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

Dance Punk Aussie Shredders DZ Deathrays

reppin: brisbane, australia // i oh you records // 2008 - present

dz deathrays | photo cred: themusic.com.au

dz deathrays | photo cred: themusic.com.au

sounds like: a can of beer after you shake it up and are just about to open it

last album drop: bloody lovely (feb 2018)

featuring: shane // simon

Classify these guys as you will, but one thing is certain, they can fucking rock. DZ Deathrays comes by way of Australia, like most of the good stuff these days, and they meet in the middle of rock, punk, metal and dance. Yes, dance. There tunes crawl inside you like an adrenaline rush and the only way to let it take you over is to really dance. The rhythm and pace of their music really does set it up for a dance party. I had the pleasure of catching these dudes at Schubas a few summers ago for one of there very few America stints.

Shane and Simon have been shredding riffs together for the past 10 years and have given us humans a few EPs and LPs in the process. In the land of Brisbane, they started as the band Velociraptor (sweet word), but quickly morphed into DZ Deathrays by playing house parties around town starting in 2008. It wasn’t long after, “Bloodstreams,” their first full length, was received crazy good and even racked in an AIRA. It is so freaking catchy. Your Dad will listen to it and wake up the next day with a mohawk and tight jeans (because we all know we want our dads to do just that). Since then they have been touring legends, hitting over 15 countries on this tiny green and blue marble, playing countless festivals and bringing raging fun times to hundreds of thousands of fans.

I know it was a Monday when they played the tiny Chicago venue and there wasn’t a huge turnout, but the dudes did not disappoint. It doesn’t matter how many people are in the room when they play, they rock out and rock out hard.

Just a short month ago (because February is 28 days, why? Someone tell me), they released their latest full length, Bloody Lovely. The sounds spans a few decades of rock, with easy to move to music and singing ready choruses. I’d start with the opening track banger, “Shred For Summer,” which has shades of Led Zeppelin and you can immediately get a sense for how impactful and easy on the ears the vocals are. The whole album is pretty high octane, but you can also slow it down with “Over It.” Enjoy the little chat I got to have with Shane and Simon!

dz deathrays | schubas, chicago | 7.18.16 | @thefaakehipster

dz deathrays | schubas, chicago | 7.18.16 | @thefaakehipster

 

interview stuff

How did the journey start for y'all and how did you all learn to work together and land on your sound?

We started as a 3 piece but our drummer shortly left to move overseas so I moved onto drums and Shane and I kept the band as a 2 piece and changed the name. Initially we just wanted to play at our friends house parties but eventually we started getting offers for club shows and it just kinda went from there.

 

When you look at your lives and the story you want to tell, how do you want new fans to approach and interpret your lyrics?

dz deathrays | schubas, chicago | 7.18.16 | @thefaakehipster

dz deathrays | schubas, chicago | 7.18.16 | @thefaakehipster

Shane doesn't really class himself as an in depth lyricist and that most of the songs come from personal experiences and or stories his read. He just wants people to take away what they want.

 

Talk to me about songwriting...how does an idea birth and in what ways to you run with it to create a track?

We've kinda changed the technique a bit over the years as we live in different cities now. However usually one of us will have a riff or maybe a beat and then we just email it back and forth adding to it from our homes. Once we have a few demo's near completion we'll all try to get a house or rehearsal room somewhere and then try play the songs as a band and see where it takes us.

 

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

We want everyone to just lose all inhibitions and just have a fun wild night.  We try to make it feel like one big party where almost anything goes and hope that everyone leaves with smile and fun story to tell their friends.

 

I often love using humorous metaphors to describe artist and band's identity and sound. What is DZ's metaphor?

I guess its more of a moto, but we always say: "Set the bar low and you'll always surpass it."

 

suggested listening experience: rocking out on the weekends // party time central // outdoor summer hangs

listens: shred for summer // total meltdown // dollar chills // pollyanna // like people // blood on my leather // feeling good, feeling great // less out of sync

dzd // spotify // fb // twitter // sc // ig

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 

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: PEARL EARL

reppin: denton, tx // dreamy life records // 2014 - present

sounds like: in stef's words - when two praying mantises meet and do a dance and they fall in love and then make sweet mantis love then the female eats the other one’s head off and then she has a baby (check out the bottom of the story for more good ones)

pearl earl | empty bottle, chicago | 7.2.17 | @thefaakehipster

pearl earl | empty bottle, chicago | 7.2.17 | @thefaakehipster

last album drop:  pearl earl (july 2017)

featuring: ariel // stefanie // bailey // chelsey

pearl earl | empty bottle, chicago | 7.2.17 | @thefaakehipster

pearl earl | empty bottle, chicago | 7.2.17 | @thefaakehipster

Something about summer nights and finding new music makes my mouth water, the hairs stand-up on my arms and my ears start begging me for some good sounds. It is nights like these that I seek inspiration, a feel good kind of story that answers the calls of expanding my mind and focusing in on what matters in life. Well, these four nice, sweet an bad-ass chicks delivered in just that way. Hailing from Denton TX, which I can only imagine as a hot summer spot with lots of good food, cowboy hats and denim, they have musically grown from within as well as taking in from the scene around them.

bailey of pearl earl | empty bottle, chicago | 7.2.17 | @thefaakehipster

bailey of pearl earl | empty bottle, chicago | 7.2.17 | @thefaakehipster

What I love about these ladies is that their music is parallel to the journey and goals they have as a band. Their sound blends the psychedelic feel from the 70s, garage rock from today and classic rock from way back when. The mysterious slice of exploration puts my my into an imaginative and open kind of space. I also can focus in on the bouncy sort of sound that reminds me that life can be fun and easy if you let it. Much like that psychedelic vibe, their free spirited nature has allowed them to find one another as their musical careers have moved forward. Then, there is the more focused idea that fun and love is so visible in their music. Something I can only allude to their music minds being flexible in nature, allowing them to let these different types of sounds blend. They each bring a bit of past to the picture, a favorite style of music that makes them a rare group.  

