The art of pulling

The art of pulling

Elsinore bring new album PUSH/PULL to Dayton

By Zach Rogers

Elsinore perform on April 12 at Blind Bob’s; photo: Oliver Peng

After a decade of making music and rediscovering both their sound and stability in the process, it finally looks like the members of Champaign, Ill.-based Elsinore have achieved a near-perfect state of balance and comfort. The group – comprised of singer/guitarist Ryan Groff, keyboardist Mark Woolwine, drummer James Treichler and bassist Brad Threlkeld – have been making music since the early 2000s, although not always with the same people.

Groff and Woolwine have remained the band’s only constants, with Treichler and Threlkeld joining the group just before recording their latest album PUSH/PULL, released in October. Despite all the ups and downs, the band has never sounded better, and on Saturday, April 12, Elsinore will perform at Blind Bob’s, bringing their own Midwest rock sensibilities to the Gem City. I managed to catch up with Groff via email, where he shed some light on Elsinore’s dark days, their new music and the time Roy Lichtenstein gave them a ton of free press.

What can you tell me about the early days of the group? 

The band started in 2004. Three of us were in music school and the bass player was out of school working as a musician/bartender in Charleston, Ill., where we all lived at the time. We were all musicians in a pretty small scene, so finding each other was easy. The original lineup was together until 2012, and we recorded three EPs, a live album and two studio albums before our original drummer and bassist left. Luckily, Mark [Woolwine] and I had some people in mind, and now the new lineup is a year-and-a-half in and stronger than ever! – Ryan Groff

The band released Yes Yes Yes in 2010, which proved to be a gigantic creative leap. What can you tell me about the album and what it meant for the group? 

It was a huge commitment and definitely a boost forward creatively. We took as much time as we needed with that record. Some songs were written over a year into the recording process, which made us constantly reevaluate what we wanted to do as a band. I think that’s why the record made such an impact. We worked long and hard with some really talented producers who helped us raise the bar and become better musicians. – RG

What happened with the “Lichtenstein incident?” 

The cover of Yes Yes Yes is a painting a friend of ours did, which was based on the original comic book image Roy Lichtenstein based his piece “Kiss V” on. Someone representing the Lichtenstein estate saw the image and said it was a violation of copyright law, and after receiving a wave of support and advice, we responded with some of our own information regarding the issue. Eventually they backed off, and in the end we got an infinite amount of free press because of it. – RG

Yes Yes Yes was followed by PUSH/PULL in late 2013. What can you tell me about the time between the two albums? 

After Yes Yes Yes, we received an email from producer Beau Sorenson, who said he loved the album and asked if we wanted to work with him. So, he and I spent the next year and a half talking about ideas, listening to demos and planning everything out. Unfortunately, it didn’t calm any of the internal struggles we were facing, and it all came to a head before the start of the new album. After our rhythm section left, we asked James [Treichler] and Brad [Threlkeld] if they wanted to join, and it couldn’t have turned out any better. I feel like the new record is tighter, better planned, more creative and ultimately an album where we thought of everything in terms of a side A/side B kind of thing. We loved that approach, and I think it pushed us to be more thoughtful with every move. – RG

The group’s second remix EP came out in February, but it wasn’t your first. What do you like most about doing remixes?   

Honestly, we’ve been able to do those EPs because we have a lot of talented friends who also work as solo artists in their home studios. It’s a huge trend these days with the amount of affordable technology out there. It’s cool because we get to hear songs we’ve worked so hard on re-envisioned by people we love and respect. We’ve even let a few of the remixes influence how we play the songs live. Forever transforming! – RG

Have you guys been working on any new material? 

Yeah, we have a couple new songs, and I think they’re noticeably heavier and more guitar-driven. There’s a song from Yes Yes Yes called “Chemicals,” which is one of my favorites to play live, and I feel like that’s what we’re tapping into vibe-wise with these new songs: heavy, catchy guitar rock and roll. PUSH/PULL is still new and needs our attention right now, so we’ll keep touring as hard as we can on it until we feel like it’s time for something new. We have a lot happening right now, and that feels really great. – RG

Elsinore will perform on Saturday, April 12 at Blind Bob’s, 430 E. Fifth St. Also on the bill are Oh Condor, Frontier Folk Nebraska and Paige and the Belairs. Doors at 9 p.m. Admission is $5 for 21 & up. For more information, please visit elsinoremusic.net. 

Reach DCP freelance writer Zach Rogers at ZachRogers@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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