Importance of Aethetics - A Chat With whenyoung

Interview by Saloni Jaisingh

Indie-pop, London based trio whenyoung just wrapped up supporting The Vaccines on their European tour. Anticipating the release of their debut EP, Given Up, I caught up with them to talk about the beginnings of their band, aesthetics, and touring:

1. What is the origin of your name, and how did you decide on it?

We decided on whenyoung as our name because of a song called When We Were Young by Whipping Boy. Its about youth and innocence and the first time you get drunk. It's one of our favourite songs.

2. Your story of meeting through sneaking into a show at Costello’s Tavern is so cute, what was the moment where you knew you wanted to make music seriously with one another?

Our first bond was over music so I think somewhere inside there was always a dream of making a band happen. We were all infatuated by bands, the music, the looks and the scenes. But it never worked out for us until we all happened to move to London. We always believed in ourselves but it wasn't until last year that we thought this can really go somewhere.

3. I’m a big fan of visual/aesthetic adjunction with music, and I love your primary color trilogy - what inspired that? Are aesthetics and colors something you keep in mind while creating, or is it something you pair with your music after the fact?

We feel the same about the importance of aesthetics. All the bands we love have a strong look. Our primary colour theme came from a love of Mondrian, Eric Rohmer and French film. We love how strong use of colour, not in a bold or garish way, can create an identity. Its something that we tie in with the music but it doesn't necessarily shape the music we make. We use clothing, photos, artwork and video afterwards to give the music a physical form.

4. London’s music scene is so vibrant and eclectic. Would you say your move there from Ireland has changed or impacted your creative process?

Yes I think it has to some extent. We're Irish and proud to be so and that has largely shaped our music because of our upbringing and cultural reference points. But moving to London and starting a band I think made us work harder and grow a tougher skin. There is more opportunity but also more competition. There are so many artists and musicians who we've met that have helped us to shape our work by inspiring us and opening our eyes to new things.

5. What are each of you listening to right now?

We're in the van today driving to Hamburg. We're listening to The Sugarcubes, Lets Eat Grandma, The Vaccines, Frank Ocean, The Cult, The Ninth Wave, Horslips.

6. This is your second run of shows with The Vaccines, what’s it like touring with them?

Its great. They are the friendliest and most supportive bunch of guys. We're also big fans so its cool to even get to watch the show each night! The crowds are really engaged and up for it so we feel really thankful and lucky to be doing it with them.

7. The Whenyoung Book Swap is such a lovely idea! Have any of you found any good books from it, and is it something you’re going to continue doing on tour?

Between the three of us and our friends we are always reading and sharing books. So we wanted to try and do the same with our audience. To share some of our influences and inspirations and receive theirs in return. We got some really lovely books, one in particular was written by a fan's grandmother which was really cute. It was the first time we did it on our UK tour so hopefully it will keep building.

8. How do you approach your live show - any pre-show rituals?

It depends. A support show is different to our own headline show because we have less stage time. Also because the crowd doesn't necessarily know us already we like to keep it as engaging and upbeat as possible to warm them up! Pre-show we tend to jump around and warm up our voices to try and get rid of the nerves. Then it's into our boiler suits, have a big hug and go!

9. Your debut EP Given Up comes out November 9th, what is one thing you want fans to know about it?

That there's plenty more where that came from!  


Check out whenyoung’s tour dates here to see if they’ll be in a city near you, and make sure to pre-order their debut EP, Given Up, here!

Girls and Charms - A Chat With August Hotel

K.P. Peters | October 2017

A few weeks ago, I talked with Ryan Lammers, Cale Singleton and Dean Sinclair, 3/5 of August Hotel, about their recent release “Charms.” While they loosely described it as “a concept album about girls,” or “the best acid jazz album of 2017” I think of it as a collection of synth pop hits waiting to be discovered.

To start, Ryan discussed the original version of “Crystalize.” This track has gone through a lot of changes. “We felt like it could be better,” the guitarist stated in reference to the original version. “It was okay, but we felt we could do more with it. We liked what we had but we wanted to give it something extra. We took it back to practice and messed around with it.” Now with a new chorus and more synth, the band picked this dance tune to close the EP.

Dean also told the story of his date with a camp counselor. On this date he asked her, “what’s the craziest thing a child has ever said to you?” The answer was the title to the bands hit song “Can I be in Love With You?” This question sparked a lot of ideas in the drummer.

“The intro is when you first meet that person, in my case a party in my living room. The first verse is almost being upset with yourself for living 20-something years and just meeting them. You are jealous of them having memories before you. They have all these memories and stories that I’m not able to be a part of. It’s this weird bitterness toward that.”


While they turned down dating a fan, the band said if asked “can I be in love with you?” the answer would be yes. “If love means hanging out with us and having a good time at our show it’s more than encouraged.”

To end the interview, I asked the band to discuss the charms of each other. They went around talking about the best qualities of each band member.

Cale started us off with a talk about Dean. “He’s got a nice beard. Dean is so funny he has altered my speech pattern. He’s made me stupider, haha.”

Dean said “Ryan has the best work ethic out of all of us. He provides the cow bones of the glue that keeps this band together. It’s his vision that keeps us on track and gives us something to aspire to.”

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Ryan comment on Cale, “He’s got an extremely large knowledge of random things. This makes him an entertaining person to be around. You learn stuff from him. He’s got a real dedication and passion for what he does.”

On Craig, the keyboardist, the band described him as “very quiet. But, when he wants to make a joke it’s something that will make the entire room cry laughing. The timing, what he says and how he says it; it’s just perfect.”

“Joe has a beautiful heart. Just being around him makes you reanalyze your outlook. He makes me want to be a better person,” said Dean.

After getting sentimental about the rest of the band, I suggested they rethink Dean. He’s got more great qualities than just his facial hair. “He’s so much more than just a drummer,” added Ryan. “He writes a bunch of our favorite songs to play. Everything he brings to us is so good. His ear for melody and talent as a musician is just incredible.”

Each of these guys brings something different to the band. Combined, they make August Hotel the success that it is. Check out “Charms” and get down to this local bands indie-pop hits

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Bulls and Roosters - A Chat with Danny of together PANGEA

Alicia Maciel | Tuesday, September 26, 2017

LA rock quartet together PANGEA is driving across the nation, touring in support of their latest full-length album Bulls and Roosters, via Nettwerk. The Bulls and Roosters Tour kicked off on September 14th in San Diego, CA and is wrapping up on October 22nd, and feature support from Tall Juan and  Daddy Issues.

Releasing a 1-minute-40-second gimmicky, nostalgic music video via Stereogum for the album's mosh inducing lead single "Better Find Out", directed by Steele O'Neal, heightened expectations of fans everywhere. The video can be seen HERE. "Better Find Out" is available to download/stream now HERE

Co-produced by together PANGEA and longtime collaborator Andrew Schubert, and mixed by Chris Coady (TV On The Radio, Beach House, The Black Lips), Bulls and Roosters was recorded to two-inch tape at Golden Beat studios in Los Angeles and showcases a more matured sound than prior efforts. 

 “We wanted to try new things and experiment with making music that wasn't so aggressive or fast," said singer/guitarist William Keegan. "Rather than worrying about any expectations, we were like, 'Fuck all that. Let's be as honest as we can possibly be.' Sure, it's growth, but there's still a brattiness to it."

Since they began jamming back in William's Santa Clarita bedroom, Together Pangea have continually challenged themselves with each subsequent offering. Jelly Jam [2010] poured the gasoline, Living Dummy [2011] struck the match, and Badillac [2014] lit the fire with its revved-up nineties rock-inspired flames. Along the way, fan favorites like "Sick Shit," "Badillac," and "Offer" would rack up millions of Spotify streams. "Snakedog" became a plot point in a bonkers episode of NCIS and "Sick Shit" soundtracked a trailer for HBO's Animals, while the group received support from Consequence of SoundPitchforkMTVStereogum, and more. Following the 2015 release of The Phage EP, produced by The Replacements' Tommy Stinson, the boys independently embarked on the journey to what would become Bulls and Roosters.

Bringing matured rock brattiness along with minimalistic, portrait album art - Bulls and Roosters represents together PANGEA’s growth and determinacy of “never making the same album twice”. Other than the album art alone standing out compared to their previous album artworks, Bulls and Roosters is a tame yet brash rock n’ roll ear worm that’ll stay in listeners’ minds for years to come.

While on the road heading to their Nashville gig at noon central time, bassist Danny Bengston took some time to chat with me on the phone.


Photo credit: Derek Perlman

Photo credit: Derek Perlman

Hey Danny, how are you?

Pretty good – it’s been a nice day, not too long of a drive. We’re driving to Nashville from Atlanta right now. We just played in Orlando yesterday. It was awesome, never played there before. The show was beyond our expectations!

That’s sick – was the show close to capacity?

The room was pretty big, a lot more people were there than we thought there would be.

To start off, I was wondering if you could tell me a little bit about your gear. What you got, any pedals?