I happened to come across the girls that are Pearl Earl on the Jukely app as they were rolling through town this past July at the Empty Bottle on a chill Sunday night. I am telling you, the mixture of furious vocals, guitars mixed with that good old rock n' roll is something to pay attention to. Sitting down with these goofy girls, as fireworks were going off all over the city, we chatted about their adventure as Pearl Earl, what is to come and what they truly want out of being a band. I could immediately since the comfort they bestowed upon the venue as well as opening up to me, a complete stranger. Check out what makes these ones rev up their engine and go.

INTERVIEW STUFF

ariel of pearl earl | empty bottle, chicago | 7.2.17 | @thefaakehipster

ariel of pearl earl | empty bottle, chicago | 7.2.17 | @thefaakehipster

When did you all start as a band. How did you land on your sound, what happened in prior experiences that made you want to make this music?

Bailey: We started 3 years ago this August.

Ariel: I started the band back in the day, I was in the another group called Mink Coats and then I wanted to start Pearl Earl. Naturally just the kind of music I gravitate towards. After knowing Bailey, we just kind of played and learned more music together and I dunno, we are definitely influenced by more of the psychedelic sound. When we played together more and more and that’s what just sort of happened.

Stef: Bailey and I are def more into classic rock and Ariel is definitely more into psychedelic so I think that kind of meshes a current tone these days, while being centered around certain themes that were happening in Denton and Austin area. Certain rhythms were coming from more of a classic rock and prog driven area. The key parts kind of came in with a certain tone that bridges the generational gap of music.

Jared (Me): I personally like your music because you have one half of it that is just fun while the other half that is more in this clear mind kind of space, that lets your imagination run. It’s a really good balance

Bailey: You hit the nail on the head. We definitely try to split the fun and out there kind of vibe.

Alright, the lyrics. So usually I see lyrics being about something in specific, or something that wants to be interpreted. What is your style?

chelsey of pearl earl | empty bottle, chicago | 7.2.17 | @thefaakehipster

chelsey of pearl earl | empty bottle, chicago | 7.2.17 | @thefaakehipster

Ariel: So, I try to write really ambiguously for this project, but with hints at something that really does exist rather than not making it super personal. You know, I want it to be for everybody. I also kind of think of this as an experience as Pearl Earl. Also metaphorical. I try to be kind of witty with it...not take it too seriously, but I also have to remember there is going to be that serious, personal factor always there.

Me: I like interpreting lyrics, so thank you.

So what about the live show, what is your mission when you take the stage? What do you want to do in order to gain fans, what do you want them to experience?

Stef: We all have our own things

Me: Oh yea, hit me?

Ariel: She (Stef) has good eye contact and the running man down.

Stef: Yea, it is just constant movement with me. I can’t help it. Sometimes it is just hair in my face or other times I look up and try to make connect with someone. It may seem stupid, but its fun and engaging. I like to get engaged with them (bandmates). It can be very distracting and kind of almost a game. Sometimes when you get engaged with your bandmates, sometimes you just do it until someone fucks up, then you’re like alright, alright (laughs from everyone).

Ariel: We are all really into what one another is doing since we have our own way of interacting during the set.

chelsea of pearl earl | empty bottle, chicago | 7.2.17 | @thefaakehipster

chelsea of pearl earl | empty bottle, chicago | 7.2.17 | @thefaakehipster

Bailey: Honestly, all of our crowd engagement happens when we are not playing. We all disperse and talk to everyone and dance for the bands and hang out. Cause, if you do that, you have a fast friend and they’ll have you back.

Me: I like that, cause if you are not having fun on stage, then what is the point.

Ariel: You can tell if bands are disinterested and it sucks.

Chelsey: I don’t want to go see a sad, sappy band. I want energetic shit, something that will make me happy.

Stef: Not only does Chelsea do the keys, she does percussion as well. And she’ll tell you how different she is on stage.

Chelsey: Yeaaaa, I’m really quiet in person, but when I get on stage I am a different person, more wild. Last night, we played at an easy house show, there was no stage and I could walk out into the crowd. So if there is an opportunity where I can just walk into the crowd with a tambourine and get dancing and get hyped up. I’ll jump in there! Then everyone goes crazy. No one expects it (weird screams). I love it, easy access off the stage! One of the bands we traveled with was thinking we were trying to start pile-ons on stage and everything. Come on man, I can’t workout, so I am going to burn my calories on stage. The music is so energetic, there is no way you can be deadpanned.

stef of pearl earl | empty bottle, chicago | 7.2.17 | @thefaakehipster

stef of pearl earl | empty bottle, chicago | 7.2.17 | @thefaakehipster

Okay, finally, what is the metaphor for Pearl Earl?

Stef: It’s like, when two praying mantises meet and do a dance and they fall in love and then make sweet mantis love then the female eats the other one’s head off and then she has a baby.

Bailey: So actually, praying mantises have like 100 kids and they all fight until the death until there are four or something left.

Me: For real, this is true?

Bailey: Yea man, I’ve seen it, it’s nuts. (screams and cheers for fireworks)

Ariel: The one that I like that someone else said is we sound like the a scene from Fear and Loathing when all the lights change colors when you walk into the casino. And another one I liked, mystical wizard rock.

