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Columbus’ Own: Cousin Simple’s age doesn’t define their talent

The self-proclaimed “Columbus’ youngest alt-rock band,” five-piece band Cousin Simple performs with a type of versatility that is far beyond their years.

The band is comprised of vocalist Will “Harsh” Hoag, guitarist Ryan Ulibari, guitarists and keyboardists Luke Hammrock and Mitch Whitaker and drummer Joel Lorenz.

The bandmates are all currently freshmen at Ohio State, apart from Hammrock who is a sophomore and Lorenz who is still in high school.

Their diverse musical tastes gives them a signature bright, yet angsty sound with influences from the Strokes, Mick Jagger, Coldplay, Blink-182 and Two Door Cinema Club.

They knew that they had earned their place in Columbus’ growing music scene after winning GrooveU’s Instaband Contest in 2017.

“We ended up getting first place for that [contest], which had a couple of benefits,” Whitaker said.

Some of the benefits have since landed them gigs at Vans Warped Tour, Skully’s, A&R Music Bar, Columbus Arts Festival and Big Room Bar, in addition to recording a full-length album.


Cousin Simple band at their concert at A&R Music Bar in Columbus. Courtesy of Eirann McClatchy.

Last year, Cousin Simple released their first album ”And We Would Never End,” featuring “Song To Emma,” one of their most popular songs on Spotify, which currently has over 13,000 plays.

For the near future, Cousin Simple said they have new music in the works.

“We are working on a 12-song album right now,” Hoag said. “We are hoping to get that out sometime this winter.”

In the meantime, the rising alt-rock stars said they plan  to keep playing as many shows as they can.

“We’ve got a big one at the Abercrombie and Fitch Headquarters,” Hoag said. “We are playing alongside Fitz and the Tantrums and Judah and the Lion.”

Cousin Simple said their advice to young, aspiring musicians is that diversity in your musical preference is what sets bands apart.  

“Listen to every kind of music, take influences from wherever you can,” Hammrock said. “It’s great to have diversity in your music taste.”

Video by Katie Hamilton (.1193)


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  2. This recording and interview is very cool. Courtney I’d love to meet you, Will has my contact info. I am the new Executive Director of the Columbus Music Commission. – Bruce Garfield

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