Umphrey’s McGee have built a fervent fan base over the years through live shows packed with long, high-energy jams. Capturing their stage sound on an album, however, presents the band with an entirely different challenge.
“It’s another beast when you have to go in the studio and try to sculpt a pop song or a good rock ’n’ roll song in four minutes,” says bassist Ryan Stasik.
But the Chicago-based prog-rock band have reeled in their jams for the soon-to-be-released new album, “Death by Stereo.”
The album showcases the band’s ability to use other artists as inspiration while still maintaining a sound that is truly their own. “Search 4” is distinctly Umphrey’s, but with a little bit of Phish and Frank Zappa mixed in. Meanwhile, “Miami Virtue” provides a slice of ’80s pop.
“The six of us have such different musical palettes,” Stasik says, “so our music is definitely going to reflect that.”
Stasik says his favorite is the song, “Hajimemashite.”
“It was the first song Brendan [Bayliss] and I wrote. It sounds a lot different from when we first wrote it, and it’s come a long way over the years.”
Beginning as a college trio 14 years ago and now gearing up for their seventh studio album, it seems Umphrey’s McGee has come a long way, too.