The transition between high school and university, the futilities of collegiate social life and the frustrations of having an empty wallet make Modern Baseball’s album “Sports” easily relatable to the college-aged crowd.
Guitar players Jake Ewald and Brendan Lukens met bass player Ian Farmer and Sean Huber, who plays drums, when they left the small town of Brunswick, Md., to attend universities in the Philadelphia area.
“Someone introduced us at a party,” Huber said. “They were like, ‘Hey Sean, these guys like pop punk, you should talk to them.’”
“We were in my basement when my dad was a [gym] teacher and he had all these books and one of the books was called ‘Modern Baseball Techniques,’ said Ewald, who co-writes most of the songs for the band. With a name like that and a record named “Sports,” co-writer Brendan Lukens said they weren’t necessarily trying to mock athleticism.
“We’re not trying to be mean about it,” Lukens added.
“We all did some sport in high school. It’s mostly just a joke about ourselves.”
THE TEMPLE NEWS: You just got back from a winter tour. How was it?
JAKE EWALD: It was really cold. Otherwise it was really good. It was weird because we went as far as New Hampshire and everywhere we went people would sing our songs while we played. We played at a house in Connecticut and a bunch of high school kids were there. High school kids like our band.
BRENDAN LUKENS: I hope we go back out. It was too short. We did nine shows. They were house shows in interesting places. We played a place called “The Vatican’t.” It had a cool basement that looked like a dungeon. Other bands from Philly have played there, and when we got there and it felt kind of like Philly, but not in Philly. We got there and everybody was hanging while listening to Philly bands.
Ian Farmer: In Ohio we had a breakfast sandwich with donuts for bread.
TTN: Why and how do you guys write songs?
BL: It’s actually a really good story. [Ewald] and I met in high school, and I was actually dating his twin sister. And then that didn’t work out too well, but in the midst of all I learned that Jake was in a pop-punk band and a metal-core band, and we both were on the same page as far as writing music. I had been writing a lot of acoustic stuff for myself but wasn’t really doing anything with it. Jake and I write the songs for the band.
JE: We both kind of do the same thing, not just musically, but none of us had really written music that meant something before and written songs that expressed us emotionally. So we’ll be ourselves and if we’re in a shitty mood we’ll just write a song with an acoustic guitar.
BL: Usually Jake and I share songs together and then it trickles down.
TTN: How did you find Lame-O records?
JE: He actually lives with us.
BL: A really punk dude. After we recorded and really wanted to put it out on some physical format, so we were trying to figure out what we wanted to do. Vinyl was a dream. It was really unattainable. We showed Eric [Osman] the record. He had helped us out for a while. He decided to start a record label and put our album out on it. He’s our manager, too. We pressed 300 records and we sold them all.
TTN: Your lyrics are really personal, straightforward and honest. What makes you comfortable being so open about these things?
JE: It really bothers me when songs don’t sound sincere because that keeps me from connecting with the song. So when I go to write music myself, I try to be sincere. Semi-truthful. Say what you mean. We’re kind of into that kind of music, like quirky stuff.
BL: We’re really not into the whole classifying us thing because we just write the way that we want to. We’re writing it for us really because we just want to say how we feel, and it turns out people relate to that and feel the same way we do. Which is really cool, I guess. Which is really lame, I guess.
JE: We write these songs on our own when we’re all pissed off. It’s like having a conversation without actually having to talk to somebody. It feels good to get it out.
Abi Reimold can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.