I have two basses I take on the road, one’s a Rickenbacker maple wood and the other’s a Fender P bass. I play them through a 1978 Peavy Mark III bass amp head. 410115 bass cabinet and a chewing pedal.

What tones did you find in your equipment that resonates with your sound?

I’ve always liked my very first bass amp. It has a great, shitty sound so I just looked around until I got another Peavy.

When recording your bass tracks, do you record along with the drummer live or are the drums overdubbed?

Most of the time, we record drums, guitar, and bass altogether live. I think it really adds to the sound and it’s always better to play together. On this album, there’s one or two songs without everyone recording together.

Are the bass parts planned or is it more improvisation?

The bass parts are planned ahead. We tend to write a month in advance. So, we’d learn a new song and I’ll go into working on bass parts.

What’s the song writing process like for the band?

Usually, William or I bring ideas to the table.

It seems you guys have taken a different approach to songwriting, less garage rock influenced and more honky-tonk, 60s/70s country rock. What drew you to this change other than simply bringing different sounds to your audience?

As a band, we decided collectively to keep writing music we enjoy and we take influence from the music we’re listening to during the recording process. During this album, we were listening to a lot of Rolling Stones, The Kinks, Tom Petty, Bruce Springsteen, and Neil Young.

I recognized you guys recorded Bulls and Roosters on tape. Is there a reason together PANGEA took the analog route?

We chose to go in that direction since it would fit the mood of the songs a lot better.

What’s your favorite track on the album?

After making the album and having some time away from it, “Gold Moon” is my favorite. I really like the vibe of the song, the guitar playing, and everything else about it.

Why did you choose to name the album after the track Bulls and Roosters?

It’s a reference to a painting by John Baldessari. It’s about selling artwork and we thought it fit well.

With Bulls and Roosters being a more minimalistic take compared to your previous, more aggressive works – do you feel it’s the best work of the band so far?

Definitely – I think it’s the best stuff we’ve done so far.

While you’re on the road, I figure you guys are already working on some stuff.

Yeah, we’re working on some things right now and are trying to get in the studio soon enough to get a demo done.

Is the Bulls and Roosters tour your first big, national headlining tour?

No, I think it’s our third or fourth American headlining tour. We did one for Badillac and The Phase.

I’m excited for your show here in Chicago on the 6th – are there any other cities you’re looking forward to hit?

We LOVE Chicago, it’s one of our favorite places to play. The crowd’s always really good, so are the people and the food. New York is always a spot to look forward to as well as Toronto. We’re looking forward to heading back to the west coast, too.


Check out together PANGEA on tour! Hope to see some fellow Chicagoans at Bottom Lounge Friday, October 6!

September 26 - Nashville, TN @ The End

September 27 - Carrboro, NC @ Cat's Cradle - Back Room

September 28 - Baltimore, MD @ Metro Gallery

September 29 - Philadelphia, PA @ Voltage Lounge

September 30 - Brooklyn, NY @ Music Hall of Williamsburg*

October 01 - Boston, MA @ Sonia's Nightclub

October 03 - Montreal, QC @ L'Escogriffe

October 04 - Toronto, ON @ The Hard Luck

October 05 - Cleveland, OH @ Mahall's

October 06 - Chicago, IL @ Bottom Lounge

October 07 - Madison, WI @ The Frequency

October 08 - Minneapolis, MN @ 7th St Entry

October 10 - St. Louis, MO @ Firebird

October 11 - Ames, IA @ Iowa State University - The Maintenance Shop 

October 12 - Omaha, NE @ Showdown

October 13 - Denver, CO @ Larimer Lounge

October 14 - Salt Lake City, UT @ Kilby Court

October 16 - Seattle, WA @ The Vera Project

October 17 - Vancouver, BC @ Biltmore Cabaret

October 18 - Portland, OR @ Analog Theater

October 20 - Sacramento, CA @ Harlow's Night Club

October 21 - San Francisco, CA @ The Chapel

October 22 - Santa Cruz, CA @ The Catalyst – Atrium


Tickets for the tour are available now HERE

EYEHATEGOD interview

Nikki Roberts | September 2017

On Saturday, September 2nd, sludge metal band EYEHATEGOD hit the Cobra Lounge as part of their Left to Starve Summer Tour. This show was the first of the band's two-night run in Chicago and marked a special night for the group; after falling ill and receiving a liver transplant, these two shows were vocalist Mike Williams' first time back with EYEHATEGOD in Chicago. Before experiencing the group's face melting walls of feedback, I got to sit down with Williams and guitarist Jimmy Bower to talk about their southern influences, favorite spots in Chicago, and their 30-year anniversary plans in 2018. Read a short excerpt below, or the full interview here.

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Nikki Roberts: So, last night you played Pittsburgh and tonight you play Chicago, which is a much bigger city. What's the difference between those kind of shows and hometown shows in the south?

B: We just played New Orleans and it wasn’t really that killer.

W: Hometown’s always...weird to me.

B: It’s always like “get me on the guest list”, y’know?

W: Everyone wants to get in free, then they just stand at the bar and go “Man I’ve seen EYEHATEGOD like thirty times.” They don’t care.

What was the atmosphere and scene like when you first started playing shows? Before you played all these clubs?

W: When we started playing people hated us.

B: [laughs hysterically]

W: They couldn’t stand it. We were playing something totally new. This whole “sludge” thing [holds up air quotes], quote unquote, we don’t call our music that. We were around before all that. That just is some label they put on it. We were playing slow and opening for these fast speed metal bands.

B: A lot of bands were thrash and speed metal and we were completely a sore thumb.

W: We were into the Melvins and Carnivore and the slower Confessor.

Do you think that's due to more melodic southern influences?

W: There’s southern rock in there.

Both: Lynyrd Skynyrd

B: I like country music.

W: He listens to a lot of country music.

R: I grew up having my dad listen to hair metal. Like Motley Crue, Cinderella, Poison...

B: We liked all that too!

W: Especially back when we were kids.We’re a little bit of everything, y’know, but it comes out being more aggressive. Like he said, he listens to a lot of country; I grew up listening to a lot of country music with my family. Southern rock, punk rock, metal...blues. A lot of blues!

B: When hair metal was big, we were 15 and 16 years old.

W: Well I’m still a huge Motley Crue fan.

It's pretty impressive that, not only have you lasted 30 years, but that you've done so with fairly minimal lineup changes compared to other bands that have lasted for the same length of time. Anything special planned for 30 years of EYEHATEGOD?

W: We’re trying to figure that out, man.

B: We were talking about doing a book

W: That ain’t gonna happen-it’s too late for that.

R: Like a biography kind of book?

B: Just an EYEHATEGOD book with a bunch of pictures and stories.

W: Very graphic. Lots of pictures and flyers and stuff.

B: We’re probably still gonna do it, it’s just not coming out next year.

W: It’s not coming out next year [laughs] We want to do something big next year but I don’t know what to do.

B: We’re going to go back to Europe.

W: Yeah, we’re going to Europe. But just playing a show is not..I mean, I want to do something bigger than that. Something more...celebration.

What's your following like in Europe? What are the shows like in Europe?

Both: Amazing.

W: Just like they are here.

B: They get what we’re doing. We’ve been over there enough. We used to go over there two times a year until he got sick.

W: We’ve probably been there twenty-something times.

B: They get what we’re doing. That whole “heavy stoner” thing’s big over there.

R: Definitely! [laughs and points to Bower’s Sleep shirt]

Who's who in the Evening Attraction

K.P. Peters | July 2017

Local Chicago band The Evening Attraction recently hit the road for their first tour with Post Animal. The melapsychia (melodic/psychedelic/rock and roll) band caught up with me at Hi Tone in Memphis, Tennessee to talk about life in a van. Though it was early in the tour, we had lots of laughs and built up anticipation for their next album, The End Again. While the band is still working out the kinks on how they plan to release the album, they did tell me a few things. The End Again was recorded this past winter at Treehouse Records. I can’t attest to the whole 9-track-long album, but from what I heard at the concert, it will be good. The Evening Attraction combines killer grooves, great lyrics and classic rock and roll into another album that will take your breath away. I decided that for this interview, we would test how well the band knows each other by handing out superlatives.

The award for pulling the most pranks goes to Vince (organs, shakers, backup vocals).

Though the band doesn’t really pull pranks, Vince wins for his ability to simply disappear and come back with a rubber chicken. Where does he keep the chicken? His answer: “You don’t want to know.”

Runner up for this award was Joey (lead guitar) because he once ate a whole bag of Twizzlers. That was only a prank on his own body, but the band had a good laugh.

Worst driver was a tie between Paul (bass, harmony vocals) and Miles (lead vocals, guitar).

This one was tricky, since two people in the band are not even allowed to drive. Paul defended his skills on the road by calling Miles out on his lead foot. When I asked Miles if he speeds, he said, “No, I hustle.”

Nicest to fans was awarded to Joey. He can hold up a two-hour conversation with a parking meter and loves sparking up conversations with fans.

