Q&A with Cousin Simple

From left: Harsh Hoag, lead vocals and guitar; Joel Lorenz, drums; Mitch Whittaker, bass and keyboard; Luke Hamrock, guitar and keyboard; Ryan Ulibarri, guitar and background vocals.

Live music is a borderline addiction for me, and recently I made my way to Chicago as a spur of the moment decision to see a show at Reggie’s Rock Club, a small venue in Chinatown.

Man, am I happy I did.

Cousin Simple is a Columbus, Ohio-based five piece band made up of Harsh Hoag, Ryan Ulibarri, Luke Hamrock, Joel Lorenz, and Mitch Whittaker. Their high-energy performance at the show left the audience chanting for an encore, and I was lucky enough to sit down with them afterward for an interview.

E: How did you guys meet and get to know each other? How did the band form?

Harsh: Myself, Mitch, and Ryan all went to middle school together….the first time we played a song together, our eighth grade graduation, we did a cover of Coldplay’s “The Scientist.”

Mitch: Favorite song, by the way.

Harsh: We started playing songs together, released a couple songs on Soundcloud…our friends really liked it, said we should do a local battle of the bands. We practiced before school twice a week at six o’clock in the morning, and we actually ended up winning the battle of the bands.

Ryan: So we recorded an album, we put out some music on Spotify, Apple Music, to put out some material for our fans.

E: So when did you make the leap to actually performing shows?

Mitch: We started playing some shows around Columbus, Ohio. Just to sort of build our fan base.

Harsh: We wrote new songs instead of doing covers. We released a nine-song album, and we actually just released a new single, “Honeybee,” yesterday, with David Kershenbaum. Which is pretty cool, he has 75 multi-platinum records.

E: That’s awesome. When you’re writing and performing songs like “Honeybee,” what musicians inspire you?

Joel: Josh Dun, the drummer from Twenty-One Pilots, and Travis Parker, from Blink-182.

Ryan: Guitarists like the guys from the strokes, the guys from the Who, Jimmy Page

Mitch: Arctic Monkeys, Coldplay, Jack Johnson

Luke: I would say bands like Pavement, and Joy Division.

Harsh: Mick Jagger, Freddy Mercury from Queen.

E: And my last question, What can we expect from you guys in the future…what’s your ultimate goal?

Harsh: You know, just keep playing shows out of town. This was our first show out of the state of Ohio and we loved it to say the least…it was so much fun. We’re going to keep on writing new music, releasing stuff on Spotify, new singles. We wanna get signed, too. Get more radio play, for sure.

Cousin Simple, with a stage presence reminiscent of The Rolling Stones and Queen and a sound all their own, is definitely one to watch in 2019.  

About Emma Boone

Emma, or Em, is an advertising major with a soft spot for alternative music. Her favorite song changes almost daily, and she could name a million reasons why Spotify is the best music streaming service. Catch her binge watching Netflix documentaries or on, you guessed it, Spotify, finding new music for her playlist of the month.

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