BRONCHO Has The Hots For Your Ears

reppin: norman, ok // dine alone records // 2010 - present

sounds like: all we are is dust in the wind (according to the band) 

last album drop: double vanity (may 2016)

featuring: ryan // nathan // penny // ben

broncho

broncho

Sometime 8 short years ago lead vocalist Ryan, guitarist Ben, drummer Nathan and a former member (now featuring Penny) got together and said, “hey, let’s start a band called BRONCHO” (it did not actually happen like that). But, little did we know that this special indie band was about to stick together for some time and expanding their name beyond the middle of the country. I would call this a fun ass mixture of pop and fuzzy garage rock with some early sprinkles of punk from the 80s that will make you move. Ryan’s vocals balance super well with the melodies and after giving it a listen you’ll see why they kind of start alone.

That mixture of fuzz and that high, fluid elastic voice gives you a sense of just plain fun whether they are in the headphone or one the stage. And trust me, not all songs are created the same with these kids. Check out a track like “try me out sometime” to get up and moving against “fantasy boys” which has a bit of a darker twist. Honestly all you really need to do is get those tunes in your ears for a second and they will have you. They really do have something for everyone as they can be up-tempo, mellow out or get groovy.

After 3 full albums, it is apparent that BRONCHO has hit home with a growing number of fans who can’t wait to catch them live the next time around. That addictive sound is even better when they are on stage, but these tasty ear treats can really fit the mood on any occasion whatever it is you are doing. They did mention they want you to get in, experience their music, then get out...but you’ll want to stay. It will be really cool to see how they evolve in the future so go catch them this summer!

Check out the quick chat I was able to have with them ahead of their show at Subterranean tonight, April 27th.
 

interview stuff

 

Think back to when your journey as BRONCHO started, what would you tell your former selves now? Any regrets? Would you do it all the same? Are the same values important to you as a band?

We would tell ourselves to stay in school and study more. We regret nothing, except maybe that one time with the Thai food in Idaho. Our values have always been incredibly important to us, but sometimes it’s hard to find a good bargain.

 

broncho | subterranean, chicago | 7.15.17 | @thefaakehipster

broncho | subterranean, chicago | 7.15.17 | @thefaakehipster

When it comes to the stories you tell through your songs, what do you want do you want humans to get out of your lyrics?

Whatever they need to get out of lyrics. They should get in there and then get the hell out of there.

 

When it comes to touring, how do you channel your identity to the live stage? When you make eye contact with that fan or are warming up a room, what do you want them to feel?

They shouldn’t feel anything they don’t want to feel. That’s for sure. You should ask Jim Carrey about identity. We think he’s got it pretty well sorted out.

 

What, if any, rituals, goofy corks and all do you have as a band during pre-show prep or after the show? What gives you the most fulfilling moment during this process of getting to a gig to playing it to winding down at the end of the night?

 

Palo Santo and chanting. We cork merlot but Penny prefers prosecco. Most fulfilling moment is that free joint, the paycheck and a fluffy pillow.

 

Every post/article I do is drawn from the experience of listening and seeing music. I like to be very detailed and metaphorical. If you had to describe the identity of BRONCHO with a metaphor, what would it be?

All we are is dust in the wind.

suggested listening experience: summertime outside hanging with the friends // getting the morning started // any mode of transportation

listens: class historian // fantasy boy // stay loose // try me out sometime // get in my car // it's on // señora borealis

broncho // fb // spotify // ig // twitter

Dead Meadow: Zen Going 20 Years Strong

reppin: dc, usa // xemu // 1998 - present

sounds like: according to jason - Dead Meadow is like a favorite episode of “Columbo”.  Entirely soothing with a hint of the unnerving and the bizarre.  

last album drop: the nothing they need (march 16, 2018)

featuring: jason // steve // juan
 

Dead Meadow | photo cred: Jessica Senteno

Dead Meadow | photo cred: Jessica Senteno

A few years back, when the Double Door was still alive and well, I stumbled into the venue to check out Dead Meadow during a warm summer day. They mesmerized my ears and mind with a calming yet heart-pounding set of rock along with a visually stunning projection of animation and color. That night they wheeled me in and grabbed me by the arms, not letting go until I was cleared in my head and melted in my face (I was able to put it back on). However, their story goes way further back to a city that was music rich back in the late 90s.

Back during the 1980s and 90s, DC was on the map when it came to the uprising of emo, punk and hardcore bands. Minor Threat, Fugazi and The Dismemberment Plan are cemented as vital bands in that era, and from it came a combination of two bands to form Dead Meadow. With some experience behind them already, they combined 70s heavy metal and 60s psychedelic rock, creating a simple, yet fantasy world of sound...always stretching your imagination. They have no fear of jumping off their usually script as they’ve had albums in the past with a heavier blues influences and acoustic elements.

In 2018 we are celebrating 20 years of this group. They have toured the world, shuffled their lineup like most long-time bands would, but have always kept their fans, gained new ones and established themselves as legends among countless newer bands trying to join the fold. They have clearly laid out a path for not just success, but happiness, fruitfulness and fulfillment as a band. Their latest release just a few short weeks ago, The Nothing They Need, is shelter in a way according to the band. There is much negative energy that blankets us these days and the sounds and visuals of the new album are meant to be an escape. So, come on and escape as these guys answer some of my questions ahead of their Chicago gig at Beat Kitchen.

beat kitchen tickets - april 4

interview stuff

Think back to when you formed as a band, through those first early releases. What would you tell your former selves now. Any regrets? Would you do it all the same? Are the same values important to you as a band?

steve

Dead Meadow's recent release: The Nothing They Need

Dead Meadow's recent release: The Nothing They Need

jason: Yeah there never was really much of a choice about doing something else.  I think I always knew it wouldn’t be an easy road but I think you’ll find most people involved in spending their life in pursuit of any creative endeavor feel it as a sort of calling.  I think the primary value that was true in the beginning and now is to stay as true to our creative vision as possible. You know most of what I love and have been influenced by has most always been work that seems to cater to a certain niche crowd off the beaten track.  I guess it is only natural that the band has cultivated a similar sort of following.


There is a heavy influence in your music from the 60s and 70s: rock n’ roll, metal and psychedelic rock. To me, especially in the late 60s, that’s when lyrics turned from questioning to more raw feelings and angst. What do you want to tell your fans with your lyrics?

jason: Well I rarely have a direct message in mind that I am trying to convey.  Songs tend to be more mediations on certain themes and feelings. I find for me it is most important to try and be open as much as possible in order to catch those phrases and lines when the come.  Where they come from is a whole other question. Whether you feel they come from within, without, on high, deep below, certain things feel inspired and worth building into a cohesive whole…well, cohesive at least for me.


When it comes to touring, how do you channel your identity to the live stage? When you make eye contact with that fan or are warming up a room, what do you want them to feel?

Dead Meadow | photo cred: Jessica Senteno

Dead Meadow | photo cred: Jessica Senteno

steve: for me there is a zen like place with the energy of a room that really pushes the music out. In my mind even when caught in the moment I still am thinking if what we are doing is believable and feels true.. Like as simple as rocking out how far is goofy and what isn't enough. You need to be comfortable with your message being received by the audience at all times otherwise it can be too cartoon like.

jason: I feel all I can really do is attempt to lose myself in the present moment of creating music and play to the best of my ability.  If I feel I’m achieving that hopefully the fans can come on the same enjoyable journey that I’m on.

 

What, if any, rituals, goofy corks and all do you have as a band during pre-show prep or after the show? What gives you the most fulfilling moment during this process of getting to a gig to playing it to winding down?

Dead Meadow | Double Door, Chicago | 5.17.16

Dead Meadow | Double Door, Chicago | 5.17.16

steve: i guess a few drinks and laughs can help it be comfortable. I feel our fans can be a bit of the inebriated variety so sometimes it is good to be on the same level. Really the actual talking to the fans and meeting people face to face is the most rewarding. It is really cool to know everyone and what makes them interested in seeing us. I kinda feel I I would get the same enjoyment from a meet and greet only tour.. Like playing the songs is great and moving but it is the contact with people that really makes playing live music so special.

jason: yeah, no green room seances or warm up chants for us… a drink or two, a spiff… etc…   It’s always nice once everything is set and our intro drone is rolling to take a minute to breath and relax.  


Every post/article I do is drawn from the experience of listening to and seeing live music. I like to be very detailed and metaphorical (not a fan of comparing bands to other bands, critiquing or reviewing) If you had to describe the identity of Dead Meadow with a metaphor, what would it be?

jason: Dead Meadow is like a favorite episode of “Columbo”.  Entirely soothing with a hint of the unnerving and the bizarre.

 

suggested listening experience: twist one up // sunny evening, winding down // when you need to find your space and mellow out

listens: nobody’s home // what needs must be // greensky greenlake // sleepy silver door // 1000 dreams // keep your head // heaven // 'til kingdom come

dm // spotify // ig // twitter // fb

Madrid’s Baywaves Are Flipping Indie Rock on It’s Head

reppin: madrid, spain // Ground Control // 2014 - present

sounds like: the moment before you crash onto a nice, big comfy couch

last album drop: only for uz EP (march 2016)

featuring: fran // david // marco // carlos

baywaves | photo cred: noesfm.com

baywaves | photo cred: noesfm.com

Last summer I stumbled across a little known band from Madrid that goes by the name of Baywaves. What started as a duo became a 4-piece, kinda pop, kinda rock, kinda electronic, kinda indie band of really really young dudes. In what they refer to as hipnopop, you really get a different, new kind of vibe that some recent Madrid bands are bringing these days. Young dudes just flipping rock on its head, no big deal.

What drew my ears in to Baywaves was this sense of hypnotic dance sound that is very different from anything else we are listening to these days. It releases your body, frees your mind and gives you happy sort of vibes all over. What is even more exciting is how young they are and how much is ahead in the evolution of this band. They totally get the amazing position they are in and will stop at nothing to keep challenging themselves to create newer and fresher tunes.

These are true newcomers on the scene as they just finished up with some SXSW sets the other week. I am getting the feels that they’ll start following in the footsteps of labelmates The Hinds and The Parrots and be hitting the states regularly for our ear and eyes pleasure. Check out the skype chat I had with these young lads and get on their music!


interview stuff
 

Y’all are babies in the music world, but have nailed it with that first EP...where did your sound come from and how do you see it evolving over the coming years?

That's a good questions right now because we are in the process of making new songs and we are trying to evolve from that. At first it was mostly David making the tracks and that has been going on for a year and half. We like to use references of bands we enjoy like Manchester Orchestra, Pond, King Gizzard and the Wizard Lizard. Then, as we started to take part in this process, we've been listening to more and more. We all come from different background so we have a wide variety of taste. So now, we are just listening and listening and figuring out what to do next. I mean, we just bought a sampler and other equipment.

We are really trying to see what can work next because we know our sound now and what we used to have is working for us and our listeners. We're just trying to know if we can play different types of sound, like experimenting. Can we do this? Maybe we'll find some new things to incorporate into our new music. You know, one day we were listening to some new hip-hop and we're like oh shit, this is giving us a boner. We don't want to keep playing the same type of music.

 

As a band, what are you learning about yourselves as things are happening so fast? What is the most important factor to keep things together?

baywaves | photo cred: diymag.com

baywaves | photo cred: diymag.com

That is also a good question because we are also in the process of seeing what ties the bands together. Some of work, some of us our in school studying and getting masters. It is very difficult to find a time with energy to give to the band. So, what ties the band together? If anything, it sound quite cynical, is the idea of just having a band and being able to come here and play. It really depends on the moment. It is a really amazing feeling when we create something together and are like, "oh, that's amazing!"