Worst in the morning goes to Miles because he’s never seen a morning. His daily routine consists of waking up at 2 PM and scurrying to get ready.

In contrast, best in the morning goes to Vince. The band talked about being in Austin, Texas, where Vince would have three breakfasts by the time anyone else was awake and thinking of lunch.

Biggest flirt goes to Paul. The band said it was effortless for him, and called him out on his handsome looks.

Follow The Evening Attraction on all social media to keep up with their latest shenanigans and catch them back in Chicago this August.

Foreign Sunsets Interview

K.P. Peters | June 2017

This interview has been a long time coming, and I personally apologize for the delay. A while back, I chatted with Foreign Sunsets, a local pop-punk band composed of three brothers and guitarist Armando. With Jo Robledo on lead vocals and guitar, Jon Robledo on drums/vocal, Ulysses Robledo on bass/vocals, this Family trio is not a to be missed. Recently they released a single, Rampant, with all the makings of a great summer tune. Below you can check out our interview, or click here to see a street ally acoustic performance.


 Describe your music in five words or less.

(Whole band in unison) Alternative, pop-punk, bilingual- rock

Wow, I like that you all did that together.

 Jo: Yea, alternative pop punk is something we’ve been told a lot. Like we aren’t pop punk, there is something there. We are an alternative to pop punk.

Describe the best show you’ve ever played.

 Jon: I’m going to say the first show we did as a full band. That show was just awesome. It was really awkward because it was a full acoustic build and a comedian, for some reason, but we were the headliner. So everyone got nice calm music then we came in with heavy pop punk.

Jo: You are missing the best part, it was in a coffee shop. It was a tiny coffee shop called the hidden pearl café. We filled the space, people laughed and jammed out. A mash pit was started. It was an awesome start to our music career. After that we switched out band members.

Ulysses: Since I started I think it would be the underground lounge. We had this band from Florida that was touring. They had us go on third and headline. It was weird because it was the end of the tour and they head us headline. They said they were honoring the city by having a local band perform.

Jo: People were coming in because they heard our set off the street. It was just fantastic.

Can you tell me about the album you are recording?

 Jon: Yea, on one track on our album, “I Ran,” there is a little mishap that we are keeping on the track. We started with us all playing, like I was playing drums along with the rest of the band in my headset. But, Jo forgot to turn up his guitar. We started recording and I go “God dammit,” and the drum mic picked it up.

Jo: Yea, and I go, “I forgot to turn my guitar on.”

Jon: So the track starts with me and Ulysses playing the intro, God dammit, laughing then we start again.


Jo: What’s weird about our band is that we try to never write two songs that sound similar, so this album is all mixed up. So we have like two acoustic songs, one was written and recorded in a bathroom. It has this cool low-fi sound to it, so we kept that. We also have this traditional pop sounding track, and a pop-punk one. Then it gets way into the outskirts. We have one song we call the anime song, it's officially titled "Mugen," the goal is to have it used in an anime intro one day.

Ulysses: It took a long time to decide on the album name and artwork. We started with an idea and was working for a name. At first it was homes for the heartless, and we ran with that.

Jo: then I made a dark humor joke or something, and I came up with the idea of a naked dude in a bathtub holding a toaster and calling it bath bombs.

Jon: I was against it, I’ve seen a lot of memes about it. I’m weary about the backlash and we will have a disclaimer. We don’t support suicide. But a lot of our songs are very said.

Jo: All our songs are very upbeat, but the words are very depressing.

Ulysses: Our hearts are on our sleeves and our toasters in our tub.

So I heard Jon creates the art. Is that true?

 Jon: Yes. For this album I hand painted the background of one of our options for an album cover.

Jo: We were coming up with an idea and he drew the concept. So, he water colored the back ground. We did a photo shoot with a friend but it didn’t work out because of the backdrop. So, we decided to cut him out and put it on the original water color backdrop.

Anything else you’d like to add?

 Jo: we haven’t told anyone this yet, but this whole album will be re-released in Spanish. We are very excited to release this in Mexico and Central America. We are already working on another EP. It’s like we can’t make music fast enough.



Dishin' @ Dimo's - Beach Bunny & The Slaps

Alicia Maciel | May 27, 2017

“I had my first job at a restaurant when I was 14.”
“Isn’t that illegal?”
“Yeah, isn’t that illegal?”
“Dude, I’m pretty sure that’s illegal."
"Yeah, but I got paid under the table and got over minimum wage.”

Midday May 27, Beach Bunny and The Slaps loaded their gear indoors to Dimo’s Pizza on Damen Avenue. After dragging in a P.A., configuring the placement of The Slaps’ well recognized banner, and putting in pizza orders, I sat down with members of both bands to talk before their performances.

Front woman Lili Trifilio, drummer Jon Alvarado, and guitarist Matt Henkels of Beach Bunny piled into a booth across from front man Rand Kelly, drummer Josh Resing, and myself. Bassist Ramsey Bell of The Slaps was unfortunately unable to make it out due to a prior commitment. 

Upon being seated, Dimo’s brand and event manager Manny Velasco brought out two delectable artisan pizzas for the bands to indulge in – Vegan Mac and BBQChickenBaconCheddarRanchh. Yes, we acknowledge the pizzas are opposites. Both Lili Trifilio and Jon Alvarado of Beach Bunny are vegans and they were thrilled about Dimo’s delicious option that suits their lifestyles.  Lili used to make YouTube how to videos for all the vegans out there. 

Sharing pizza and performing together at Dimo’s was the first formal meeting of Beach Bunny and 2/3 of The Slaps although they have similar followings thanks to DePaul students and the local scene. This segment of Dishin’ @ Dimo’s started off with a brief background of Dimo’s interactions and support for local art and music in the Chicagoland area. As both bands being interviewed have played mostly house shows, they were intrigued learning more about Dimo’s providing balanced meals to bands on the road. 

Beach Bunny and The Slaps both expressed how poorly they eat while making music or having a weekend booked with performances, whether it's eating food from their meal plans or indulging too much at once. Eating well is one of the toughest factors musicians face, especially if when they have three jobs – school, work, and music. 

Everyone's had their share of restaurant or odd jobs. Beach Bunny’s members all have food industry experience - Jon worked at a restaurant at 14, Lili currently plays live music at Potbelly’s, and Matt’s talents shine as a barista at Starbucks. The Slaps seem to have worked odd jobs from Rand working back in Kentucky and Josh having had worked a toy store for 4 whole years.

Moving away from food, jobs and focusing in on music, Beach Bunny and The Slaps are making names for themselves in Chicago’s music scene. Playing house shows constantly and being added to venue lineups, both bands are on the rise. Beach Bunny recently transitioned from Lili performing solo to performing alongside Jon and Matt with a record to release June 1. The Slaps are planning to record up in Michigan this summer and becoming known through Instagram as well as word of mouth rather than a Facebook page. 

As we were wrapping up and Beach Bunny was preparing to perform, I was left sitting with Josh in the booth and decided to ask how The Slaps came together as both Rand and Ramsey hail from Kentucky. Turns out, in the beginning of their freshman academic year, they all attended a party together. After chitchatting, Rand asked Josh if he played drums and they exchanged numbers. Once a couple of days passed, Josh hit him up and they jammed – more importantly, they clicked. Ever since, The Slaps have been 2/3 Kentucky and 1/3 Illinois. 

Beach Bunny and The Slaps are performing at Elbo Room June 1. If you’re interested in surf pop, alternative rock, and music that can make you feel nostalgic in one second and make you want to dance in another, make sure to check them out! 

Lewis Watson Interview

Saloni Jaisingh | May 2017

Before Lewis Watson’s concert at Lincoln Hall on May 11th, 2017, I had the pleasure of sitting down with him to chat about his new album, midnight, writing, recording, and touring.

Tell me about midnight. What were some challenges or differences in creating your sophomore album compared to the first?

LW: Everybody says that the sophomore album is a tough one. I just thought it would be like any album, really. That was completely false. I very quickly realized that it isn’t like any other album.It was just scary because I had already established a sound, and everybody grew to expect that sound. When it came to challenging that and wanting the sound to evolve and be bigger, better,and more mature, it was tough to do that with confidence. I loved it, and really, at the end of the day, that’s the only real reason why I make music - for me. But in the back of my head, there was always that little thing, that “oh God, everybody is going to hate this, I’m playing the electric guitar now...” it was certainly a challenge in that respect. Other than that, it was honestly so enjoyable. We did it in two and a half weeks.

Yeah, I read about that, that’s amazing! With Oh Wonder, right?

LW: Yeah, with Anthony! And Josephine—she arranged the strings and played the piano. She hasa really great way of making these super colorful chords. It was lots of fun; we’re friends. It wasbasically just hanging out with all my friends for two and a half weeks.

Did you have everything ready going into the studio?

