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A Chat With: Nightlands

While he may be best known for being the bassist in The War On Drugs and collaborating with many well-known musicians, the multitalented Philadelphian Dave Hartley released his third record under the Nightlands alias earlier this month. The album, I Can Feel The Night Around Me, embraces and enchants listeners with Hartley's layered vocals and soothing synths. Since the May 5th release of the album, Hartley has been on tour playing the new songs to venues around the country. Before the tour makes a stop at Schubas this Thursday, Hartley gave us some insight on the process behind the third album and chatted with us about his experience scoring a film soundtrack, how he balances being in multiple bands, his dream collaboration, and more. 

Photo Credit: Dustin Condren 

Photo Credit: Dustin Condren 


ANCHR Magazine: I’m loving the new album that came out earlier this month! Can you talk a little bit about the process behind writing and recording the record?


Dave Hartley: I write and record simultaneously, pretty much. I just devote a lot of time to... sonic exploration, for lack of a better term. I tinker with drum machines or loops or synths until I find something that feels like a mysterious path, and I'll follow that and try to work our a chord progression. Writing "Lost Moon" felt like the breakthrough, when I really hit a vein. I had been listening to Glen Campbell's Wichita Lineman on repeat for days, and I sat down with my Roland TR-8 drum machine and just sort of put together a chord progression that I thought gave me that same melancholy feeling as Jimmy Webb's classic. Even though it came out sounding more CSN than Glen Campbell, Wichita Lineman was the inspiration. Once I had that song, it felt like my thesis statement had been written and I could finish the album.

AM: How is I Can Feel The Night Around Me different than your first two records, both from your songwriting standpoint and what differences do you notice sonically?

DH: Forget the Mantra was an aesthetic statement more than an exercise in songwriting, even though "300 Clouds" is a strong tune, in my impartial estimation. Oak Island sort of took that aesthetic out of the bedroom and into the outside world, a little bit... still some experimenting but starting to think in terms of songwriting, song craft, etc. I Can Feel the Night Around Me feels like the completion of a trilogy -- seeing the aesthetic vision of Forget the Mantra through to it's conclusion: harmonies, vocal layers, drum machines, dreamlike imagery, etc... but sort of stepping out of the mist a little bit. I came to terms with my voice more on this album, was more deliberate.

AM: What have been some of your favorite songs to play live from the new record, and what can we expect from the set at Schubas later this month? Will it be a mix of old and new material?

DH: I think "Only You Know" and "Depending on You" really take on a new life live... also some of my earlier songs have really morphed with the band. "So it Goes" is probably my favorite song... it's become radically, unrecognizably different than the album version. I should re-record it. At Schubas you'll see some old songs, some new songs... maybe a cover?
 


AM: Speaking of playing live, I saw you've got a show later on this month at The Andy Warhol museum, which is awesome! Do you find that other art forms ever influence your songwriting, and if so, what artists have inspired you?
 

DH: Very excited about that Warhol show... have been wanting to play there for a while. I'm 100% inspired by other media... maybe more than other music. I tend to insulate myself from music while I'm deep in the recording mode. I don't want to be influenced, I want to try to create in a vacuum. But I'll read a lot, find myself gravitating towards certain imagery. "This image makes me feel the way I want to feel." .... You're always looking for signposts to follow, you know? It could be something as simple as a photograph, or a book cover, or a phrase you read in a novel.

AM: What other gigs are you looking forward to on this tour? Any cities you're particularly excited for?
 

DH: Chicago is always a highlight--my sister lives there and it's one of my favorite cities in the US. Asheville is another that I'm pumped for--who can explain why certain geographic locations loom large in our legends? Of course Philadelphia, where I live, where my life is based. I'm excited to play in Philadelphia.

AM: Since you're also in The War On Drugs and there's new material coming out this year from that project, how do you balance being in two active bands at the same time?