Right now, making a new song, the whole process, it is something that ties us together because it allows us to really focus on the music. There really isn't one thing that ties us together. All these new things are happening every month, but it always comes back to this idea of just having a band. We are all really enjoying the process. We usually don't even have enough time to think about what is next when something ends because the next thing is happening.

Even just playing in front of fans and having them tell us great things, that keep us going. We've also been trying to build a network with other bands our age. You know, 5 years ago in Spain you would not see 20 year old bands playing festivals and all, so things have really changed.


Lyrics...what do you want your fans to get out of your stories? How do want them to feel?

I think there is a whole concept about the lyrics. First the songs come, then the lyrics so the lyrics are feeding off the songs. We put a lot of thought into them, there is more emphasis on lyrics now in Spain then maybe 10 years ago. We're trying to find what we want to say. We grew up with lyrics not being a big thing the rock scene, but we know it is a thing that fans like. We're trying to use all of our input so our songs are shared between all of us.

baywaves | photo cred: gigsoupmusic.com

baywaves | photo cred: gigsoupmusic.com



Lets talk about your live show. How do you get the crowd going, what is your mission when you take the stage?

After we started playing festivals and releasing the first EP and playing more shows. We knew we had to change things in our live show because before we were only playing once a month. Not only were we recording new songs, but we were really focused on how to incorporate new things.

The rhythmic thing was big with us. Different textures and all. We don't play that many songs live at the moment. Maybe 5 songs in 30 minutes. So yea, we are trying to get into a rhythm and not just be 4 guys jerking around on stage. We want fans to be able to move around and dance, but also be amazed at what we are doing.


I always use funny metaphors to describe bands and artists i write about, what would you use?

A long time ago the one the said was "suave" which is soft in spanish, but I think it has changed since then. Hmmm, we have to think about this one.

You know the moment you are going to fall onto a couch, or something soft, that moment you are in mid-air. For me, that would probably be it.

me: You all provide a soft landing for everyone, I get that. What kind of couch am I falling on?

One that is big enough to lay down on.

 

suggested listening experience: afternoon hang with friends // cruising in the city // beach/sunny hangs

listens: time is passing u by // gliss // down 4 u // still in bed // the freak kingdom // to the north

bw - spotify // fb // twitter // ig // sc

Wild Pink Makes Dreamy Power Pop For All

reppin: queens & brooklyn, usa // tiny engines // 2015 - present

sounds like: the 2002 oakland a’s but for music (referencing the team from the movie, Moneyball staring the handsome Brad Pitt)

last album drop: wild pink (feb 2017)

featuring: john // tc // dan

wild pink | source: wildpink.bandcamp.com

wild pink | source: wildpink.bandcamp.com

In the boroughs of New York, Wild Pink was once upon a time ago a electronic pop group called Challenger. At some point they said fuck it, stripped the electronic and got a bit more power poppy and shoegazey. After a few EPs in 2015, they quickly took notice of some smaller indie labels and have been touring like crazy to get their name out there. Some would call it a “mid-fi” sound because it is the middle something. Maybe? Either way, these dudes give you a lovely sort of vibe as if you are floating down the river in a kayak and then bam, time to handle those rapids in front of you. Whatever you come up with, John, TC and Dan have channeled their inner 90s alternative/indie sound with a modern twist that keeps your ears peaked.

Wild Pink is full of energy and for every darker moment in their music that comes across, you are kind of followed with this warm and cuddly one. It is this cycle that keeps you intrigued and wanting to find out what story they will tell next. I love how John’s voice meshes with the music as it is super mellow and fitting for the constant push and pull they give you. And that voice puts out some lyrics that make you think as they offer thoughts and experiences on love and life.

I had the chance to catch them at Chicago’s Empty Bottle to a decent size crowd on a cold night this past week. These guys do little talking as they let their instruments speak throughout their set. Their simple setup mimics their vibe as they want to give it to their audience straight with the simple goal of just enjoying yourself. Whether that gets you moving on your feet or you find yourself staring into space thinking about how this music impacts you, you leave feeling rewarded. I had a few minutes to get some one liner responses to a few questions. Catch them next time they are in your city.

interview stuff

IMG_20180223_162105_437.jpg

Y’all have been a group for only a few short years. What do you attribute to finding your groove and your sound?

TC and I have been playing together since 2014. Dan started playing with us in 2016 and that's when things started to click.

When you are playing live, what is your mission? When you make eye contact with that fan out there, what do you want them to experience?

I hope people watching enjoy themselves! That's the mission..

What do you want people to get out of your lyrics? Has there been a defined path to how you want those to take in the words and stories?

If the lyrics resonate with someone then that's really awesome. I want people to interpret the words how they wish.

Do you have any corky rituals for pre/post show?

I drink Malort when we're in Chicago

I like to use funny metaphors to describe bands and artists i write about, what would you use?

We're the 2002 Oakland A's but for music.

suggested listening experience: mellow weekday night with a few brews // long road trips // convincing friends who only listen to 90s music to branch out a bit

listens: wizard of loneliness // great apes // how do you know if god takes you back // broke on // albert ross

wp // spotify // fb // twitter // ig // sc

Missio: Darkness With Underlying Beauty

reppin: austin, tx // rca records // 2014 - present

sounds like: walking through the drug part of heaven (according to david)

last album drop: loner (may 2017)

featuring: matt // david

missio | outside lincoln hall, chicago | 10.25.17 | @thefaakehipster

missio | outside lincoln hall, chicago | 10.25.17 | @thefaakehipster

The one overlaying theme that I truly believe almost all artist, musicians, songwriters and any creatives are out there to do is to make us humans feel something. To supply genuine art that we can consume and let it seep into our skin and actually affect us in some way. Make us fucking feel something. I've grown up all my life listening to music, ever since I went and purchased "dookie," "sublime," "the colour and the shape," and "licensed to ill" at best buy when I was maybe 9 years old. I didn't know it at the time, but I loved music because it could make me feel something. Even at that age, something as simple as dancing or singing along to an album brought joy. I had yet to encompass the teenage angst that my tight skinny jeans screamed out when I got to high school. So I guess you could say, I let those sounds and lyrics seep in.

Missio is a duo out of one of the music capitals of the country. In just a few short years and putting out a hell of a debut album, these two guys are on a fucking mission to do more. These two guys, matt brue and david butler, have such care for their craft and dreams that involve more of you, the listener. As someone who is trying to bring new music to the general music listener, I want to share the experience of allowing yourself to feel something when you listen to music. To strip yourself down and give a shit about what is coming into your ears. I'm a believer and advocate of it because it is one of the best feelings in the world. When Cait and I sat down with matt and david, there as an immediate calmness and chill that allowed all of us to open up. Not only do I love the music that Missio creates, as well as having a good feeling that there are big things to come for them...I a million percent respect and appreciate the detail to what these guys are setting out to do: and that is to make your hearts and mind feel things you may not have felt before.

Check out our little chat and don't forget y'all, they are on tour again and coming to chicago.

missio spring tour 2018 // bottom lounge chicago feb 25 - tickets (sold out)

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jared: After checking you guys out in Austin at SXSW and Lolla, we are stoked to talk to y'all about the journey and how you came to be.

Let’s talk about the journey since you two joined forces? I love this soothing, almost big rock sound. What have you learned about yourselves individually and as a band as it relates to the sound you want to create? Also, what is the process to your songwriting?

matt: I was very anti working with people period for a long, long time. I never had a good experience. Everyone had different opinions of what they wanted to do and nothing really fully aligned. The relationship going on with David was dude, I just want you to produce this record. And then we started working together and I was like, holy shit, somebody else actually kind of has the same vision as I do and not squashing ideas all the time. It was a really good learning moment for me. Collaboration can actually make the art better in so many ways. And that has happened multiple times now, even with filmmakers. It def was a little bit of loosening up and just finding a match to make these things happen.

missio | lincoln hall, chicago | 10.25.17 | @thefaakehipster

missio | lincoln hall, chicago | 10.25.17 | @thefaakehipster

david: i think that question is one of the hardest any artist can ever figure out. You have to constantly keep answering. You can't just simplify it by saying, "listen to other people." I've played in bands before when everyone is coming from different perspective. There were fundamental creative differences. It is about finding people that share your vision. I know lots of great songwriters I would never write with. But I was drawn to Matt because of what he was doing. My whole thing as a producer from day 1 has been to jump in the boat with someone, swallow your ego and pride and lets make the best thing we can together. Not just it is the first thing that came to mind. It works because we have the same end goal. The other unique thing about us is honesty. Matt has thick skin and I do too. We can say things and move on. Sorry I'm gushing on this, it's just a great thing to talk about. We were in a cab in NYC talking about this and he said "you have to learn when to fight for your ideas. You can't fight for every single idea. Knowing when to stand up and trust your instincts and when to let it go."

Collaboration can actually make the art better in so many ways.

matt: There is a lot of times when our producer will go down this rabbit hole and I'm thinking this is so stupid. And then slowly I see the idea come to life and I'm like, okay I can feel it.

david: we had a co-writing session a few months back and let's just say it got off to a rocky start. We had never met the dude. This was reallll shady and all, we couldn't hold a conversation with him. My personality is I'm going to make you comfortable and keep working. Matt is more like, "fuck this." (laughs). Matt is checked out, I go through the motions and we ended up writing a dope song. We def learned from that...let things go, don't be too judgmental. The song hasn't been released, but you will know! It could def be the single.

jared: do you have a name for it yet?

both: can't tell you!

 

I love the meaning behind your songs...kinda camouflage. What do you want your fans to take away from it.

IMG_20180222_152456_496.jpg

matt: that's a good question. I think first, you have to write from experience and what you I am feeling. When you start writing for other people it can be a little bit dangerous because it can come across an disingenuous. So, that is the first step for me, for myself to be able to resonate and relate to the lyrics. People can read through the bullshit. If I am every night, singing a song, I don't even care about you, I want to go back to that time, what I felt when I wrote that song. The audience can be like, I get and feel what he is saying. I believe it, so it is hitting me in a different way. And second, I think both of our goals in music, similar to our song, kamikazee, "I want money and power / And champagne and fame / I want money and power / My black heart's to blame." I want more so than all that stuff is for people to helped. With a lyric like, "thank god for the haters, those bitches inspire me." I want people to feel comfortable to be like, "yea, fuck the haters."

david: i'm going to give you a bit more of an abstract answer. I think I really want people to listen to music with the mind I listened to music when I was growing up. It is a lot harder now being in the music business. It is easy to marginalize and minimize what song someone is trying to write. Confession: I tend to minimize someone's art until it wins me over. I hate that, but I think that is the music culture we live in. People consume music and don't really let it affect their lives like they could. Music is art. I've had so many instances where music has changed my life. Those moments are what inspire me to be a musician and song writer. I think about growing up and listening to songs and lyrics and having real emotional moments. They really helped me through a time in my life. Or in another way, I understood. Ultimately that is my goal with Missio and in general. This is how I see the world, here is a feeling that I have had. And maybe you feel that too. I want people to listen to music, period. There is so much shitty music which has no deeper meaning. No one sits down and puts on a record and listens to it anymore. Very few do. Give yourself an opportunity to fully experience music.

jared: you pretty much hit exactly what I am trying to do.

