The Chicago Vibe


pronoun: standing alone + making waves in indie pop

Alicia Maciel | June 2018

On June 5th, pronoun hit the Windy City to wrap up a stacked tour featuring CitizenBasementSouvenirsANGEL DU$T, and Oso Oso. Recording an enticing Audiotree session in the heart of Wicker Park and playing Cobra Lounge later that night, the Brooklyn act was more than delighted to be in a place that reminded them of home. While the genres of the bands mentioned above range from rock to emo and hardcore, indie synth pop would be far from what's expected on the same show bill.

At first listen, pronoun's style could remind anyone of acts like Tegan and Sara, The Killers, and even Hippo Campus.  Having a handful of singles out including "wrong" and "run, we were excited to learn more about the solo, female indie act. pronoun had some time on the road and was able to provide some insight as to how their music came to life.


Q: Hey! Could you briefly introduce yourself?

A: Hi! I am Alyse, aka pronoun. I record, play, and produce all of the music for this project :D

Q: How did the project form and evolve into doing live performances?

A: Well, it started with me in my bedroom fumbling around my Squire and Pro Tools, adding layers and layers until I liked how the song sounded. Making the music was new for me, and I never expected to be playing live at all let alone on this level now.

When you're putting out music it's important to perform it, which I was very nervous about doing. My first show was way before I had put any songs out, I wanted to practice and be sure that the show was entertaining enough for when the music was released. Fast foward a couple of years and we have probably played over a hundred shows now. This latest tour (with Citizen) has brought my performance to a new level, I feel way more comfortable playing, singing, and on stage than I ever have before.

Q: Whoa - 100 shows already? That's fantastic to hear! I'm curious - how did you go about choosing the name pronoun? Any reasons it stuck?

A: In all honesty, a friend came up with it. However, when I revisited it after the fact I realized pronoun's can stand alone which is what I felt I was doing when I started this project.

Q: That's a lot deeper than I had anticipated. Assuming you have new work on the way, typically how long is the recording and composition process?

A: Really depends. The EP took about 1-2 days per song, this album is taking longer because I am in a different place emotionally and professionally in my day job. Putting out your first song/EP is very scary, however there's nothing to lose, no one knows who you are yet. I want to be sure that this album is a great next step and sounds like a new release, so I am putting a lot of time in to it.

Q: That's really inspiring! I've heard it's always difficult finding time to dive into recording when working a day job. Going further on composition - do you start with a riff, lyrics, or anything really?

Photo by Shervin Lainez

Photo by Shervin Lainez

A: Again really depends, but it's usually a guitar riff and the rest all follows shortly after. You can even hear it in each song out right now, each one has a specific guitar riff at the beginning, that's where the song started. 

Q: I'm a sucker for killer guitar riffs. I love how dancey yours are! Focusing on lyricism, do the lyrics tend to have deeper meanings, have a storytelling purpose, or are simply to convey emotions to your audience?

A: The lyrics are just very personal to me and I don't really write them with the audience in mind, but I do think that's why they stick out and can hit people in a significant way.

Q: Going beyond that, what emotions/messages would you like to resonate with your audience?

A: Stand up for yourself, know your worth, and never ever say never.

Q: If that saying doesn't keep you goin', I'm not sure what will! What's it like growing as a band in Brooklyn? What are you looking forward to? 

A: I'm looking forward to evolving my sounds and the themes of the music. I want to be around for a while and constantly be reinventing myself/music.

Q: Is the project heavily inspired by certain styles of music or bands?

A: Tons, off the top of my head it was Day Wave, Julien Baker, and The Japanese House who made me want to start making music again. But all in all - I think I am very influenced by Jimmy Eat World, The 1975, and a lot of other alternative rock bands that are being 100% true to themselves and their sounds. 

Looking forward to their bright future with nothing holding them back, pronoun's returning to Chicago this September to perform at Riot Fest! Reemphasizing the values of being true to yourself and developing as one grows - you can stay updated with pronoun by checking out any of the links down below.

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Written by Alicia Maciel (IG, Twitter: @eraseher_).