Stef: Rainbow fuzz power too!

suggested listening experience: mid-day pick me up // kicking it with with some friends // any kind of road trip

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: 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: MODERN VICES

reppin: chicago, usa // unsigned // 2013 - present

sounds like: crying to the Pet Sounds albums in a moldy basement but at the same time getting off to Joy Division

modern vices | posing at Beat Kitchen, Chicago | 4.12.17 | @thefaakehipster

modern vices | posing at Beat Kitchen, Chicago | 4.12.17 | @thefaakehipster

next album drop: fall 2017

featuring: alex // peter // thomas // miles // patrick

interview stuff

modern vices | Beat Kitchen, Chicago | 4.12.17 | @thefaakehipster

modern vices | Beat Kitchen, Chicago | 4.12.17 | @thefaakehipster

I swear to the music lords i have never dropped my jaw so low and perked my ears to attention that quickly. I stumbled upon Modern Vices as I scooted over to Subterranean to check out the magical fingers of Ron Gallo. These five baby faced dudes who couldn’t be older than their early 20s took the stage with their hair...lots of hair. As soon as they kick in that intro and Alex’s vocals fill the room like a helium tank making love to a balloon. Suddenly, you are intertwined in this romantic web of old school rock n’ roll with a touch of modern distortion. You’re enticed to grab onto the someone close to you and just soak it all in. These are those moments of going out there to discover new music when you know something special and different in brewing in your backyard.

modern vices | subterranean, chicago | 2.20.17 | @thefaakehipster

modern vices | subterranean, chicago | 2.20.17 | @thefaakehipster

What began as a some friends just hanging and jamming slowly morphed into the a new beginning of a magical journey. As Alex puts it, “so it all started when we all lived with each other for a year. We played two shows in our basement for friends and the following month we got signed.” While the special connection of writing tunes was there, it can still smack you in the face as a young dude with little clue. “It all happens so quickly, being a band and all.” But isn’t that part of the fun, riding a wave that is already a mammoth from the start. “At first we were just talking about how cool it would be to just get a record out, nothing more than that,” Peter describes. “The first time we came together for that album, it was kind of a beautiful accident. These were songs that Thomas and i wrote in high school. After that we didn’t know at the time, but we were def not on the same page. But we were younger, just making music.”

modern vices | Beat Kitchen, Chicago | 4.12.17 | @thefaakehipster

modern vices | Beat Kitchen, Chicago | 4.12.17 | @thefaakehipster

Their first self-titled album gave them an identity to start with though. As Alex puts it, “the first record we made definitely honed in on that 50s vibe and the sound, tone and everything really branched off from that pop noise of that era. But, it’s not something they want to engulf themselves with. “While we started with that and still have elements of that sound, but we don’t want to be this ‘doo-wop’ band. It is part of our style, but not all of it.” This beautiful sound, while still a work in progress, translates seamlessly onto the main stage. “We really aim for that kind of smooth, flowing set,” frontman Alex said. The guys did add a distinct note, “we’ve actually been working on creating a distinct live version of songs that are somewhat different than what we record. Adding like a section, jam or a transition to change it up. It Gives fans another reason to see us live.” And ain’t that the truth.

The beauty of gelling together that early is having the time to evolve. “We had to ask ourselves that kind of band we wanted to be,” Peter mentioned. That thought has evolved into reality as their next record is due out this fall. They have worked diligently to expand their identity beyond just that 50's rock persona. Alex has taken some time to perfect his writing as well. “The first album I definitely had some weird lyrics and my friends were like, what the fuck does this mean. But, at the core, they are emotionally driven songs. It is the same kind of writing for this upcoming record too with more maturity. A romantic journey of sorts with these guys. We’re all in it together. The songs are about what all of us are going through.” It is the calm before the storm as you’ll see these dudes playing Chicago here and there throughout the summer as they gear up for this next release. As to what to expect with their new tracks: “We’re crying to the Pet Sounds albums in a moldy basement but at the same time getting off to Joy Division.” Too unique to pass up kids..I think you’ll be hearing this band name much more as we roll into 2018.

modern vices | Beat Kitchen, Chicago | 4.12.17 | @thefaakehipster

modern vices | Beat Kitchen, Chicago | 4.12.17 | @thefaakehipster

suggested listening experience: after that long day prepping for a relaxing night // chill hang session with the friends // getting amped up for the night out

listens: smoke rings // (don't) hold me down // keep me under your arms // baby // cheap style // pleasure gun

mv // spotify // fb // twitter // ig // sc 

interview stuff: GANG OF YOUTHS

playing schubas in chicago, june 5th // north american tour dates

reppin: sydney // mosy/sony records // 2012 - present

sounds like: (David’s words) A highly unorganized game of baseball where Bruce Springsteen gets stabbed in the head with a fork by Martin Heidegger.

gang of youths | photo cred: maclay heriot

gang of youths | photo cred: maclay heriot

next album drop: “go farther in lightness” (august 18th 2017)

featuring: max // jung // david // joji // donnie

All music is special in some shape, way or form and part of that beauty is how that differs from person to person, band to band and genre to genre. One thing hold true at the core of that all: it makes you feel something. Happy or sad, good or bad, love or hate, music allows us to expand our emotions; go to a place of reflection or simply put a smile on our face when it is most needed. That moment when music relates to back to life unfolds has a feeling that in my mind is unmatched. Gang Of Youths does all those things for me. Over the span of one of their 6 minute songs I can get those feels, reflect back to certain moments in my life as well as dream of the future.

 Hailing from Sydney and currently residing in London, they have never stopped melting faces since their debut, The Positions, in 2013. The album opens with the 7+ minute “Vital Signs,” a slow and smooth build up that, like the title of the song, reaches out in search of your life line. As you move through such tracks as “Poison Drum,” “Radioface,” “Magnolia” and “Overpass,” you are told a different story, all of which move you up and down the bandwidth of emotion. Their follow up EP was Let Me Be Clear in 2016, which opens with the beautiful ballad that is “The Good Fight.” To me a song of almost giving up, but doing whatever you can to hang on. That brings us to the present moment as the boys embark on the US and are hitting some cities for the first time, including Chicago: june 5th @ schubas.

 There is a reason these dudes were my first ever post on Faake Hipster. A sound that spans the spectrum of rock n’ roll while carrying emotion on the shoulders. Short off coming back to London from Norway, take a dive into an humbling and enlightening chat. The laughs, the sadness and the good fucking times to come.

