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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Western Bisexual brings bold sounds and eccentric energy to the stage

Western+Bisexual+band+members%2C+from+left+to+right%2C+Jack+Riley%2C+Ellie+Pod%2C+TJ+Coppla+and+John+Kaster.%0A
Photo Courtesy of Ellie Pod
Western Bisexual band members, from left to right, Jack Riley, Ellie Pod, TJ Coppla and John Kaster.

At a house show in November 2022, one of Western Bisexual’s band members was recovering from food poisoning, while another had their nipples exposed and their eyes covered in heavy black makeup. The band members matched in tight, denim outfits. Despite sickness and an unconventional appearance, the indie band Western Bisexual was making its live debut in the Chicago music scene.

Formed by DePaul University students Ellie Pod, John Kaster, Jack Riley and TJ Coppla, the band decided on its name after combining two of Riley’s favorite things: Western movies and bisexuality.  

Pod said the four met during their freshman orientation, and at first, she thought her future bandmates were “weird as hell.” But, when Pod and Coppla were thinking of creating a band, they knew that Kaster and Riley would be included. Although each had explored music before Western Bisexual, it was the biggest project any of them  had worked on so far, she added.

“The No. 1 most important aspect of being in a project together is that we are friends first and then musicians second,” Pod said. 

Pod had no previous experience in a band and had only released one song in high school before joining Western Bisexual. 

The band’s music also has an alternative rock sound, which differs from Riley’s jazz background, they said. 

“It stretches my brain in a different way,” Riley said. 

This mindset allows the band to enjoy the full range of experiences they encounter, Pod added. 

For example, on a musical retreat last summer in Arnold, California, they still made time to cook hot dogs and s’mores together and play games like Settlers of Catan.

Western Bisexual released two EPs and one single in early 2023. Some of their notable songs include “Pedestal,” “Attention Seeker” and “Do You Like What You See.” 

When the band releases music, Pod said she enjoys seeing how the project impacts listeners, she said. 

“I think the best text we ever got as a band was someone who DMed and was like, ‘Yo, just heard your project. I’ve been sobbing. It made me cry so hard,’” Pod said. 

Although band members said Western Bisexual is focused on curating their own sound, some of their inspirations include Big Thief and Vashti Bunyan. 

The indie band will release new music soon, they said, with more of a folk sound.

“It’s impossible to tell what’s going to happen, so the only thing we can do is just send it and give it our all,” said Riley. 

Kaster said he focuses on writing music that speaks to him –– rather than focusing on Western Bisexual’s audiences. 

He believes focusing on making music for himself helps maintain authenticity. 

“Write the stuff that you think is fire,” Kaster said. “If people f–k with it, then that’s dope.” 

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @lake_shae53899

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