by Holli Stephens
Seated in an eclectic set of living chairs that range from a black papasan to a red checkered couch are some of the notorious “House of 9” guys who now reside in one of the many renovated old mansions on Park Avenue. The self-proclaimed indie funk rock band Tasty Face calls this place their home, practice space and studio.
Upon arrival a haze of smoke greeted me. John Wylie sits on the porch in a lawn chair flicking the last of his cigarette out before welcoming me in to their spacious living room. A huge bin of DVDS and Nintendo 64 games line the walls that end with a cluster of vintage road bikes. As I find a seat at the end of the couch, I hear the distant sound of laughter. After a few knobs turn, in strolls Steve Eshewsky and Ian Louda carrying a plastic bag filled with various cooked chicken legs and drumsticks.
Our interview quickly became a hilarious conversation of the many bands and name changes that lead up to Tasty Face and the trials and errors amongst the band. During their freshman year, Louda and Wylie were a part of a band named Cell 44, but with three guitarists “there were too many songwriters” and the band was bound to not see eye to eye. Coincidentally, the following year Louda, Wylie, Eshewsky, and Eli Santiago moved in to the same house. Eshewsky remarks, “We knew it was gonna be a thing but when we moved in we were like alright let’s make this an actual thing now that we we’re able to play with each other.”
Of course the nerves were high at the four piece’s first show and to make matters worse they hadn’t come up with a name yet. The room was full of laughter as Louda spoke up. “We were gonna be Johnny and the Jammin’ Mothafuckas. We only had John’s songs and we really hadn’t written anything together yet.”
The Population became the band’s name for a couple of months until the faithful night that the band got an invitation to play at a basement show in Delaware at a house nicknamed The House of Holes. It was in laundry room amongst 15 kids smoking hookah that the bandmates that they settled on the name Tasty Face.
Wylie is the songwriter of the crew and describes his process to be on the more simple side. “I’ll bring lyrics to Steve and he’ll just be noodling and come up with some crazy catchy guitar parts and it just adds some nuances to the song.” Drummer Louda can “lay down a rockin’ ass beat” and Eli Santiago who was not present at the interview takes a jazzy approach to bass that “adds a whole other layer” to the band’s overall sound.
Being underraged in the music industry can get frustrating very quickly as a lot of venues are 21+. Louda shakes his head as he says, “for some reason in this country they think if you can’t legally drink a beer you get no respect.” Louda and Eshewsky are about to be juniors at Temple University and all the bandmates are under 21.
Thankfully the band has been able to book upcoming shows for Philly’s Liberty Music Festival, Rock Festival and two nights at the Funk Festival. Louda sits back in his chair to say,“ I’m most excited for the opportunity to be onstage. People will be like ‘Yo did you catch Tasty Face at Liberty Fest. Who is Tasty Face? What’s Tasty Face? Here’s Tasty Face.’”
“That’s new upcoming album title…” spouts Wylie with a laugh.
An album may be in the distant future, but the band is in the process of recording an eight song EP. It will encompass all musical elements that make up Tasty Face’s music and the journey as a band thus far that the young men have all shared. Eshewsky brightly says, “You could go down in our basement at any given point and there would be someone to jam with. There would be multiple times that I can remember playing with each individual person in the band.”
As the laughter subsides Wylie, Louda, and Eshewsky could all agree that they’ve created a bond as bandmates, roommates and friends alike that make their songs all so diverse and creative.