Straight Outta Milwaukee: Cheenis & the Romp is “Fresh,” Preps EP

It’s hot as hell lately in these Eastern parts (our weekly poll offers scientific proof), and we can all probably use a cold, hard shot of Wisconsin. Enter Cheenis & the Romp. The rising sophomore indie-pop outfit is formed entirely of Milwaukee -> Wesleyan exiles and drew mild acclaim last winter for performances at Awesomefest, 8th Day of the Week, Bandfire, and LoRise D1, as well as on WESU’s “Hardly Strictly Bluegrass” show.

This summer, Cheenis is back in action, prepping a five-song EP and debuting a bizarre video for “Fresh,” one of its tastiest cuts, which was written in fall 2011, recorded at Greenhouse Studios (Matan Koplin-Green ’15’s house in Milwaukee) over Spring Break, and mixed at Wesleyan. If the video is any indication, the track also features lead vocals, occasional drums, and a bitchin’ guitar solo by Koplin-Green himself, but founding member Bennett Gelly ’15 (who formed the band with Jack Ladd ’15 in high school before relocating to Middletown) suggests this may be a ruse:

Piers Gelly ’13 is on drums, Jack Ladd ’15 is on vocals, Matan Koplin-Green ’15 is on bass, and I am on guitar as well as Jack and Matan at points. Backups are sung by Matan. Mixed and produced by Matan and myself. We are planning on releasing a five-song summer EP..

The bodysuits were really just a vehicle for Matan to be the only person in the music video, which we thought would be funny because he doesn’t sing lead or play most of those instruments in the song. He’s also a master showman, so he was the obvious choice. After Jack and I had thought of the basic idea we asked my roommate, Alex DeSouza ’15, if he would film it. He agreed and he and I directed it.

Hark! A trick! Matan is not the lead vocalist, guitarist, drummer, and lyricist of this composition! Those roles were all performed by an army of mysterious body-suited individuals, which may as well remind you that Blue Man Group was founded by a Wes alum. The video was filmed in April, 2012 on the roof of Judd. For more on Cheenis, check out the classic “Ze” (below) and hold tight for their upcoming EP, which will reportedly address “the themes of fun, young love, and both triumph and tragedy.”

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