DH: Well I don't really overlap the two.. The Drugs has always had a long gestation-release cycle... the albums take a while to make, and then we tour hard for years on them. So really I'll have downtime, and when I have downtime my idle hands gravitate towards the recording studio. But I don't think I'd be able to balance the two concurrently. Being in the Drugs is a full-time job. And vice versa, while Nightlands is a cottage-industry, so to speak, my obsession with recording my albums isn't proportional to my listening-base, if you get my drift. I go deep and long.

AM: How did the opportunity to score 2001: A Space Odyssey come around, and how was the experience of creating a score? Was your process a lot different than when you approach writing for Nightlands?


DH: A local promoter was doing a series where bands would play live and then screen their favorite film. They asked me to participate and I audaciously one-upped him and asked if I could write and perform a live score to 2001, the greatest film ever made. I profoundly regret not recording the evening.. I was scared. It was improvised, in part, and I was just worried it would be a train wreck and didn't allow it to be recorded. There were only 40 people there, or something, and I remember it as being really special. That could be rose-colored hindsight but I'm going with it. I enjoyed the process because it was structured, rigidly, in some ways and completely open in others. I used a massive house organ that I lugged to the venue, a sampler, and my acoustic guitar. Producer/synth-wizard Jeff Ziegler accompanied me. It was great. It can never be recreated.
 


AM: You also collaborate and work with so many other artists. Who’s another artist you'd love to work with that you haven't already?

DH: Cass McCombs. I'm a huge fan and he always plays with shit-tight musicians. I'd welcome the challenge of living up to his body of work.

AM: What other bands or artists have you been listening to recently?

DH: Andy Shauf's latest album stunned me. The Dove and the Wolf, from Paris-via-Philadelphia. Daniel Lanois' latest album is fucking amazing--next level ambient compositions.


Grab your tickets to Nightlands show at Schubas this Thursday, May 25th here, and listen to their new album I Can Feel The Night Around Me below.

 

 

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 hint...it'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 it...an 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!

 

A Chat With: Molly Burch

Austin-based (via Los Angeles) singer songwriter Molly Burch has been out on the road this past month, in support of her debut album Please Be Mine. Recorded live in just one day, the album really showcases Molly's retro-inspired, alluring vocals.  Prior to her show at The Empty Bottle this Thursday with Tim Darcy, we chatted with Molly about everything from her recording process to playing SXSW to her thoughts on The Backstreet Boys. Get to know all that and more in our chat with Molly Burch...

Photo Credit: Dailey Toliver

Photo Credit: Dailey Toliver


ANCHR Magazine: Congratulations on releasing your debut album Please Be Mine last month! How does it feel to have your first album out into the world, and what have been some highlights since the release?

Molly Burch: Thank you so much! It feels like a dream come true. Some of the highlights have been touring with my band and having a record release show in both my hometown of Austin and also my label's home, Brooklyn.

Please Be Mine  Album Artwork

Please Be Mine Album Artwork

AM: Where did you pull influence from for your songwriting on the record?

MB: My main influence has always been women vocalists. I've been singing all my life and when I started to write songs I would focus on the voice first above all else. Billie Holiday, Nancy Sinatra, Peggy Lee are all women I've been listening to since I was a kid. 

AM: Do you think that moving from LA to Austin had an effect on your writing and your sound?

MB: I think the act of moving to a new place and having the independence and solitary time had a big impact on my songwriting. 

AM: As far as recording, I know you recorded a lot of your album in a live setting in one day. What were some of the biggest challenges with recording in such a high-pressure scenario?

MB: I don't recall any challenges. It was a pretty simple and relaxed process. I wanted the recordings to reflect how we sounded live and my and I felt comfortable with the songs enough to track live. It was a really fun and relaxed day!

AM: I recently talked to Tim Darcy and he mentioned the tour has been going great. What have been some of your favorite shows and cities to play in while touring with Tim?

MB: Are you trying to make me blush? Ha! I adore him and his band. We're having such a great time. Every city has been super wonderful. I think we all really enjoyed playing D.C. 

AM: What’s your favorite way to stay entertained on the long drives during tour? Any new music, podcast, or book recommendations?