LW: We had the songs ready, but not so much the production. We did a bit of the pre-production, but Anthony and myself share the same influences, so it was so much fun just going in the studio with him, referencing our favorite albums, and just basically making music that we really enjoy listening to. It was such a contrast to the first record for me because the first record was done with a major label and recorded over two and a half years with eight or nine different producers. I really loved that experience of doing that all in one sitting and having a lot of fun while doing so.

What made you choose to do this album without going through a label?

LW: I think the major label thing can and does work for many people... for me, there was always a conflict of creativity. I had released my first EP independently and that kind of established a dark acoustic sound, and a label wanted to take that completely different and make me as pop as possible. That was just something I didn’t agree with. There were a lot of conversations about how songs should sound and “Oh, it’s not good enough for radio.” Of course, I understand that is important, but I just wanted to make music, and that’s all I did in my first EP. Really, the end product wasn’t 100% me, and that really bothered me. In the second album, I didn’t want any of that. I wanted to make an album that I love and think about the business side of things after that. It was a very conscious decision, and I’m so glad I did it that way.

Yeah, I think that’s a really great way to make the album completely yours. My next question is: What is your process of creating music as both a singer and songwriter?

LW: I wish there was a formula, really, because then, I would be a much more prolific songwriter than I am now. With songwriting, it just happens when it happens. And when it does, I’ll be sat at a guitar or a piano, and I’ll write a basic set of chords that really catch my ears, and then I start kind of blabbering not even words, just melodies. Within that, I’ll find a melody that I like, and I’ll go with that. Usually, some actual words kind of happen with those melodies, and if there’s a word I really like, I’ll take that and expand on that. With production, I tend to just kind of mirror the music I’m really into at the time. With the second album, I was listening to Death Cab for Cutie, Bon Iver, Bombay Bicycle Club heavily. So they really influenced this record with drum beats and guitar tones and string arrangements. I basically try and make an album that I should in theory would enjoy listening to, and hope that people will enjoy it as well.

You do have a lot of music out— multiple EPs and now two albums. How did you go into making the setlist for this tour with so much material out?

LW: It was SO hard. Every night, someone says “Oh, you didn’t play this,” and it’s a completely different song. Basically, with this solo tour, I’m promoting the new album and trying to play as many songs from it as possible. But also, the album has only been out for a month, and people haven’t absorbed those songs as much, so I like to play a lot of old stuff as well. What I try to do is new, old, new, old. I hate going to shows and having the artist just play the new album all the way through because I haven’t attached memories to those songs yet— they don’t resonate with me as much as the older stuff. I think it works best when people sprinkle the new stuff in with a familiar set list.

Yeah, that’s definitely a good way to do it. Back to the topic of midnight. What song has the most meaning to you, and can you tell me a bit about it?

LW: At the moment, it’s a track called “Run.” That’s a song that I am still unable to play live. I’m not ready to share that with a room full of people. I think that in itself tells me it’s the one that I’m most attached to. It’s about when you’ve just come out of a relationship with somebody, and you’re starting to spend nights alone, and it’s starting to feel really weird, and you want that person with you. So you say “please come over and spend the night, and in the morning you can leave, I just need a fix now.” And when that happens, it refreshes that grief period and “shit, now I wanna be with you even more” and getting frustrated at the fact that they’ve left even though you’ve told them to leave.

Do you have any pre-show rituals? How do you prepare to perform in front of so many adoring fans every night?

LW: I’ve kind of learned now to thrive from the nerves. Before, I really worked myself up before stage and the first song for me would be a real shaky affair. I’ve realized that the nerves mean that I just want to do as well as possible. I’ve come to the conclusion that if I ever stop feeling nervous, I need to look for something else to do. I don’t ever want to be comfortable in this realm. I take a lot of deep breaths, I warm up, I like to listen to music it gets me in the mood. At the moment, I can’t stop listening to the Post Malone album...right now, it’s exactly what I want to listen to.

I really loved your collaboration with Lucy Rose in “Slumber.” Do you have any plans for future collaborations or who would it be your dream to collaborate with?

LW: Thank you! I have so many people I’d love to collaborate with, but it’s a tough one because being a musician means that your schedule is pretty nuts, so to try and match up to people’s schedules is kind of tough. Also, it’s so important for the other person to be really into it as well. There’s nothing in the pipeline, but I’d love to work with Australian musician Matt Corby. Kanye West would be such a great collaboration; I’d be really intrigued to hear his opinion on things and see how he works. Beyond everything, I think he’s a very talented producer. Bon Iver, for me, would be a massive dream collaboration. I don’t know if that would ever happen, but I’d probably just retire right then, I would not be able top that. Jack Stepman from Bombay Bicycle Club would be a great one for me, he’s just started producing electronic music and I’d love to work with him or have him remix something.

Going off of that, what are your future goals as an artist?

LW: Honestly, just to be able to get away with doing this for as long as possible. I never imagined I would get this far, and to get this far is amazing. For me, my big goal was to sell out Shepherd’s Bush in London, and we did that two years ago. I’m a realist, and for me, even that was way optimistic. I never saw that happening, so when it did happen, I started thinking about my next goals, and I just thought that I have already exceeded my expectations so much that I don’t wanna set a goal and then not reach it and be disappointed. So honestly, just to be able to do this as a career would be more than enough for me. A third album is the next goal.

I know your second one just came out, but have you started writing anything for the third album?

LW: I have about four songs, but they’re songs that I wrote a long time ago. I still have a long time touring this record, so I don’t want to start thinking beyond it already and get excited about something else. I just really want to be absorbed by this album first.


Shortly after thanking Watson for his time, I got to experience his phenomenal live show. The power of his music was portrayed through how just he and his guitar are capable of commanding the attention of everyone in the room. Throughout the show, he told jokes, stories, and even came down into the crowd for a song. Before performing his last song, he invited anyone in the audience to stay after the show so that he could personally thank them for attending. Lewis genuinely shone through his whole performance, and the relationship he has with his fans is truly unique.

Color and Sound Ft. Dead Lucid

K.P. Peters | May 2017

This week Color and Sound talked to Jon Grammer of Dead Lucid. Dead Lucid has described themselves as “the illegitimate love child of Jimi Hendrix and Joy Division.” They released an EP in October, and have been playing shows nonstop ever since. You can check out our interview with Jon below, and see an acoustic performance of one of their new songs here.

What is your favorite original song to perform live?

The combination of “Andromeda” and “Space Rock”. Those two together just have this really great vibe to them. I really love the bass lines on those, especially “Andromeda”, we really just go hard.

What is your favorite cover song to perform?

That’s a tough one. There are two that we play a lot that I’m a big fan of. One is “Purple Haze”. We do it a lot differently than Hendrix. We don’t slow down the tempo but we play it in a way that makes it feel like it’s dragging. It gives it a darker feel. Also Evil by Interpol, that’s just one of my favorite songs.

Can you name one venue you will never play again?

Liars. After our set they turned to me and said, “we had a lot of skinheads in here, but luckily you guys did really good.” What would have happened if we were bad?

You’re sound is very different from many other DIY bands. What inspired you to go in that direction?

I’m a big fan of Jimi Hendrix, but I also like a lot of bass driven music. I’m very into 80’s/70’s post-punk. I was very interested in combining those two, and having a sound that was very bass driven. We try to utilize bass guitar as a lead guitar. That was the main inspiration for Dead Lucid.

What is the best show you’ve ever played?

That’s a tough one. I really liked our show at The Mutiny that we played recently. They overbooked the show so there was a lot of confusion about what was going on. The band was a little angry before we played, so we let that out on stage.

How did you meet your band members?

I met them through Facebook, the Chicago Musicians Network. I was looking for a band, originally two guitars, bass, and drum. A friend’s band hit me up to play a show because he thought my old band still existed. So he hit me up and I didn’t have a band, I made a post on the Facebook group looking for a couple guys. That’s how I found Ryan, the bassist. The first time I played with him I knew it was going to work. He plays very different from other bass players, and it’s amazing. We found Andrew the same way, through a post. A few guys responded, but Andrew just got what we were trying to do musically.

What’s next for Dead Lucid?

Well, we just released an EP in October. We are trying to keep promoting that for a little while. We are writing new music and playing them at shows. One new song is called “Romance”. It’s very Joy Division style.

Changing The Thread

K.P. Peters | May 2017

If 2017 and classic rock & roll had a love child, it would be local band The Threads— a recent featured artist at Music Garage with exciting new music on SoundCloud. I recently had the honor of talking to them. Though the whole band couldn’t make it to the city for our chat, I got to speak with Sam Abboud, rhythm guitarist/singer, and Justin Bell, lead guitarist.

Photography by Zach Hittie

Photography by Zach Hittie

With multiple recent releases, the musicians and I discussed the change in their sound. They accredited the change to their new bass player. As a music major, Duke Hiatt brings an exciting new edge to the band. His style of playing has brought The Threads to a more dance-based sound. Justin even commented that their first jam with Duke was when they wrote “Lo-Fi Baby.

Furthermore, Sam said their change in scene has influenced their change in sound. “We play more house shows now, where we played more rock clubs before. I think that had an impact subconsciously. It’s a different scene and a different mental state.”

