The New Regulars are on a quest to create music that stands out. The competition is dense and it’s hard to make a name for yourself that isn’t generic or already used. With a blend of ukuleles, soft harmonies and a punk edge, they believe they have the formula to prove their unique value.
The Knox Student: What situation led to the forming of the band?
Morgan Jellison: It’s sort of an odd story. It started as sort of a joke between my friends and me. We had this long list of names for the band, so the joke became calling the band The New Regulars AKA Little Owl AKA Mister Pastel, and we kept going on. One of them didn’t even play an instrument, but she eventually dropped out. Right now we’re at eight people, six on campus and two who are away right now.
TKS: Do you see this project transcending college and working outside of Knox?
MJ: That’s a good question actually. We’re not sure at this point whether we will just be here or continue on. One of the people, our melodica player, lives in Chicago and graduated two years ago. So we have that sort of outside of Knox relationship and after this year, I’ll probably not be on campus anymore. If it continues in this form, it will be a both Knox and outside band as well.
TKS: What artists and/or musical styles influence the music you make together?
David Petrak: Morgan calls our genre cutesy folk punk. I think it’s a combination of alternative music with a little folk influence. But also some sort of punk influences. It’s kind of a combination of everyone’s ideas and talents into one sound. It’s pretty eclectic.
MJ: Yeah, even with the stuff that I have written, as soon as I give it to people, there’s a tug and pull that gives it shape. The other band mates besides us write songs that are going to be recorded. We work on everything communally and it’s looking to be really cool.
TKS: What are the struggles for you band when it comes to getting your music out there and trying to stand out?
DP: One of the biggest challenges we face, being college students and in an eight-piece band, is all being in the same room at the same time. With that in mind, Knox specifically and Galesburg are really good places to start a new project. Knox has really catered to those type of individuals that want to start their own thing and go with it. I don’t think we’ve really felt any competition from other bands in Galesburg or even other student projects. I find more of a community and a place where we can do that.
MJ: Yeah, in terms of challenges, we really haven’t had any. I think having our members in the same room is tough Ð it’s actually never happened with this band. We had a drummer for Lincoln fest last year, but she couldn’t do it. Our bassist and melodica player are elsewhere. But on campus, it’s such a supportive community.
TKS: How do you plan to keep recording when there seems to be such disfunction in getting the band together?
DP: I think we’re just trying to go with the flow right now. There doesn’t seem to be much of a rush to get music out there and have it in a place where people can view it. It’s more of a work in progress. It’s difficult because we are all students and have other things going on in our lives. We really have to go with the flow with everyone’s schedules.
MJ: In terms of dysfunction, when it comes to the roles we play, I experience more of the dysfunction. There have been some day-ruining events where things come up and people have to cancel on me or I have to wait hours to get together and work on the music. Early on, that was a big thing for me, but now, I’m starting to understand how to think about it differently so I don’t feel like my expectations aren’t being met. I know people are busy, and I know that when I arrange the songs and give it to them, they have to budget it into their already busy schedules. The dysfunction emerged from what I was expecting and now I realize that there is no need to rush. We can take out time and polish what we’re doing and make a project that people want to be a part of.
TKS: To put it as simply or complex as you’d like, what sets The New Regulars apart?
DP: We have a very intriguing arrangement of instruments. When we play together, it sounds interesting. The saxophone gives some brass, we have a ukulele that isn’t in many other punk bands but we’re going to make it like that, and the melodica. We use instruments differently than how they’ve been used before.
MJ: With so many people and instruments that are being used in a way some might not expect, and the structure of the songs, we use this communal information that we have and turn it into what you hear. We have a personality and a style, that at least I have not seen. I can name bands that we sort of sound like their arrangements, but I don’t think I could articulate who we are without just having you come and listen and hang out with us. We’re just a personal experience. It’s in the name. We are like those regulars that sit down at the bar who pick up the conversation where you left it off. Except we’re new and you have to get to know us. I know that sounds hokey, but it fits. It wasn’t on purpose, but after the fact, we fit the name. We are our name, and our name is us.
TKS: What is the goal for the band for the rest of 2016?
MJ: My lofty plan this term is to potentially record and release six songs and then after, go on tour for six days to Chicago and make a little divot in the snow. Let people know we’re there and make a footprint. After, I’d like to record more stuff and improve our live performance. I’d like to play in Peoria, around here, and Quad Cities. We’ll see what people want to do. People may not be able to do it after this year. But for now, I’m interested in making our name known, at least to the Knox community and those around us.