People consume music and don’t really let it affect their lives like they could. Music is art

 

What is your mission when you take the stage. What do you want people to feel?

matt: my ultimate goal with the live show is that people who come from busy lives, spend $20 on a show, they want to get out of their reality for a few hours. If you go up there and do a half ass job you're not really doing that much to help them. So, for us, and for any artist our goal is to be that filler for a few hours. Put your fucking A game on. Whether it is production, getting ready vocally, you want to put on the best performance possible. You want to let them experience different kinds of emotions. We are aggressive, we want them to feel that. And then songs like "bottom of the deep blue sea" which are more cinematic. Then "twisted" which is really fucked up and having them feel that. 

david: i used to be envious of bands in the 70s because a live show then had to be so much more overwhelming compared to the recorded quality they had at the time. It was a different experience. The further back you go, the more wild they are. But, one interesting thing about now is that there are few times were people are fully engaged somewhere, and that includes at a live show. One of my goals is to have a full sensory experience, lights has been a part of our thing from day one. I want to bring a full, emersive experience to them and make it communal. Hopefully they are singing and moving along with us. Everything matters to us and we want it to be authentic. Then you create this cycle between the audience and the stage.

 

If you had to use a metaphor to describe your sound and identity, what would it be?

Darkness underlying beauty.

david: walking through the drug part of heaven for sure. That just came to mind actually. If heaven had a really dark spot. Darkness underlying beauty.

 

suggested listening experience: getting close to your significant other // when you are angry and tired after a day of work // saturday night shenanigans

listens: middle fingers // everybody gets high // bottom of the deep blue sea // kamikazee // twisted // west coast (lana del ray cover)

missio // fb // spotify // ig // twitter // sc 

WHITE REAPER: Pure & Sweaty Rock N' Roll For All

reppin: louisville, ky // polyvinyl records // 2014 - present

sounds like: tony - "a very old muscle car that has be repaired frequently due to the high speeds at which it constantly performs"

tony of white reaper | metro, chicago | 11.14.17 | @thefaakehipster

tony of white reaper | metro, chicago | 11.14.17 | @thefaakehipster

last album drop: the world’s best american rock band (april 2017)

white reaper | metro, chicago | 11.14.17 | @thefaakehipster

white reaper | metro, chicago | 11.14.17 | @thefaakehipster

featuring: tony // ryan // sam // nick // hunter

When I come across a pure band like White Reaper, I get those goosebumps up my arm. The vibe of the tracks, the smoothness of the riffs and uniqueness of the vocals brings back memories of kids being kids. No responsibilities, I just want to go out on a Friday night and forget about my worries for a few hours. While it was a Tuesday night, looking around you would think it was the start to the weekend.

I scoped out these dudes back in May when they played the tiny, sweaty rock club that is Beat Kitchen. It was wild. Bodies everywhere, most of them crowd surfing, but I recalled the most from both shows were the smiles on everyone’s faces. That is the emotion is look to tap in every show I go to and every song I take into my ears. When I see it in the fans faces, in the performers on-stage, well that is why we are all living.

After Chicago’s own Post Animal took the stage, White Reaper came on and killed it. An hour of in your face rock n’ roll, good times, shredding solos and heavy bass. Kids of all ages were banging back and forth, looking to float above the crowd and get their faces overall melted. I shot off a few questions to frontman Tony and got some insight to these kids from louisville. How they have grown as a band during their short lifespan, write their songs and impact their dedicated fans across the country. Here it is in nice short form for you because we all have attention spans of 15 seconds these days.

interview stuff

You all have only been a band for 3 short years, yet you have landed on this clear rock n’ roll vibe that is obviously catching on. What have you all learned about each other as musicians that have allowed you to create this music?

The more we play the better we get. Seems obvious, I know but we were pretty stupid when we first started out. 

What is your songwriting process like? When you all sit down to start writing, how does it begin, what happens in order to carry through an idea into a track?

I usually come up with an idea, and then i show the guys to help me elaborate on it. We usually try to set up the framework and then pick apart the arrangement until we think its right. Then we dive into the trenches and hammer it out. 

white reaper | metro, chicago | 11.14.17 | @thefaakehipster

white reaper | metro, chicago | 11.14.17 | @thefaakehipster

What are you inspirations when it comes to lyrics? What do you hope fans as well as those who don’t know you, respond to your words?

Old mystery novels from the 40s and 50s are truly a vocabulary goldmine. Lyrics will always mean different things to different people. Sometimes lyrics don't have to mean anything at all!

Your live show is bananas...how do you bring the energy and vibes to your live set on a daily basis? How do you want the audience to feel after you play? 

We're pretty much bottled up in the van all day so by the time we get to stand up and move around we're pretty excited to not be stuck sitting down. Hopefully the audience is as sweaty as we are when the show is over.

Instead of comparing White Reaper to other bands I like to use a metaphor to describe the identity of the band...usually a humorous one. What is White Reaper’s metaphor?

A very old muscle car that has be repaired frequently due to the high speeds at which it constantly performs.

suggested listening experience: any party on any day or night // time to suck it up and get that project done before the deadline // waking up in the morning

listens: judy french // world’s best american band // make me wanna die // eagle beach // little silver cross // sheila // tell me // crystal pistol

wr // fb // spotify // ig // twitter // sc

JARED & THE MILL: Breaking Boundaries and Bringing Strangers Together With Music

I got to sit down with the goofy and chill dudes that bring a twist to folk rock and have a mission of bringing different cultures together

reppin: phoenix, az // unsigned // 2011 - present

sounds like: busted shopping cart carrying fireworks somehow making it down a rolling hill in one piece

jared & the mill | schubas, chicago | 7.7.17 | @thefaakehipster

jared & the mill | schubas, chicago | 7.7.17 | @thefaakehipster

last album drop: orme dugas (sept 2016)

featuring: jared // michael // larry // chuck // josh

Every morning, or almost every morning, I throw a different fruit, juices, yogurt (and now finally peanut butter!) into my little Ninja blender and out comes delicious and refreshing smoothie goodness. I can feel it reenergizing my body as I am ready to start the day, talk to all sorts of people and try to make dreams come true. Jared & The MIll is your smoothie people. A clash of genres ranging from outlaw country to pop to alternative sprinkled with some soul has these five dudes doing something really different out there. Hailing from hot ass Phoenix, they have really taken it upon themselves to constantly mix up their vibes and evolve.

jared & the mill | schubas, chicago | 7.7.17 | @thefaakehipster

jared & the mill | schubas, chicago | 7.7.17 | @thefaakehipster

Having played everything from small bars to big arenas with the likes of Barry Gibbs, Allen Stone, Zac Brown Band and many others, I immediately felt a humble and friendly vibe chatting with these guys, getting a sense of what makes them go. They are as goofy as they are talented and you get the sense that they are just happy to be playing music and putting smiles of the faces of us humans. I’ll come out with straight up honesty, I never tend to venture over to the country side of things. It is just something I was never exposed to in Chicago, especially growing up on punk. But, the powerful blender of influences, personalities bring out a very unique flavor...one that you must bring your ears to listen to.

What sets them apart among anything else is that live show of theres. It is more than just playing tunes, rocking out and having a good time. Each and every night they look to bring people with different background and beliefs closer together. It really is a special thing to see...why not blanket the crowd with the soul of music when you have all sorts of humans with different taste coming to see you live. I sat down with the guys at Schubas to dig a bit deeper into their mission as a band.

interview stuff

How do you feel about arena shows vs. small venues like Schubas?

jared: This is probably going to be the best show of the tour.

larry: You always feel disconnected with a big crowd in arenas. For instance, last night, we played show for like 35 people and we just heckled the shit out of all of them. Jared called them out for being so nervous and was telling them, “hey you, go talk to the person next to you!”

jared: As far as arena shows, I feel like we didn’t get a good taste of it because of who we were playing with. On a recent tour, not only is the barricade so far from the stage, I feel like the fans would be receptive to our type of music either way. But this other run with Barry Gibbs, they came to see Barry Gibb so it is kind of tough. It was a good way to learn how to sway a crowd. We have to be adaptive and learn how to get people invested. Lots of good lessons.

me: When were you guys officially a band?

jared: Our anniversary is August of 2011. We’re kind of a middle aged band at this point, our midlife crisis.

jared & the mill | schubas, chicago | 7.7.17 | @thefaakehipster

jared & the mill | schubas, chicago | 7.7.17 | @thefaakehipster

me: To me, you all hit a bunch of different genres with your music so the opportunity to gain a general music listener as a fan is pretty sweet.

 

How did you all find the sound that lands in between all these different kind of genres? What experiences led you to become Jared & The Mill?

jared: It kind of happened by accident. At first it did at least. It wasn’t really a process, the music that we played changed over time. We went through our first couple of records and we loved our music that we were coming out with. This last record though, is where it really clicked with all of us. Oh, fuck, there it is. That’s the sound.

josh: As we first got going we were exploring the folk genre that was happening at the time. I think of folk as music of the people. I realized that music where we come from in Arizona is like dirty country, that’s what our parents listened to.

jared: Our collective music taste though is so diverse that when we cycle through ideas we kind of come up with something different. We all listen to a lot of different types of music, but one that we absolutely got down with was old outlaw country music. We always got down with each others tunes...you know we are traveling 10 hours a day with each other in a van. When people say, “you know I don’t listen to country a lot, not saying you are, but there is something different about you.” I think that comes from the air of our influences unifying us.

gabe: When I met Chuck, he had a 6 inch mohawk, playing in a ska band and all (laughs).

chuck: A lot of our new music that we’ve been writing together has been influenced a lot about contemporary stuff we’ve been listening to. I think it’s important to go back to your roots of what you listened to. We’ve never openly avoided a genre though. We can’t be too much of this or that. At the same time, we’ve all sub-consciously been like we don’t want to be one distinct vibe. We don’t have any disrespect to bands that do. We like that we are a blender of shit. That is what Arizona is like, kind of a all over the place culture.

jared: We’re gonna play a song tonight and it’s really cool how people are receiving it because when I first wrote it, I was really nervous because it is very honest and can be taken out of context. As a songwriter, it is nerve wracking being that open. From a sound perspective, it get really heaving towards the end and it’s probably my favorite song to play right now and it is so different.

What is your mission when you are playing live? What do you want those people to feel?

jared & the mill | schubas, chicago | 7.7.17 | @thefaakehipster

jared & the mill | schubas, chicago | 7.7.17 | @thefaakehipster

jared: People who come to our show, we want them to come away with the idea...it is okay to be a fuckup, to have shortcomings. We are all together within these walls. It is super cheesy and a lot of bands run that game. But there is a bit of gnarliness to how that comes across.

me: That was me in high school and punk shows for sure. That place of escape.

jared: We don’t cater necessarily to the individual, but we want everyone in the room singing together and being together in the place, in the moment.

michael: For us personally, the longer that we do this, the more that i want it to be about something that matter. On paper, being a musician and wanting people to like your music is a selfish thing. Your fans are like your greatest investment. Nothing else matters if there is no one else in the building. We want to make it more about them having a great night. There is nothing special going on here really, this is just us having an experience together.

me: I love that message and I really look up to those musicians who are just happy to be part of the scene and making music. This is why I go to so many shows.

larry: I know sometimes I go to shows with my guard up...I love that we can almost force strangers to interact and get out of their comfort zone.