MB: We've been listening to a lot of music. To name a few, Hand Habits, John Andrew & The Yawns, lots of jazz, a couple podcasts here and there. This leg of tour I brought to read "The War of Art" by Steven Pressfield and "The Girls" by Emma Cline. Also, my dear planner will keep my mind occupied. Couldn't live without my planner.

AM: You just played SXSW last week.  As an Austin resident, what are some of your tips for first time SXSW festival goers?

MB: Yes, we just played SXSW. Not sure I have any tips! Haha. As a performer it can be extremely overwhelming on the brain. I like to rest us much as possible between shows and not over do it. It is hard to stay sane with all of the stimulation. 

AM: On the same subject of SXSW, what are some of your other favorite bands that played the festival this year?

MB: Tim Darcy! WAND, Living Hour, Jay Som, Jess Williamson, Hand Habits and Mega Bog. Also, saw Kevin Morby play an acoustic set and was very happy about that!

AM: Since your bio mentions that you grew up with Hollywood musicals, what is your all-time favorite musical?

MB: Gypsy!

AM: So, this is kind of cheesy, but since your album is called Please Be Mine, I thought it might be cool to do a lightning round of “Please Be Mine or Decline” of some kind of polarizing things to get to know you better. 

MB: So fun! Would be happy to.

AM: Coffee?

MB: BE MINE

AM: Scary movies?

MB: DECLINE

AM: Snowy days?

MB: BE MINE

AM: Nutella?

MB:DECLINE

AM: Spicy food?

MB: BE MINE

AM: Country music?

MB: BE MINE

AM: Pineapple on pizza?

MB: BE MINE

AM: The Backstreet Boys?

MB: DECLINE

AM: Cilantro?

MB: BE MINE 

AM: Rom Coms?

MB: BE MINE


Make sure you grab a copy of the beautiful album Please Be Mine hereIf you're in Chicago, you have two chances to see Molly in the upcoming weeks. She'll be playing with the equally awesome Jude Shuma and Tim Darcy this Thursday at the The Empty Bottle. Grab tickets, starting at just $10, here. You can also see her at Schubas on April 7th! 

A Chat With: Tim Darcy

Last week, we chatted with the Montreal based singer-songwriter Tim Darcy, who has just released his debut solo album in February. After previously releasing two albums with his band Ought, Tim is currently on tour in support of his new album, called Saturday Night. Tim took some time to chat with us prior to his show in Richmond, Virginia. Before the tour stops at The Empty Bottle on March 23rd, get to know Tim Darcy as we chat about his departure towards solo music, his nomadic lifestyle, his favorite poets, SXSW, and more! 

Photo Credit: Shawn Brackbill

Photo Credit: Shawn Brackbill


ANCHR Magazine: Your debut solo album just got released last month. First of all, congrats! Second, how has the response and reception been?

Tim Darcy: It’s been great. I’m really stoked about it. It’s really amazing to me still...some of these songs I’ve been carrying with me for quite a while. The record’s pretty different from Ought. All the way up to the friends I made it with, to [Jagjaguwar] wanting to put it out, and then now hearing from people who really like the record has been really special and awesome.

AM: So what are some of the main differences between working now on your solo music and being in your band Ought?

TD: In the band we do everything collaboratively.  Pretty much all the songs come out of long jams that we do together. Writing solo is utterly different, and it’s just me composing alone. There’s a lot more freedom in that to sort of follow a really intimate moment. Also freedom to play directly to my influences. I had a really great opportunity making this record, working really closely with two friends who produced the record. To experiment and sort of follow each moment as far down the rabbit hole as we wanted to go. So those were some of the differences.

AM: You just mentioned that you had the freedom now to follow your influences, so who would you consider your influences?

TD: The year leading up to making this record, the most immediate stuff, I was listening to pretty exclusively folk and ambient music. So that was kind of interesting. I was listening to lots of ambient music in the van, and that was an interesting moment to feel those come out on the two instrumental pieces on the record, which isn’t something I had prior to this. I’d been writing solo music for a long time, pretty much since I got my first guitar. I never had done ambient stuff. [My] influences really pull from a lot of different areas. I love...when I was first starting out, I was into really kind of big names in folk stuff, like Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell...As time goes on I love other artists who are very lyrical, but kind of more adventurous with their sonic pallet.

