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Get to Know: Joe Bordenaro

After his support slot last week for the Orwells at the legendary Metro, we chatted with the Chicago singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Joe Bordenaro, who is probably best known for playing around town with his band The Late Bloomers. Joe and his band recently tested out some new songs at The Virgin Hotel, and they've got a show at Schuba's coming up next month with The Evening Attraction that you don't want to miss! Before that show, find out five things you need to know about Joe, including how he got his start in music, what we can expect from his album, and which local band he thinks everyone needs to look out for (we'll give you a's one that we've interviewed). 

He started playing music on a forgotten drum set

Talking about the first time he ever picked up an instrument, Joe says, "One of my parents’ friends left a drum set at my house when I was really little. I just started playing it, that was pretty much the first time I remember getting into playing an instrument. I think that happened when I was like 7 or 8."

From there, Joe recalls venturing into songwriting when he was in high school. "I was in a band, but I was playing drums. Then that band ended up ending and I started writing my own songs," he continued. 

He plans on releasing new music for the first time since 2015

Last month, Joe and The Late Bloomers performed at The Virgin Hotel with American Grizzly and Lucille Furs. Before playing some of his new material at that show, Joe mentioned the next song was new, but joked that all of his songs were probably "new" to this particular crowd. 

Elaborating on the new songs, Joe says, "We just started working on recording for an album. The next thing we put out is gonna be a [full length] album." As far as how many songs the record will be, that's still up in the air, but Joe continued to say, "I just have a lot of music since the last thing I put out was in 2015. I’ve been writing the whole time."  Talking more about his songwriting process, Joe adds, "It’s pretty random. Usually I’ll just listen to a lot of music and learn how they structure it. [With] songs I like, I’ll pay attention to how they’re structured and the keys, and all that, and then try to learn from that." Joe also says he's worked on writing longer songs, but the theme still tends to come back to love. "I write a lot about love. I tend to not have a set theme before I write. I’ll think of a line and base it off that. It’s really like I come up with the theme after the lyrics are written," Joe revealed. 

His influences include Electric Light Orchestra and Fleetwood Mac

Joe says he can pinpoint Fleetwood Mac and Electric Light Orchestra as influences, but he also mentions a couple of other legends while talking about what he listens to. "I listen to Jackson Brown, Tom Petty...I really listen to Chicago bands and Tom Petty. And Electric Light Orchestra. I’ve been getting into the Eagles a lot. I love them," Joe says. 

His love for ELO also includes a love for their production style. At the moment, Joe is working on the record as his own producer, but as far as producers he admires, he says, "I’m super into Jeff Lynne, and 70’s super dry drums," emphasizing he's really into the dry drums sound. He's learned to record his own music through trial and error, but Joe says his advice to other musicians would be to not overthink. "I tend to overthink a lot when it comes to making music. You just gotta do it and it will flesh itself out. I spend half the time thinking about how I want it to go instead of doing it and seeing how it goes. Don’t overthink, just do it," he added. 

A deli platter is the way to his heart

Earlier this year, Joe played Schubas with Wand as part of Tomorrow Never Knows Festival. Talking more about the TNK experience, Joe says, "Yeah, that was the first 'festival' we played. It was really cool, the other bands that were playing. Wand was like, nuts. It’s all people who play with Ty Segall, and they had crazy fuzz pedals. As far as show experiences, every time we’ve played Schubas it’s been amazing, and they’re really nice to us." 

So while Joe loves Schubas, he also shouted out Metro and Chop Shop, both of which he's played in support of The Orwells. "We opened for the Orwells when they played at Chop Shop. That was like the other big show...these are the two biggest we've played. Chop Shop is super nice, they gave us a deli platter," he recalled. There you have easy way to win over a band: a deli platter. 

The local band he thinks you should look out for is....

While we were on the subject of the best local venues, I asked Joe about his favorite local bands, and noticed that he had a Post Animal button on his jacket. "Oh, I love Post Animal. They’re my favorite band. I mean, I love all the bands we’re playing with tonight. But I think everyone needs to look out for Post Animal because they’re like the best musicians," Joe said.

Joe also recommends Max and The Mild Ones, saying "[Max is] a really, really good songwriter. Everyone should listen to him!" When he's not playing with his own band, Joe also plays with The Max and The Mild Ones. 

In addition to the upcoming show at Schubas with The Evening Attraction, it's rumored that Joe Bordenaro will be performing at a Sofar Sounds show in April as well. Grab your tickets to the Treehouse Studio sponsored Schubas show here for only $5, and keep up with everything else new with Joe on his Facebook page. Keep your eyes (and ears) out for new music before the end of the year, and a tour to follow!