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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Chicago band Animal Panic smashes stairs and streaming goals

Animal+Panic%E2%80%99s+personality+shows+through+during+their+shows%2C+producer+Kyle+Steiner+said.+Jokes%2C+crowd+interaction+and+even+a+blindfold+all+feature+in+their+live+performances.
Courtesy of Animal Panic
Animal Panic’s personality shows through during their shows, producer Kyle Steiner said. Jokes, crowd interaction and even a blindfold all feature in their live performances.

Wales, France and Minnesota are just a few of the places Chicago-based indie-punk band Animal Panic.’s music has reached since their inception in 2021. Through a robust online presence and a reputation for great live shows, the band said, they’ve connected with “diehard fans” by sending song chords, free merch and setlists around the world.

Animal Panic. bassist Jack Sullivan said seeing the way music resonates with fans has been rewarding.

“We’ve had really good turnouts, and people are starting to know the lyrics to our songs,” Sullivan said. “We have a cult following that shows up, and we’re getting new fans each time.”

Sullivan, his brother and drummer Michael Sullivan, frontman and guitarist Benjamin Fister and new addition, guitarist Logan Griffin, make up Animal Panic. Fister and Michael Sullivan met as DePaul University students in 2020 as members of a rock cover band, later adding Jack when they officially formed the group in 2021.

One of the first times Fister met Michael, he was fleeing a party in a self-described “animal panic,” Fister said.

“We get into a lot of adventures,” Michael joked. 

Animal Panic. released their first EP “Coldest Summer” in August 2023, which they described as a “compilation” of their best music to date.

The band cited influences spanning from Chopin and Mozart to My Chemical Romance and Nirvana to The Smiths and The Beatles.

“We try to do a bit of everything,” Fister said. “I always think that our philosophy as a band is kind of like Queen: they tried different flavors, but you always know it’s them.”

They produced and marketed the project with the support of Oakley Avenue Records, a Chicago record label that signed them last June. 

Oakley Avenue Records Owner Kyle Steiner said he had taken “a leap of faith” and messaged the band on Instagram after discovering them online and finding their sound unique.

“They seemed genuine. They didn’t seem like they were trying to win a Grammy,” Steiner said. ”They seemed like they were friends who just liked making music together, and that chemistry is very, very hard to find.”

Fister said he wrote and produced most of the songs on “Coldest Summer” himself, but with Oakley Avenue Record’s support, they now have access to more producing and mixing professionals.

Fister said Animal Panic. wrote the songs in “Coldest Summer” from February 2020 to July 2023. He said the last song he wrote, “Neverland,” is his favorite.

“That song came to me in a dream. It took probably about 15 minutes to record, and I think it’s just the most beautiful melody,” Fister said. “It’s very personal.” 

The EP’s most-streamed song, “Cocaine Honeymoon,” currently has over 40,000 streams on Spotify, “smashing” the band’s metric goals, Fister said. 

Along with original songs, the band performs rock covers at their live shows, bringing their personality to classics, Steiner said.

“They absolutely have a stage presence and interact with the crowd,” he said. “They do funny things onstage, like (Fister) wears a blindfold at one point — it all molds really well with their personality and their music.”

In three words, Jack described the band as “energy, vivid and sweaty.”

At their first house show, he said, the crowd was so excited that people were crawling through the windows, and it looked as though “a sledgehammer” had broken the stairs. At a more recent backyard show, someone scaled the side of their building. 

They’ve also performed at local venues including Reggies, Beat Kitchen and Subterranean. On March 30., they’ll play their largest show to date at Chop Shop, opening for The Darling Suns.

Michael Sullivan said their live performances are the highlight of his time in the band.

“The happiest time I’ve had is playing drums at our shows and looking out and seeing all of our fans who were new and hearing our music for the first time,” he said. “That’s one of the greatest feelings I’ve ever had in my life.”

Email: [email protected]

Email: [email protected] 

Twitter: @elenamarielll

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