Student run band held festival and released new single


Sherlyn Medrano

Ethan Ankney, right, and James Failla performing for Collidescopes at Collideofest II.

By Megan Mesikapp, Editor-In-Chief

As an eighth grader, Ethan Ankney was writing songs during lunch break at a music camp with friends from New Jersey. The writing was for entertainment  but after picking up knowledge of rock music and the name Collideoscopes while at the camp, the band began to form itself, according to Ankney, now a senior at Lane Tech. 

The original band consisted of just Ethan Ankney and Grace Baldwin. When Burak Agar joined it became a trio. All three met at UpBeat music school in Old Irving Park, and now all three attend Lane. Ankney and Agar are seniors; Baldwin is a junior. 

“Grace and I are the only people who’ve been there from the day we started it,” Ankney said.Then Burak came in. We knew him from our music school, and he’s just an amazing guitarist, with lots of metal stuff. I didn’t really know how to play guitar, and we knew we needed a guitarist for the type of music we wanted to play. We asked Burak, and he was interested. We kind of really hit it off from there, so for the longest time, we were just a trio.”

Over time the Collideoscopes have seen new members come, one being James Failla who is a drummer for the band and a student at Lane. Another is Joshua Ayala who plays trumpet and makes sure events run smoothly for the band by helping with technology.

Ayala has been friends with Ankney since kindergarten and has always known about the band, eventually joining because his interest in music piqued. 

“I feel like I know that I’ve always wanted to be involved. I think I’ve just always been interested in what Ethan and the Collideoscopes were doing,” Ayala said. “But I started getting involved musically with the Collideoscopes when I threw out there that I play the trumpet and Ethan was like, that’s pretty cool because we have a song that we play where we use the trumpet on but it was digital, so maybe for live performances you could join us. That kind of led him to suggesting me as a part time member of the band, using the trumpet whenever they needed me.”

Unlike all the other members who are at Lane, Ayala attends Disney II Magnet High School, but that does not affect his ability to meet with the band.  

“I don’t think it was more or less difficult for me than it was for everybody else,” Ayala said. “Just because most practices were held at Ethan’s house and he lives in neighborhoods, so it’s easy to get there.”

Ela Agar, Burak Agar’s sister, is new to the band and a freshman at Lane, making her the youngest member.

“There’s not much of a difference being the youngest member,” Ela Agar said. “The only thing is they are gonna graduate and I’ll still be here. So it’s weird to think about next year.”

The Collideoscopes started putting out music on platforms in 2021, releasing their first single “All Around” on Oct. 31, 2021. Since then they have released an EP called “Speckle” in the winter of 2021, and an album called “Operation: Rich & Famous” in the spring of 2022. 

In the scope of all their releases to date, “Operation: Rich & Famous” took the most work to produce, according to Ankney.

“The actual album is kind of a collection of stories,” Ankney said. “The first half is all the best songs that we wrote from seventh grade, eighth grade and freshman year, when we first started out. And then the back half is kind of songs that we wrote sophomore and junior year when we were starting to really learn what we were doing.”

The album, along with all of their other songs, are recorded at Ankney’s residence and then produced by Ankney himself.

“I’ve spent the last couple years learning music production, which is what I want to go to school for,” Ankney said. “So, in my basement we literally just learned all the gear, and instead of going to a studio paying money we learned how to do everything ourselves.”

On Oct. 23, the band held its second festival, Collidefest II. It was held at the Belding Elementary auditorium after their first venue canceled on Ankney a month before the festival. Entry was $5 to see various musical performances including the Collideoscopes themselves. There were 156 total attendees, and counting staff over 200 according to Ankney. 

“I was excited to be up there,” Burak Agar said. “I definitely knew that I wanted to have higher energy, so the band as a whole can give the audience a very high energy experience. And I think we definitely achieved that.”

After the festival, the band released a brand new single called “Prom” on Oct. 31, exactly one year after their first single, “All Around.”

“I started writing “Prom” around May of last year, and this one is kind of unique — it’s more of a writing style that we’re going for now, where I kind of fleshed out the song completely,” Ankney said. “And then I took it to the others and they put their parts on top.”

The band is unsure of its future with multiple members graduating come Spring 2023, but all want to continue playing music in the future. Currently the band is working on releasing a new album. 

“I think whether or not the Collideoscopes continue what they do or if it is put on hold or comes to an end, I think they should be very proud of all the things they have accomplished and learned,” Ayala said. “So I think whatever all the members do — Grace, Ela, Ethan, Burak, James, or myself — I think they should be able to look back at that whole journey and be proud of it.”