Making Everyday Fantastic: Lake Zurich's Christopher Steibel, rising indie-pop band headline HVAC Pub
Inspired by his jazz-playing father and a burgeoning scene around Lake Zurich High School, Christopher Steibel was interested in writing music, even if he wasn't completely convinced he should perform it.
That is, until a random jam session freshman year in his dorm at Indiana University introduced him to future Everyday Fantastic bandmates Ryan Lampe and Mitchell Gabel and brought him out of his musical shell.
"I really wasn't the music guy in high school. It kind of took a back seat," he said. "It was actually when I went to college and met these guys. They supported me and loved the music we were working on and gave me the confidence to actually perform for people."
"He would play these songs and be like, 'Yeah, this is something I wrote, I don't know.' And we'd be like, 'Dude, that's amazing!'" Gabel, the band's lead guitarist, pointed out.
This weekend, the dynamic trio headlines HVAC Pub in Wrigleyville, along with xxThread (of Columbus, Ohio) and The Permanent Fix, another Chicago-area band with members hailing from Evanston and Park Ridge.
Factoring in a post-college hiatus before the bandmates converged again in Chicago after meeting up at an IU homecoming game -- drummer Lampe coming from Indianapolis and Gabel from Madison, Wisconsin -- the trio has been mixing it up musically for nearly six years even though their Chicago debut was only last summer.
"We really missed the experience of playing with each other and doing shows, writing music," Gabel said. "And so we all kind of made that decision to come to Chicago primarily for the band. At least those of us who relocated. Christopher was already living here anyway, but he strongly encouraged us."
"Chicago is a great place to be. There's lots of opportunities and it's just a really great place. So I kind of bullied them a little bit," Steibel added, to laughs from the group.
Even though there are only four Everyday Fantastic songs fans can explore on Spotify and other streaming services -- including this summer's release "Too Late" -- after all that time together, the trio has amassed a catalog of unrecorded favorites from their college years and new songs intended for upcoming releases from which to draw for the show. Fans also will be treated to the debut of the band's upcoming single.
The set will showcase its progression from Steibel's early folk songs through lively riff-driven rock to the sparkling synth-powered indie-pop they focus on today. Growing from DIY house shows around IU to opening for The Mowgli's when the band visited the university -- "We were backstage with them. They called us out for their encore. I felt like a superstar," said Steibel -- to playing bars and venues around the Chicago area helped push that development, inspiring even further steps for the band.
"With us playing for so long together, we have so many ideas and backlog songs. We can go into Christopher's computer and find so many half ideas for things," said Lampe, who, in addition to playing in both Everyday Fantastic and The Permanent Fix, was also recently seen in Oil Lamp Theater's "Never the Bridesmaid" in Glenview.
"We've got a lot of things that we really like that we just need to take the time to finalize and put into a set," he said, "because a huge goal of ours in the coming months is to get a body of work out, like an EP or something, to kind of concisely show where we're headed with our sound."
"It totally is a product of the environment that we started writing. We came up fully in the house show scene where it's in someone's basement or in someone's garage playing in Indiana, where you gotta be loud, you gotta have a lot of fun, have a ton of energy," Steibel said. "People want to sing, and they want to dance and have a great time. And so a lot of our music is written from that standpoint, where it needs to be that high energy."
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Everyday Fantastic with xxThread, The Permanent Fix
When: 8 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 13
Where: HVAC Pub, 3530 N. Clark St., Chicago, hvacpubwrigley.com