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interview stuff

The way you all blend rock n’ roll and sprinkle it with some pop and even some soul...to me it is powerful. Your music allows me to free my mind in a few different ways, especially those longer ballads. What is the process to make that sound your own?

gang of youths | mercury lounge, nyc | 6.9.16 | @thefaakehipster

gang of youths | mercury lounge, nyc | 6.9.16 | @thefaakehipster

It took a long long time of playing in bands and figuring out what works man. Shed through a lot of to get there man, figuring out the construct of songs. The central radio format is now is the one that typifies how songwriters write these days, confined to those structures. It's formula and nothing more. The idea that something can be too long is a fucking subjective, nonsensical idea as if there is a superior standard to how long a song can be. The notion you can limit the amount of enjoyment one individual derives from a piece of music and compartmentalize it into a 3 or 4 minute song, that is a pretentious thought. You can distill an entire array of creative thoughts and you must in order for it to be good, that is an awful paradigm that I just don’t subscribe to it. Rather I write songs that are as long as they need to be and use my gut instincts.I tend to feel it out now as I used to be finicky and meticulous and with The Position, I realized how absurd the idea of not letting songs couldn’t breathe.

me: The longer songs...it is almost lets the imagination run, and it’s something special

That’s exactly right man. I believe in that. I want the listener to subscribe to every moment in our music, every passage of lyricism, every section. I want them to associate that with a moment, a time in their life and have that relationship grow. That’s how my relationship Sonic Youth, Stage Nation. Every song has association to my life. The sounds, the lyrics, the guitars...they shaped me, they  got me thing. I am a real believer in having the audience in having the time and space to do that. Some songs are meant for that, some aren’t.

me: For me, growing up in the punk rock scene, you wanted those short burst of energy to fight that teenage angst.

Yea man, I was in a hardcore punk band growing up, playing bass. I was always part of that world. For me the ambition came when I realized punk rock was a way for me to shed tropes. To become the realization of what I wanted to be. Punk rock, like any other genre, has tropes of it within itself. Why am i limiting the It really doesn’t make a lot of sense. So i think the process is trying to unlock the moments of beauty in songs and let them sit for listeners. Not rush them and give them a nice well constructed melodic context. They aren’t crowded with too much other shit. I’m still figuring it out though, not sure if I am communicating ideas effectively.

me: Isn’t that kind of the beauty of this. Does it have to be communicated effectively, or does it just have to be put out there?

I dunno man, I’m struggling. I’m not sure if what the point of art is in this post-truth society. Everything has this dance-hall, trappy sound underneath it, then I really don’t to do it all the time. That make sense? That’s not the direct point of what I am trying to make, music is supposed to evolve, but sometimes I just think, what is the point.

gang of youths | the knitting factory, brooklyn | 6.12.16 | @thefaakehipster

gang of youths | the knitting factory, brooklyn | 6.12.16 | @thefaakehipster

me: Maybe this leads to something good...because of the climate, other bullshit happening in the world. Maybe we are in a time that will bring some positive resistance.

Yea, you know we can be the correction, can be the antithesis. But yea, that is kind of my process. I used to in this 10 step process and I don’t know anymore.

 

David, your past is really the only one out of all your band buds that I found out there. You have gone to hell and back (not a religious reference haha) as I’m sure all of you have had the good and bad happen over the years. How have these past experiences helped with you growing individually and as a band?

Hmmm, individually. Sometimes I honestly feel I’ve regressed. I don’t think I’m any different than I used to be, I just think I’ve greater resilience and greater degree of coping mechanisms that are healthier. I’m better equipped to manage...and mostly not married to a dying girl. She did pass away three months ago. That is something that is something I’m figuring out how to navigate. I didn’t really speak with her really at the end there.

me: Fuck, I’m really sorry to hear that. Was it that you were just trying to survive and stay san

gang of youths | mercury lounge, nyc | 6.9.16 | @thefaakehipster

gang of youths | mercury lounge, nyc | 6.9.16 | @thefaakehipster

Look, it had to be this way. I needed to not be in contact with her. It was important to me because I feel like I possibly deserved a chance to move forward. You know I was this faithful fucking husband for awhile and then your world comes crashing down and I was just in a place that I should not have been in.

me: Shit man, I didn’t mean to bring up such a bad time.

Naw man, it’s all good.

me: You know it makes me think about interviewing James Alex of Beach Slang and his lyric, “I need the struggle to feel alive.” It certainly takes time for all these things to make sense.

It’s actually starting to make sense now.I think if i had to really to sum up how I’ve changed and how I’ve grown, I’m not a fucking idiot when it comes to dealing with my shit anymore. I believe that I have more to say than I’m sad and my wife is dying. These moments though are certainly the catalyst for all the work. It’s not all shit stuff, sometimes there is good stuff out there.

 

Those experiences can translate into really beautiful lyrics, something I treasure when it comes to finding bands I like. How do you hope new fans take those words in an interpret them? What do you want that new kid to get out of it?

I want people to find the realist and most human thing to say because that is all I have to give them. It’s a trite thing to say, you know. I just want them to know that I really do care about my lyrics. For the most part I’m documenting what is going on in my head for future reference. I don’t want to die with my life unexamined, unexplored and unexpressed. I grew up in this environment where people were repressed for saying what they thought and they couldn’t express their true thoughts. It’s cookie-cutter and sub-labeled by culture. Be authentic about the anxiety, be authentic about the good shit too. I just want to say stuff in way that sounds pretty. There is this fucking bullshit attitude, especially in indie rock where it’s frowned upon to use this poetic bend in lyrics, which is not cool. It’s so fucking stupid...flared jeans, white sunglasses, Chuck Taylor bullshit man. It’s a way for the middle class to subordinate the working class who is aspiring for more. I really have a chip on my shoulder when I see all these white kids playing indie rock and taking up every leftist cause they can, without giving you shit about the left and what we working kids gave them. For me, my attitude towards making things sounds and appear beautiful is deeply related to this desire to be who I am, authentic.

me: You know part of why I do this, explore new music, is that I really think a lot of people out there have this place in them to relate to authentic lyrics, go beyond what is spoon-fed to them. It’s just more unexplored or hasn’t been tapped into yet.

