North Coast, the brainchild of Steven Trifilio — a Loyola student studying history and political science — released a sophomore extended play (EP) “Looking for Atlantis” Feb. 1, almost a year after the project got started under less-than-ideal conditions.
Trifilio was forced to leave campus with the rest of Loyola’s students in March 2020 following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, for Trifilio, leaving his dorm also meant leaving what had begun to morph into a music studio for him, as well as the source of inspiration for his work.
Trifilio got the ball rolling on music early in 2020, even demoing songs for the project the previous fall. It wasn’t until spring break that he downloaded Logic Pro — a recording software — and started to work on recording the music he had been making in his dorm at Loyola’s Simpson Living-Learning Center where he had been surrounded by other musically inclined students.
Despite leaving the catalyst for some of his music and the community of musicians surrounding him in Simpson, the pandemic gave him the time he needed to focus on music.
“I was getting on track with it but the pandemic actually gave me more time to do it,” Trifilio, 20, said.
After being sent home, he started working on recording and learning the ins and outs of Logic Pro. His setup was simple: his instruments, his recording gear and his computer all within the confines of his bedroom.
“I do it all in my room,” Trifilio said. “Sometimes I wake up early and just mess around with my guitar and all of the sudden some lyrics come to me. … A lot of times I try to write music and it just doesn’t happen.”
Trifilio put his music into the world for the first time Aug. 1. The three-song EP titled “Wanderland” was the culmination of Trifilio’s work before and during the global crisis.
“I had [the “Wanderland” EP songs] for a long time and I just wanted to do something with them,” Trifilio said. “The songs so far were just individual singles and EPs but I definitely have some plans for the future.”
While Trifilio originally planned to make North Coast a surf rock band, his end products came out a bit different, encompassing a variety of sounds. Punk, indie, alternative and classic rock are all words and influences on North Coast’s releases, though the man behind the music would sum it up with “it’s just rock and roll.”
Trifilio already is mapping out his next EP with his sights set on a full-length release for the future, though he has even more plans to expand the future of North Coast — bandmates.
“I just planned on doing it by myself,” Trifilio said. “I didn’t think it was going to turn into a band and then I realized kind of early on that I can’t play all these instruments myself. … I think it would be more fun with band members too. I’d like to have other people’s inputs on songs.”
Searching for band members isn’t always the easiest thing, especially amid a global pandemic. With social distancing posing a challenge for recruiting new members, Trifilio turned to people he knew, though mostly to no avail.
“I’ve mostly been asking people I knew from high school and a couple people from college,” Trifilio said. “Mostly people are in too many bands or they’re already busy.”
Luckily, Trifilio was able to bring in a friend from DePaul University to play bass, though he is still searching for other members to round out the group.
In looking to plan out the future of North Coast, Trifilio had to look back at the past — his own, as well as his sister’s.
Steven’s sister is Lili Trifilio, the guitarist, lead singer and creative force behind Beach Bunny, a local-turned-international pop rock band who sold out Chicago’s Metro (3730 N. Clark St.) around the same time Steven Trifilio was starting to put North Coast together.
The two have an intertwined history in music having grown up together — both Trifilio siblings took classical guitar lessons while growing up, though Steven stopped playing when he entered high school.
“I really didn’t like guitar when I was younger,” Steven said. “It was almost like school for me so I just didn’t care for it. … I’m still glad I did it though, I don’t think I’d be making music now if I didn’t.”
Lili began her musical journey solo as well, originally just playing open mics and restaurant dining rooms. However, the project started gaining traction, and after recruiting bandmates and recording their “Prom Queen” EP, Beach Bunny skyrocketed into stardom.
“I try to draw inspiration from how my sister started,” Steven said. “She just came up with a name and started making stuff.”
With both him and his sister working on music at home, the two are lucky to have parents that don’t mind the noise.
“They don’t mind at all,” Steven said. “My sister is here too so we both are probably a bit loud and annoying.”
With a new EP already in the works, the ideas for a long play (LP) starting to form and the search for bandmates having started, Steven continues to admire his sister’s success in music as he blazes the path for himself.
“Growing up, I didn’t know she’d make it this far, it’s still crazy to me how many people listen to her music,” Steven said. “I’m really proud of her.”
“Looking for Atlantis” is available for streaming on Spotify and other major streaming services.