Livingroom band looks towards the horizon


Courtesy of Lev Sheinfeld

LIGHTING UP THE ROOM: Performing onstage at the Rock House (from left to right) sophomores Danny McNeela, Sam Collett, Yeon Park, Jeremy Bernstein and Lev Sheinfeld have been playing together as the band Livingroom since August of 2018. In the future the band hopes to possibly record a new single for Spotify and iTunes.

Lorelei Streb, staff reporter

All five members of the band Livingroom wait nervously in a room backstage at the Rock House in downtown Glenview. The group discusses how their very first performance as a band is going to go. When it is time to go on stage, the members walk out onto the dimly lit stage, only to realize there is not an audience member in sight. The band waits a couple minutes before starting to play a song not initially made for the performance called “Road Signs”. Soon, the audience starts to trickle in and eventually the house is packed. The band plays three of their songs, and the show ends with a standing ovation from the audience.

Last year, during South’s 2018 V-Show, sophomores Danny McNeela, Sam Collett and Lev Sheinfeld decided to participate in the Freshman Act band together. The group needed a bassist and heard of sophomore Yeon Park. However, the band Livingroom did not become official until late August of that year, according to Sheinfeld, when their final member, sophomore Jeremy Bernstein, was added.

According to Sheinfeld, he plays the keyboard, sings and writes songs; McNeela also writes, sings and plays guitar; Park and Bernstein share both the roles of lead guitar and bass; and Collett is on the drums.

“We all liked how we sounded, we were all musicians,” Park said. “Everyone in our band knows music very well. We’re all very talented and we know our way around music and concepts. [Our music] can get pretty complex in a way.”

McNeela recalls that when the name Livingroom was created, it was just a funny joke because it seemed so random. But when the band actually considered the name McNeela proposed, it had a lot of meanings because the content of their songs focuses on the way people live their lives, how much room you have to live and the space between people.

The band Livingroom also creates their own music, and Park believes that their original music is what sets them apart from some of the other bands at South. Not only that, but Livingroom is a band who prefers not to be pinned to a single genre, according to Park, because it is subjective and limiting.

“I think a lot of our songs really focus on the relationships between people,” McNeela said. “I wouldn’t call them love songs, because they’re not all love songs, not all relationships have to do with love. It can be friendship songs or even songs about people you don’t particularly like. All these have to do with the way we live life.”

Each member of the band has their own taste in music, Bernstein says, so they combine their love of music to create a variety of songs. Each member will write something on their own and present it to the rest of the band, who will tinker with it during a rehearsal as a group, according to Sheinfeld.

“There’s definitely a sense of message in our songs, not like a moral thought, more like we’re trying to convey a feeling,” Sheinfeld said. “If you look at the lyrics, they’re not so ambiguous and vague, they’re very straightforward.”

Currently, the band has three original songs out: “August”, “Dusk” and their most popular song “Polarity”. Collett says the band is excited to continue performing at concerts and gigs, as well as possibly recording a new single for Spotify and iTunes.

Sheinfeld describes how nice it is to be a young band because it gives them a lot of time to work on developing Livingroom. Right now the band does not have a large following outside of South, Sheinfeld says, but they’re working towards that. The band hopes this summer to start accelerating towards more serious endeavors.

“Right now, we’re looking toward the horizon, trying to do the most we can,” Sheinfeld said.