gang of youths | the knitting factory, brooklyn | 6.12.16 | @thefaakehipster

gang of youths | the knitting factory, brooklyn | 6.12.16 | @thefaakehipster

Yea, there is a sense that we are being manipulated into dummying ourselves down through the lens of culture. We have sayings that...I dunno what I am trying to say, I am just a bit testy and frustrated by the state of it, especially indie rock. People are in this grand delusion that indie rock is going to make a comeback and I don’t believe it. I think that people with guitars have made enough of an ass of themselves to last 6 fucking millennia. I’ve said this in our press release for the new record...this is music that is meaningful and there to connect with people on a different level. We are putting effort into it, not just some apathetic bullshit, something with light. I mean look at Kendrick..Camp Cope, you heard of them, Jared. Aussie three piece band. They are 3 women from Melbourne and they make very enlightened, beautiful, DIY kind of music. Sorry about the rant by the way, I just flew in from Norway and am feeling extra honest.

me: Fuck yea, that’s what I want. Feed me the truth.

Find realist and human thing to think. Don’t want to die without exploring

 

So dude, this is more of a statement. I told you this when we met in Brooklyn around this time last year...I caught your live show at the Mercury Lounge and Knitting Factory. It is fun, emotional...I can feel the emotions coming out during songs and the stories in between. The way I felt after, I have never wanted to bang someone so bad...what do you hope new fans can get our of your set?

(David laughs super deep) I remember that! What I want to be on stage is an amplified version of how I feel in the inside. I just want to magnify my desire to connect with people in the audience and I really didn’t know how to until recently. I really don’t pick up on social cues to well, I go on long self-indulgent rants to keep people interested. Being on stage is my way of expressing a kind of camaraderie with the audience and deconstructing that bullshit fake relationship between artist and consumer. I want to try and reestablish some kind of intimacy with another human being through the music. That shit is fucking fun dude. That thought of me saying the lyric and seeing them all smile and feel signifiant on this simple, deplorable, horrible rock is the most beautiful thing to me. It’s such a simple gesture. To look at someone with a desire to make the humanity known to me. To me, in that moment, everyone has a place in my world.

me: Dude, this is why I go to 3-4 concerts a week

gang of youths | the knitting factory, brooklyn | 6.12.16 | @thefaakehipster

gang of youths | the knitting factory, brooklyn | 6.12.16 | @thefaakehipster

Fuck yea. Remember in the hardcore scene back in the day. You didn’t have this feeling of being accepted until you were in this moshpit. That was first experience I felt accepted.

 

Shameless advertising time! What’s ahead this summer upon the release of “Go Farther In Lightness” - due out August 18th in Australia, probably soon after in the US. You have 16 songs, interludes, what else do you want to tell the folks?

(Laughs). I think I’m just going to try and compartmentalize 2 years of dread, honesty, healing into 16 tracks. There is a lot philosophy in trying to convey the helpful messages I learned from my heroes. Also, I feel like the questions I am asking won’t be answered in this lifetime, but I convey my desire to attempt to get them answered. Furthermore my excitement and willingness to embrace such a short life is kind of what I want to do. I want to speak to the forgotten people. You know we have a great following in Australia, but not really elsewhere in the world yet. It kind of makes us the underdog and I love the story of the underdog. You know, living in this slighted morality, but haven’t realized their full potential yet.

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

A highly unorganized game of baseball where Bruce Springsteen gets stabbed in the head with a fork by Martin Heidegger. Then they descend into a bench clearing brawl and nobody wins. Blood, sweat, dicks and vaginas, tears and all of this stuff just thrown in there.

me: David, it has been a pleasure. I love your music, it channels my emotion and thank you for making it.

Dude, this is fucking great man, we can’t wait to come to Chicago and I’m so glad I got to do your interview.

 

suggested listening experience: going anywhere to somewhere // alone, in your apartment screaming the lyrics out // outdoor bbq on a sunny ass day

listens: atlas drowned // let me down easy // what can i do if the fire goes out // native tongue // the good fight // magnolia // radioface // poison drum // vital signs // restraint & release

goy // spotify // fb // twitter // sc // ig

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: BEACH SLANG

reppin: phili, usa // 2013 - present // polyvinyl

sounds like:  loud, sloppy hurricane // drunk and dirty church

latest album drop: a loud bash of teenage feelings (sept 2016)

featuring: james // ed // aurore // cully

james alex | beach slang | house of blues, chicago | 4.6.17

james alex | beach slang | house of blues, chicago | 4.6.17

When I first heard word that I was going to be able to sit down with a legend, the butterflies naturally float around there. But, I am a big boy, took a deep breath and soaked in the idea of not just chatting with James Alex, but being able to learn a thing or two from him. Hailing from a time when Jawbreaker and The Replacements were punk Gods (sorry buddy, you have a few years on me), he really took to heart the angst as a teenager, but the joy of being part of a scene that he could relate to. Being a weird reject can blossom one into a creative human and positive influence on others. Life lessons, right?


I tend to take an idea, a big thought and split it into two paths as it honestly keeps life very real and at least somewhat more simple. There are those who can take experiences and just not learn and repeat the same mistakes. There are those who take those same experiences and become a strong and better person for the world. Mr. Alex is the latter without a doubt. Throw in your headphones, switch it on over to Beach Slang and let me take you through a magical and eye opening conversation. A punk rocker, a father and what I came to learn, an overall awesome dude you just want to have a beer and shoot the shit with.


Interview Stuff

I love your gritty, raw rock sound...Alkaline, Jawbreaker..there is something about your sound that makes you more relatable and comfortable to listen to. How do you channel that into your live show? What is going through your mind as you are looking into the audience?

Right on man, The whole thing to me is just about that very connection. When we recorded this last record I remembered first saying to the engineer, “look man, I just want to make a live record.” I want that honesty with no divide. I dig that because the whole thing is this cyclical exchange of energy. It made me think about earlier on in life and it was always embarrassing to me when bands think they are Gods. I look at my fans as this idea of throwing energy back and forth at each other. I really believe our records are what we are. It’s that honesty that I want. It’s imperfect. We try to get everything in the 2nd or 3rd take because you can make everything so perfect now, it kind of massages all the soul out of it. If that goes, I think the whole thing that makes what Beach Slang does goes with it. We exist in that, we aren’t trying to be prodigy players. That is punk rock. There isn’t that crazy technical prowess, but the heart of it comes through.

