Rock group Ego Death prepares for new album, apocalypse

The band is in the studio working on their second full-length record.

Drummer Seth Tracy, base player Bree Meyer and vocalist and guitarist Jeremy Warden of the band Ego Death pose for a portrait on July 24. Ego Death has been playing together for two years and is working on a new album.

Kelsey Christensen

Drummer Seth Tracy, base player Bree Meyer and vocalist and guitarist Jeremy Warden of the band Ego Death pose for a portrait on July 24. Ego Death has been playing together for two years and is working on a new album.

Joe Cristo

For nearly a decade, Jeremy Warden has used the moniker “Ego Death” — an homage to his “hippie-punk-kid days.”

“It came about when I was going to the woods and altering my head,” Warden said. “My outlook, my perspectives.”

The final incarnation of Ego Death took off in the fall of 2014. Singer and guitarist Warden and bassist Bree Meyer met in college, where they lived in the same residence hall. At first, starting a band was not on their minds.

“I barely knew he was a musician then,” Meyer said. “But I think the anonymity of college and being able to reinvent yourself propelled both of us.”

Warden and Meyer became long-term partners and moved from Wisconsin to Minneapolis. Soon, the two were playing songs written by Warden and developing the direction of the group. 

The two share a love for East-Coast groups like Swearin’ and Radiator Hospital, but darker artists like Joy Division and Sonic Youth also inform their sound. 

“I’ve always tried to keep a balance between those two things,” Warden said. “I think if you watch us you’ll see that we sort of switch back and forth between those two sounds.”

Ego Death began in earnest when the duo recruited Warden’s childhood friend Seth Tracy to play drums. 

“Our first show together was a tour kick-off for us,” Meyer said. “We had probably gotten pizza, and I had a stomach ache and sweaty palms. It was awful.”

Now that the power-trio lineup was complete, the band settled on a typical rock songwriting process: Warden would write an entire song or a riff, and Meyer and Tracy would help crystallize his ideas.

“I’d say songs are usually 75 percent done when I record a demo for them,” Warden said. “The rest we work through together. Vocals are almost always last when the music is well-rehearsed.”

Ego Death began the process of recording their self-titled debut, which finally appeared in August of 2015, along with another limited-run EP called “The Kiss” on tape.

Following the release, the band took a respite and laid low. After working on some material — new and old — the band decided to underline the more dirge-y sounding tracks.

“I’ve always loved albums and shows that emphasize variety,” Meyer said. “We don’t want to limit ourselves too strongly. We get bored quickly, so why stay put?” 

They put the new sound to tape on New Year’s weekend of 2016. Their newest release, “Daze,” melds spacy dissonant punk rock with their signature brand of pop.

“I feel like we’ve always been a band that’s trying to bridge those two things,” Warden said. “On ‘Daze,’ we just took it to a more extreme level.”

Now that they have garnered a following in Minneapolis, they have taken their live show on the road, playing in the Midwest and recently touring with local post-punk band Strange Relations. 

After recording earlier this summer, Ego Death is currently mastering its second full-length record. They tracked the album at Flowers Studio with Atticus Pomerantz and plan to play around the Midwest in August with an East Coast tour in the fall.

For the time being, Ego Death is still playing around town. Their next show is at the 331 Club with Whitetail and Dan Mariska and the Boys Choir on July 28 at 9:30 p.m.