we try to do on each song and I think this one really hits that mark.
7. What has been the biggest struggle in your career so far?
The biggest struggle so far has been losing/adding band members. With a band this size, it’s hard to keep everyone together. We’ve already been through a lot of members and when we have to add a new person, we go through a learning curve with them. Some of our songs are pretty complicated so it can definitely take some time for the new guys to learn the parts.
8. What has been the biggest highlight of your career so far?
Our biggest highlight so far has been our east coast/midwest tour we did last summer. We were on the road for three weeks and gained a bunch of new fans and learned some important lessons about funding your own tour.
9. How bright is the future of your project – what are the plans?
Our band’s potential is unlimited. As long as we can keep everyone together, we can get as far as we’re willing to go. Our next album, Bleach and Aspirin, comes out October 26th. Check out The King of Mars and Spotify, Apple Music or YouTube to listen to it. Our album release show is at Reggie’s Rock Club on October 28th. After that, we’ll head to Muskegon, MI to play Unruly Brewing with our friends, Melophobix.
10. When all is said and done, how would you like to be remembered?
As long as our music impacts people in some way and they have a good time at our shows, I’m happy. I love writing and performing songs in this band and if we can get our listeners to love it, too, then I’ll be totally satisfied.
Check out The King of Mars here!