Ellis Ludwig-Leone has spent most of his life immersed in music. Long before the Yale-educated composer and songwriter made his mark with San Fermin, the Brooklyn indie rock collective’s bandleader was a kid in rural Massachusetts looking to challenge himself with classical music and Russian “knuckle-busters” during piano lessons. In high school, he wound up playing keyboard in a short-lived instrumental metal outfit, followed by a stint performing Ben Folds and Eagle-Eye Cherry covers at sweet sixteen parties in a cover band. While at a Berklee College Of Music summer camp, Ludwig-Leone struck up a friendship with a fellow camper named Allen Tate, and the rest was history.

Recently, prior to a show at Milwaukee’s Turner Hall Ballroom in support of San Fermin’s recently-released The Cormorant I, Ludwig-Leone met My First Band host Tyler Maas in the venue’s balcony to talk about his formative early auditory endeavors, starting a project with Tate while they were going to college in different states, and how San Fermin has changed his life in ways he never could’ve anticipated. Though shorter than most episodes, Ellis managed to pack a ton of great stories and interesting information into a tight pre-show window.

My First Band is sponsored by Boulevard Brewing. The show is edited by Jared Blohm. You can listen to My First Band on iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify, and wherever else you get podcasts. Music used in this show comes courtesy of Devils Teeth (“The Junction Street Eight Tigers”) and San Fermin (“Saint”).