AM: Nice, so then talking a little more about the tour that you’re on with the record, have there been any highlights, like favorite shows that you’ve played or maybe something that you got to see while you’re in a city for the first time?

TD: Totally, last night was actually amazing. That was one of my favorite shows in DC. This great venue, Black Cat. It was really just a great show. I’m out with this three piece, two good friends, and great musicians.. Charlotte, who plays on the record, is drumming, and then a friend Rachel is playing bass and viola. So she’s doing like the guitar stuff on the record on viola. It works really awesome live. Part of what’s been awesome is we had a few weeks in Toronto to kind of put the show together, but even when we first had those release shows...We had shows in New York and Toronto then we flew to Europe for a week, all those shows were great. Now we’re doing this run down to South By [SXSW] and back, and everything’s really leveling out and clicking...great musical chemistry. It’s partly because of that and partly because the crowd was awesome [last night], it was really dope. A highlight? Right now I’m loving the fact that I’m in a t-shirt. The first show of this tour was in Montreal and it was like -3 Fahrenheit and we were just freezing our faces off. Then 5 days later and I’m in a t-shirt.

AM: So you just mentioned SXSW, you’re going down there then?

TD: Yeah, so that’s the midway point [of this tour]. We’re actually doing these whole three weeks with this artist Molly Burch. She’s based in Austin so that’s pretty cool.

AM: Are there any other bands showcasing that you’re hoping to see out there?

TD: Yeah, we’re playing like 5 shows so I don’t know how much time there’ll be, but there’s a couple of other friends who are playing. I toured with a band LVL UP. I haven’t seen them since their new record came out, and I really like that record. Our friends Priests are gonna be down there. I gotta look at the sched and see who’s playing. Do you have any hot tips?

AM: There’s so many people...I just interview Alex Lahey last week, she’s really good. She’s from Australia, singer-songwriter...really cool lyrics, relatable lyrics. There’s a couple bands from Chicago playing...Post Animal is really good, NE-HI...Rag’N’Bone Man, he’s from Brighton, England. This is his first time over in the states. Sorry for that tangent of SXSW artists!

TD: No, I’m stoked to have some names to look up!

AM:So are there any other cities that you’re looking forward to on the rest of the tour?

TD: I’m so stoked to go to Savannah, Georgia. I’ve never been. I really feel like I’m gonna really dig it. I’ve heard from a lot of people that it’s an amazing place. I just watched Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. It’s really good, it’s got Kevin Spacey and John Cusack. It’s based on the book, which is based on a true story. The movie is awesome and it just seems like a kind of freaky, southern, cool, mysterious little place. I’m excited to check it out.

AM: Nice, I haven’t been either so that sounds awesome, and I’ll check that movie out too. So while we’re talking about traveling and all that...you were born in Arizona, and you’ve lived in Colorado and New Hampshire. Now you’re based in Montreal, so do you think moving around a lot has kind of influenced your songwriting?

TD: Yeah, I think so. I was actually talking about this with the band last night. We’ve all...3 out of the 4 of us are American so we were talking about having moved around a lot. It’s funny, like also the internet is such a kind of stir-stick. Those things are still really significant, but I feel like I, and so many people, consume so much media and so much art. But in an amazing way, like even you just recommended me an artist who’s from Brighton, who now I’m gonna see in Texas. So the world feels very mobile in a way that I think is really awesome. As far as the southwest influence, my mom really brought a lot of that with us to New Hampshire. That filtered into my consciousness much more strongly, in a really significant way.

AM: What made you settle in Montreal then?

TD: I went to school there, and that’s where I met the guys in Ought. The band got signed, so we stayed there. It is a really great city...it’s cold, but it’s an awesome city and rent is cheap. So that’s been the zone.

AM: I haven’t been, but it’s towards the top of my list. Do you have any recommendations of things to do and good spots for music?

