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Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024
The Observer

Eastern Conference Champions rise to success 'A Million Miles An Hour'

Eastern Conference Champions was, not too long ago, an unknown indie band from Philly. Now the trio, consisting of lead singer and guitarist Josh Ostrander, drummer Greg Lyons and bassist Melissa Dougherty, lives in Los Angeles.

They were brought to the spotlight twice this year, with a spot on the "Eclipse" soundtrack as well as their rendition of Bob Dylan's "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right" featured on the season finale of "Gossip Girl."

The indie rock group will be performing in Chicago on Friday, Sept. 24. I chatted with lead singer Josh Ostrander about being part of the "Eclipse" soundtrack and their music-making process:

Why did you choose the name Eastern Conference Champions?

We kind of picked it before the whole Internet thing took off, and we didn't realize that we would have to type it out all the time. We chose it because we're from Philly. We have a hockey team there called the Flyers, and when they win, they call themselves the Eastern Conference Champions.

How does it feel having a song on the "Eclipse" soundtrack? Do you feel more successful as a band?

It's crazy. We thought we might have a chance to get it. We submitted a few songs, and they really liked the third song we submitted. When we finally got the call, it was kind of crazy, for an unsigned, unknown band to get that spot. It was a sign that we were doing the right thing, and that we should just keep doing what we were doing.

Team Edward or Team Jacob?

Melissa is definitely Team Jacob, but Greg and I are Team Edward. It's funny; when we went to the Red Carpet, everyone asked us that, but we didn't know much about the movie, so we would just say, ‘what?' in response.

Your new LP is rumored to release in the fall. How would you describe your sound for the new album?

The LP is probably not going to come out until the beginning of next year. We've been talking to labels, but they're probably not going to want it to come out until next year. But as for our sound, we take risks that we probably wouldn't have taken five years ago.

Can you briefly describe your music-making process?

It's pretty straight-ahead and easy to get things done. I usually come up with ideas on guitar and piano, and then we do a rough demo. Greg and Melissa will tell me what they like and don't like about the demo.

Your cover of Bob Dylan's "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right" was featured on the season finale of Gossip Girl. Is Bob Dylan a major influence on your music?

Yeah, Dylan's just kind of cool. He's the master. When we put out the last LP, we would put up a cover each week. The Dylan cover is the one I picked, and Gossip Girl picked it up and decided to use it for the show.

Who are your other musical influences?

We're not too bothered with new music. We tend to listen to classic rock when we're driving around as a band. We try not to pull too much from anybody. When we're writing new music, we try to sound as natural as possible.

How has your music evolved over the past few years?

I think we take more risks than we normally would. Once we were at a label, we started writing songs that we wanted to write. We said, let's put a five-minute song on the CD. Let's let our music go where we want it to go. We're very excited about the new record that's coming out and for people to listen to it. It's a really well thought-out record.


Anything else you would like to add?

Yes, come to our Chicago show on Sept. 24.