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Local Music Spotlight: Emily & The Complexes

Cassandra Zahran Cassandra Zahran Local Music Spotlight: Emily & The ComplexesPhoto via Emily & the Complexes.
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Emily & the Complexes: Four well-groomed men, tastefully melancholic, who write DIY singer/songwriter tunes.

Genre: Singer/Songwriter, Americana, Folk, Road-rock, Indie-grit

Fresh off of their two week, Summer 2014 tour, Emily & the Complexes took a seat with me and guided me through their journey as Columbus musicians.

Tyler “Lyrical Messiah” Verhagen – Vocals, lyrics, guitar

Tom “Band Mom” Konitzer – Drums

Brett “Reincarnated Cat” Gregory – Guitar

Jordan “Unofficial Accountant” Finke – Bass

When Tom Konitzer and Brett Gregory were fifteen years old, the two young men made an impulsive decision, making their first purchases at a music store — Tom bought a drum kit, and Brett bought a bass. Being fifteen, this is a dream. You and your best friend are about to start a band and play for all your friends and family. What could possibly be better a diary entry? Tom and Brett channeled their teenage angst into their music and began their post-punk band, rivaling with current bandmates, Tom and Jordan, for pre-pubescent stardom.

It’s a decade later, and Tyler, Tom, Brett and Jordan have united as Emily & the Complexes. These four goofy, kind and extemporaneous men happen to share the same passion for music, and have been taking substantial steps towards their musical career this past year. Fresh off of their two week Summer Tour, Emily & the Complexes are taking time to re-charge and rejuvenate from their unpredictable and sweltering hot journey, sharing their story with me.

Kicking off their 2014 Summer Tour in Columbus at Rumba Cafe, the boys said farewell to Ohio and packed up their gear in Tom’s less-than-functioning mini van. Five days into the Emily & the Complexes’s tour, Dirty Southern Love was released, and their record was displayed during thirteen live shows. Friends in Columbus binge-listened to the record, while the four boys headed to unfamiliar territory.

A four track record written by Tyler, Dirty Southern Love brings a cohesive, singer/songwriter ambiance that lingers in your ears. The record is lackadaisical and effortless, warming your body with complimentary instrumentation and pronounced percussion. Tyler shared his writing process with me, revealing he doesn’t pump out songs like an energizer bunny at a typewriter. “It’s reflective of a significant part of my life, and I write when I have something to write about.”

Heavily inspired by Margot and the Nuclear So and So’s, Lana Del Ray and DIY punk-rockers, Tyler pulls from his personal experience when writing for the group. Admiring Tyler’s savvy relationship with lyrics and melody, the bandmates assist in composition in order to compliment and communicate his message as accurately as possible.

The Dirty Southern Love tour skipped across the country, visiting New York, South Carolina, Florida, Georgia and Tennessee (to name a few places), traveling in their un-air conditioned, uncomfortable mini-van, named Chewy. As the unofficial fifth member of the band (although incapable of playing music), Chewy has taken the four boys and all of their equipment on three separate tours since 2012. A name that originates from the comedically frightening Chewbacca sounds that occasionally erupts from the steering wheel, the vehicle has safely transported Emily & the Complexes across the country — with a few technical problems, of course.

Currently focused on playing with out-of-town bands Emily & the Complexes met on tour, the boys are booking and continuing to showcase the live rendition of record Dirty Southern Love. From playing in New York’s grungy bars, Athens house parties and Nashville establishment, the group has gained the experience needed to guide the rest of their journey. Keep your eyes and ears peeled for the swooning sounds of Emily & the Complexes.

For more information, visit www.facebook.com/emilyandthecomplexes.

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