For a band embracing the “millennial” culture so much that they named themselves The Millennial Club, the Whittier-based quartet certainly likes to keep a bit of a throwback sound in their tunes. Even from the first listen, The Millennial Club’s blend of modern indie-pop with some old school jazz and R&B elements brings to life a timeless sound that separates them from many of their up-and-coming peers — and as comfortable or familiar as certain aspects of each song may feel, vocalist and guitarist Andres Owens makes sure to put his own unique spin on every track he touches.
“I never really start writing melodies to sound like anything I’ve heard before,” Owens says. “I try to come up with them really organically just based on what I think sounds good. Melodically and lyrically, it’s something that I want to be honest with and vulnerable with, and it’s really just me. Sonically, we were all jazz musicians in high school, so that’s where a lot of the jazz influence comes from. We want to play something that we enjoy playing and can be creative with, and jazz is such a great outlet for that.”
But while it wouldn’t be unheard of for a bunch of high school jazz musicians to start a whole new band in college, the ties among Owens and his bandmates run deeper. The foursome have been friends since middle school, and although they never tried making music together until a couple of years ago, the influence and trust formed over a decade of friendship is still the foundation of everything they do. Of course, it also helps that the guys in The Millennial Club all come from fairly musical backgrounds, with guitarist Jake Stevenson and bassist Jared Ortiz each able to pull double duty and respectively serve as the saxophonist and keyboardist when needed as well.
Even with the chemistry between them permitting The Millennial Club to take musical risks without alienating individual members and their instrumental skills allowing for a reasonably solid execution of their diverse sound, that doesn’t mean releasing new music is always easy for the young band. A quick look at their online presence may reveal just enough music to cover a 15-minute set, but it actually turns out that their limited selection stems from more of an embarrassment of songwriting riches than anything.
“Creatively, I’m going 24/7 and always trying to write new songs, so I end up with a lot of music,” Owens says. “We only have four songs online right now, but we have a lot more than that. Trying to refine the 20-some-odd songs we have in our pocket and decide which ones really embody The Millennial Club and what speaks the truth about our band is sort of hard to discern sometimes. There are so many that I really enjoy playing, but we have to sit back and decide if it’s really ‘our’ sound.”
That may all change soon enough though, Owens and the rest of the group have also done quite a bit of learning on the technical side of things over the last couple of years. Whereas trying to record, mix, and master on a laptop took an eternity for each track, upgrading their production equipment means being able to release a song pretty quickly after they decide it’s worthy of sharing with the world.
If waiting for each tune to be carefully considered before unveiling isn’t your thing, the good news is that The Millennial Club has made it their mission to play all over Southern California as often as they can while they build themselves up. This Sunday, they’ll see one of their crowning concert achievements to date, as they’ll be headlining the Parish at the House of Blues in Anaheim with a pair of other bands (The Ivy and Laureline) that actually complement their music.
“We’ve played House of Blues a few times in the past, but we’ve never been able to play with bands who have been so similar in genre” Owens says. “We don’t necessarily make the same style of music, but we’re all in the same realm. With all of us together, I think it’s going to be a really well-rounded show. We’re stoked to play with musicians who are in the same vein as us, and I think the whole night is going to be really good. If you’re going to come to one show for the rest of the year, give this one a shot.”
The Millennial Club is at the House of Blues on Sunday, September 23 at 7:00 p.m. Tickets start at $12 and are available through the venue’s website.
Josh Chesler used to play baseball for some pretty cool teams, but now he just writes about awesome stuff like tattoos, music, MMA and sneakers. He enjoys injuring himself by skateboarding, training for fights, and playing musical instruments in his off time.