Continuing our Featured Selections series with Reverb Nation, next up we have 4-piece Alternative-Rock band Mopak, comprised of Phillip Suarez, Colt Westbrook, Claire Westbrook and Evan Chambers.
After meeting in college in 2005, the members of Mopak began playing together. Over the next several years, they released two albums under a different name. In 2011, they made some changes musically and decided that their new sound should be accompanied by a new name. Mopak’s first EP, “Labor,” was released in August of 2015. They recorded this album at Blackwatch Studios in Norman, OK with Jarod Evans. This EP is the result of being stretched and trying out some new things as a band.
The members of Mopak grew up in different areas of the U.S. and encompass a variety of musical influences between them. Some of the bands and artists that have shaped their music include Radiohead, Zeppelin, Sarah McLachlan, Switchfoot, Regina Spektor, The National, Eric Whitacre, The Killers, and Ryan Adams. Channeling all of those influences as they write and arrange has served them well.
After about a year long break from writing, Mopak plans to pick up where they left off sometime this fall. In the next year or two, Mopak hopes to release their first full length album.
Who are Mopak?
Mopak is a 4-piece alt-rock band out of OKC, OK. We all met about 12 years ago in college and have played together ever since.
What artist were you first exposed to growing up?
While we were probably exposed to some similar artists growing up, we all have very different musical influences. Phil (drums) is a big Switchfoot fan while Evan (bass) has always loved Zeppelin. Third Eye Blind and Ryan Adams are two of Colt’s (vocal/electric guitar) influences while Claire (vocal/piano) has admired Sarah McLachlan and Regina Spektor. Our music together sounds like all of us fighting to channel our influences and meeting in the middle.
What year did you decide to pursue a music career?
We’ve all been involved with music on our own in different bands/settings throughout our entire lives. Music has been a passion for all of us for some time. But specifically, as a band, we formed and began working on our first EP together in 2006. Although now we all have full-time careers outside of the band, we value the time we get to write, practice, and make records together. With growing families, it may never make sense to solely pursue a career in music, but we will always make time for it on the side.
How would you describe your sound?
That’s the hardest question for a band to answer! We always just joke and say “Drums, Bass, Guitar, and Piano”. We try to write songs that are patient and pleasing. At times, we combine antiquated song structure with modern sounds.
If given the chance what artist would you like to work with?
We are all pretty fascinated by the music that Kanye puts out. It would be a crazy experience to work with him.
You first caught my attention with your single “Different,” what was the inspiration behind it?
“Different” is a song written by me, Claire. It started out as an angry poem I scribbled down in class one dreary morning in college. I was just a typical college student going through a typical season of cynicism about everything. In this particular song, I was venting my frustration with the people around me who I felt were doing so-called unique and different things just for the sake of being unique and different. I rolled my eyes often about how disingenuous it all felt to be “different just to be different,” to quote the song. Eventually, I took the words to the piano and the song pretty quickly took shape. It all seems a little over-dramatic and juvenile now, but sometimes those kinds of feelings make for the best songs!
What goals do you wish carry out during your music career ?
We have discovered that writing together is our most favorite thing to do as a band. Showing our songs to one another, tweaking chord progressions, adding instrumentals, thinking through challenging rhythmic ideas, and other details like that are the moments that we enjoy most. As long as we continue doing that, playing live shows here and there, and putting out records when we can, our goals will be met.
Are you working on a new project/album? if so what can we expect ?
We decided to take a break last fall as all of our families continued to grow, but we expect jumping back into some sort of rhythm this fall. At that time, we’ll get back to writing together, finishing up some songs we had worked on, and adding in some new ones. This next project will consist of Claire’s songs and her vocals as lead. We began experimenting with her songs last year and really loved the direction we were heading musically. We plan on picking that back up and cranking out a full length album in the next couple of years.
Name One album you couldn’t live without and why?
I think I can speak for all of us when I say that Jesus Freak by DC Talk played an important role in our lives as young kids. We all grew up in church and this album really stood out musically and creatively among the rest. And it still does!
Stream Mopak’s stand-out single Different below.