Okay, so finally, if you had to pick a metaphor to describe your identity, what would it be?

jared: I feel like it differs from song to song.

chuck: Sometimes our music is kind of feeling bummed out and needing to get some air and clear your mind. Getting a cup of coffee, riding down the highway. But other times, it is like seeing someone that you haven’t seen in a long time, but at a funeral.

jared & the mill | schubas, chicago | 7.7.17 | @thefaakehipster

jared & the mill | schubas, chicago | 7.7.17 | @thefaakehipster

josh: One of our producers described our music as a busted shopping cart carrying fireworks somehow making it down a rolling hill in one piece. There is a lot going on in our music, a lot of noise. Maybe it is about feeling lonely in the middle of a crowded room.

jared: I think that our music is something that means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. Messengers is a tune that we play that a lot of people interpret so differently and what they think it means. Our music lyrically and sonically is something that you can take and make your own. I really don’t know if there is a way to say, “this is what our music is like,” especially with the wide age range of fans we have.

chuck: You know, when I see the reaction in the crowd when we play live, I know we have something.

suggested listening experience: out on the highway just driving // party time // in the shower getting ready for the day

listens: messengers // keep me going // song for a girl // life we chose // hold on // crawl

j&tm // twitter // fb // spotify // ig

interview stuff: JR JR

reppin: detroit, usa // warner // 2010 - present

sounds like: according to josh - "JR JR is a cockroach. Sometimes people underestimate us, but we can exist in any genre and survive"

last album drop: self titled (sept 2015)

featuring: josh // daniel

JR JR | daniel & josh

JR JR | daniel & josh

Think about those days when you were growing up with the slightest of responsibilities in life, really enjoying the things you love for the beauty and passion of it. Not only does JR JR’s music inspire that kind of worry-free vibe, but daniel and josh very much embody that spirit. Once upon a time ago not that long ago, these kids started jamming out in daniel’s basement just for the love of music. Multifaceted in instrument playing and not giving a shit what that label or this critic may think, they let their good vibes flow through their fingers and mouths. What happened next surprised them more than anyone.

After some friends told them, “hey, your music sound freakin genuine,” they started to realize that their love and passion could dictate their careers. Then boom, out of cannon, Spin named them one of the best new bands of 2010 along with praises from way more legit sources than myself. The beautiful balance of melodic pop and escapade sound can draw lots of ears in while their lyrics may very well inspire you.

I got to line up a quick Q&A with Josh as they hit the House of Blues in Chicago tomorrow, Thursday, October 5th to bring us kids a party and a half. Check out the read for some insight on how these guys have grown and always look to bring you an experience, connect with you and make you feel something at the end of the day.

interview stuff

This was not supposed to be a real thing from what I read...think back to that moment you both realized that you really wanted to bring music to humans. Essentially, why do you do what you do?

This is the thing that we love doing, and we are lucky enough to have made it our career. Artists have a unique license to point out hypocrisy and effect culture.   We are fortunate to have a relationship via our music with the future. That's something we take seriously

Let’s talk about your lyrics. How do you want to move people and make them feel when they are listening to you?

JR JR | photo cred: KCRW.com

JR JR | photo cred: KCRW.com

The moment you hear a lyric and think, "that line verbalized that feeling for me finally" and connect to it is magical. If we are lucky, we might write a few of those in our lifetime. That's what we hope to do

How have you grown since the last record a few years ago, both personally and as a band?

I think the world has changed a lot.  Our relationships with our families, belief systems and the world has changed in many ways with it. Personally I've worked on developing empathy, recognizing  and eradicating insecurities, and living my values. The world can feel different from day to day, you gotta figure out what you care about.

What do you want people to experience and feel during your live shows?

I hope that they leave feeling as if we actually got to know each other a little. Hopefully it's like a party with friends you love hanging out with, but only get to see once or twice a year.

Instead of comparing JR JR to different bands I like to use a metaphor to describe the identity and sound of a band. What would JR JR’s metaphor be?

JR JR is a cockroach. Sometimes people underestimate us, but we can exist in any genre and survive. We are hard to Kill. Your favorite pop star will freeze to death some winter, and we'll still be there after the thaw.

suggested listening experience: getting ready for the day // outdoor summer hangs with friends // eating ice cream or other delicious deserts

listens: gone // control (secretly sorry) // some dark places // simple girl // nothing but our love // clean up

jr jr // twitter // fb // spotify // ig // sc

interview stuff: IAN SWEET

reppin: brooklyn, usa // hardly art records // 2015 - present

sounds like: according to the band - petting a dog at the beach that you know it isn’t yours and the owner is coming back soon...and the dog pooped on your hand

ian sweet | before empty bottle, chicago | 6.2.17 | @thefaakehipster

ian sweet | before empty bottle, chicago | 6.2.17 | @thefaakehipster

latest album drop: Sapeshifter (sept 2016)

featuring: jillian // damien // tim

It’s pretty amazing what musicians can learn about themselves in a short amount of time. Not too long ago, front woman Jillian Medford was touring the country as a solo project, pouring out her heart, a mixture of love and growing pains. As she settled in back East, a connection was established with drummer Tim Cheney and bassist Damien Scalise to form what now is IAN SWEET. Constantly touring and attempting to recreate their sound, they are on the start of a musically romantic adventure with one another and there is no end in sight.

With the popular DoDivision Fest hitting Wicker Park, IAN SWEET and good friends Girlpool packed a sold out Empty Bottle that night. When they hit the stage, emotions are evident as they roll through their set list. The lyrics spill out Jillian’s personal story, someone who has battled through personal relationships and then some. While that can be seen in her face, when you look at the crowd, everyone is overcome with joy. Whatever they are putting their fists up to, it shows that there is hope in the music they write. Sometimes you can use those words to overcome and other times, it is just good to know someone else is going through the same thing. My favorite message of all the experiences is to stay true to yourself...to be who you are no matter who you are with or what you are doing.

IAN SWEET’s fuzzy rock noise is something to pay attention to as they continue to grow as a band. They came in during a hot summer day this July in the smack dab middle of their tour. As I scooted up to the Empty Bottle, the crew hopped out of their van and were ready to rock n’ roll for the night. But first, we took a seat, cracked open some drinks and chatted about what makes these three a special group with a unique sound.

INTERVIEW STUFF

When I first turned you all on, it was like an organized mess of distorted chaos which could not be a more beautiful representation of my life. Surprisingly, with that description, your music puts a calm over me, like everything is going to be alright...how did you get there?

Tim: I fall asleep to heavy music a lot, that loud, distorted sound. It almost feels like being in the womb or something. Loud noises kind of calm me...maybe that is where you are getting that kind of feel

Jillian: I think we are all very attractive to sound in general, and sounds we haven’t heard. So we try to make noise that we are not familiar with, that are new.

ian sweet | empty bottle, chicago | 6.2.17 | @thefaakehipster

ian sweet | empty bottle, chicago | 6.2.17 | @thefaakehipster

Damien: I also feel like from the music we listen to, we like poppy stuff. I feel like we also have ears that and hear dissidence as confidence in a way. Things that sound crunchy and gross to someone else sound good to us.

Is there any relation to any experiences or stops in life that have led you to this?

Jil: Yea, when I went to college and started going to noise music shows in boston, underground scene. I wasn’t making music like that at the time, but always had a love and interest for it. And then, making friends through that scene I got involved and got inspired. There was a big scene for that and we kind combine noise and pop together.

Jared (Me): What is interesting to me, growing up in the Chicago burbs, I grew up in the punk scene and really took it to heart...I did listen to other types of rock and hip hop and stuff, but that was my music. But when I went away to college, my taste expanded like crazy and it goes to show what meeting different people from different places can do to your music listening.

Jil: As a band, we’ve gotten into hip hop together and didn’t listen to it as much in college. We’ve really been expanding our taste as well.

Jared (Me): Are we going to see a rap on the new album?

ian sweet | empty bottle, chicago | 6.2.17 | @thefaakehipster

ian sweet | empty bottle, chicago | 6.2.17 | @thefaakehipster

D: Yea man! Hahaha. Either way, I feel like hip hop is kind of at the forefront of music anyway. Rockstars aren’t rockstars anymore, anyone can be one. Even the pop stars are trying to emulate the hip hop stars. All the stuff that I know about in Boston came from nothing and built their way up to the top. I feel like that is really cool for independent musicians.

Jillian, I’ve read that you’ve had your fair share of shit to deal with over the years...how do you channel that into lyrics that are relatable to your fans as well as obtaining new ones

Jil: Yeaaaa, I’ve been through some shit. A lot of the lyrics are stream of consciousness stuff that I have to refine later on. I like to write while I have something in my hand...some blurb will come out. I have a style of writing that is more subconscious, in the moment. By the time a song is finished, I then realize what it is all about.

T: For you, I feel like the lyrics are very open for interpretation too.

Jil: Definitely use a lot of metaphors and playful lyrics to describe nostalgic memories. The past record was really heavily influenced by my nostalgia and how I wish to be in a better place. I was writing in a way where I was longing for something so the lyrics are more like what I would imagine I would do, being in a better headspace. Kinda projecting what I would like my emotions to be like. It is really hard as an artist to vulnerable because you know everyone is going to listen and watch you. The advice for fans listening is that it is not that scary and it feels better to be that way rather than being dishonest.
 

Speaking of getting onstage, how do you translate that into your live show. When you make eye contact with that kid, what do you want them to feel?

D: I think are live shows are a lot happier than you would think.

Jil: I was going to say, the live show is really emotional, it takes a lot out of me. It has ups and downs

D: It is a fun experience though…

Jil: I mean yea, we don’t take ourselves too seriously.

T: We definitely play sad songs a lot, but the second the song is over, we aren’t starting each other down crying, we are having fun.

D: I do think the lyrics do represent that in a way. Saying how we are struggling in a way, but it is kind of funny that we are struggling. The live show, it comes across that we are trying to be upbeat and when it is crowded it gets crazy.

(drinks are delivered and we become extremely surprised how much you cannot taste the alcohol)

If we are singing about sad stuff and someone comes in to see us and is sad, it makes for a happy experience with them.

Jil: We love miserable people

ian sweet | empty bottle, chicago | 6.2.17 | @thefaakehipster

ian sweet | empty bottle, chicago | 6.2.17 | @thefaakehipster

I always use funny metaphors to describe bands and artists i write about, what would you use?

T: Planting vegetables on the roof

Jil: Petting a dog at the beach

T: petting a dog at the beach, but you know it isn’t yours and the owner is coming back soon.

D: And once the owner comes, you realize that the dog pooped on your hand. I’d say we are all a bunch of dogs, as a band.

Jared: What kind of dog?

Jil: Great dane

suggested listening experience: on the train/car ride home after a long day // lazy saturday afternoon on the couch // anytime when times are tough

listens: #23 // slime time live // knife knowing you // all skaters go to heaven // 2soft2chew // if you're crying // cactus couch

is // spotify // fb // twitter // sc // ig

interview stuff: SURFER BLOOD

reppin: west palm beach, fl // joyful noise records // 2009 - present

sounds like: according to John Paul Pitts (JPP) - a dog chasing its tail, pure joy, a bit goofy..I’m going to catch that tail.

surfer blood | lincoln hall, chicago | 6.17.17 | @thefaakehipster

surfer blood | lincoln hall, chicago | 6.17.17 | @thefaakehipster

last album drop: snowdonia (feb, 2017)

featuring: john (lead vocals/guitar) // mike (guitar) // lindsey (bass) // tyler (drums)

Not so often does a band come across your ears that gives you a sense of calm no matter what the situation or headspace you are in. Maybe you are floating in the clouds and want to tell everyone about that new significant other or you had a shit day and you hate everyone. Flick over to Surfer Blood on your select music service and pop in your buds. JPP's soft and soothing vocals will bring you to write space. Mike’s simple guitar riffs and pleasant solos will lift your spirits. Lindsey’s running bass line will keep your head moving back and forth. Finally, the drums will bring it all together.  These kids hail from West Palm Beach and you can feel the ocean almost as you flip through their albums.