The straightforward lyrics are legit..and a lot are about love. Specifically I love that little line in Bad Art & Weirdo Ideas, “too fucked up to love, too soft to hate.” What are you trying to tell your fans through these stories?

beach slang | house of blues, chicago | 4.6.17 | @thefaakehipster

beach slang | house of blues, chicago | 4.6.17 | @thefaakehipster

I think in the broadest brush stroke I could paint it in: This is life and it is happening. Bite into it and live it all the way. That know you are enough thing. So many people get hung up, and I’m guilty to, of getting caught up in their shortcomings and their failures. It’s more about these weirdo paths we have to take to get to where we want to go. I try to plant that idea of romance in the struggle. Be okay with that. Listen, I have written probably a million fucking terrible songs and there are 30 that may be okay. That’s cool. When I get to one of those, it makes me feel something, it means so much more. This isn’t trust fund rock n’ roll, I didn’t get handed it, I had to work for it. Sometimes you have to take a moment and sort of stop and think about it in broader terms for something like this to really work.

Me: Yes, yes yes. What you do in music is what I go through at work. I’ve fucked up so many times.

I remember when I was first growing up and picking up a guitar, there is this Bouncing Souls lyric: “you are not at the bottom, you are at the beginning.” And that line is just is always stuck around in my head when it does feel like gloom is knocking away the light. I don’t why, maybe it was because I was at that age where it just made sense.

Me: Hey man, I got my lyric tattooed to me soooo (laughs)

It cut in right when I was getting turned on and figuring stuff out. It really has a permanent mark on me.

beach slang | house of blues, chicago | 4.6.17 | @thefaakehipster

beach slang | house of blues, chicago | 4.6.17 | @thefaakehipster

You’ve been around the block playing music, touring, being the leader of the wolf pack, etc, etc...music is about experience to me. What’s the best one, or at least one of the tops you’ve had?

Man, I don’t know, the individual occurrence I am not really sure. To what I just alluded to, the acceptance and appreciation of persistence. I’m into that. Even when stuff starts to fall into place, I’m still looking for the grain to grind against. Quoting myself is so stupid, “I need the struggle to feel alive.” If I buy a place on easy street I’m not going to know how to do it. I kinda need that thing to sort of grind against. What I have found in small successes and big failures, navigating the waters of rock n’ roll….really loving the idea of the struggle of it all. Dig the idea of persistence. Not get beat by things. Even the way I can write now, I couldn’t do it before, my bones were too brittle, I didn’t have the guts, the provado cause I was hit then with mean critics...I would have shattered. My spine is kinda steeled up now, still in a soft way. I read this interview with Joe Strummer once...and this is fucking Joe Strummer off the Clash, and he understood that not everyone is going to dig something and that’s cool. It’s just not for you. In just him saying that, which is so common sense, but until you hear it and digest it..it really means something. Like okay, go find out what turns you on.

Me: Maybe I steered you somewhere else that will help you be happy.

Right on, I’m looking at the bigger picture and trying to chuck happiness at people. And if it is not through our band maybe you just dislike this so much, I am challenging you to write better than that. Now maybe the thing that lights you up is that you started a band or a book and I happened to be a catalyst in getting you there. I really dig the idea of that.

Me: Yea, I’ve probably done that same thing to numerous girls (laughs laughs laughs)

What has the rotating members you’ve had taught you about Beach Slang and where you want to go as a band?

beach slang | house of blues, chicago | 4.6.17 | @thefaakehipster

beach slang | house of blues, chicago | 4.6.17 | @thefaakehipster

That’s a great question. It has been a bouncy kinda thing. I am a pretty self-contained unit in terms of writing. I don’t think we’ll ever have that issue. I think what is painting for us is the idea of getting it right on two levels. For me, getting it right as a band and as musicians, that is absolutely necessary for what we are doing professionally. The bigger thing for me is, you know aside from singing in a band, is being a great human being. I really want to try to be some force of good in the world. The lineup changes almost have more to do with getting chemistry right,. We march across the country and there are 5 of us including Charlie (tour manager), she is just as much in it. I dig how we are represented on stage...I think we have been getting that right from the beginning. But off stage, that’s equally as important to me, if not more. I think we are finding our footing a little better. Look, everyone who has played and been part of this, I root for them in what they are chasing now, but I gotta say, it has never felt more right.

beach slang | house of blues, chicago | 4.6.17 | @thefaakehipster

beach slang | house of blues, chicago | 4.6.17 | @thefaakehipster

Me: That’s good, that does not happen unless you go through the shit before

It’s like a lot of life, you are learning in two ways. You see one thing that is aspirational and then you see the other stuff and you’re like, now I know not to do that. And Slang being a rock n’ roll band is no different. We’ve fucked up plenty. We keep marching on with no animosity. I want everyone to be friends.

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

I’ve described it as a loud, sloppy hurricane. It’s drunk and dirty church. Look man, I came up with The Replacements being my favorite band. There is an importance to plugging in, turning up and going. Whenever I do radio shows or acoustic performances. Would you want to record that again you feel happy with that. Well, I messed up, but no. I just want it to be honest and real. In that imperfection, it goes back to what we were first talking about man, the connection. We see each other as humans. When I was a kid and getting turned on to Yes...I’m never going to be able to play 3 keyboards at once! (laughs). It was relatable to me. But then I saw The Ramones and I played along to the records. Then there was an immediate gratification and it was just so relatable. People have come up to me and said watching Beach Slang...I can do that. And I’m like, fuck yea, that is what I want, that was me when I was coming up. All of the sudden music became attainable.

Me: As a music fan...I always go back to that moment when I discovered that band, even when I listen to them. To me, that is as relatable in life as it gets.

