Artist Reviews

Marina City (Artist Review)

Written by Maggie Sapet (VIC)

Read: 304 time(s)

An aggressive pop rock band that uses soul, jazz and post hardcore influences to create a unique sound that is universally loved – welcome to the world of Chicago-based six-piece, Marina City. The story goes that vocalist Ryan Arghast signed a production deal as a solo artist when he was 17 years old and had Brian Johnson (vocals/guitar), Matt Gaudiano (vocals/keys) and Eric Somers-Urrea (drums) as his backing band. When Arghast no longer wanted to pursue the production deal and didn’t have to resign, he asked Johnson, Gaudiano and Somers-Urrea if they wanted to start something new. Marina City was thus born and  added Aaron Heiy (bass) and Todor Birindjiev (lead guitar) a few years later.


Marina City


The majority of the band is lucky enough to have siblings or other family members who played music, meaning pursuing music themselves was quite a natural process. However, for Arghast, there was a time when he didn’t want to pursue the musician route. He loved music though and was singing and dancing from the minute he was able to walk and talk. That love of music includes influences like fellow Chicago natives Fall Out Boy as well as Justin Timberlake, Mayday Parade, Michael Jackson and The Beatles. Interestingly, not many in Marina City share the same influences though – Somers-Urrea loves Nine Inch Nails, Heiy loves Blink 182, Johnson plays music because of A Day To Remember and there would be no Birindjiev if it wasn’t for Metallica; Gaudiano meanwhile listens to the likes of Sam Smith, Bruno Mars and John Legend – a cacophony of different sounds that when put together gives you Marina City.


The band’s current release Lost ≠ Alone acoustic EP that encapsulates the above, literally started out as a joke that became real. The conversation between the band members went like this – “Hey, since we are doing this acoustic tour right now, people really dig what we are doing. Maybe we should record it”. ‘Oh, yeah we should ask if Craig Owens from Chiodos wants to produce it. He’s looking for artists to produce on Facebook”. Someone in the back says something like, “Wouldn’t it be cool if we did a live recording session of it?” Then someone else was like, Yeah, we should make it a tour!”


The tracks on the release are about things we go through in life – heartbreak, revenge, missing people and never giving up on a dream. Arghast and his band mates hope that people can relate to these themes and know that they aren’t going through this world alone – everyone goes through the same emotions, whether they are good or bad.


It is  not at all surprising then that whatever is happening in the lives of the Marina City boys trickles it way through their song writing more broadly. They have never once walked into band rehearsal with the mindset that their band has to sound a certain way. They walk in and start jamming together and whatever makes them excited they go with. Arghast will later write the lyrics about whatever is happening in his life and that of his friends.


The band that has been dubbed by multi-platinum record producer, John Feldmann, as a mix between Fall Out Boy and Avenged Sevenfold”, remain unsigned but have had many memorable moments. It is likely that each band member will have something different to say, but for Arghast, it was Marina City’s last headline show – a CD release show for their EP, Wanderlust. He had lost his grandfather a few days prior and the morning of the show was his funeral. His band mates came to the funeral and the wake that followed to support Arghast and his family. They left right after lunch and played their biggest headline show to date; the crowd was insane and the band was understandably quite emotional.


There is still so much for Marina City to achieve yet though, with dreams of playing Warped Tour in its entirety, to chart on the infamous Billboard Chart and play outside the US, just to name a few. The ultimate venue though, would be Wrigley Field. Arghast wants to headline and sell out that venue one day. He’s a huge Cubs fan, so it makes perfect sense. He has many fond memories of attending ball games at Wrigley with his family and of standing outside the ball park and just listening to artists like Paul McCartney and Bruce Springsteen. Arghast loves the area, the culture, the history and its personal significance to his family. With such dedication as Marina City has, anything appears possible for these Chicago natives.






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Maggie Sapet (VIC)

October 8th, 2016

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Maggie Sapet (VIC)

VIC, Australia Ever since I can remember I've wanted to be a music journalist. Plenty of people I say this to try to tell me that such a job doesn't exist. I aim to prove them wrong and continually aspire to be the best music journalist I can be. I completed a Master of Journalism at the University of Melbourne in 2013 and now I'm 100% focussed on becoming a music journalist, in saying that though I'll be the most untraditional of journalists. I write the way I speak and I like it that way. I hope to showcase independent/unsigned Aussie & sometimes international bands and artists. In saying that though, I'd also love the opportunity to speak with acts signed to the majors too. The dream is to interview the bands who mean the world to me, for their music and everything they stand for as well as who they are as people - Fall Out Boy and Mallory Knox! It will happen one day, I truly believe that! "Where words fail, music speaks" - Hans Christian Andersen

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