Photography by Zach Hittie

Photography by Zach Hittie

Justin says that the change in their sound has impacted the audience, too. Before, their crowds would stand and watch. He comments that while they were into it, they weren’t really dancing. Now that the band writes with more of a groove, Justin has noticed the crowd getting down.

While Someone Who Looks Like You was a great way for the band to start out, their new music takes on an interesting twist.

Color and Sound Ft. Mohit Mehta

K.P. Peters | May 2017

Welcome to the third Color and Sound! For this week we have a very unique artist, Mohit Mehta. Mohit has put his years of music experience to good work on this solo project which has released the album Luminosity.

Describe your music in 5 words or less.

A portrait of how life unfolds.

How did you get into making music?

I’m a classically trained pianist, and that taught me the ropes on a bunch of different instruments. I always wanted to be in a band. I came up as a drummer in high school and put those aspirations aside for college. I graduated at the crest of the recession with a degree in economic and finance, so like the worst majors you could have at the time. I decided to go back to music and see what I can do. I worked hard to be in a band but no one was doing the things that I wanted to do. I like really simple songs, and no one else was really doing that at the time. Everyone I knew didn’t want to go on tour, or put in the time it takes to record a record. So it was just left to me to make the music that I want to make.

You recorded all your tracks in Chicago. What was your experience with Chicago recording studios?

 I’ve recorded in a lot of recording studios; personally I don’t use any that have a day rate of more than $500. I also don’t go to any studio that doesn’t have a tape machine, because I adore the sound of recording on magnetic tape. I’m really pursing the perfect analogue sound. The first half of my record was recorded at Soap Box Music. That was good but we had different visions on where we wanted this record to go. I just had to keep him on track with what I wanted. The second half was recorded at Carterco. It was actually two EPs that I recorded there before they closed down. This recording studio basically just hit record and didn’t comment on anything, just adjusted however you told them to. That was very educational for me. I expected everything to just fit in, but having the responsibility of checking the levels and making it what I want was very eye opening for me. I say if the song came out good on recording then it was a good studio.

What is your favorite song to perform live?

The ninth track, under the gun. That was the first song I wrote for this project. I had this delay pedal that I had never really experimented with before, and I turned it up. It was like this waterfall coming out of my amp. It’s just a nice summer song about a girl.

So what’s next for this project?

 Probably just touring a ton. Playing music wherever I can get a gig and maybe recording another record.

August Hotel Takes the Stage and the Audience

K.P. Peters | April 2017

On April 26, 2017, August Hotel performed spectacularly at Subterranean. The ever-growing indie pop band concurred the stage with their hit, “12am,” and more. Lead singer Joe Padilla and guitarist/vocalist Ryan Lammers made a habit of leaving the stage behind and performing in the crowd or just about anywhere they could get. Their cover of “Green Light” left my voice sore from singing along and my feet sore from dancing too much. All of their original songs were structured with amazing vocals, fun synth lines, and a beat that everyone couldn’t help but dance to. Though drummer Dean Sinclair couldn’t make it, keyboardist/vocalist Craig Schwartz Jr., bassist/vocalist Cale Singleton, Joe Padilla and Ryan Lammers sat with me for a humorous talk about the band’s journey and what’s next for them.

Wikipedia calls you guys rock, iTunes alternative, and the Chicago Tribune indie pop. How would you describe your music?

CS: I would say indie pop or synth pop. We threw around dance rock for a while.

J: Floral indie, haha.

R: It’s hard to pin it down, I guess.

CS: Yeah, because some of our songs have that stereotypical synth pop kind of feel, some of our songs just rock really hard, and others just have a really chilled out groove. So yeah, it’s really hard to pin it down.

Ryan and Dean, who’s not here, started this band to win a battle of the bands contest. Now, you are on the radio and have over 70,000 plays on Spotify. What does that success feel like?

R: It’s kind of weird. Like, we started in a church basement. I feel like we’ve come a long way, but it hasn’t come far enough to feel super wild. Our first show was me, Dean, and this other guy who hasn’t been in the band for a while. We just got together in a church basement and came up with covers right before we went on stage. It’s cool, but we are still growing.

What is your favorite show you have ever played?

J: I really enjoyed this one, but best and favorite show based on performance would probably be at the Space in Evanston in August 2016. This was the first show with Cale back in the band. I had joined a few months before that, and Cale had just returned to the band, so that was the first show I had ever played with Cale.

R: That was our first headliner of Space, too. I would say our second show at Space in January of this year. I really liked the earlier one, but I would say we were still figuring everything out. I liked being able to feel like we were more solid.

CS: I’m with that, but I also think Hillsdale. It’s always a jam.

R: Every time we play Hillsdale, it’s just wild. Shout out to Hillsdale.

CS:  Mine is in exact tie with the second Space show that we headlined. My god, we meet Ember Oceans, our new band best friends. That has just been a beautiful thing. I think the one that tops it, just because it was so unique and so out there, was our Sofar show. It was acoustic, at Bucketfeet. The doors opened, and within 15 minutes, the whole place was packed. Everyone who performed was amazing. We finished it out, and everyone reacted so well to everything. It was just beautiful.

What is your favorite song to perform live?

CSJ: Mine can change from show to show.

CS: I like “Michigan Again.” That’s probably my favorite.

R: I always have a lot of fun with “Valentine.”

J: The one that I love to play the most but also hate to play the most live is “Can I Be in Love with You” because it absolutely shreds my vocal chords. I get wild on that one.

Can you tell me an embarrassing fact or story about the band member to your right?

CS: This is the only one that needs to be said, haha.

R: It was our first ever photo shoot, and Craig shows up in shorts and flip-flops. We are all in black skinny jeans and boots.

CS: Like, we went out of our way to look good, and Craig walks up and we’re like, “what the fuck?”

R: So, we started calling him Craig Shorts after that. The next practice we had, he showed up in black jeans.

CS: It was relentless after that. You called him that at a show once.

J: More than once! Then, I started changing it to Craig Pants because he actually wore pants to a photo shoot. We were so relieved. All the pictures from that photo shoot have a distinct flavor because they are all cropped from the knee up.

CSJ: There was the time Cale almost knocked over my keyboard.

CS: Oh yeah. That was our first show at Space, my first performance back. I remember the moment so vividly: I jumped during “Crystalized,” right when it stops. I jumped back a little bit and hit Craig’s keyboard. I whipped around and saw it falling forward-- he caught it right before it hit the ground. And I said into the mic, “Craig, I promise not to kill your keyboard in our next song.”

J: I was a camp counselor over the summer. This kid said she was from Cary, Illinois. I said, “The only person I know from Cary is my band mate, Ryan Lammers.” She goes, “Oh, I know Ryan.”

CS: With murder in her eyes.

J: Her older sister is actually the person that “Valentine” is written about.

So what can you tell the Vibe about your upcoming EP?

R: We finished mixing it yesterday; it’s getting mastered tomorrow. It’s got four songs on it.

CS: It’s got a cover. It’s got credits.

R: It’ll be out eventually.

J: There is a 56-string ensemble on one of the songs.

R: It’s a techno country orchestral mix. Craig has a rap verse on one of the songs.

CS: In all seriousness, I’d like to point out that Ryan finished mixing it yesterday. Ryan has been working his ass off. He’s been burning three candles, all at both ends.

R: I just don’t sleep ever.

Do you have any advice for other college students who want to be as successful as you have been?

R: Work, just do it. None of us even go to the same school and we do it.

J: Dean doesn’t even live in the same state and we do it.

CS: I would recommend you leave enough time to do music, schoolwork, volunteer in your community, and practice self-care.

R: Work hard, but take a day off every now and then.
CS: Speaking of self-care, I quit the band for about a year. I just wasn’t in a good place mentally. A few weeks before, we played a show where I just snapped on stage. So I left for a little while and was just not good. But you guys put out “12AM,” and I just thought I had to go back. My love for it came rushing back. I came back to do a musical, and Ryan called me and said, “if you want to come back and play bass for us, we would love to have you.” I remember having this conversation with him, and then I hung up the phone and just started bawling. It was the best thing I could have possibly heard in that moment. If you want to be in a band, be with people you love, and take care of yourself.



Color and Sound Ft. Interdependence

K.P. Peters | April 2017

Interdependence is a Chicago Goth/Punk band composed of three of the world’s funniest guys. Their unique sound comes from China White’s lead vocals, bassist Ruben Salcedo, and drummer Ben Russell. With a new single out, an upcoming album, and music videos in the works, I’m glad to feature them as our next guest on Color and Sound.  Check out more of their music here or on Spotify and iTunes, and see their performance of “Human”.

Interdependence by Lauren Stufflebeam

Interdependence by Lauren Stufflebeam

Describe your sound in 5 words or less.

C: Punk rock ballad, post punk, Goth, Emo.

B: You’re out of words.

R: I got this! Tasty, crunchy, scrumptious, alternative beats.

C: That completely clicked on every level, haha.

