CASE • "Not Yet"
Some of the most promising music today is coming from young minds and CPS-based band CASE is no exception. CASE began as a music project from Seamus Masterson and Cale Zepernick, but has since grown into a full 5-piece band with the additions of Charlie O’Neill, Noah Toritto, and Jabriel Martin. This musicality has translated into full-sounding songs that run the spectrum of alternative rock with influences from indie, jazz, and “urban folk” (as their SoundCloud describes).
CASE’s new single “Not Yet” kicks off with a melancholy acoustic chord progression and a beautiful vocal performance from Seamus. As another guitar layer comes and the drums pick up with the trumpet, the track builds impressively to an addicting hook. Lyrically, “Not Yet” displays a maturity and ear for nostalgia that complements their instrumentation perfectly. With a sensibility for catchiness and versatility, CASE has a bright future, and it’s worth getting to know them now.
For more information on the band and their music history, influences, and inspirations, see below:
For those who may be hearing CASE for the first time, introduce yourselves so we can all get to know you better!
We are five CPS high school kids in Chicago. CASE began with Seamus Masterson (Jones College Prep) and Cale Zepernick (Lane Tech), but this past summer, we added drummer Charlie O’Neill (Whitney Young), guitarist Noah Toritto (Lane Tech), and trumpeter Jabriel Martin (Lane Tech).
You're talented multi-instrumentalists and vocalists, where did your journeys in music begin?
All of us are classically trained musicians except Cale. Cale taught himself how to play guitar in 7th grade and has been writing music since he was little. Seamus, coming from a musical family, has been studying classical violin for 13 years and has always loved singing. Charlie has been playing drums for most of his life, and is trained primarily in classical percussion and drum set, but started playing jazz in high school and that's when he began to take music more seriously. He has also expanded his playing into rock, funk, hip hop, etc. Noah has been playing for 11 years and has his roots in hard rock but began his journey as primarily a jazz and blues player as a freshman at Lane. He found great inspiration in jazz fusion group Snarky Puppy and many other contemporary jazz artists. His background is clear in his playing style, which involves many blues and jazz inspired elements. Many of these elements are reminiscent of players such as Jimmy Page and B.B. King. Noah and Jabriel became close friends while working with multiple jazz ensembles and eventually joined Case together at the same time. Jabriel has played everything from Stravinsky to Charles Mingus but quickly gravitated toward jazz as early as fourth grade. Although playing this style of music is completely new for him he has quickly found his footing and actively incorporates all that he knows about music as a whole in order to produce CASE’s sound.
How and when did CASE originally connect and start working together?
Cale and Seamus grew up together going to the same school as kids, but didn’t really get close until high school came around. We started with a cover of Kanye West and decided to record a short EP. We took way too much time trying to record in-home demos but never really released anything until this past summer with our debut single “Days on a Wire”.
You released some music in 2015, but not again until this year, how do you feel you've grown in these two years?
We have grown as a band in number and also through our musicality. We have developed from a couple kids writing songs to actual songwriters, excited to see where this takes us. The expansion of CASE was our best decision, and we wouldn’t be nearly as far as we are right now without the collaboration among all five of us.
There's a great nostalgia and melancholia you guys capture in your instrumentation and writing, "Not Yet" is no exception. What inspires your writing process?
Our writing process varies, but mostly we write about what we see in the people around us. We definitely focus on a few central themes noting most of our songs discuss love and the bittersweet emotions that are tied to those experiences.“Not Yet” is a song about the fine line between accepting transition and cherishing the joys of relationships.
You guys have also been performing quite a bit, how's the live show feeling?
There’s a level of vulnerability in live shows that generate this sense of intimacy. The energy is always apparent and intense through our emotional sets that draw just as much passion from the crowd as they do us. There’s really no substitute for the simple act of playing music for other people. The stage has quickly become a desired destination for every member of the band and it’s amazing to witness one another grow not only as musicians in the studio but the growth in our ability to provide an experience. We've all become more comfortable as individuals and as a group playing together on stage, and that has been very beneficial for us as well as our audience. We recently headlined Beat Kitchen during September and we're playing there again January 6, which both the band and our followers are very excited for. We also have a show in the works with Manwolves, Ric Wilson, and Kaina.
What else can we look forward to from you in the near future?
A record is in the works. We have a lot in store for the future and think that we can continue to build on the energy that we’ve already begun to capture through the first 4 singles we’ve released this year. The goal is always to capture raw emotion in an accessible platform and create clarity to complex feelings. Big things to come.