My favorite thing about these kids is that they are constantly teetering back and forth between a harder punk sound and a lighter flow of indie rock. It’s pretty special when a band can widen the spectrum and bring different feels to you with each song. There is overwhelming respect for them as well. While they played musical chairs with some band members for a bit, one of their dear friends, Thomas Fekete, passed away from cancer last year. It can really put some perspective on life and what you are trying to accomplish as a band.

These non-stop road hustlers have been making music for quite some time. They’ve played alongside the likes of Broken Social Scene, The Walkman, The Pixies and more. On top of that, their albums have constantly been hitting the top 200 on the US charts and show no sign of slowing down. As I got to interview frontman JPP, I came to realize the humility and love for playing music he has. Simply wanting to be part of the music scene is something pretty special.

surfer blood | lincoln hall, chicago | 6.17.17 | @thefaakehipster

surfer blood | lincoln hall, chicago | 6.17.17 | @thefaakehipster

INTERVIEW STUFF

You’ve been at it for almost 10 years, sorry to make you feel old, but I love your take on just constantly chugging out new records and touring. That concept, how does it help you find your sound and identity?

The reason we all got into this wasn’t to get rich or anything...it is more about making memories and having crazy experiences together. I turned 30 last year and I was looking back at my 20s and realizing I wouldn't trade it for anything. Traveling opens your mind, learn a lot. you meet a lot of interesting people and that certainly contributes to how we make music. We always want to stay consistent and to stay busy. All my favorite artists growing up were constantly putting out music and it is good to be one of those bands. We tour all the time and haven’t taken much time off in 7 years. It is a big world and there are lots of places to play and it keeps us really busy.

Jared: I really appreciate that. As a music fan, when a band always wants to be out on the road, be with their fans and constantly make music...that is when I see bands that are level with their audience. As a band, I can totally see how that sort of connection and communication can help you grow musically. There is something about really holding onto the individual.

Yea, I think we are one of the more acceptable bands around. It is just the four of us, We drive ourselves, we sell our own merch after the shows. We talk to people and sign stuff for them and while it is tiring to do that whole DIY approach, it is probably more fulfilling. We’ve been in situations before where people would sell our merch and schlep our gear and it felt weird.

Speaking of constantly touring, how do you channel your identity to the live stage. When you make eye contact with that fan or are warming up a room, what do you want people to feel?

surfer blood | lincoln hall, chicago | 6.17.17 | @thefaakehipster

surfer blood | lincoln hall, chicago | 6.17.17 | @thefaakehipster

That’s a good question. I guess, when you go to see a band and your favorite song plays and you feel that rush of energy. I want people to have a good time. We’ve played stuff from every one of our releases and we have a ton of material...over 40 songs now. I’m very proud of the fact that the albums are all different from each other. There are your 3 minute pop songs and your longer moody songs. Hopefully people get to have that feeling of hearing their favorite song. Also, maybe get exposed to some new stuff that they really haven’t listened to yet. Something old, something new.

Your lyrics where do you draw inspiration from and how ...You’ve experienced of some band members switching out, medical conditions, how does that affect you personally and help you grow as an individual and band?

For one, it builds character. Going through all this stuff gives you some really great perspective as a band. You are constantly playing these shows, you are tired. I think seeing everything that Thomas went through gives you an appreciation for being alive and doing whatever you want. Thomas came from a family of musicians and music was always something very sacred to him. That is something I always try to keep in mind all the time, even when I am tired and want to go home. Doing something like this is so precious, so fragile.

Jared: Does that appreciation and experiences channel through into your lyrics?

It does man. I never sit down and say I am going to write a song about this. A lot of times, when I am done writing a batch of songs, I’ve really figured out what is going on in my head. You know what I mean. It is hard to keep tabs on it sometimes. If anything, writing is quickest way to sort that all out. How could it not come through, you know.

The fact is people go through their lives and never reflect or think it’s necessary. I feel like it totally is. I’m a more sane person, I have a clear idea of where I am.

I always use funny metaphors to describe bands and artists i write about, what would you use?

A dog chasing its tail - pure joy, a bit goofy...I’m going to catch that tail. (He came out firing right away with that answer)

suggested listening experience: hanging in your backyard with your best buds // cruising down the highway with the windows down // getting your day started

listens: matter of time // floating vibes // demon dance // prom song // frozen // anchorage // six flag in F or G // swim

sb // spotify // fb // twitter // ig // sc

interview stuff: FUTURE GENERATIONS

reppin: bronx, usa // frenchkiss records // 2015 - present

sounds like: it’s 2 in the morning, storm outside and you are walking home with a big smile on your face, loving life

future generations | photo cred: Nico Schinco

future generations | photo cred: Nico Schinco

last album drop: self titled (july 2016)

featuring: eddie // mike // eric // devon // dylan

These 5 dudes that are Future Generations are about to be shot out of a canon. Hailing from that big city they call new york, they are already an album deep and hungry to make you smile with their tunes. What started as eddie, mike and eric jamming out in the basement of college housing has evolved into a project that hopes to shape the world of indie pop.

There is something to be said about the balance of a band, the origins of its members and how they divide and conquer. After releasing their self-titled debut about a year ago, they quickly understood that playing to their strengths, even outside of making the music, was key to become kings of the road and gain the fans they know are out there. A successful SXSW this past March combined with hitting cities all over the country have positioned them well for future success.

More than that, talking to these guys made me realize that it isn’t just about the logistics and “getting bigger.” They want to connect with their audience, give them a reason to feel something and have them come out on top after listening to them. They are about to hit the road for a mini-tour this summer (link), with the first stop being in good ol’ Chicago. I caught them on the phone the other week to chat about the journey so far, what they want their fans to experience and the road ahead.

INTERVIEW STUFF

A few of you have been writing together for some time. What has the journey been like to land on your sound. What kind of different past experience, both in life and music, led you to here?

eddie: Earlier in our life, we did not know what kind of music we wanted to make. Basically we were creating music in the basement of our dorm spots and we had heavy influences form BadBadNotGood. We were playing a jazz foundation with hip hop beats and integrating Eric’s guitar in there. We always tendency melody and catchy hooks so we kind of gravitated towards that and when we started releasing music, people started liking those songs more. We started listening to more indie pop music so naturally we started wanting to make music like that. It has never been a conscious decision for us, but more what we naturally do in making what we like.

me: Do you find that kind of drives the music more, with the passion for that music you truly love?

future generations | photo cred: Nico Schinco

future generations | photo cred: Nico Schinco

dylan: Yea, of course. I think what is good about us, is that we can really grab influence from anything and we try to integrate that into our songs. It just always kind of always end up sounding like our band. I think the great thing about playing indie pop is that it is versatile. We’re lucky we can do these multiple different things.

mike: The early days and what we drew even comes down to what we have access to. When Eddie, Mike and Eric were writing these songs in the basement, we only had access to certain things, especially the instruments they were playing. "Stars," for example, is a very heartfelt, kind of big ideas song, but it was written in a capacity that was limited.

devon: I think the challenge that was achieved and overcome was being able to arrange this really interesting indie pop song over heartfelt lyrics. If we had gone to a music school or something, I think a few of our songs could have come out different. When we were recording the album, as a bass player, the song "coast," that lower bass synth was going to be the only bass part. I come from more of a punk, more of a rock background. Let’s put in some bass that is more throbbing eight notes. That is just the way, we are always willing to add new stuff, especially on the new record. It is like writing a song sophomore year and seeing what it sounds like senior year. You can even go back and listen to the demos and you can really hear the progression. Even our new songs, we saw a ton of punk bands at SXSW, and that got us in a tempo to play those types of songs.

me: A few weeks ago I saw a great punk show at the new House of Vans and I got on this crazy punk tear after it...I have a very in the moment kind of way how I like to consume my music, so I get it. There is a certain relationship beyond just the music..being at the show, belonging and such.

devon: There is something about seeing punk live, that infectious energy. Always involving the crowd. As we go forward and try to cultivate a fan base, that kind of community and having people being able to relate, almost on a scene level, is something we want to achieve.

Lyrics are a big deal to me. What do you want people to feel and experience when they listen to you all sing?

eddie: For me, I write all the lyrics and it is the last thing I usually do for the song. The music typically informs the lyrics, pretty much every time. I hope when people listen to our music, they kind of get the same feeling I have when I was writing the lyrics. Relationships, recognizing a moment or exploring who you are as a person...that is kind of what the themes and vibes are of the album. This latest song, “one more problem,” is about a relationship and recognizing the feelings of someone else during a breakup. When I listen to music, I interpret how it means to me and I want our fans to feel the same way. I think that is way more important to me. That doesn’t mean the lyrics are specific to my life, but I do leave them vague.

future generations | photo cred: Nico Schinco

future generations | photo cred: Nico Schinco

The road so far...how does that play as you move forward? What recent experiences have been ah-ha moments, maybe there have been some awesome fan interactions that have kept you pushing. What is all about for you? How do you grow as a band?

eddie: I think we have plenty of time to grow, we are constantly trying to do more. We are constantly trying to more, whether it is playing shows, being on the road, writing new music...music is pretty much everything we do, we all live together. When we play these shows, we are influenced by the other bands playing with us and you get to see people you would have never met before. It makes you kind of just want to go back and write more music and prove yourself and play more shows.

I unfortunately missed you with Savior Adore back in November...however the Cubs were in the playoffs so I have my reasons. When I see you play in a few weeks, what is your live show like. When you make eye contact with someone, what do you want them to know?

We have a vibe on stage that definitely connects with people, but seeing all these other shows just makes us want to get better and better. We are always trying to find that thing that is going to surprise the audience. We just want to get on stage and have as much fun as everyone else is. It is a two way street because we think people are going to like, but we like and we have doing it.

I always use funny metaphors to describe bands and artists i write about, what would you use?

Future Generations music is like when you’re at a party and you go to the backyard to roast a J and you notice a group of guys in a deep discussion and you go over to join them and realize that they are talking about why one restaurant doesn’t have a Michellen star. I have no idea what that means but…

I think our song, “thunder in the city” is exactly how people listen to our music. That song is about walking home at 2 in the morning, it is about to rain, it is summertime. You just feel good about yourself and life in general. There is like a storm all around you, but you are just walking through it with a smile on your face.

me: Hell yea guys, stoked to see you all when you come in and looking forward to seeing what else you guys can accomplish along the way.

suggested listening experience: cruising through your city on a summer day // staying home on a rainy day // when you are looking for a smile

listens: stars // grace // one more problem // coast // you've got me flush // thunder in the city

fg // spotify // fb // twitter // sc // ig

interview stuff: L.A. WITCH

reppin: la, usa // suicide squeeze records // 2013 - present

sounds like: according to them (and Holy Wave): "we are a spider eating other baby spiders in a cave deep in the forest and there is a motorcycle driving off in the distance"

l.a. witch | schubas, chicago | 5.10.17 | @thefaakehipster

l.a. witch | schubas, chicago | 5.10.17 | @thefaakehipster

next album drop: L.A. Witch (debut out September 8th) PRE-ORDER HERE

featuring: sade // irita // ellie

Think about your week so far...how many instances have you had where you just wanted to say “fuck off” or you needed a moment to just shake off the anger, the stress and the typical bullshit of daily life. I dig tunes that can speak to certain aspects of life. The rad, rocker chicks that are Sade, Irita and Ellie have tunes for you so you can chew up and spit out whatever it is that you can’t shake off. This beautiful kick in the throat that spills from their amps and drums is a blender of garage and psychedelic rock with a sprinkle of punk and reverb. They will throw you back to the 60s and will literally make you think of dark, deep witches.

l.a. witch | schubas, chicago | 5.10.17 | @thefaakehipster

l.a. witch | schubas, chicago | 5.10.17 | @thefaakehipster

What began as a few friends meeting in high school turned into a band around 2013 and blossomed into something special. As we got to kick it on a rainy, early summer night, I could notice the calm over them as well as the chemistry that has built them into road warriors. They really have been a tight knit group for some years now and are ready to make some noise with their new record, which you can pre-order HERE. Hailing from LA, it is hard for bands to stand out above the crowd, but these ladies are quickly rising above the clutter. While stuff can happen quick and fast, I don’t detect any sort of fear in these ones.

