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

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)

interview stuff

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 

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: TEI SHI

reppin: nyc via vancouver / bogota, colombia / buenos aires, argentina // downtown records // 2013 - present

sounds like: according to Tei Shi - a mood ring

last album drop: crawl space (march 2017)

featuring: valerie

When music is #1 in your life, you chase that no matter what the obstacles are, what anyone tells you or sometimes no matter what you tell yourself. Plus, when you have a voice that can tickle ones spine when heard. Her range layered harmonies, sometimes sounding like futuristic pop, sometimes synthy and other times delicate melodies, pairs so well in all the right ways. Because she pushes the boundary of pop through her brain to your headphones, you get these soothing transportive tracks that sound beautiful. Valerie loves pulling inspiration from all stops in her life and it certainly showed as she put out track after track, all different from the last.

Through the past few years, she has performed live, bringing her music to life on stage, laid down guest vocals on “Holiest” by Glass Animals and put out an EP, “Verde.” Not only did tracks like “Basically” break the mold, but visually her art and videos show she wants to bring you deeper into her world. “Crawl Space” was released this past spring and her sensual and vibrant approach to pop can be heard. Tei Shi was kind enough to share some of her thoughts to her musical makeup, song writing process and how she puts everything into her live show.

Make sure to catch her at Schubas in Chicago this Saturday

tei shi | photo cred: JJ Medina

tei shi | photo cred: JJ Medina

interview stuff

Think about that first moment you knew you wanted to make music...what was that like, what kind of music did you want to make?

I didn't necessarily have a moment when I decided I wanted to make music. It was a life-long dream and desire that changed and evolved over time, and it still is changing and evolving. I never really had a clear goal or intention of what kind of music I wanted to make, I just started trying different things and eventually arrived at something I thought was good enough to release. In a general sense though, I always knew I wanted to make music that drew from the vast influences I've grown up listening to and that wouldn't sound too much like anything else out there. Something beautiful and experimental but still accessible in a pop sense.

What experiences have you had since then that have allowed you to grow and evolve into the artist you are today?

Just experiencing putting music out there and how that forces you to take yourself a little more seriously, as well as playing live. I've learned a lot by having the opportunity to make music my full time activity now for some time, which has allowed me to really spend every moment thinking about it, soaking in inspiration and figuring out what I want to do next and re-approaching things in different ways. Touring has also taught me a lot and influenced the way I want my music to make people feel.

Tell me about your songwriting process...how do the melodies you make (or those you collaborate with) combat the lyrics your write. What do you want people to feel when listening to your lyrics?

They go quite hand in hand. Usually songs start with a melody and then the lyrics flow pretty naturally after that, and sometimes it's the other way around and I write the lyrics more in poetry form and then attach a melody to them. When it comes to melodies and lyrics I write all of those completely myself and it has to be a pretty isolated process. The collaboration comes once the production and instrumentation are starting to develop. Lyrically I guess what I want people to feel varies from song to song. I'd like for people to have moments that are relatable and hit close to home, but I keep my lyrics vague enough that they can speak to different things or have layers. I'd like them to be interpreted differently by people.

What is the mission of your live show? What do you hope fans can walk away with after seeing you perform?

The aim of the live show really is to bring the album to life. So the show stays pretty true to the recordings and it gets pretty close to the way the record sounds, in my opinion. But there is also more room for spontaneity and improvisational moments. I have a full live band I play with, so there is a real live energy versus the show just being a regurgitation of the album based totally on tracks or anything like that. And there's a big focus on the vocal performance so I think that's one of the main things people respond to, it's a pretty vocally challenging set.

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 Tei Shi with a metaphor, what would it be?

A mood ring

suggested listening experience: taking a bubble bath // late night chill dance party // getting horizontal after work

listens: keep running // how far // say you do // bassically // sickasfuck // go slow

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: 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: 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 CHAIN GANG OF 1974

reppin: la, usa // modern art records

featuring: Kamtin Karimi Mohager

latest singles: “slow” (see below) and “i still wonder”

albums: Wayward Fire (2011) // Daydream Forever (2014)

kam mohager | backstage, Riviera, chicago | 1.31.17 | @thefaakehipster

kam mohager | backstage, Riviera, chicago | 1.31.17 | @thefaakehipster

A beautiful mixture of 80s synth and reverb rock makes for pure bliss in the ears. I had previously posted on TCGO1974 in August and I’m back with an interview. Kam and his squad have been out supporting AFI on tour...here is my chat with the awesome human:

It’s been awhile since the last full album, makes me think you’ve been hard at work finding the next album’s identity...what has impacted you as far as growth as an individual?

