Although we’re more than happy to finally have less-than-sweltering weather in Philthy in the Fall of 2019, we never get sick of mid-‘90s summertime jams… which our new friends in Winnetka Bowling League would seem to have in spades. The band, fronted by Matt Koma, recently put out their second EP, Cloudy With A Chance of Sun, on RCA. The EP is a collection of songs equally inspired by break-ups and life in Southern California and is more than slightly reminiscent of the last great days of MTV. Winnetka Bowling League are currently on tour supporting poignantly sassy pop chanteuse Sasha Sloan and will be at our very own World Café Live this Wednesday, November 20th, and last week I got a chance to chat with Winnetka Bowling League founder Matt Koma about the band’s history, influences, and future.
Izzy Cihak: From what I can tell, this band is relatively new, and there’s not a ton of information available about you. What have been some of the highlights of Winnetka Bowling League so far?
Matt Koma: That time we petitioned to hire a Phil at your magazine and call him Philthy Phil Collins.
Izzy: How is it that you all came together in the first place?
Matt: I called my brother Kris to play the drums, Instagram messaged Maddie (bass) multiple times because I was a huge fan of her playing and wanted to play music with her, and we met Sam through our friend Kenny who owns a weed dispensary and flies private planes (a very safe combination).
Izzy: Have you had any favorite reactions to your music?
Matt: One girl looked miserable at one of our shows. Front and center with absolutely no desire to be there. I liked her.
Izzy: Is there anything you would want fans and potential fans to know about your process of making music, or just your aim as an artist?
Matt: Our first two EP’s were recorded outdoors in a large Waldbaum’s parking lot between Sam’s shifts at the Sprint store.
Izzy: What would you consider to be your most significant influences, both musical and otherwise? You seem to take a lot of inspiration from simply living in LA.
Matt: Los Angeles has definitely been the backdrop for a lot of these stories. With the exception of Sam, we’re all transplants here and I think that experience in itself leaves a lot on the table to work with. Musically, I pretty much only listen to Phoebe Bridgers and Dawes.
Izzy: I know you’re playing a bunch of end-of-year gigs. Are there any that you’re especially excited to play, or just cities you’re especially excited to visit or revisit?
Matt: You know, we’re just really grateful to be ending our first touring year with so many great shows alongside artists we respect so much. We’re coming back to a lot of places for the second/third time and it’s really special to see more and more people knowing the songs. Sasha Sloan was gracious enough to invite us out on her whole North American tour, then we have a bunch of shows with Cage the Elephant, Local Natives, White Reaper who I really dig… we’re stoked.
Izzy: Were you previously fans of Sasha Sloan? Are you excited to be on the road with her? I’m a big fan of hers as well.
Matt: Yes, very much so. I love her songwriting. We met once a few years ago and shared a love for the San Fernando Valley. And Maddie went to college with a lot of the people in her band. It’s going to be really nice to genuinely enjoy the headliner’s music so much.
Izzy: What can be expected of the live show when you play here at World Café Live?
Matt: It’ll be a show.
Izzy: And since we’re nearing the end of 2019, I have to ask if there have been any tracks or albums to drop that you were especially into, or if you got to see any live performances that you especially loved?
Matt: I tend to hold onto music for a very long time before I move on, and I’m still obsessed with the Boy Genius record, love the High Women, Hatchie’s latest is wonderful, and Dawes remains the greatest live band on the planet as proved by their three shows I saw this year.
Izzy: Finally, how are you hoping and planning to spend 2020? Any chance that there’s a full-length, or just new music in general, in the works?
Matt: We have a new EP coming out early in the year that we actually just wrapped. I don’t know about a full-length. There’s been something really nice about these 5/6 song releases where I don’t feel so precious. You make the collection, move on, write the next ones, put them out… that rhythm feels really natural right now. We’re hitting the road with Flor in February, which we’re really looking forward to. Those guys are good friends of ours and we love their music.