After we sat down for the interview we got to kick it through the night with their good friends, Holy Wave, and the fun carried over. Beers, shots, perhaps a special delivery of greenery complements of my brother went down and it was the perfect lead up to their set. They don’t need to talk much as they take the dimly lit stage. They move through each song swiftly and you can tell they are focused on one another, in the zone if you will. When they go into their solos, you literally can just lay back and not give a shit since the instruments take you to this dream like state. The riffs are powerful and the vocals are deep, dark and delightful. As the set rolls through the crowd engagement picks up and the feels settle amongst the venue. You need to catch these kids live.

As for the interview, check out how they discovered their sound, why they write the lyrics they do and how they try to channel that into their live show. I should note that things started off on a great note before I even got to ask a questions we talked about the past few weeks...a few quotes:

“She just ate an edible the other day and that killed her.”

“In Austin we took some acid and it was like really strong. We were told, take 2 of these and be careful...it’s been a pretty fun tour so far.”

INTERVIEW STUFF

Simply put, your music takes me to a “i don’t give a fuck” space...everyone needs a i don't give a fuck moment everyday. Is that something you try to do with your sound. What do you want to get out of that fan listening to you?

Sade: We want our fans to feel inspired and take whatever they want and can from our songs. If they want to interpret songs to cater to their needs, then that is what we want. It is for everyone to listen to.It is always really cool to hear people say they started bands because they saw us or we make them want to pick up an instrument again or work harder at one. Even the people who do not plan on playing music. If you can find a connection that makes you stronger, then that is cool.

Let’s talk lyrics. They are super relatable and really left open ended, like sometimes, what the fuck are you talking about? “Save me from myself” is something that sticks out...Are there any moments as a band or before you became a band that led to this theme and foundation?

Sade: I mean, wait, I forgot the question (laughs)

It all happens way more spontaneous. We don’t really plan it out, you know. We’ll come together, maybe bring a piece of a song or lyric to the table and we’ll all sit and work on it...then it forms into something. For this upcoming album, it wasn’t really anything that was planned. There was no song on there that was, wait, this is going to be atheme. It was all very naturally put together, what we were building as we went through and wrote. In the future that may not exactly be how it is, the lyrics may be more complex. For what we have right now, we have that whatever happens kind of vibe.

That same “fuck you” idea...your tracks give me a sense of relatability. How do you channel that into your live show? What is going thru your mind as you are making eye contact with that one human out there?

l.a. witch | schubas, chicago | 5.10.17 | @thefaakehipster

l.a. witch | schubas, chicago | 5.10.17 | @thefaakehipster

Ellie: As a drummer...I just want them to feel like they are on the same page as us...raw emotion.

Sade: Yea I agree with ...I want them to feel what we feel as much as possible. We don’t exactly focus too much on the audience, it is not like we are ignoring them, but by connecting with each other on stage, we are being as honest as we can as a band. Even if that means we have to feel like we are in our own little bubble, that is for the fans. It is really scary to perform and throw yourself out there, so we are still learning to work with the audience and see what different ways we can connect with them.

I always use funny metaphors to describe bands and artists i write about, what would you use?

We are a spider eating other baby spiders in a cave deep in the forest and there is a motorcycle driving off in the distance

suggested listening experience: twist, smoke and chill // road tripping // on the ride home after a long day

listens: kill my baby tonight // untitled // get lost // heart of darkness // haunting

lw // spotify // fb // twitter // sc // ig

interview stuff: FLAGSHIP

reppin: charlotte, nc // bright antenna records // 2011 - present

sounds like: a big wide, classic black umbrella in a storm, helping you get through it and keeping you dry

flagship | damen l stop | chicago, il |@thefaakehipster

flagship | damen l stop | chicago, il |@thefaakehipster

last album drop: the electric man (march 2017)

featuring: drake // michael

flagship | subterranean, chicago | 5.3.17 | @thefaakehipster

flagship | subterranean, chicago | 5.3.17 | @thefaakehipster

When the lights get bright behind Flagship and those crisp guitar intros kicks in followed by those delicious vocals, your ears really give you no choice but to see where they take you. Hailing from the East Coast that is Charlotte, the duo of Drake and Michael have been at it for quite some time and it is really starting to make sense for them. “You always have about a decade of work before things really make sense,” according to them. That night, I learned that not only can these dudes and their bandmates put on a stellar show, their humility is forever in tact and their hunger to have an impact is even greater. In what could not be more Wicker Park, I scooted behind Subterranean to have a chat with the duo under the L.

Personally, the new record, “the electric man,” is a mixture of a sense of comfort combined with the reminder that there is darkness that still exists. It allows me to go to this state of mind where there is vast imagination, a place where you can kind of run wild. Michael backed that up when explaining how they landed on this sound: “I’ve actually spent the last few years finding comfort in a dark vibe and realizing that life has a lot of negativity. Then, I can finding comfort in understanding that. That may have something to do with our creation of our recent music and is certainly what is going on in my mind. The vibe between the two has done wonders too. “We have definitely moved closer together over the years, as far as making music. What we tried to do on this album is trying to accept the negative realities of life, but also trying to be hopeful,” Drake added. You can immediately recognize the connection between music and life that these two hold close to their hearts. Isn’t that what makes music so special. Michael likened it to accepting the bad in life. “You spend your time growing up and trying to change the bad, but you eventually realize that the pain is part of you and growing up, it makes you,” he explains. “The quicker you realize that, the quicker you accept yourself.” Too many of us get caught up in trying to turn every little bit of bad into good, and sometimes, you just have to let the bad be part of your makeup. Music is a great parallel to remind us all that everyone goes through shit all the time. “Acceptance of things you can’t control is finding peace with yourself. Finding comfort in the darkness,” as Michael beautifully puts it.

flagship | subterranean, chicago | 5.3.17 | @thefaakehipster

flagship | subterranean, chicago | 5.3.17 | @thefaakehipster

These dudes bring a few buddies on tour to play with them, but one thing is apparent as they play live: there is a personal connection the band is trying to create with audience members. The live set is so important to them. As Drake states, “If I’m asking a question or making a statement, I am trying to use body language to mimic that and create a conversation. I think that is what we are trying to achieve.” Part of that comes from the notion that his writing is very much drawn from personal experiences. “Anyone can take those lyrics and apply it themselves and maybe not even pickup on what I am talking about at all.” Michael has a very unique approach to taking his creations to the live stage, “I like trying to get people to the place where I was in when we were recording. Playing that live and using that thought to push to the audience, maybe trying to get them feel that same rise and fall.” That is how you dig beneath the surface and truly connect with fans in my opinion.

So what is next? Currently, they are touring with indie rockers In the Valley Below and will be hitting Chicago on July 18th at The Empty Bottle. Whatever city you are in, swing by for an incredible and personable show with dudes who just want to kick it with you after.   

suggested listening experience: walking through a storm // unwinding after a long day // holding someone close

listens: the ladder // midnight // life underwater // waste them all // mexican jackpot // are you calling // faded

flagship // spotify // fb // twitter // ig

interview stuff: K.I.D

reppin: ontario, canada // columbia // 2014 - present

sounds like: according to bobby and kara - we’re the soundtrack to a 90s teen movie crossed with the soundtrack to some artistic German pornography...with a spaghetti stain on it

k.i.d | 2016

k.i.d | 2016

last album drop: poster child EP (march 2017)

featuring: kara // bobby

k.i.d | lincoln hall, chicago | 4.27.17 | @thefaakehipster

k.i.d | lincoln hall, chicago | 4.27.17 | @thefaakehipster

The two they call K.I.D, Booby and Kara, landed in Chicago on a late April day at Lincoln Hall to open for Allie X in what one would dub as a straight up pop show. But, K.I.D, much like actual human kids, are complex in nature, yet so simple from the outside. That is entirely accurate when you dive into the sound, identity and philosophy of why these two make the music they do. As Bobby put it, “Simplicity is something we definitely strive for. Contrary to what people think, it is hard to make something simple enough for everyone to like it, but at the same time make it unique. For us, our message is pretty different than most pop artist.” A pop band that could be alternative, yet is not writing about all the cushy things in life like loving oneself and being super positive all the time. “Most of those artists are preaching about loving yourself and being brave, inspire, connect to their audience. Hey look, I have all my shit together.” But is that really the reality that we all live in? Music is not only supposed to inspire, but be truthful to ourselves. “Our message is more like: we all hate ourselves on some level and let's spin that into the most accessible pop melody possible. The lyrics are about a hooker stealing all your money and wanting to kill yourself, you know the usual.”  So while not all of us can relate to hookers stealing our money, we all have bullshit that we need to face.

K.I.D began organically a few years back, drawing inspiration from random objects like plastic bags, watching Judge Judy and good old masturbation. When things started becoming real for them as a band, it was time to do what made sense for them, not emulate what worked for other bands...especially since no roadmap had been written. “Everyone’s path is different and at the end of the day you just have to try and get music heard by as many people as possible,” Bobby stated. The uniqueness of this path is parallel to the vibes they want to send fans. “I hope we get to fall into a category where we can just connect with kids, make them feel less alone and you know, we get emotionally invested into our fans.” To me, that sounds like a few kids playing music that just wanting to relate to the kids watching them.

k.i.d | lincoln hall, chicago | 4.27.17 | @thefaakehipster

k.i.d | lincoln hall, chicago | 4.27.17 | @thefaakehipster

Those catching them live can expect a bit of the different, but all around engaging show that they put on. Bobby simply describes it as, “we’re telling a story with the live show.” Behind them plays an animated story featuring remote controls, lazy-boys and eggs frying in the pan..again, the simple things in life (and yes, even moisturizer next to tissue paper). It is so refreshing to listen to lyrics in the pop world that aren’t about the same shit over and over. Bobby perfectly describes it, “we are speaking to this unglamorous, introverted, anxious state that a lot of people at least in my life are finding themselves in. Giving people something to connect to besides going to a party or being in love.” All in all you get these upbeat feels that make you want to dance around and smile, yet you are hooked into the overall message of what they are feeding you. “We take all these mundane objects and associate it with a super, unspectacular life and we try and put them in a more fantastical, pop, bright sort of show.”