TD: Definitely go in the summer. It’s amazing in the summer. Casa De Popolo is my favorite small venue. There’s always really great stuff happening there. As far as bars and stuff, go to Little Italy and Jean Talon Market. You can get like the best fruit and vegetables and a bottle of wine and go sit in the park. That’s kind of an essential Montreal experience. You can get like a baguette and cheese and it’s legal to drink in most of the parks. It’s so beautiful...go to Park De La Fontaine. You gotta try poutine if you haven’t. 

AM: You’re like a Montreal expert now! So talking more about your songwriting, you’ve been writing poetry since the third grade. Do you have any certain poets or favorite poems that got you into writing?

TD: Totally, I love poetry. It’s such a long standing art for me. I kind of still enjoy it in a really organic way. There’s never been a period in my life where I’ve really like put it down. I definitely would recommend...I really love poetry that sort of has almost like a cosmic depth to it. Where it feels like it’s reflecting on something large, like through little moments. I was describing this in an interview a couple weeks ago and they said that kind of sounds like your whole vibe, and I said I guess you’re right, I’m really into that. So there’s this Polish poet, Wisława Szymborska, check her out. She won the Pulitzer Prize. There’s this poet Charles Simic, who’s Yugoslavian. I really love his stuff. I think a poet who has consistently almost made me come to tears is Emily Dickinson. I think she has a kind of like, the way she writes can be a little dense, but once you get into the flow...you know how when you’re reading a novel, and the first couple of pages, you’re not totally in the flow of the way the person writes. Then you get a chapter in, and you get it down? I think with her poetry, once you get down with it, there’s almost a surrealism about life and the human spirit and stuff.

AM: Very cool. I think the fact that you’re so into poetry makes you a better songwriter. It’s cool how poetry can be so wide ranging as far as the different styles. So last question, any other bands you’re really into at the moment? Anyone you’ve been rocking out to on tour?

TD: We just bumped that band Bitchin’ Bajas from Chicago. That is the best driving music. It’s so good. We’ve been listening to the Molly Burch record, that’s really good. Just such beautiful songs. I guess the most recent thing is the Luke Temple album, the new one. The first couple songs I was like yeah this is cool, then sort of half way through it got super heavy and like, adventurous and deep in fear in a couple of those tracks.


Chicago, get your tickets to Tim's show on March 23rd now. In addition to Molly Burch, he's playing with ANCHR Interview Alumni Jude Shuma, so you don't want to miss out! You can see all of Tim's other tour dates here. You can also grab Saturday Night here

Catching Up With In Tall Buildings

On Day 2 of Daytrotter Downs, the Chicago-based group In Tall Buildings played a beautiful afternoon set. Afterwards, the man behind In Tall Buildings, Erik Hall, sat down with me to talk about what he's been up to since the release of his second album Driver, which he released in 2015. We chatted about what's next for 2017 as far as music and tour, working with other bands, Chicago venues, the art of recording and producing your own music, and more. Here are 7 things I learned from catching up with In Tall Buildings...

Photo Credit: Caleb Condit

Photo Credit: Caleb Condit

He Has A New Album Coming Soon

During In Tall Buildings' Saturday afternoon set at Daytrotter Downs, Erik mentioned that they were trying out some new songs during the set, which was only their second time trying them out live. "[Tomorrow Never Knows] was the first time I played a couple of those new ones. Tonight we kind of brushed them off and tried them again," Erik revealed when I asked about the new material.  "There’s a new album that’s practically done. It will be coming out, later this year," he continued. 

Along with the album, we can also expect a tour from In Tall Buildings. "We'll certainly do some playing once this record is out. I'd like to do some dates in the Fall, and then maybe let the record exist for a while. Maybe go out again in the Spring next year. Nothing’s on the calendar, but we’ll definitely do some touring," Erik says. Since In Tall Buildings has never played on the West Coast, Erik also mentions one of their goals for the new album is to make it out there. 

The new album was recorded at his home studio, as usual, but there's one thing that's different...

