After releasing a music video ‘Sidewalks’ last month and just before their headlining show at The Subterranean in Chicago this Sunday for the release of their new EP ‘Jouska’, I snagged an interview with one of Cup Check‘s lead guitarists.
The pop punk band consists of band members Michaela Kramer with vocals, Kieran O’Donoghue on drums, Jesse Sneath on bass, Ben Cassinelli on guitar, and lastly the interviewee – Alex Van Anrooy on guitar.
When asked to do an interview, Alex Van Anrooy was more than happy to oblige and discuss not only the band’s rehearsals and theme behind their new EP, but also a possible festival performance and out-of-state tour in Cup Check’s future.
Kathleen Lieffers: When did you join Cup Check?
Alex Van Anrooy: Back in December, they had a meeting with me at a Starbucks. They told me, ‘Our guitarist might quit-‘
K: Might quit?
A: Yeah, might quit, or like, they might kick him out. It was a mutual thing, I guess, that they were talking about. He just wasn’t working out. And then they told me, ‘It’s not official, but we’re going to want you if something happens.’
K: Ha. And what did you say?
A: I said I’d be more than happy to join because I wasn’t really doing anything musically then. And then January comes around and that was pretty much that. It just happened. So, kinda cool.
K: Nice! And where is the band from?
A: Wheaton, Illinois.
K: And did you know them before? How did you all meet?
A: I knew Michaela. She pretty much went to every Right On Red show (Van Anrooy’s previous band). So, I knew her from that and built a relationship with her through that.
K: Very cool. What are your rehearsals generally like?
A: Every Sunday we meet at 10am. First, we run through our songs – make sure we are still up-to-date on them; that they are still fresh. And then we’ll bring in our ideas throughout the week that we each had. We’ll talk about them and try to incorporate new things into the set to make it seem coherent.
K: Is that when you write songs also? Is it collaborative?
A: It is collaborative, but someone comes in with an idea first.
K: Okay, and then you all work with it?
A: We all work with it there.
K: Could you describe the theme of the new album ‘Jouska?’
A: I remember when I first heard the songs, I thought ‘eh, it’s okay. The words were very direct.’ But then, I learned the hidden meaning of the word ‘Jouska’. It basically means playing a hypothetical situation/conversation in your head and all of the songs revolve around that idea. So, if you’re, like, laying down in bed and you’re thinking of just scenarios you’ve had throughout the day – it’s all hypotheticals that you have in your life and your life pretty much revolves around that and it becomes a compulsion.
K: So that’s what some of the songs – they revolve around that idea?
A: Every song, every lyric, every word… Every letter!
K: Ha. Every note?
A: Ha. Yes, every note!
K: What is your favorite song off the new album?
A: Crocodile Tears. It’s punk. It slays. It’s short.
K: You like playing that one the most, too?
A: Yeah. It’s the catchiest in my opinion.
K: What is the ultimate direction for Cup Check?
A: The goal right now is to play Warped Tour in the summer – just the one Chicago show that they offer. That is the short term goal. The long term is to play out of state as much as possible.
K: To go on tour?
A: Yeah. The last big Chicago show is going to be Subterranean. Then we’re going to go out of state for the whole summer pretty much.
K: Very cool. Do you have any advice for other bands or artists?
A: It really depends on what they’re looking to do. If you’re looking to do full time, you’ve got to put your heart into it. You’ve got to put every last ounce of energy you have into it. The most important thing is to have goals. Because if you don’t have goals then you don’t really know what you’re doing. So, if you have a goal to make it your life then you need to set up surrounding goals to get to.
K: So, goals are where it’s at?
A: Ha. Yes, goals.
K: Any new music after this EP release show?
A: I think we were talking about how we wanted to write a full length next. But nothing else is coming out for awhile. Not until 2017, probably.
K: Alright, that sounds great! Well, thanks for the interview!
A: Yeah, no problem!
Fans can see Cup Check headlining at The Subterranean this Sunday, April 10th with the doors opening at 5pm. The show will promote their new EP ‘Jouska’ release. Also on the bill are Surrenderson, Coastlines, Aiming For Average, and Action/Adventure. You can get more information about the show and snag some tickets here. Make sure to listen to ‘Sidewalks’ below and check out Cup Check’s music on their band camp pageas well as iTunes and Spotify.