By Dakota Antelman, Managing Editor
MARLBOROUGH – As local and regional music scenes rumble back to life, Marlborough band Evil Felipe is celebrating what its members hope is a bright future ahead.
What started as a joke, they explain, is now a rapidly growing musical effort that managed to take major leaps forward in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We definitely would like to play out a lot more,” lead singer Emma Bain said in a recent interview. “I’ve noticed that we’ve had a lot more people interested as well [over the last year].”
On stage, Bain is joined by her friends, sisters Ella and Maia Staltare, as well as new bassist Abby Richer. As she sings, Bain also plays guitar. She’s further backed by Ella, also on guitar and Maia on drums.
The band, which plays a mix of surf punk and indie rock, got its start in 2016 when the fathers of Bain, Ella and Maia urged their children to consider playing music together.
Those dads had already been in their own band, but they suggested a cookout explicitly to create a venue for this new musical experiment.
The experiment went well.
“We were like, ‘Let’s see how far we can go with this’ and then we just kept going on and on,” Ella Staltare said.
The group ran with the name “Evil Felipe” embracing a moniker that Ella said started as a joke.
Growing up, Ella explained, she and Maia had a toy car that they named “Felipe.” Forming a band with drums, growly guitars and bass, they wanted to take that name but make it feel more rock n’ roll.
“We went with ‘Evil Felipe,’” Ella said. “That sounds scary.”
Playing intermittent shows, Evil Filipe soon graced outdoor stages at events like Worcester’s stART on the Street. They also gigged indoors at local venues like Beatniks. In 2019, they secured a spot in the Punk Island music festival in New York.
Along the way, the band released its debut album, “June Gloom,” following a series of home recording sessions.
COVID-19 briefly ground to a halt what had been a steady schedule of performances.
By June of last year, though, the band was back in action, playing a live-streamed session for the local record label Five By Two. Evil Felipe signed on as a Five By Two act following that session and quickly returned to record an EP.
Their new set of songs came together over just four days, gelling into a five track, 16 minute EP entitled “Spacing Out.”
Bain said she and her musical collaborators kept open minds as they entered those sessions. They wanted to do something new, but they had few strict ideas of what exactly “new” should look and sound like.
“We wanted to experiment and add a lot of stuff to what we were doing,” Bain said.
They liked their final result, dropping their new release earlier this year.
“It was a lot better than the last one,” Bain said of the experience of this release. “A lot more people seem to like it.”
With the pandemic slowly fading, Evil Felipe recently found its way back to the stage in a Boston amphitheater on June 25.
As the sun still set, the band ran through their set, replacing a slate of covers that had filled some pre-pandemic performances with tracks off their recent EP.
“I had a lot of fun, but I definitely was quite nervous,” Richer said of that gig.
Moving forward, Evil Felipe remains hard at work.
They aren’t sure when they’ll record their next batch of new music, but they have their eyes on more live performances, where they look to continue to refine their skill, presence and style as young artists in Marlborough.