Emily Allen, bassist for Columbus’ own Estee Louder, is sitting at the bar at Marcella’s, enjoying her band mates’ company. Drummer Annie Light-Brown Wolfe, guitarist Mickey Mocnik, front man Ray Ray — all seem happy just to be together, having a couple drinks.
Their chemistry may well have something to do with their longevity: The band’s been at it since 1999. That’s when Estee Louder cut their first, eponymously titled EP, and started opening for legendary Columbus acts like New Bomb Turks and Thomas Jefferson Slave Apartments. For the next five years, the band gigged around Columbus, and generally just had a good time.
“Fun’s important,” Ray Ray said. “I like having fun.”
Important to the band, and to someone trying to describe their music: Louder plays exuberant, galloping rock ’n’ roll. Their songs are propelled by bright, maddeningly catchy guitar riffs and Light-Brown Wolfe’s hyperkinetic drumming. Of their first and only LP, 2004’s Ohio’s Best, Allen said, “It’s a good road trip record.” She’s right. Tracks like “Bob City” and “I Was a Teenage Mullet” are sun-drenched songs, concise and hook-laden, evocative of the open road and the — yep — fun that’s to be had on it.
It was at a release party for Ohio’s Best, back in 2005, that Estee Louder played its last show. In the years that followed, the band went on hiatus though; according to Ray Ray, “We always kind of wanted to get back together.” And, now, that’s just what they’re doing.
Having added guitarist Mickey Mocnik (also of Cleveland’s Nervosas) to their lineup, Estee Louder is back. “I think we’re really ready to grow as a band,” Allen says. “With Mickey, we understand where we want to go musically, and we can actually go there.”
Louder is kicking off its return to the Columbus music scene with a March 15 show at Ace of Cups. And, now that they’ve returned, Estee Louder isn’t going anywhere, either.
“We’re here to stay,” Ray Ray said. “We’ve written a few new songs, and we’re having a great time.”
Which, to Estee Louder, has always been what’s important.