Kam: I like this question cause though Chain Gang was pretty inactive for a few years, me as a writer, I have never been more busy in my life creating music. There was the birth of Teenage Wrist, which started just gaining buzz and momentum without us really doing anything. That was really cool. Towards the end of the Daydream cycle my distaste for CG in general was very strong due to my relationship with Warner Bros and I just couldn't really make music the way I wanted to make it. I found myself writing a lot of songs that were heavier and more guitar driven, as you can see through Teenage Wrist with Marshall, Anthony and Scott. I started focusing on external writing and the first taste of that was with my collaboration with Dillon Francis. That was my first time doing anything like that and landed my first single for a major label release...shit i may be good at this. I’m enjoying myself.

tcgo1974 | 11.6.16 | Riviera Theatre, Chicago | @thefaakehipster

tcgo1974 | 11.6.16 | Riviera Theatre, Chicago | @thefaakehipster

I was able to then book a lot of sessions through my team and work with a bunch of different artists. That helped shaped my writing skills in a better way cause it allowed me to look at pop music differently. Wow, this is a smart way of writing music and I can take what I’m learning and apply it with what I want to do next with CG. Fast forward a few sessions later, I scored some good cuts with Dillon, Luna Shadows, 3OH3, Grace Mitchell…Then I came to this point where I wanted to make the new record and I wasn’t really afraid of pop anymore. There is a way to write something poppy, catchy and hooky but I has always masked it with something in the past. Those 2 ½ years of being able to focus on different things allowed me to become a better writer for this project. (CAPS??)

Moving onto words....i get a lot of reflection, “remember when” sort of vibe from your lyrics...what do hope your fans take away from your stories?

K: Chain Gang is lyrical content and put this band in a certain type of thing. It is more darker side, bare human emotions, but sometimes people don’t wanna listen to that shit. Wayward Fire and Daydream Forever were both written about the same person...you know, shitty ex girlfriends. This time around I was in a happier place and moved on from the past relationship and found myself in a new complicated love stuff. I didn’t want to focus on just that and made me want to touch on some more general human aspects...addiction, heartbreak, breaking off with the label. There are some songs that lyrically sound positive and some that are kinda a bummer, BUT MUSICALLY IT COMES FROM A MUCH HAPPIER AND BRIGHTER PLACE

Kinda in the same sense of injecting feels into your fans, what do you want them to experience during your live set?

K: My live show is always aggressive, more rock. There was always a difference between listening to the record and seeing us live. With this new stuff, how can we reflect our sounds as a full band? So instead of program drums, the new songs have been live drum recorded. The live show, if there is that moment to feed from the crowd, that takes me to the next level. I grew up a punk rock kid and being able to jump around and mosh around is what I want kids to experience.

It is a weird time in music...while there is plenty of “new genres” evolving sound and great artists, there is also a ton of bullshit. What positive message do you hope to send in the midst of all of this?

tcgo1974 | the empty bottle | 6.11.14 | @thefaakehipster

tcgo1974 | the empty bottle | 6.11.14 | @thefaakehipster

K: I think there will always be crap out there and people will always view it differently. I don’t know if CG will ever be a household name...I mean I’ve been around and put records out. It is hard when you do something for so long, you really want to see the reward. But I mean, shit, I am at the Riviera in Chicago right now. Will CG be that band that sells out Empty Bottle, headlines the Riviera? At this point, I’m still currently teaching myself to not ask these questions. You just have to do it. I have so many different extensions of my creativity. I can’t always throw all my energy and everything I have into CG or else you just get mentally and physically drained. Just go out and do as much as possible. As a creative person, I’m getting to that point I have this urge to just be creative in other ways. I’’m going to do a lot of exploring when I get home, play around with some ideas and SEE WHAT SPARKS THAT YOUTHFUL FEELING AGAIN.

I don’t know what the public wants...media and society tells you what to like. Maybe those people don’t have much of a grasp of a personality and kind of fall for it. I do like this, but in fact they don’t even know what they like. It kinda goes back to the first part of the question, you just have to go out and do what you believe, be honest and smart about it.

I always use funny metaphors to describe bands and artists i write about, your post: that moment when you bite into the juiciest, most delicious piece of fruit followed by the liquid goodness down your throat...your turn

K: Mannnnnn I can’t give an answer only because I knew when I started this project 10 years ago. First song I released in December of 2006 on MYSPACE. It has evolved and that was my desire and purpose with this project; never to release the same thing twice. And granted, yes, the band kinda found its world and grew within that, but it was this big bubble of everything. There were moments when I wanted to be BRMC, trying to be LCD, Daft Punk, Talking Heads….THIS BUBBLE WAS KINDA BOUNCING BACK AND FORTH, BACK AND FORTH AND THEN ANOTHER LITTLE BUBBLE POPPED OUT...oh wait, that’s the metaphor!!

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