While working with legendary manager, Merck Mercuriadis of Hipgnosis Music, they’ve carved most of their own path to get here. As Bobby so eloquently puts it, “you can’t be complacent or else you’ll be rubbing your taint at home for 4 months. We had to become the architects of our own tours.” The super exciting chunk of all of this, yet probably the most painful for them, is all the material they are sitting on. There is only one thing to do, “so we are just going to tour and tour and build the audience and once we are in the position to put out material quickly.” I’d look out for these kids to punch you all in the face with more pop tunes that just are not really pop tunes.

suggested listening experience: party time // cruising in your ride on a summer day // motivation to get shit done

listens: boy // taker // i wish i was your cigarette // i cannot sleep at night // errors

k.i.d // spotify // fb // twitter // ig // sc

interview stuff: METHYL ETHEL

reppin: perth, australia // 4AD/Dot Dash/Remote Control Records // 2013 - present

sounds like: taking the "Magic School Bus" with Ms. Frizzle out into the vast depths of Earth's atmosphere

lastest album drop: everything is forgotten (march, 2017)

featuring: jake // thom // chris

methyl ethel | photo cred: issuemagazine.com

methyl ethel | photo cred: issuemagazine.com

WARNING: Before your eyes and ears are on this, put your shades on, maybe twist one up, take your mind to 1963 and get ready for a magical journey that can only be compared to the one “The Dude” takes. What they are saying is true, normal is the new weird. Weird opens the mind, makes us more flexible and accepting of different weird. Weird is beautiful and this music that Methyl Ethel creates is nothing short of beauty. A balance of pop and psychedelic rock that can catch the ear of a human that despises psychedelic shenanigans. How does that make sense?!

These kids truly are blessed musicians filled with individualism and uniqueness that shines through each track they produce...and there are a lot of them. Having put their stamp in their hometown of Perth, they are just the latest example of awesome “band x” killing it in music. Like for cereal, Australia’s scene is amazing right now whether it is punk rock, indie or something a bit more experimental.

Last month I caught singer and guitarist, Jake Webb, on the cellular as they were in the vast grasslands of Iowa en route to Minneapolis before rocking out the Empty Bottle here in Chicago. Just from the sheer bliss of their sound, I knew there was a deeper meaning behind how they create these songs. Well, I sure as heck found out what it was all about. Feel free to read to yourself in an Australian accent.

Interview Stuff

Love the little drips of pop and psychedelic in your sound. Where does the sound originate from and what did you combine from that 50s/60s era to make it your own?

So the jumping off there. I just draw from whatever I sort of listen to as well as my musical knowledge. There is never a really a choice to reference anything. I mean what goes are kinda like what I’m feeling in the moment and what is around me and what I enjoy.

methyl ethel | the empty bottle, chicago | 4.13.17 | @thefaakehipster

methyl ethel | the empty bottle, chicago | 4.13.17 | @thefaakehipster

Me: I like to try and at least put the reader in this bucket of the type of music it is going to be, but I understand that is not the basis for how you are writing and trying to sound. If anything, your sound is super original.

Hey, thanks. You know I find it very fun to record and write music. It’s kinda this back and forth of subconsciously referencing things that are around me and that I’m going through. Okay I could that, that sounds nice.

Me: You seem like you have a great grasp of organized chaos of how to write a song. Is this a slow build or does it come out all at once?

It is just feel. The songwriting and recording go hand in hand a lot more lately. I’m more inspired these days by trying to pull melodies and incorporate progressions from other vast types of sounds rather than just sort of sitting down and just writing. So when I sit down I am not writing with this harmonic structure in mind. I think that is where the chaos is being organized. It is more inspiring to me to create music like that rather than just writing and sitting down.

How do you channel your sound into the live show? What is going through your mind as you are looking into the audience..what do you want them to experience? (Note: They were in the middle and still are of a pretty large scale worldwide tour)

I think at the moment our show, we kinda toured all of last year as well. Then the album came out and we had a bit of time off in the winter period. With this new record, we’ve added another member and flushed it out. As it stands, it is kinda of taster for what is to come in the future. When we leave the states I think we’ll flush the show out a bit more. We got a bit of everything from all the areas of each member. There is a lot more that we’d like to do. We are constantly tweaking the show, I could get into the nuts and bolts and technically aspect of it, but that would get boring. We definitely have this idea of delivering the record in a 3D way. I think we have been quite successful in bringing the sums of this new record to life, I’m really happy with it.

Me: I haven’t seen you all live yet, but just kinda trying to envision your record coming to life, I can see how maybe you can perk the ears of the common individual who may not know what you are all about.

methyl ethel | the empty bottle, chicago | 4.13.17 | @thefaakehipster

methyl ethel | the empty bottle, chicago | 4.13.17 | @thefaakehipster

The parameters that we work with as well are always changing. We play bigger venues in Australia, smaller ones in the states and mixed ones in Europe. I don’t want to have three different shows and have to dial back when we play smaller ones. The same show in Chicago should be the same show that we play in Sydney. It is about not getting too ahead of ourselves and being patient. We don’t want to move too quickly

It seems like there has been just year after year of pushing out some solid records? How do you all grow as a band as you are constantly writing music? Are there moment that stand out where you thought, yes, this is the next step?

Well for me it is the only the constant, is making more music. It makes me feel better about having an album out there and knowing I have a follow up on the way. So, at the same time, whenever I am, whether in the back of a van or at home, being able to work on music constantly keeps me sane. Who knows how many records I’ll make either so strike while the iron is hot. I’m still loving it so why not.

methyl ethel | the empty bottle, chicago | 4.13.17 | @thefaakehipster

methyl ethel | the empty bottle, chicago | 4.13.17 | @thefaakehipster

I think a lot of people work real hard to get to where they are. I think the work justifies the opportunity you have and it just balances out.

Lets talk about your lyrics. Who writes, where do they drive from and how do you want your fans to take it in?

They definitely supposed to be interpreted. I suppose they are just based off of personal things and relationship based as those are great sources for inspiration. But then at the same time I am trying to spend more time constructing in writing and with the lyrics. I think my first record was more stream of conscious writing. I’m working on more of a cerebral approach and I think there are definitely things that I have put in there, but at the same time they are very open and are supposed to read in multiple ways.

Me: I love when lyrics are interpreted openly. It makes me think about songs I loved in high school and how those tracks have a totally different meaning now than they did in the past.

Yea, I mean we kind of live in world that is so clearly defined. We can find out everything and so much detail. So, to be able to leave some mystery in things, it’s kind of nice given the context.

I always use funny metaphors to describe bands and artists i write about, what would you use?

That’s a tough question (laughs). Well...I don’t know, I’m going to have a think about it. There are definitely some physical places I can see it taking people to, but I think I should have another listen to the record and get back to you. I haven’t actually listened to it in quite some time.

Side note: So - I was not able to connect with Jake at the show, but as you can see I did some deep thinking. Jake, there is still time to think of one!

suggested listening experience: getting through the day at work // sunny saturday afternoon around the house // twist one up and relax

listens: ubu // no. 28 // twilight driving // idee fixe // rouges // l'heure des sorcieres // drink wine

me // spotfiy // fb // twitter // sc // ig

interview stuff: MAE

M.A.E. // Multi-sensory Aesthetic Experience

reppin: norfolk, va, usa // 2002 - 2011, 2013 - present

sounds like: the idea that you are living now, in the future and in the past, all at the same time...powerful stuff

mae | bottom lounge, chicago | 3.7.17 | @thefaakehipster

mae | bottom lounge, chicago | 3.7.17 | @thefaakehipster

latest album drop: (M)orning (A)fternoon (E)vening...remixed. remasted. re-imagined. (2017)

featuring: dave elkins // zach gehring // jacob marshall

So much like Mr. Chad Valley, my phone pooped out on me so I am recalling this interview from my spotty memory cells that are my brain. However, I was able to sit down with the founding members, Dave // Jacob // Zach for an incredible conversation. Little did they know that I have been a fan since day 1 pretty much as well as how they helped me through some heavy shit (literally) back in the day.

mae | bottom lounge, chicago | 3.7.17 | @thefaakehipster

mae | bottom lounge, chicago | 3.7.17 | @thefaakehipster

To begin this story we must go back to my high school days where we were all lost little souls without a purpose in life. My attire had quickly changed from preppy to punk/emo from middle school and all the sudden I was putting my hair into a fo-hawk and wearing chick jeans (side note: I still wear tight jeans but they are of the mens variety). I was diagnosed with Crohn's disease when I was 5 years old and have been fairly lucky to be in remission most of life without too many effects aside from losing a few inches, yea, this Jew could've hit 6 foot. In the middle of soccer season, at 16 years old, I suddenly could not make it through the day without holding my food in. We quickly found out that my disease had kicked in. As the weeks went by in the hospital, I could not get out of bed, had a pick-line run to my arteries next to my heart that fed me nutrients and lost over 30 pounds. I felt weak and helpless having not really remembered how sick I was when I was diagnosed. They tried so many drugs and steroids on me it only fucked with my system more. Before they found a new drug that actually started to work (mind you this exact drug caused more complications about 5 years later), there were two things that kept me going. My mom, dad and brother were always by my side the entire 3 1/2 weeks I was in the hospital. I also had a fat case of CDs (yes, no mp3s yet) and one album I listened to everyday. It made me smile despite the situation and gave me hope. Destination: Beautiful by MAE.

mae | bottom lounge, chicago | 3.7.17 | @thefaakehipster

mae | bottom lounge, chicago | 3.7.17 | @thefaakehipster

Whether you are listening to one of their albums or seeing them live, the blend of Dave's voice mixed with their soft and poppy, yet almost delusional sound is one of a kind. When we first sat down to chat, we talked about the 3D dimension of Mae. This whole idea of Multi-sensory Aesthetic Experience is meant to expand beyond just the sound, the lyrics and what you are hearing. Close your eyes and take yourself to the experience that you are feeling at that moment and you'll be surprised of the memories that pop into your head or even the vision you may have of the future. There really is something special that clicks when these dudes come together to make music. When these guys play live, it really perks your ears and brings you to a special place. They have done plenty in the live show including 3D glasses, crazy visuals and more, but at the core is this beautiful music that make you want to grab hold of someone close. 

mae | bottom lounge, chicago | 3.7.17 | @thefaakehipster

mae | bottom lounge, chicago | 3.7.17 | @thefaakehipster

Speaking of memories and stories, we spent some time talking about their experience with fans and how the music touched them. I was truly moved whether it was an individual struggling with cancer or someone finding the courage to come out as gay. It just goes to show that those stories have kept these guys going for almost 20 years with a break here and there. When Dave was talking about the lyrics he puts on paper, they are always about his personal experiences, be it struggles or triumphs. He has been amazed to see how those lyrics are interpreted by fans over the years. Even more so, that "The Everglow" song means something completely different now than it did when it first came out. If a band can have an impact on even just a handful of people like that, then that is something special.

Mae has left a lasting impression on their very loyal following and the guys could not be more thrilled to be apart of that story. Sitting down and chatting about their journey makes you think about both the big important goals in your own life as well as satisfying the little things. Music is a funny thing sometimes. It brings up all these different emotions, but at the end of the day, we all want to smile, feel happy and make those around us feel the same. 

suggested listening experience: cruising in your car with the windows and sunroof open // a sunny weekend day with your friend and the grill going // alone, in your apartment dancing around (pants optional)

interview stuff: CHAD VALLEY

gig: subterranean // 3.2.17 // chicago

reppin: oxford, UK // 2010 - present

sounds like: hugo’s words - 'my music is like the kid in the corner of the high school house party"

hugo | outside subterranean | 3.2.17 | @thefaakehipster

hugo | outside subterranean | 3.2.17 | @thefaakehipster

latest album drop: Entirely New Blue (2015)

featuring: hugo manuel

So bummer news because my phone crapped out and died on me the other week I lost a few interviews, Mr. Hugo’s included. Nonetheless I have a mind like a steel trap (that’s a lie, my memory is a spotty as can be), but now it time to improvise. I bring you a combination of an interview, concert review sprinkled with some funny filler.