All your social media says this is a new era for Interdependence. Can you comment on what the new era is, and how that compares to the old?

C: The old era was when we first started. The band was brand new, completely different members. We were a four piece at the time and we wrote the Self Destructive EP and released that on Halloween 2015. Now, a lot has changed, like the sound, style, and members. We are a trio now.

B: Yeah, one dude ran away.

R: We got a lot tighter, too. Our sound earlier was quickly formulated ideas that we just threw together. This era is much different in that we took more time to think through song structure.

B: I can’t speak to the old era, but we have been playing the new songs every week at every practice for like 8 or 9 months, really 6 or 7, before we went into the studio. We still play those songs the way we had them in November.

How did each of you get into music?

R: I fiddled with guitar years ago when I got this shitty little one, and I was never good at it. I think my mom gave it away. It resurfaced in high school when I went to Whitney Young; they have a really fantastic music program. Shout out to Jeffery Peak, he was my teacher and my mentor. We did everything from making recordings to studying music theory.

C: When I was a kid I started playing guitar when I listened to Green Day’s American Idiot. I remember I was using a water bottle cap as the pick and my mom was like, “Okay I better get you some lessons.” So I took lessons for a while, and started song writing in high school.

B: I moved into middle school and didn’t know anyone. I made one friend who was like a guitar prodigy; he started showing me all kinds of music. Turns out I hate sports, so I quit everything I was doing and started singing with this band he was in. Then we made a separate band. I was still doing vocals, but I started learning guitar. I did that for a few years, then the band broke up and I was trying to find a new band. No band needed guitar or vocals, all they needed were drummers. So I got a crappy drum set at a garage sale and started teaching myself.

C: He kicks ass at drums though.

Interdependence by Lauren Stufflebeam

Interdependence by Lauren Stufflebeam

What is your best band memory?

C: The second show we ever played was TB fest. I remember I dressed all fancy and our drummer dressed all fancy and Ruben showed up wearing Ninja Turtle pants and a Disturbed t-shirt.

R: As you can see I have a history of missing the memo. My bandmates wore black, leather, and denim and I showed up in a purple shirt and cargo shorts. Ben wasn’t in the band yet, but a great memory we have was when we played Reggie’s nightclub. We were a newer band really trying to make a name, and we played with a more established band called The Run Around. So we promoted the hell out of that show, we ended up getting $400 in ticket sales. There were probably over 300 people there that night. It was magic.

B: We played The Drunken Donut, and I had this really shitty cymbal stand. Things were coming unscrewed as I was playing them. About half way through our six minute song, the cymbal came off the stand and landed in my lap. I had to play the rest of the song trying not to let it fall or fuck it up.

C: You pulled it off pretty well.

B: Yeah, some dude tried to come and help, but there wasn’t much to do.

What can you tell us about the music video you have coming out?

C: It’s going to be fun. We start filming soon. It’s for the new single “Let Your Demons Out and Play”. This single is more upbeat than “Human”, which was more of a ballad.

B: I think this song gets more of the feel of this album. “Human” gets a lot of the themes, but “Let Your Demons Out” gets more of the vibe.

R: “Human” was more of an experimentation. China came with an idea, a riff, and in the studio I tried to take that into a late 60’s doo-wop type sound.

B: I tried to take that on too. I was very minimalistic till the end. It was us trying new sounds.

R: Yes, but this new track is a lot closer to our roots, way more aggressive. We go a little crazy and it’s going to show in the video. We are going to be smashing stuff, very angry.

C: Shhhh, you can’t give it all away.

Wait, how many music videos are you working on?

C: Two. We are doing “Human”, “Let Your Demons Out” with a video and then the “Human” music video.

R:  We were looking for a dancer for “Human”, but the concept has changed. We have a little more story to it and a little less ballerina.

What can our readers expect from Interdependence in the future?

 C: The music video, coming very soon, with the new single.

R: Some good ass live shows.

B: Have your ass kicked at a punk rock show!

R: Come out to our live shows. Our live shows capture an essence you can’t find anywhere else.

Interdependence by Lauren Stufflebeam

DIY Dan and the Party Vibe

K.P. Peters | April 2017

DePaul students sure know how to throw a good party, and a vital part of that is the music. The right DJ can make or break the vibe, so we sat down with popular DJ DIY Dan to talk about his music and the party scene.

Describe your music in 5 words.

 Strange, upbeat, bass heavy, space.

Space is a weird one, haha.

Yeah, I like to get the weird samples. If you’ve ever listened to Space Jesus or any kind of rhythm dubstep, they use really cool samples. I want to do that but with house music.

What inspires you when you are making a beat?

I listen to a lot of artists that inspire me. Ever since I saw Disclosure do a DJ set, I knew I wanted to do that. Also, you have to have something you are writing about, a feeling you want to ignite. I usually go for a feeling, like what kind of vibe I want.

What’s it like performing at DePaul parties?

You have to do a little bit for yourself and a little bit for them. People like different music than what I like, so I can’t just play all my tunes. You have to read the crowd for what they want and what you think they want. You can’t just put on all experimental beats before they are ready for it; you have to work up to it. It is fun to see people’s reactions to a song. I love doing it.

What is your funniest story from performing at a DePaul party?

There are always people trying to request songs, and like, that’s fine. But there was this mob of girls all trying to request a Beyoncé song, I don’t even know what it was. I was like, “I’m sorry, I don’t have it on my computer, I’m sorry.” They really wanted it, so I had to download it on my computer in the moment. I haven’t seen anything too crazy yet in terms of crowds.

How can people book you for future gigs?

On my SoundCloud there is an email address, I’m free to do events on the weekends, and I’d love to do more parties.

What can we expect from you in the future?

Right now, I’ve been pretty busy with school, but over the summer I’m going to really dive in. I’m still brainstorming, but I know I want a cohesive collection of songs. It’s going to be high passed dance music. I think I’m going to collaborate with a few vocalists and rappers too.

After that talk, we did a series of rapid-fire questions. I asked short and easy questions, and DIY Dan had four seconds to answer each. I hope you enjoyed getting to know your local DJ and catch him at a party near you.

Favorite song?

Disclosure – When a Fire Starts to Burn

Cats or dogs?


If you were an ice cream flavor, what flavor would you be?

Chocolate swirl.

Boxers or briefs?


Best brand of mac and cheese?

The golden one. Velveeta!

One thing you would eat at the stu?

 Chicken creaser wrap. I just had it and I would have it again.


PINE - The Band, Not The Tree

Alicia Maciel | April 6, 2017

"You should play a Tetris game so I can watch you and see what happens." 

Loading their gear back into their van as it’s pouring outside of Music Garage, PINE just wrapped up their first Chicago performance where they played to an intimate crowd of 10 people. 

PINE is a 5-piece alternative Canadian rock band that just got signed to No Sleep Records. Their style highlights the importance of live performance and can easily remind any listener of older music with a contemporary twist. 

After their haunting, captivating, and inspiring performance full of improvisation and emotions, I sat down with PINE’s members - Joey Demers, Holden Egan, Darlene Deschamps, Peter Ellman, Andrew Turenne.

The first thing that came to mind was why name the band PINE? Turns out, the band had only 3 days to pick a name before the release of a music video. They filled journals with potential names and phrases. As they acknowledged their longing to choose the right name, they were pining for it. In short, PINE derives from the verb and not a tree. 

Sitting with them, the atmosphere was so relaxed and inviting that I began to wonder how long they’ve known one another. All members of PINE come from the same music scene in Canada and were apart of bands ranging from metal core to hardcore and even a pop punk band that had zero breakdowns. They each highlighted their love for Ottawa as the music community there continues growing reeling in more kids, eclectic and diverse lineups, and massive turnouts for house shows leaving some attendees outdoors since they maxed on capacity.

Andrew, Darlene, Holden, Joey, and Peter strive to attend shows whenever they’re not on the work grind or tour grind. Their passions for music have outlets other than just performing collectively as PINE. Peter writes for a publication in which he does album reviews, interviews, and has a desire to begin live concert reviews. Joey works at a studio where he’s a producer. Andrew, Darlene, and Joey have musicians as parents which heavily influenced them to live their passions as their careers. 

Having had seen them onstage and describing their performance as waves of sound and mutilation, I was curious to learn their tactics for playing live and composition. PINE views recordings as templates of how to play live and its best to play with your emotions rather than sticking to the script. Andrew, the bassist, syncs with Joey, the drummer, to bring the rhythm section to life. Darlene’s lead vocals change with the feelings of the songs and the pedals she uses. From having gear commitment issues and playing with a new pedal that same night, Holden experiments with the guitar and emphasizes the fact that songs are never actually finished.  

PINE confides in each other’s music abilities and work together as a unit rather than individuals. Joey often brings a composition to the table and after everyone feels it out, they go through their individual processes to personalize their instruments. Each member then harnesses their emotions for the song and come together to finalize a track as they work best feeding off one another. It’s Andrew’s first time playing bass in a band and from relearning different styles and incorporating his ideas, the love he has for bass is not going to fade. Joey’s natural talents for multiple instruments led him to do vocals, guitar, and, as noted previously, composition. 

