Water Polo, a Temple-based indie-emo band, began as a high school ska group in New Jersey.
After the original group of high school musicians known as Skank Week came to Temple, they brought in new members and new sounds.
“That group started to diffuse, and we developed different music tastes, which led to forming Water Polo,” freshman bioengineering major Matt Short said.
With the addition of guitarist of Joe Lynch and bassist Dave Scott, drummer Eric O’Neill said the group had to decide if being a band at school would fit into each of their schedules.
“Things [with the band] were still up in the air because we didn’t know how much time we would have, or how we would practice,” O’Neill, a freshman marketing major, said. “Once we all got to school and got settled, we really figured things out and we were able to continue being a band.”
“Playing in a band in college is more fun than anything else,” Short said. “It helps with managing your responsibilities because playing shows is a major stress reliever on the weekends.”
The group recently released a split EP with fellow New Jersey natives Zoo Books, who the guys met after playing a show together. Water Polo recorded its side of the split in July with Jeff Rattay at Tall Man Studios.
“The first song on the split, ‘Castro Fidelity,’ was a fairly new song that we wrote,” Short said. “The other song we recorded was an old song. We wrote it pretty early on, but it just happened that those were the two songs that we wanted to record at the time.”
After relocating to Philadelphia, the band has found a place in the local scene, and continues to attract crowds both at home in New Jersey and at house venues around the city.
“Back when we were playing shows in South Jersey we weren’t picking up a lot of steam, but people always said they enjoyed our music,” O’Neill said. “We got to school, and I feel like we’ve picked up a lot of steam. I’ve noticed we kind of have a fan base, which is really nice to realize.”
“We’ve gotten so many cool opportunities to do things [in Philadelphia],” Short said. “We have played The Block Jam in November, squash courts at Haverford College and recorded a session with Somewhere Sessions.”
Alumna Rachel Cooper produces acoustic sessions with musicians and bands from across the country. The band met Cooper through a mutual friend and later recorded a three song session with her, which will debut in late-January.
“I met Rachel because she was roommates with my friend, and she told me she does sessions,” O’Neill said. “I remember saying ‘We should do a session some time,’ but we were always pushing it back. The last day before she left for the semester we recorded the session together. It was a really good experience, because Rachel is really professional and she cares a lot about her work.”
After a semester full of schoolwork, shows and practicing, the band members said they are already looking forward to a busy new year.
“We are trying to look for more shows in the Philadelphia area,” O’Neill said. “We really don’t get to play around Drexel, which is something we are definitely looking to do in 2015. We were tossing around the idea of getting out of state. Maybe playing up in New York or down South. On top of that, we want to put out a full-length release.”
Tim Mulhern can be reached at email@example.com