Music at First Sight

UW-W alumnus returns in two-piece rock duo for Edgefest


Brenda Echeverria

Jonathan Ross and Seth Arp from the Ego Mechanics perform their new single “Burnt Orange” at Jitters Coffee Lounge during Edgefest on April 28.

Brenda Echeverria, Arts & Rec Editor

Ego Mechanics is not your average rock band. They are a rock duo created by Seth Arp, a University of Wisconsin-Whitewater alumnus, and Jonathan Ross, who together love to play blues rock.

It’s the kind of band you can take home to mom, but also take out on the town,” their Bandcamp bio reads.

The band is based in Chicago but made its way to campus to perform at Edgefest, which took place at Jitters Coffee Lounge April 28.

The duo first formed after Seth Arp graduated from UW-Whitewater in 2014 and moved to Chicago in 2015. At the time he had a solo project called Seth Arp and the Hands and an EP titled, “You’ll Figure it Out,” where he was the lead vocalist and guitar.

Arp, who is originally from DeForest, described his decision of moving to Chicago as being on a whim, but also because he wanted to move to a city with more opportunity.  

“As soon as I moved down I put an ad on Craigslist to find someone to drum with and [Jonathan Ross] was one of the first people to respond,” Arp said. “So we scheduled a weekend to jam and to get to know each other.”

Ross joked about seeing Arp’s jaw drop as he entered the door because Arp didn’t realize that he was older.

“I didn’t tell him anything about my age, I’m not quite twice your age, but not far from it,” Ross joked. “But it was music from first sight”

The two found that they had many similar musical influences. One of the bands they shared were the Arctic Monkeys who they later referenced for their new name.

“I didn’t want to be the hands” laughed Ross.

At the time the band was still Seth Arp and the Hands but they soon changed it to Ego Mechanics which is part of an Arctic Monkeys lyric.

“We tried to think of one of those catchy one syllable names but of course they are all taken,” Ross said. “But I’m a quantum physicist, so quantum mechanics and ego mechanics, I liked it.

Both Ross and Arp are currently only doing music on the side. Arp works as a marketing coordinator and Ross as a software engineer, but they hope to one day be able to focus on music full time.

“I think we’re finding our groove musically, and finding our sound. I think the stuff we are working on now will be some of our better stuff,” said Arp

At the moment they have a few tracks on Spotify and Apple Music, but they are also in the process of creating and releasing new material.

“We’ve had four studio sessions to work on what will either be a new album or a new EP, but the release is still TBD,” Arp said.

The band performed a few new unreleased tracks at Edgefest among other tracks that can be found on their Spotify, Apple music and Bandcamp accounts under their name Ego Mechanics.