Music Garage was closing around midnight and I had to ask the question that was on the tip of my tongue. I asked PINE what the inspiration was for the opening song of their performance, as it fluctuated emotionally yet had light guitars and deeper vocals than the other tracks. “Doyla” is PINE’s only song not about love. Instead, it’s about the band itself, wanting to achieve something and sacrificing practically everything for it to build upon that. 

PINE is one of the best new bands I have seen this year with a female lead vocalist. From their love of chorus pedals to music and Joey, they’re only going to keep growing. Check out their latest single here.

Bumsy & the Moochers

Nikki Roberts | April 2017

Since 2012, Bumsy and the Moochers have been playing their danceable ska grooves in venues across the Chicagoland area. After seeing the group perform this past summer at The Drunken Donut in Joliet, I knew I had to catch their latest show at Reggie's with So Pretty, The Two Tens, and The Dollyrots. Before their set, the band sat down with me to do an interview about their sound and the Chicago scene. For the sake of coherency, the responses from all six band members have been reduced to one combined, conversational answer.

If you had to pick two animals to describe your sound, what would those animals be?

Bumsy & the Moochers: That is an awesome question. A kookaburra and a walrus. 

-Or an elephant! Because its trunk could be a horn.

-That's a trunk, not a horn. Rhinos have horns.

-This is a hard one, but definitely a kookaburra. Those are Australian birds that are really obnoxious. 

From releasing Bored Up! in 2015 to Easily Distracted in 2016, how has your sound changed? What was the recording process like for each of those releases?

B: It changed a lot, a whole lot. Just the overall way we wrote songs changed. We changed guitarists and we learned how to write better music.

-Definitely. Our song writing changed and got a lot better. Our horn lines did, too. 

-This time around, we focused on recording more than we did on the first album. Hearing yourself [recorded] definitely helps a ton, too. 

If you had to play one at one Chicagoland venue for the rest of your musical career, which venue would you choose?

B: Probably Reggie's.

-The Metro is mine, because that's the place I've always gone to shows. 

-Or the Riviera. 

-I say Reggie's cuz I've always loved playing here. I've played here since high school. I've always liked the crowds at Reggie's, too. Plus it's got a record store and you can eat! 

-Every body who comes to a show at Reggie's knows what they're getting in to; they're just more excited to be there as opposed to some places where people end up at the bar and there's also a show going on. 

-I was gonna say Sub T, but there's too many stairs.

-Oh, that reminds me! RIP Double Door. Double Door would be #2 because that place was fun. That was one of the first big venues we played. 

What are your summer plans?

B: We've been talking about touring for awhile, but nobody can get a week off of work! Probably towards the summer; we're talking about doing some long weekends.

-We're playing in Bloomington and Milwaukee again in April and May, so mini tour type things.

-We're talking about getting back in the studio sometime after July to turn our EP into a full length album. We already pretty much have an album; right now we have a lot of songs in pocket that we're working on perfecting.

Last question: crucial thanx. Anyone you want to thank? Bands, people, random bums?

B: Nope! We did it this by ourselves.

-I would like to thank the 90's for the entire ska push.

-All of our friends who came out to shows in the beginning

-All the other ska bands. When we started, it was pretty much just the four of us: CROSSTOWN, Run N Punch, and Public Divide,

-Oh ! And Beat the Smart Kids and Waste Basket

-Now I feel that there are more ska bands and every body's got their own traction, so I feel that every body's more spread out than they used to be.

-Now every body's getting in to the punk scene and the ska scene, so we share shows. In the beginning we were playing with all hardcore bands like The Pervert Preachers; we really stood out.

-I'd say thanks to all the people who came out to the hardcore punk shows, and then we'd be playing "YMCA", and people still dug us.

-We should thank Jurassic Park; that's why I wrote the song "JP Knows How To Party." They're awesome! Best taco truck.

Color and Sound Ft. Victor Orozco

K.P. Peters | April 2017

Welcome to Color and Sound! For this project, we’ve scoured The Dojo, SoundCloud, and private Facebook pages to bring you some talented POCs on a biweekly basis. I’ve had the honor of sitting down with these musicians and discussing their musical history, their experiences in Chicago, and the exciting places they are going. For the first interview, I talked with Victor Orozco, a local singer-songwriter. Though he just recently moved to the city from Michigan, I believe his talent is definitely worth noticing. Check out our talk below along with a private performance here.

Victor Orozco by Star Swink

Victor Orozco by Star Swink

Describe your music in 4 words?

Blues with a soul.

How did you first get into making music?

I got a guitar at 11 for Christmas. There was a big present under the tree a week before. I asked my dad, “Whose is this?” because there was no tag on it. He said, “it’s an exercise machine for your mom.” Then Christmas came around, and all the presents were opened. They called me over to the tree and told me to unwrap it. I fought them for, like, 15 minutes saying it wasn’t mine. Eventually, I ripped it open and lost my shit. I had been asking for a guitar for years.

I started learning to play for a worship team at my church only to realize later in life that that’s not what I want to do. In the past two years, my writing has changed significantly. I was convinced I had to write Christian songs because of the church I went to. Then, I stopped. That’s when I realized I could write songs I want to write. It kind of renewed my passion for music. Something just clicked where I wanted to take this seriously, and the progression I’ve made just from last January to now just blows my mind.

The last song you put out was titled Paramount Castle. Can you comment on that a bit?

I wrote that with a friend. It’s the only co-written song I’ve done. We spent two months on it. I wrote the first verse; he wrote the second. We would sit down and just play, play, play, then freeze up, get upset, and just walk away from it. We were supposed to play it at our college talent show, but he had to go to Iowa. What the hell is in Iowa?! Instead, I did another song, The Wizard in my Tree. Every time I play with this guy, he shows me something new, and this time, he showed me this chord progression. It eventually turned into the fastest song I’ve ever written, along with the longest song. I wrote that in ten minutes flat.

Can you tell us what that song is about?

A girl, haha. It’s about a girl that won’t let you in. The line goes, “tell me all your secrets that I know are there,” trying to get her to talk to the guy. Then it goes, “let me be your hero break right through,” going with, like, a comic book theme. The second verse is actually my favorite: “been stuck in these dreary halls for too long.” It’s the idea that we are stuck in a lonely castle, and the girl reminds us of better days. It’s a little basic, haha.

How would you describe being a part of the DIY Chicago scene?

A friend of mine suggested it to me. I just moved back to Chicago about two months ago and happened to go to Refuge Live. They have a cool open mic scene on Wednesday nights, mostly hip-hop. It was really cool because with a lot of the open mics I go to, you walk in and immediately see, like, 15 guitars. It’s like a bunch of guys trying to be Bob Dylan. So, I happened to go to Refuge Live and did a set there. Then, I ran into an old friend from high school who is in a band called Attack the Sound. He gave me a lot of suggestions. He told me I’d have to do a lot of free shows out here the first few months, told me to network, and then showed me the DIY page.

Any memorable moments?

Back when I was living in Michigan, I was involved with the open mic community and the art community. One of the ones I regularly attend was doing an award thing. I didn’t expect it, but they gave me an award for best singer-songwriter. It’s this little plastic trophy with a crooked tag on it. I still have it, haha. Out here, I haven’t played as much yet. The last show I played only had two people in the crowd. I don’t have a lot of friends yet.

What can our readers expect from you in the future?

I have radio interviews coming up-- one with Wardens Midwest Radio/UIC Radio on April 21st at 9. Where I work, there is a local DJ that comes in all the time, and we are working on a radio interview for August. I have a show at RPM Music Chicago on the 22nd for Record Day. It’ll be all original material. I’m also working on an EP as every artist is. I’m dropping my mix tape soon. It’ll be seven songs; I’m just not sure which songs. I’m also collaborating with a lot of rap artists in the area. Nothing super solid, but a lot is coming in the next two months. This is very much the baby phase of everything for me, but I’m starting to turn it up a notch.

Victor Orozco by Star Swink

Victor Orozco by Star Swink

Bomb the Burbs

Nikki Roberts | March 2017

The boys in Bad Timing, a five-piece ska band, and Death of Self, a three-piece speed punk band, recently released Bomb the Burbs, a split EP that is wreaking havoc across suburbia by uniting skankers and head bangers alike. To add to the mayhem, the bands co-hosted an EP release show this past Saturday, March 25th, that featured a lineup with fellow suburbanites Travesura, Infinite Knottage, and The Electric Excuse Me's. The show was held at The Liquor Store, a new DIY venue in Brighton Park.

After both bands played at Jurassic Park on March 17th, I had the opportunity to talk with vocalist/guitarist Spencer Sisson of Bad Timing and drummer Joe Ott of D.O.S about their latest combined release, the progression of each of their bands, and their reception at the release show.

