Summerfest checkout: Life in a Tree, a band with local ties

Looking for a free concert to watch at Summerfest this year?  Keep a look out for the band Life in a Tree. According to the band’s website, Life in a Tree is a self-described, “unique blend of emo-indie rock.”  This is a band of five Ozaukee County teenagers: lead vocalist and bassist Molly Lutz, guitarist and vocalist Tyler Miller, guitarist and vocalist DJ Underwood, drummer Jimmy Cooper and keyboardist Andrew Conly.

The band’s website,, says these soon-to-be college students formed this band when they were in sixth grade, but the spark of something amazing was lit after members Underwood and Miller took guitar lessons together when they were only in second grade.

They performed together for their school’s choir a little later on.  Once the two boys hit the sixth grade, they decided to form a band.  That was when Cooper and Lutz were added, and Conly was added in the eighth grade.

Since then, the quintet has toured all over Wisconsin.  The band has played at events ranging from the 2016 Strawberry Festival and Harley-Davidson’s 110th anniversary to the Wisconsin State Fair and (for the past three years) Summerfest, which they will be returning to again this year.

The band has released two albums.  Their first album, “For All You Listeners Out There,” was released in 2014.  They released their album, “Trapped in my Treehouse,” in 2015.  According to their social media pages, they also released a new single, “Loud Minds,” in June.    

This year, the band has been nominated by the Wisconsin Area Music Industry Award show for Best Alternative Rock Band and Best Female Vocalist (Lutz).  The members are the youngest contenders in history for both of these categories!  Sadly, they did not take home either of the awards.  Last year, they were also nominated for Best Alternative Rock Band.

Life in a Tree is currently on tour.  They have already played at the Strawberry Festival in Cedarburg, Wis., and Mo’s Irish Pub in Milwaukee, on the “Morning Blend,” and two dates at Summerfest.

This summer, they will also be performing at the State Fair, the Ozaukee County Fair, and on the Budweiser Pavilion as well as at Brat Days in Sheboygan, and Bastille Days festival in Milwaukee.  Dates and times are on their website.

A few weeks ago, I was given the privilege to interview Life in a Tree through Facebook.  This was the conversation we had.

1. What venue are you guys most excited for?

“Each of us have different venues that we are looking forward to, however, all of us are always really excited to play on the big stage at Summerfest. It’s our favorite gig of the year because of all the amazing fans that reach out to us and come see us play!”

2. What can listeners expect on your setlist? New songs, songs from your album or covers?

“Our setlist this summer should be our best yet! We are so very excited to play our newest originals live. We also have been in the process of recording all of them throughout this season, so, it will be such a cool experience to be able to bring them to life on stage in front of a live audience. We are also looking forward to the new covers we will be playing. One thing that we strive for as a band is to never settle for playing a cover exactly how it’s written. We always want to make it diverse and unique for the audience to experience, instead of playing the same four chords the entire time. You can expect to see our own rendition of ‘Hello’ by Adele, ‘Hey Ya’ by Outkast, and many, many more.”

3. Your band is nominated by the Wisconsin Area Music Industry for Best Alternative Rock Group and Molly is nominated for Best Female Vocalist. That’s amazing! Did you guys think you would make it this far so early in your music careers?

“Thank you! Honestly, it has all come down to how hard we work and how much time we put into our music and skill. It feels great to say that we’ve been nominated at such a young age, but it’s also a huge honor that we don’t take lightly. The awards show was amazing! We met so many cool musicians.”

4. As all of you are going off to college this year, what’s LIAT’s future looking like? Do you plan on staying together as a band?

“All of us are currently committed to a different college! Molly will be attending Belmont University to major in commercial music with a vocal performance emphasis, Tyler will be going to University of Wisconsin-Madison for sound engineering, DJ will be attending MATC to be a music performance major, Jimmy will be attending University of Wisconsin-Whitewater for a business degree, and Andrew will be attending University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill for premed. We are sad to be so far away from each other, but we are planning to stick together and continue our music career as a band.”

This is one incredible band that has accomplished so much in their young lives.  This summer may be the last time they perform as a band for quite some time.  This could be a once in a lifetime opportunity for newcomers who wish to enjoy their alternative-indie rock style music.

If any readers are interested and wish to prepare for their concerts or cannot attend but are still interested in hearing their music, they are on iTunes as well as Spotify with the name Life in a Tree.  Listeners can also connect with them through Facebook (Life in a Tree Band), Instagram (lifeinatreeband), YouTube (Life in a Tree), and Twitter (@lifeinatreeband).

Also, keep an eye out this upcoming semester for Jimmy Cooper as he begins his first semester at MATC!