EMURG Interview: McCalister

At EMURG, we are dedicated to exposing listeners to emerging bands that convey a certain musical talent and presence that sets the artist apart from the rest of the crowd. One of those artists, McCalister, instantly caught the attention of EMURG as being a band that encompasses a musical presence that sets them apart from other bands. Who exactly is McCalister and what are they all about? In an exclusive EMURG interview, we sat down with this emerging band to find out why they are one of the most talented bands that you have barely heard of, and how they are changing that with their presence in the world of music…



EMURG: What artist(s)/band(s)/songs/album(s) influenced your band?

McCalister: To name just a few: Cartel, Yellowcard, We Are The In Crowd, Taking Back Sunday, The Starting Line, They Story So Far, and Switchfoot.

EMURG: What are the members of McCalister currently listening to right now?

McCalister: Sarah: Paramore, Tegan and Sara, Tonight Alive, Twenty One Pilots, and The Story So Far

Dan: Jason Aldean, Justin Moore, Slipknot, The Bouncing Souls, and Rancid

Andrew: Cartel, The Story So Far, Neck Deep, Their/They’re/There, Turnover, and Streetlight Manifesto

Bobby: Brand New, Say Anything, The Front Bottoms, The Swellers, and Led Zeppelin

EMUG: What has been your favorite show/performance so far in your career as musicians?

McCalister: Our favorite show to play as a group was at The Studio at Webster Hall. It had a great crowd, sound, and atmosphere!

EMURG: It seems that bands today are always trying to find new ways to branch out to fans. How does McCalister connect with their fans?

McCalister: We use many different aspects of social media. We connect to our fans through our Facebook page, our individual Twitter accounts, Instagram, Band Camp, Tumblr, and we always stick around after our shows to talk to our fans. We truly appreciate our fans and love talking to them!

EMURG: If you want fans to remember one song from you it would be?

McCalister: It would have to be the song, “Streetlights”. It’s the final original track on our album, and we each had a large part in forming the song. Andrew wrote the lyrics, Sarah and Andrew divided up the vocals lines, and all of us came together to form the instrumentals. It was an entirely different way of writing than we have done in the past, but it became our favorite song. It also ended up being a cathartic experience in that it allowed each of us to get our frustrations out through music.



EMURG: You are a relatively new band to the scene, but who is McCalister? Can you give our EMURG audience a detailed background about your band and the events that led you to form the band?

McCalister: McCalister is a four piece pop-punk/alternative band that hails from Bergen County, New Jersey. Our members include Sarah Kapilow (Vocals/guitar), Andrew Van Buskirk (Vocals/bass), Bobby Grimaldi (Guitar), and Dan Martino (Drums). Prior to McCalister, Sarah, Dan, and Bobby were in another band back in 2010, called Leighton. During one of Leighton’s shows, the bassist at the time got a severe shoulder injury and needed to be temporarily replaced, which is how we found Andrew (who was in a band called The Buzz Lightyears). About a year after Leighton broke up, Sarah, Dan, and Bobby, realized how much they missed playing together and decided to try and start fresh with a new band. They asked Andrew to join not only as a bassist, but as a second singer as well. And with that, McCalister got its start in October of 2012. After our first show in December 2012, McCalister got kicked into gear and immediately started writing/recording our debut EP, “Something To Believe In”. This EP is a clear collaboration, in which every member had a key component in shaping the album (with the help of our Sound Engineer, Steve Kellner). The album was released on May 1st and is now available on iTunes, Band Camp, Spotify, Amazon Music, Rhapsody, Rdio, Shazam, and CD Baby.

EMURG: Your newest EP, “Something To Believe In”, is an invigorating blast of pop-punk at its finest. What was it like writing and recording the EP?

McCalister: The process was incredibly fast, but one of the most rewarding experiences of our musical careers. We worked with a phenomenal engineer and good friend of ours, Steve Kellner, who helped mold our five originals songs into an EP we are incredibly proud of! We wrote the EP over the course of two months, and recorded it in seven straight days. Those seven days were grueling, but also incredibly fun.

EMURG: Your cover Taylor Swift’s song, “We’re never Ever Getting Back Together”, on your new EP, but what made you decide to include this cover on the EP? Why a Taylor Swift song?

McCalister: We wanted an accessible cover that anyone could listen to and enjoy. It was a perfect way to spread the word about our band and create a clear path for people to find our original music. We heard the song and felt we could give it a whole new vibe, and we wanted people to see how create we could be!


EMURG: Something To Believe In”, is just the beginning for your band. What is on the horizon for McCalister? Can fans expect a full album any time down the road?

McCalister: We would love to record a full album some day. We have a few new songs in the works, but right now our main focus is to perfect, perform, and promote our EP.

EMURG: If you can give one piece of advice to emerging bands, what would you tell them is the most important thing about being in a band and writing music?

McCalister: Though we do not fell as though we are at all experts yet, we think the main idea is to make sure you have fun and appreciate the experience. The key is that it shouldn’t feel like a job. If it becomes your actual job, make sure you are still in it with people you enjoy and that you’re in it for the music.