How would you describe Bad Timing’s sound in 5 words or less?
Spencer Sisson of Bad Timing: ILL SKA FROM THE BLACKHOLE
You released your first album, Busy Doin Nuthin, just a few months ago. What was that like? How is Bombs the Burbs different from that first release?
S: Releasing Busy Doin Nuthin felt amazing! For it being our very first release, I think it was really well-received. Friske Morris even gave it a good review on his podcast! That was really cool. As for Bomb the Burbs, I think it will be just as well-received. We're really happy with the way it sounds. Nick from D.O.S did a fantastic job with it. I think it sounds better than Busy Doin Nuthin!

As the title implies, Bomb the Burbs has a pretty clear animosity towards the suburbs. How would you say growing up/living in suburbia has shaped your sound and your direction as a band?
S: Growing up in the suburbs, you'll find that there isn't much to do when you're a broke teenager. Bad Timing was formed out of boredom. Me and Rob have been friends since freshman year of high school and have been jamming together since then. Up until senior year, it was just to pass the time. Then, we asked Wade (who went to the same school as us) to play bass, and it kind of took off from there. 

What are Bad Timing’s plans for this summer? Any specific shows or releases in the works?
S: We are definitely trying to go on tour! I'm trying to get us onto the Bowl Bash at Skatopia! It's been a dream of mine to go to that for years. Playing it would be so cool!

Finally, any specific people/bands/artists/bums in the scene you'd like to thank?
S: I wanna thank the bands Death of Self and Bombflower for helping us get our music out there and being homies! Also, so, so much love is owed to all the dads who come out to every show. We would be absolutely nothing without them! 
Your first EP, The Truth, came out last October. What was different about hitting the studio this time around for Bomb the Burbs?
Joe Ott of Death of Self: When we recorded the EP, The Truth, we recorded on a small Tascam 8-track. For this EP, we have an 8-input Studio One setup, so we were able to use more mics on the drums to get a better sound. Nick has also gotten better with recording, so we were able to acquire a more refined sound.
How has Death of Self progressed musically since the release of The Truth?
J: Compared to our new material, The Truth was written fairly quickly because we just wanted to get our name out there and get noticed. Now that we are fairly established, we are able to take a step back and take our time on our newer material. With this EP, the song structures are more complex with improved vocal melodies and harmonies.
You guys have been playing a lot of shows this winter. Any memorable moments? Favorite venues? Upcoming gigs?
J: Some of our favorite shows would include playing with Bombflower at the Fallout a few months back. We also played a show up in Harvard, Illinois and got a good reception from the people and were offered future shows, which is always awesome. We also played a show at "The Weenie Hut," which is the jam space for the band The Audio Dead. At that show, one guy was so drunk to the point where he ended up getting kicked out because he peed in the kitchen sink. That was a good time.
Your sound, described as “Bad Religion but on speed,” is quite a contrast from Bad Timing’s. What inspired you guys to collaborate on this split release?
J: Us and Bad Timing, although stylistically different, we are both around the same age group and are fairly newer bands to the scene. We thought that releasing an EP together would influence younger people to start up bands. We also thought that covering each other's songs on this EP would be a great idea because there has been a lack of stylistic differences at most shows. We wanted to try to bring different genres of music together.
How was the release show? Was the EP well-received?
J: The turnout of the show was amazing for just a few kids like us running it. Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves and loved all the bands that played. It was great meeting a lot of new people and starting to make better connections with the scene. So far, we have received great feedback about our performance and our split with Bad Timing.
You can listen to Bomb the Burbs on Bandcamp.


A Chat with Corral

K.P. Peters | March 2017

Recently, I sat down with two-thirds of Corral, a young alternative band, to talk about their upcoming album, Leche, tattoos, and their story so far. It would have been the full band, but unfortunately, drummer JP was busy drunkenly rapping with a homeless man on the streets of Chicago. Regardless, lead singer/guitarist Danny Kulaski and bassist Michael Thomas had a lot to say. You can check out the interview below, photos on our photography page, and a private performance on our YouTube channel. Corral can be found on Spotify, iTunes, Bandcamp, and any social media (@corraltheband).

You guys worked together before in a band called Captain Hates the Sea. Talk about the difference between that project and Corral.
D: Night and day.
M: We all have different experiences with that band because Danny was an original member. I joined when the bass player moved because my cousin, Joe, was in the band. That’s how me and Danny met. For me it was like “we just need a bass player, you just need to show up.” So that’s what my investment was, and my intention was just to have fun. And it was very fun, but I wasn’t very involved in the writing process.
D: It was very different for me. I was the youngest member of the group. We started it when I was 17. It was like a screamo/electronica band, riding that whole wave. It was a lot of fun, but it was very serious. Our goal was to expand and be a touring group. With that came a lot of self imposed pressure. After working on that for a while, I just kind of started growing out of it. We broke off, and I started working on these songs that would eventually become Corral in total opposition of that. We used to play to a click track with in-ear monitors and all these synced up synthesizers, and there were like 6 of us. There were a lot of schedules to maintain and a lot of technical things that could go wrong, so with Corral, we cut the size of the band in half, no click tracks, totally raw, more free form, rough around the edges type of feel. Not to say that I didn’t love playing in that band-- it’s all of my best friends, but we were young trying to figure it out.

You guys have been working together for 7 years, that’s crazy. Can you comment on the progression you have gone through as a band?
M: Danny pretty much started Corral while we were still in the Captain, so he’s the seed. Alex Rodriguez was like the first water to hit the seed. That early on stuff is a lot more lo-fi, both how we recorded it and how it sounded.
D: It was more invested in emo rock sensibilities. Alex has a very particular rolling melody kind of feel. I think that it’s shifted gears into a more experimental rock place rather than an emo rock, but still a part of that tradition.
M: You have a box you create. At a certain point, you are pushing that box to see how far you can go, but you need to go the other way and start honing in on it. I think now we’re honing in on a heavier sound, a little bit more of an aggressive sound but still coming from that emo place.
D: Our whole thing is about dynamics, simplicity, and rhythms. I listen to mostly hip-hop music to be honest, but I grew up listening to a bunch of other stuff. So it’s just bringing that flavor into what we’re doing.

Your last release was called Rain Dance. What was your favorite track to perform off of that album?
M: I think mine is Trouble because that was the first song where I was like, “hey, look, I can just do this bass line.” And it’s like a minute and a half, and I think that’s awesome.
D: Probably “Rain Dance” because it’s really hard. When we really hit it I’m like fuck yeah. It’s really satisfying.

What song means the most to you from that album?
M: Mine is “Bad News.” That one just really hits the feels.
D: “Bad News” was really just embarrassingly honest for me. A couple of the songs off that album are pretty directly about a few people. They expressed discontent with that.
M: I think “Bad News” is just relatable. I’ll always be going through life wanting to talk to Danny about writing a song about what I’m feeling, then he’ll come and say he’s got a new song. It’s like he can vocalize my thoughts without even having those conversations. The last two records have just been lining up with my life perfectly.

This spring, you guys are set to release Leche. That’s very exciting. How would you describe this new album?
D: Leche is definitely a growth point for Corral. I like it because it feels like a cohesive musical thought. It definitely was a collision of two periods of Corral. It was recorded in two parts, like the first five songs and the second five songs.
M: I think it’s the best version of Corral yet, and I’ve loved all the previous versions of it.
D: It’s a harder version of Corral. It’s a little less ‘sing-songy.’ I often describe Corral, and I would describe Leche more specifically, as upset. It’s not mad, it’s not sad, we aren’t screaming we are kind of yelling; it’s upset.

What’s your favorite song on Leche?
D: It changes like everyday. Probably “Slang,” it’s a really hard rocking, upbeat, choppy song. It’s kind of fun because it has a very american rock feel in the choruses but a very british feel in the verses. And I like the lyrics as well, especially at the end.
M: I think “Slang” is mine too. It’s just catchy, it just grooves. The verse just has this really good groove to it. But I mean I’m pumped on all of them.

Art and music tend to go together? I see you guys try to do that with tattoos. Can you talk about the tattoos you have?
M: I think I stopped counting at 15 or 20 because I knew what my intentions were, to cover myself in them. My right arm (The black and grey arm) is linked up to family members and loved ones, and my colored arm is basically things that I like.
D: Well your back is all Japanese
M: Yeah, my back is all Japanese and my chest is American traditional. I feel like there is a pretty good connection between the tattoo world and the music world.
D: JP, who isn’t here right now, he’s covered in all sorts of wonderful tattoos. Most of his work is done by Josh over by Mayday. I go to Miles at Great Lakes. I just have a couple. Actually, I just made an appointment for a third. I’m getting an apple on a woman’s head, blindfolded.

You guys are really great guys, you must have some funny stories. 
D: We’re pretty juvenile. We are just idiots, lots of talking about dicks.
M: Haha, yeah lots of dick jokes.
D: Michael throws up a lot after we play.
M: I’ve gotten better about it.
D: He’ll just rock the fuck out and then be talking and be all “ughh,” and then keep talking. He’s a very physically expressive bass player.