Life is Cool is ready to bring the party to Lincoln Calling.
The locally based “Group Supreme” will be making their performance debut at Lincoln Calling’s Band Appreciation Night on Sunday at Duffy’s Tavern.
“We were offered the show and, at the time, we weren’t ready at all, but we hustled,” said Jim Reilly, the lead singer, guitarist, and songwriter for Life is Cool. “It’s kind of cool, it’s going to be the very last show of Lincoln Calling and it’s also a catered show. It’s also the night that all of the bands get paid, so everyone has to show.”
Though the band will be making their live debut next week, performing experience is abundant among the group’s many members. Most of the musicians have performed in other bands or are currently still involved with other bands, which include Pharmacy Spirits, Shipbuilding Co., Eagle Seagull, Fuschia Minutiae, Cat Island, Black Cohosh and the recently disbanded Son of ’76.
“Jim wrote these songs and found a cast of crazy characters to perform them live,” said Nick Svoboda, a Black Cohosh member and the provider of Life is Cool’s practice space.
Among the “cast” is guitarist Eric Bemberger, producer and musician Eli Mardock, bassist Nate Luginbill, drummer Alex Houchin, singer Kendra Campbell, guitarist Mike Elsener, and saxophonist Josh Hoyer.
“I just wanted as good of musicians as I could find and unique people who weren’t too afraid to try something new and unique on stage,” Reilly said.
Reilly said forming the group wasn’t difficult as everyone in Lincoln is just a phone call away, especially those familiar to the music scene.
“If you go to shows and you play shows then you know everybody. It’s just a matter of calling them up and seeing if they’d be interested in trying something new,” Reilly said.
While the local music scene is a tight-knit community, Svoboda said many of the musicians in Life is Cool are playing together for the first time and are just getting to know each other in a musical sense.
Due to the band’s musical diversity, the unification of its members has resulted in a melting pot of sound.
“The first couple of times we played, it was pretty chaotic, actually,” said Reilly. “Everybody’s style is so varied, so it’s always (a) unique experience for sure. But they play my songs well and in between songs, any jam that strikes up, it’s always really complex and bizarre and creepy. It’s weird. There’s just weird things going on down here.”
Though their styles are different, Life is Cool’s members are all understanding that their music is meant to be fun for both the listener and the band itself, something Reilly said comes across in the lyrics and mood of their songs.
“The whole premise is to have a good time in this band,” Reilly said. “Not to say that I don’t write about things that might be important, but I present it in a different way. It’s just supposed to be a good time. So nobody has to listen to me crooning about love lost or anything like that. Party is the theme of the songs, so we treat practice like that and hopefully, we treat the show like that.”
The positive attitude of the band extends past the music and into the relationships of its members as well.
“So far I’ve never come home to find you guys fighting or anything,” Svoboda said. “It always seems like a pretty calm and chill atmosphere.”
The “party” and good vibes theme for the band can also be correlated with its musical influences.
“I think that when people hear this record, they’ll definitely hear influences from the 80s,” Reilly said. “When I set out to make the record I was kind of obsessed with this Bryan Ferry record, ‘Girls and Boys.’ It’s just really outrageous. I wanted something fun, like I said, but also something a little bit challenging, a little bit awkward. I found a lot of inspiration in Bryan Ferry and maybe 80s Bowie. A lot of people don’t like 80s Bowie, but to me, the “Let’s Dance” record is a template for a good time.”
Svoboda said the band’s sound is very accessible, something many people can listen to and enjoy, while Reilly describes the sound as “alive and entertaining.”
Life is Cool has finished recording their first album, which is currently being mixed by Eli Mardock and will, hopefully, be available early next year. While more live shows are definitely in the band’s future, Reilly said touring out of state will be a bit more complicated because of the multiple bands of which Life is Cool’s members are a part and their busy schedules.
Reilly also said he wants the audience’s initial thought after the show to be, “I want to see them again.” Though he added the band will be working hard on stage, he said he hopes the audience will enjoy the party that Life is Cool plans to bring.
“From the name of the band, Life is Cool, which is going to be the album title as well, to the feeling that we wanna have on stage, it’s an outward expression of how I feel,” Reilly said. “It’s been a good couple of years, so music that I was making, until very recently, was done differently. I like the idea that this is more of a celebration of music. I don’t expect anyone to do anything except, hopefully, dance.”