Electronic pop group Stepdad formed in the summer of 2009 when roommates Ryan McCarthy and Mark "Ultramark" Tafel began recording in their Chicago apartment.
Starting out as a duo, the band first arrived at a modicum of mass exposure in 2010 through their theme song for web comic Axe Cop. The group relocated to Grand Rapids, Michigan later that year and expanded their lineup to include bassist Alexander Fives and drummer Jeremy Malvin. The group self-released their first EP Ordinaire digitally, and toured regionally in support of the release. Support slots for more established bands like Passion Pit
and Fitz & the Tantrums
helped bring Stepdad to the attention of more fans. By September of 2011, Ordinaire was re-released with two bonus tracks on Michigan/Brooklyn label Quite Scientific
. The band continued to tour extensively and contributed another theme song to Atom.com web series Top Rope. The following year, the band completed work on debut full-length Wildlife Pop with producer Chris Zane (the Walkmen
, Holy Ghost!
, Friendly Fires
, Passion Pit
). They signed to Warner Bros
. subsidiary label Black Bell Records
and the album was released in June of 2012. That summer while performing on the Vans' Warped Tour, multi-instrumentalist Nathan K joined the group. Soon after, Malvin parted ways with Stepdad to pursue his own project Chrome Sparks
, replaced by drummer Ben Weissenborn. They released another EP in 2014, Strange Tonight, and experienced another lineup change with the departure of Fives. In 2015, as the band prepared for their next full-length, their tour van was broken into and many of their recordings were lost on a stolen hard drive. They salvaged four completed tracks that would go on to become their next official release, the 2016 EP Masterbeast Theatre which featured the first single "Marquis Marq." ~ Fred Thomas & Neil Z. Yeung