Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern


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Five+musicians+stand+behind+a+library+desk%2C+holding+their+instruments.
Elena Scott / The Daily Northwestern
Musecology plans to drop their first EP, “A Study in Musecology,” this Friday. Pictured from left to right: Jeremy Berkun on guitar, Eric Chen on drums, Jun Byun on trumpet, Timofei Asinski on bass and Alex Neuser on keyboard.

For some, receiving Northwestern’s Summer Undergraduate Research Grant means heading to a lab or an archival library. But for student band Musecology, (formerly Muse Etc.) it meant heading to the recording studio.

Musecology, formed in Fall 2023, received a $16,000 SURG following a year of gigs in backyards, basements and on Dillo Day’s mainstage. With the grant, the five-person band rented an apartment together and wrote and produced a six-track EP titled “A Study in Musecology.” The EP will drop this Friday.

Bienen sophomore and lead vocalist and instrumentalist Jeremy Berkun said Musecology applied for SURG in hopes of combining their music education with their aspirations as a band.

“The goal of our project was to bridge the foundational training we were receiving as Bienen students with today’s popular music industry and world of music and the way in which you market and create new music,” Berkun said.

Berkun, along with Bienen sophomore and producer and instrumentalist Alex Neuser and Bienen sophomore and trumpetist Jun Byun, used some of the funding to sublet an apartment in Chicago during their research period. For eight weeks, Musecology “lived and breathed” music, Neuser said.

McCormick sophomore and bassist Timofei Asinski lived nearby. The group rented a recording studio at Gravity Studios in Chicago with the rest of the funding, where McCormick sophomore and drummer Eric Chen joined them in early September to record the final mixes.

Featured artists on the EP, Bienen senior Sean Deegan and Bienen junior Nick Landon, play saxophone and flute and auxiliary percussion, respectively. These features, the band’s members said, made for some of the best moments on the project. Asinski said Deegan’s solo at the end of “Shellshocked,” the EP’s second track, was his favorite part.

“He plays really tastefully,” Asinski said.

Berkun, Neuser, Byun and Asinski wrote five of the six tracks this summer: “Me Or You” (which they said they wrote in one day), “Shellshocked,” “Believe In Me,” “Altitude” and “Idc.” The band wrote the EP’s final track, “Closure,” last spring and released a demo version of it in May.

Neuser said the collective songwriting process, a new experience for the band, proved challenging at first.

“Our music that we make is a reflection of ourselves, so we all had our egos attached to the stuff that we were bringing to the group,” he said. “And then about halfway through the research period, it just clicked — we wrote a song in a day, and everybody just dropped their egos.”

As Musecology evolved as songwriters and musicians, they also underwent a branding change. After being mistaken for a cover band of English metal band Muse during their time as “Muse, Etc.,” they debated a new name for much of the summer, Neuser said. The name Musecology came from a phone call from Byun to Asinski at 1 a.m., Asinski said.

“I said to him, ‘Jun, Clifford Brown’s ‘Study in Brown’ is a classic album name. What if we did ‘Study in Musecology’?” Asinski recalled. “At that point, I hear him over the phone screaming, ‘Oh my god!’”

The band agreed that the new name, a play on the term for the study of music, fit them well as their music explores many genres, Neuser said. He added the band’s “best ideas came at about 1 a.m.”

Armed with these new experiences, skills and music, Musecology members said they are excited to perform their new songs and continue to write. They practice every weekend and have performed at several tailgates this fall.

Though the group varies in their goals — from professional music aspirations to enjoying playing as a hobby — members said they look forward to seeing where Musecology goes and appreciate the purpose it fills in their lives.

“It’s such a good place to just come and do what we love to do and be with kids who are similarly passionate about creating and playing music,” Berkun said.

“A Study in Musecology” will be available on all streaming platforms Nov. 17.

Email: [email protected]

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