That relatability has really paid dividends to me. Really too, while playing music keeps the lights on at home, I’m just a fan of rock n’ roll. I’m jazzed most of the time when we go on tour with that band you never heard of and I’m like, I think I just found my new favorite band.

suggested listening experience: at the gym letting off some steam // rocking out with your friends on a saturday // finding clam and comfort when shit is not right

interview stuff: DUDE YORK

reppin: seattle, wa // 2009 - present // sub pop records

sounds like: karaoke with your friends....(see last question)

dude york | cobra lounge, chicago | 4.1.17 | @thefaakehipster

dude york | cobra lounge, chicago | 4.1.17 | @thefaakehipster

latest album drop: sincerely (feb, 2017)

featuring: andrew (drums) // claire (bass) // peter (guitar)

The other month I had the treat of sitting down with punk rock trio, Dude York, straight out of Seattle and signed to the legendary Sub-Pop records. Having been rocking out for nearly 10 years at this point, their latest release, Sincerely, is a bouncy rock record that spans the spectrum of the genre. The simple approach, powerful riffs and comfy sound really allow you to reach in and use their tracks as your own motivation. Life sucks sometimes, but there is no way to avoid that. Suck that shit up, roll up your sleeves and prove to yourself that you can handle it. We have our family, our friends and the ability to look within and bring out our highest potential. Music is powerful.

Interview Stuff

The new record punches you in the face with just about every sliver of rock one can think of...was it a matter of channeling your inner rock or trying to appeal to more of the masses? I really don’t hear a lot of records like this, that span the range like y’all and it kind of gives everyone something to like.

Andrew: That is really cool, thanks man.

dude york | cobra lounge, chicago | 4.1.17 | @thefaakehipster

dude york | cobra lounge, chicago | 4.1.17 | @thefaakehipster

Claire: I think from a genre standpoint, it was pretty natural to us. We weren’t exactly going for what you are saying in particular, but it definitely was all of us coming together on this different sounds of rock. It wasn’t on purpose. We got into the studio and we're just trying to write and this is the path we went down.

Peter: I def want to reiterate that, We’re not really interested in any genres, it’s about the songs. There is definitely some intentionally and adventure to it.

Jared (Me): You come together and write and this is what you pooped out kinda.

P: I mean yea, there is a bit more intentionality than that, but pretty much.

J: I did not mean to compare pooping to the writing your record, I’m just weird like that. Experiencing one another and vibing together has gotten you to this point.

P: (Laughs). I am glad you cleared up. The human chemistry element has definitely has dictated the sound more than it is the preferences of the members in the band and what we like.

I really appreciate the attention to detail with you lyrics and focus on what this record means to you, what it’s about. What do you want your fans to get out of it regarding the lyrics, the story?

P: It is a record that is predominately focused on grief, circumventing our recovery conundrum. I think in order to that you have to start by building your own triumphs and simulating that  into experiencing victory in the real world. Plan it out and build it for yourself. A lot of these songs kinda channel that, at least the ones I’m singing on.

C: I did write the songs I sing on and it was my first time singing with Dude York, but I like to leave my lyrics open to interpretation more. I think that is a cool thing to push. As time goes on in my life that song can have a different meaning to me and even someone else. You know we all go through changes so I feel like my writing should mimic that to an extent.

dude york | cobra lounge, chicago | 4.1.17 | @thefaakehipster

dude york | cobra lounge, chicago | 4.1.17 | @thefaakehipster

A: They kinda covered everything. I really like the fact that songs have the ability to get interpreted in so many different ways. What you necessarily bring to the table is not exactly what is taken away. And then you talk to people what they hear in songs and sometimes you get to go, holy shit, I never thought about it that way, but that is amazing.

dude york | cobra lounge, chicago | 4.1.17 | @thefaakehipster

dude york | cobra lounge, chicago | 4.1.17 | @thefaakehipster

C: Sometimes it is even just misheard lyrics are fun too...yea that would have been great!

A: Misheard lyrics are awesome (laughs)

J: (laughs - I always laugh) I always appreciate when musicians leave lyrics open to interpretation and I can’t tell you how many times I’ll listen to a song 10 years later and it will mean something completely different to me. Sometimes those feels constantly change through those 10 years as well.

A: This will make me sounds weird, but speaking of those bands from back in the day, Elvis Costello though, I probably took the most from in high school. Really intense records I did not really understand at the moment for me in Idaho, in the middle of nowhere not having a clue when I was 16 years old. It really wasn’t until later on in life that I finally got it. And it is mostly just a record about alcoholism, but still good and fun and meaner.  

I can feel that story not only in the lyrics, but the vocals, the angst, power and even kinda fear to extent...how do you translate that into a live set?

P: Hmmm, recognition and validation. That is how we do it. We build something that hopefully recognizes the audience some way so that they can feel it and also validates it for them.

A: High energy, good catharsis, keep it simple.

C: Ehhh medium simple.

dude york | cobra lounge, chicago | 4.1.17 | @thefaakehipster

dude york | cobra lounge, chicago | 4.1.17 | @thefaakehipster

A: As a fan, if you are going to see bands play, those bands have their time to do whatever they want on stage. But I think it is kind of on you to give as much as you can to that fan. We try to give a lot, even if it’s not all the lights and other things that make a show. We will gladly take any lighting fixtures for shows by the way. It is about giving as much as humanly possible and almost trying to force the fan to pay attention.

P: And have fun

J: Hey, that is exactly what I wanted tonight, to get away from real life.

A: Living the “Real World Wicker Park” huh?

J: Yea, it is a tough life out there

A: Especially after you see a ton of bands play and stuff. You are there wanting to keep pushing the shows further and further

P: I worked my favorite venue in Seattle and you’d see the different types of bands perform. You realize the spectrum and what they bring. Sometimes all you need are a few things, less is more, and it is a better show. And also sometimes you can do more with a lot and when it is done right, it is even more pleasing. They know it is entertainment and do not take themselves too seriously. You have to make a relationship with the audience and be aware of it.