Hugo has been doing his thing with Chad (and prior with Jonquil) for almost 7 years, leaving room for some experiences, both good and bad, that have impacted him. He told me he recalls getting on the road with his CV bandmates and not planning a single thing in advance...that came back to bite them in the most furious way. Broken down van, miscommunication, the works. Knowing how to be a good band involves knowing all the logistics of touring. Hugo has also had to adapt to collaborating with others on stage and in the studio. Writing all your own music can put you in the “my way or no way” kind of zone, so that has certainly opened himself up as a musician.

hugo | outside subterranean | 3.2.17 | @thefaakehipster

hugo | outside subterranean | 3.2.17 | @thefaakehipster

Hugo had some killer insight about his lyrics, which don’t necessarily tell a story, but is more of a hodge-podge of sentences (as he describes). He wants his fans to be able to put their own meaning and interpretation to his lyrics, as that is part of the beauty of writing. Take your meaning and run with it. When it comes to the live set, this dude can bring it. For one guy, he puts a ton of passion and energy out there and it is well received. He moves through his tracks so fluidly, with a few funny cracks in between, but you can immediately feel it and get to dancing. As the fog machine bellows from below, it meshes so well with the lights and then Hugo’s luscious vocals hit you…,game over. He was very clear in saying while he certainly wants that connection with audience, it comes from the energy they give back...a little give and take if you will. Once that is established, that is when he finds his zone.

hugo | outside subterranean | 3.2.17 | @thefaakehipster

hugo | outside subterranean | 3.2.17 | @thefaakehipster

It is not something we think about all that much, but how do you want to be remembered? Most of us probably do not give it a thought because we are preoccupied with surviving and making it to the next day. When you are constantly in front of humans that you want to please, you may have a different take. Hugo, one of the nicest dudes I have sat down with, say he just wants to be that guy you can sit and have a beer with at the end of the day. At the end of the day, don’t we all need someone we can just shoot the shit with over a beer?

suggested listening experience: on the way home after a very long day at work // bubble bath // pre dance floor warm up routine

interview stuff: THE JEZABELS

reppin: sydney, australia // dine alone records & MGM // 2007 - present

sounds like: ever seen The Neverending Story? It is like taking a magical journey through the clouds with Falcor the Luckdragon

last album drop: synthia (feb, 2016)

featuring: nik kaloper // sam lockwood // hayley mary // heather shannon

the jezabels | double door, chicago | 11.23.16 | @thefaakehipster

the jezabels | double door, chicago | 11.23.16 | @thefaakehipster

Take a moment and think about the tracks you threw in your earbuds today or on your speaker system while you were getting ready. Did you play that song just because? Did you play it because there is a special meaning behind it? Or were you just stoked to hear that new track? On the surface music is so simple and euphoric, but you come across that band who brings you their tunes in such a more complex, yet more beautiful way. Then the lyrics kick in and you don’t just sing along to them, you find meaning behind them. And finally, you get to go see them live, in the flesh and watch as they play those tunes. The Jezabels are more than just music you hear...listen closer and take a dive into the story, interview and performance...

What started as 4 separate journeys back in 2007 has blossomed into one of the more consistent and ever evolving bands in Australia these days. Hailing from Sydney, these 4 musicians played around with their talent and musical desires through three successive EPs before they really started to rattle some emotions on a larger scale. “she’s so hard,” the second of the three, hit college kids hearts with a bang, which led to the dark, daring and beautiful “dark storm” EP. They began hitting the road for long periods of time across Australia and then grew to support some very well known acts across their homeland and the UK. Take yourself on an adventure through those EPs into their more recent albums. You’ll notice how their sound evolves and becomes multi-dimensional...and it is totally backed by 11 Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) nominations and acclaimed reviews. Their first 3 full lengths debuted in the top 5 of the Australian music charts. And most recently, some rave reviews of the stimulating album, Synthia.

So this brings me to the moment you see these kids live, and more so with that latest album. Cynthia offers you this uplifting sound with these deep and darker lyrics that you would think contradict one another. The soothing intro of “stand & deliver,” the dark meaning of “smile” and i don’t give a fuck “pleasure drive.” Then you finally arrive at their finale of “stamina,” pulling and pushing you to a wide spectrum of dreaming and reality. Like their record, the live performance is more play than talk and more emotion than head banging. We all have our own stories and our personal mission of how we want to make it through life. But, listen closely, someone else’s story may intertwine with yours and when you can share that together live, well, that is an experience.

the jezabels | double door, chicago | 11.23.16 | @thefaakehipster

the jezabels | double door, chicago | 11.23.16 | @thefaakehipster

interview stuff

Tap into this journey of you all finding each other’s musical desires and blending it into one through these 9 years

Hayley: It is challenging to come together and write a new album...Synthia took 2-6 months, which is pretty fast by our standards. I think I’ve gotten better at it, at becoming one. We have very different taste and at the start our sound was chaotic and destructive, which provided a ton of energy and over time we’ve kind of learned where we can sit these different paths, which makes the music flow a lot better. Working with people creatively is non-sexual when the music is actually sex...an initial stage where you don

Sam: Naturally when you work together with people for ages you kind of become similar. You can’t really see it from a distance. We are like four conjoined people now

Heather: People glorify the whole the collaboration thing, you don’t need to be best friends, we need to be able to challenge one another.

The balance of your strong percussion, beautiful melodies and vocals throughout your albums are so vastly different from the stories you tell...tell us more about the sad behind the uplifting? What can kids going through the ups and downs of life learn from this?

Heather: I think this is something we try to do consciously

the jezabels | photo cred: twitter.com

the jezabels | photo cred: twitter.com

Hayley: Some of my favorite music is actually one dimensional, but it is kind of an old school thing now. I don’t think people today are able to accept one dimensional truths so there is always a contradiction in your circumstance...privileged westerners today are living in a golden age and have great resources and are sort of undermined by a constant guilt of what else is going on around the world. Things are always happening simultaneously...we can’t be isolated with the information age. I can’t see a moment that is purely sad or happy, it is all interconnected...to make a song or painting that is truthful is very difficult...nothing is original and that is fine, but it is how you tell the same stories and what you combine them with.

Sam: I see between music and vocals trying to sabotage any earnestness..it is like a natural censorship on our part

Tell me more about the meaning behind the name, most notably the biblical character, Jezebel, an issue that is so prominent these days. How do you see your band, voice fitting into the discussion and what positive vibe are you pushing?

Sam: With the age of the internet, the trolls, it is like a snake eating its own tail and it is really hard to engage of it, it the sense of just standing up for anything. We are in an unprecedented age where it is pretty bad. The foundation is crumbling when people tear you down when you are trying to stand up for something you believe in.

Hayley: This is a strange thing to say at this time, but it's funny because it feels like we’ve been going on about this for ages and for awhile it was waving in a dark corner...and now it is really kind of coming to forefront and agrees it is important. It is strangely glorifying because now it is in the mainstream because of Trump being elected. He is a symptom of the problem and now I don’t want to say there is optimism, but it is relevant and maybe can spawn something….it reminds me of vegetarian, I’m not hurting you, I’m not telling you to do anything, the fear of losing privilege. We’ve been coming to America the last few years and no one ever talked about politics and now everyone is!

Heather: There is a new program in Australia that helps domestic violence victims and it is interesting to see how people react online and when men immediately think they are the victim...it’s a strange time.

the jezabels | double door, chicago | 11.23.16 | @thefaakehipster

the jezabels | double door, chicago | 11.23.16 | @thefaakehipster

I really do feel like I’m taking this journey through Synthia...even just closing your eyes and imagining your own world is so doable, what was the goal of Synthia as far as communicating and connecting with your fans...as well as making new ones?

Hayley: I think it comes back to the contradictions...if you make things ambiguous enough the listener can make their own meaning of it.

Sam: You seem to be in the smaller crowd when you are trying to tell a story or make something that isn’t a drug based escapism. I think our producer is a good visionary when it comes to listener experience. He likes things to repeat a lot and build slowly.

You’ve expressed how much you love performing live, and how you miss it when you are not. What do you see in your audience, fan’s eyes that motivate you to keep doing this?

Hayley: This guy Gary who was almost 70 and came almost 300 miles to see us in Minneapolis and was so happy and stoked to be there...you could be my Grandpa, that’s amazing...it’s also a bit of an ego stroke as well, but we are always on the phone, computer and when we write a song, someone can tell us that that song helped them get over the fear of bridges that is amazing...it is the surprise factor when you go to a city so far away from where you could ever be

Sam: The human connection is a big drug from me...when we are at the merch table and you see everyone thanking you, being so nice.

Tell me about this transition and evolution of yourselves and people and musicians between the albums Prisoners and The Brink. What did you learn about yourselves and the world around you?

Hayley: When we first got together we just knocked a few songs around and it sounds good to you  and we are having fun and not really sure what we are trying to achieve...not really realizing what is sounds like at the beginning. Then people start telling you what you should do and where you are going and what you sound like, then it is confusing and then you start writing music with all that in your head. Then it comes out the other side and you are like, no, fuck that. It takes awhile to go through that process. You go into form and look at songs and trying to make songs, and while some say that is the wrong intentions to write an album, but that is where we were at. Now, it is less of that youthful drive burst to write whatever and more considered. Coming out of that this new burst of energy brought so many more skills. Synthia was really beneficial of the process of writing

Heather: I mean you are always searching for what it is you want to do. You don't want to say too much though, you kind of want to outline

the jezabels | double door, chicago | 11.23.16 | @thefaakehipster

the jezabels | double door, chicago | 11.23.16 | @thefaakehipster

Sam: It is amazing how much you learn every time you write an album. First album - let's do what we can, second album - let’s what all that we can, and the last one was lets just try and do something. Looking back you can see the different things you wanted to achieve at that point. Almost subconscious

Words for those who don’t look for new music and the musician counterparts who are trying to find them?

Hayley: I don’t search for music, I’m exposed to it. My childhood, my parents played, meet some friend sand they play that. It is all experiential...but that is what is hard these days, there is so much to take in during this day and age, I don’t know what to listen to. Also, your local scene, I always try and listen to bands from Sydney...radio stations don’t tastemake anymore...people want familiarity and safety and that’s why they go to the radio, they don't want to be surprised. Certainly quite apt where today’s physci, the fear of the unfamiliar.

Heather: I’m going to find some weird obscure band from Iceland but now everything trends and it all really doesn’t sound unique to me. Mitsky is a Japanese born artist who is living in NYC who mixes this familiar sound with a different story and maybe that is a way to flip the script.

Sam: Just see bands live...I come across bands at festivals and such and yea, they are sweet. Radio just doesn’t do it for me. It is the last way to feel that connection, it is direct.

Finally, I use funny metaphors, or at least try, to describe band's sound...what should I use for you?

Everyone: Once a blog in Australia did a review if the bands using gifs and ours was from The Neverending Story, when the kid is riding that magical dog (laughs), Falcor. But instead, there is an old man on the dog flying around! (more laughs)

 

suggested listening experience: those nights it gets dark early and you need some tunes to get you through the rest of the day // getting cozy with that significant other // motivation for that next project

listens: stand & deliver // smile // pleasure drive // the brink // endless summer // easy to love // a little piece // hurt me // dark storm

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