Smile Politely

Everything’s gonna be OK

I chatted with Matt Engers of Everything’s Alright over the last two days, and I had a great time getting to know him. I gave the band a listen, and I have to say, I love a strong three-part harmony, and folk music is a weakness of mine. Him and his band are performing at Mike ‘N Molly’s tonight with a couple of locals, the Fights and Lonely Trailer. I got a chance to speak with Engers prior to get the low down on Everything’s Alright.

Smile Politely: How did you get started in music? What draws/drew you to it?

Matt Engers: My dad played guitar and had a band called Wombat Boots when I was growing up, but it never really sparked my interest until, in sixth grade, some classmates brought a guitar to school. It made it seem so accessible and not just something my dad did. I asked my dad to teach me and I’ve been hooked ever since. 

I can be very socially uncomfortable sometimes but also extremely outgoing. I think such an expressive outlet like music keeps me drawn to it as a way to balance myself and communicate. 

SP: Yes. Gotta get those feelings out…

What are some of your favorite venues?

Engers: I really enjoy house venues. Parties. Where people are under the influence of things and each other and in great spirits. All you have to do is be loud and gain momentum, and people will support you enthusiastically. Also, Empty Bottle  in Chicago has a great stage and sound, though Everything’s Alright hasn’t played there yet. I used to play there in a previous band, Dr. Manhattan.

SP: Tell me about your old band. How does it compare to what you’re doing now? 

Engers: OK. We were a spastic, melodic, humanistic freak-out. Started that band right out of high school. It was very youthful and energetic and driving but also light spirited and aggressive. Very sweaty. We put out two LPs and toured for a few years. Now we’re a little older and more wrinkly and our music is slightly subdued and vocal driven. But just recently we’ve been amping it up again with improvised loops, programming, and live instrumentation. It’s always changing though. Everything’s Alright started as a rock band, then a folk acoustic three-piece, and now this.

SP: How would you describe “this”? 

Engers: It’s punk Bob Dylan and surf-emo Wanda Jackson had a baby, listening to Sigur Ros and raised by The Triplets of Belleville who listened to nothing but J. Dilla.

SP: Love it! How did you all get together? 

Engers: Andrew [Morrison] and I have been in bands together since we were fourteen, including Dr. Manhattan, and I met Hannah [Gamble] last year at a consignment shop I was employed at. She came in, we chatted about music and performance art; I showed her a demo and the rest was history. Everything’s Alright started as a five-piece including my brother, Adam, and Chris from Meat Wave. But [the band] has been whittled over the last year or so to us three. The core. We have a vital synergy together. 

SP: Do you write the music? What’s your process? 

Engers: Yea, I do the writing. I’ve been writing songs since I was twelve. The first song I wrote was “7 Miles” about a deceptive tollbooth attendant on Interstate 90.

SP: Was he tricksy? I love a good road trip story!

Engers: No, I was just letting my imagination run. We asked, “Will this road take us to 83?” He said, “7 miles up.” I said to my friend, “What if “7 miles” is tollbooth attendant code for ‘I’m going to shoot you in 3 seconds’?” 

It was ridiculous and made no sense, but it made us laugh and the first song of many was born. The song was kind of surfish and sounded like “Baby Please Don’t Go.”

SP: That’s funny! Keep life interesting. 

So what’s next for the band? Any big plans?

Engers: Well we’re gonna finish this year [by] writing and refining and hopefully put out a full length [album]. Playing shows, Midwest tours, maybe one-offs or weekend trips further away and end up on some festivals next summer! More immediately, the show at Mike N Molly’s with The Fights, and our next Chicago show August 24 at Quenchers with Barber Greene, Mary Spadaro, and Blue Ribbon Glee Club.


Start your weekend off by spending some time at Mike ‘N Molly’s. Hear a great band, watch the people, and take a gander at the new dream chalkboard outside. On Fridays, when bands play, you can get PBR tall boys for $2! You can’t beat the Mike ‘N Molly’s beer garden, and the music selection at this bar is a varied as its drink list. 

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