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

A: Like going to karaoke and all of your friends are there and everybody is kind of sad about something, but we are all here to sing songs and get through it. But the karaoke machine is broken. Just get up there and sing. We’ll fix the machine though.

J: I don’t even want to box, but your music makes me wants to get in front of a punching bag. Not because of things are bad, but because I want to get things out.

P: Maybe this is too arrogant, the oldies station in back to the future 2, that is us…we are the greatest hits of every decade! We are like robot DJs.

suggested listening experience: building motivation for anything // outdoor summertime hanging // channeling your anger into something positive

listens: tonight // the way i feel // paralyzed // love is // black jack // something in the way // KEXP performance

dy // spotify // sc // twitter // fb // 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: WARBLY JETS

reppin: la, usa // 2015 - present

featuring: samuel shea // julien o'neil // dan gerbang // justin goings

next album drop: most likely 2017

sam & jules of warbly jets | beat kitchen, chicago | 2.19.17 | @thefaakehipster

sam & jules of warbly jets | beat kitchen, chicago | 2.19.17 | @thefaakehipster

I wrote about these cool cats back in early December when I caught them and fellow rockers Mystery Lights at The Empty Bottle. What did it for me with these guys was not the one brilliant anthem, “Alive,” which is truly a hit. What got me hooked was how they draw you in with their sweet riffs, Sam’s killer vocals and just raw rock n’ roll baby. They can reel you in with their stage presence and melt your face with their loud sound. I wanted to get beneath the surface a bit, see what inspires these kids and bring their musical experience to your ears (and eyes if you like to read).

warbly jets | beat kitchen, chicago | 2.19.17 | @jpalove

warbly jets | beat kitchen, chicago | 2.19.17 | @jpalove

Let’s start from the beginning...some of you have been in other bands, paid your dues, went on tour...seasoned musicians if you will. What do these past elements, experiences, successes, failures mean to you as they relate to creating Warbly Jets?

Sam: I think everything in life shapes you as you go thru it, you know. All those things throughout our lives have played huge influencer roles towards what we have turned into. Jules and I definitely went through quite a lot of struggling, whether it was our project in new york together or the other projects we were apart of separately, moving to LA together and staying in a lot of motels and friends couches and bouncing around. Waiting to meet members...a lot of that has shaped our music and message, that’s in the lyrics

warbly jets | beat kitchen, chicago | 2.19.17 | @jpalove

warbly jets | beat kitchen, chicago | 2.19.17 | @jpalove

Me: The growing pains?

S: Yea, you know the reshaping, the trimming back. Trimming of the branches so they can bloom back. That happens with every band.

Jules: We have a pretty clear definition of what we are trying to do with our previously histroy separately and as a group. We’ve learned a lot, made some mistakes, had some successes. We know how and what to do now.

What’s to come for the album...what was it like recording together? Did it take some time to find your sound or was it pretty clear from the start?

J: So Sam and I had gotten together and we kind of knew what direction we wanted to put this band in. And because of being in other bands, being around the block, we knew how to start the project from the ground up. We didn’t really reveal anything, kept it under wraps until we found that sound. The only way to do that was put ourselves in a studio and write song after song after song after song. Chipping away at the marble and finding out what this was really going to be.

S: Painters will choose a pallet of colors and it’s kind of the same thing. These are the things we are into, these kind of sounds, these kind of instruments. Figuring out what those songs are from the start, It makes things easier to determine what that mission is. It’s us choosing the colors we want to use on the pallet.

warbly jets | beat kitchen, chicago | 2.19.17 | @jpalove

warbly jets | beat kitchen, chicago | 2.19.17 | @jpalove

Me: I truly value bands that know what their identity is from the start and can start the evolution from there instead of churning out singles to get on the air or something.

S: We want to have that natural identity and not sound super manufactured. A lot of bands will come out with this identity and style, but when you look further in, there is a machine behind them. That is most definitely not us. We built everything on our own.

Let’s talk about the single, “Alive,” what you hope to accomplish on tour? This song just kind of came out of nowhere, how do you

S: That single is the only song we have out. It’s streaming, been doing well, got picked up on Sirius XM and that helped out. And for whatever reason it has been getting on some good playlists on Apple and Spotify. It’s growing very organically go, not too much juice behind it aside from our management group, Rebel Union, sending it around. Everything that has happened has been organic and homegrown coming from the crew of people

Me: That’s a pretty sweet thing. Radio is not as familiar to me, but if you have an organic sort of start, it can help further your mission to be authentic and real.

S: It has def given us a realization that we can really take anything we want really far...just our team. We know that for a fact.

Liam Gallagher Pretty Green clothing line - what is this Brit stuff all about?

J: It’s Liam’s company and they pretty much reached out to us and wanted to use the song for the spring/summer campaign promotion. I’m not sure how much he really has to do with it or if he actually designs the clothes himself...

S: It’s designed and owned by him, I don't know how involved he is, but I hear he is pretty hands on with the company.

Me: That’s still really rad to get the song to the UK that quickly

S: Yea. it would be nice to get out there the next few months, we really want to crack the UK

warbly jets | beat kitchen, chicago | 2.19.17 | @jpalove

warbly jets | beat kitchen, chicago | 2.19.17 | @jpalove

The Show - 3 adjectives or a tweet like summary to describe the live show?

S: Something you’ll tell your friends about…?

J: Interesting question, I never really thought about that too much.

Me: I always like to look at the energy and connection to the crowd as well as the lyrics and personally try to relate to what the experience is

S: Yea, I mean, we just always wanted to be a band that is just larger than life and too big for the room. You know we talk some, but we want people to understand that we will be playing a room twice as big the next time we are here.

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

J: Sounds like jumping off a cliff with a trampoline at the bottom

S: Getting shot out of a canon at the top of Mt. Everest

Me: Damn, most bands take like 5/10 minutes to figure that out, well done dudes (laughs).

wj // fb // spotify // ig // twitter // sc

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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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

tj // spotify // fb // twitter // ig // sc