For Erik's previous two records as In Tall Buildings, In Tall Buildings and Driver, he recorded them at his home studio as the artist, engineer, and producer.  For his third album, he enlisted in the help of another Chicago-based producer. "The main difference is that with this album I’m working with a producer. He’s been working with me at my place, at my home studio. This record includes his input. In terms of just kind of getting the songs to the finish line, and shaping the sounds...and also just the kind of honing the song themselves, the song craft," Erik says. 

Elaborating on his righthand man for this record, Erik says, "His name is Brian Deck. He’s in Chicago as well. He’s worked with Modest Mouse, Califone, and Iron and Wine a bunch. So it’s been really cool, it’s been really fun, and just kind of a load off to have somebody else make some of the decisions." 

The songwriting style of "Album 3" is a departure for Erik, but not a drastic one

"There’s not any drastic change in where I’m driving influence for my songs. It’s just the main change with this new record is I'm trying to really reduce the amount of time between when I start writing a new song and when I finish that new song. So, not letting myself sit for so long with a song in progress. And just really trying to act on impulses, and not be so utterly precious with every single decision that needs to be made. It’s kind of a serious leap to take," Erik says.

Although it's been a big leap, Erik says he thinks it worked out well. Continuing on that subject, he says, "I’m psyched about the record... I can't wait for people to hear it. I think it sounds different from Driver. I don’t know if people will necessarily think that it’s such a departure, but for me it is."

Balancing his time between In Tall Buildings and his other projects has been surprisingly easy

Erik is involved in a few other bands, but the main one he works with is Wild Belle, who are also from Chicago. Despite touring with Wild Belle, Erik was able to complete the next In Tall Buildings album fairly easily. "It’s actually amazing how well it works to have both projects...that are so different and that take such different energy on my part. I’ve made my last two records now while also being on and off the road with Wild Belle. I think if I didn’t have those tour dates creating structure in my schedule, I don’t know if I would have gotten a record done," he says.

Erik continues on to say he's found a really great match with Wild Belle, adding, "Luckily there haven’t been a whole lot of times where there’s actually a conflict of schedule. They, being my best friends, and Quinn, who’s in both bands with me... it’s just so easy to coexist."

He also says he'll be heading out to Austin with Wild Belle to play one show as Wild Belle, so if you're heading down there as well, make sure you check it out!

He's out of the loop with Chicago bands, but he's a pro when it comes to Chicago venues

When I asked Erik if he had any new favorite local bands, it kind of stumped him. "I’m so out of the loop with Chicago bands. The amount of bands that are here [at Daytrotter Downs] that are from Chicago that I’m discovering is just staggering. I don’t think I’m the best person to answer that question. Part of it is that I’m just blanking, but honestly a big part of it is that I just am kind of a hermit when I’m in town. When I’m home, I just don’t pay enough attention of what’s going on around me. I stay home a lot. My wife and I just love our home life," he says. Given the fact that he's been working on a new record between touring with another band, we'll let him off the hook.

When talking about Tomorrow Never Knows, Erik mentioned that he loves playing Lincoln Hall and Schubas. "I love them both. Love The Hideout. Those are all rooms where I feel very much at home. The Metro lately has been so fantastic to play with Wild Belle. We just played at the Aragon [Ballroom] with Wild Belle. We opened for Band of Horses. That was a venue that I grew up going to shows. I was remembering while we were there that I saw Metallica with my brother. Then practically the next time I went there was to play there. So It was kind of surreal," he continued. 

Between all of his bands and projects, Erik has played such a variety of venues around the city, so he was able to shout out some of the smaller venues in town, as well. "I also just love some of these smaller stages in town that we’ve really made quite a home at. I don’t know if you know, The Whistler has a record a label and they put out my first album. Absolutely love playing The Whistler. It’s just such a good, cool space and such good vibes. Billy, the owner, is a good friend and I just love what they’ve done. Also Quinn, Elliot [Bergman], and I have another group called Metal Tongues, that’s more of an experimental, instrumental, kind of psych, noise, jazz. It’s hard to describe. But we’ve been playing a lot lately at the California Clipper. Which is fantastic. It’s super warm and kind of dim, and the cocktails are great. The stage is in the corner and it’s nicely elevated. It’s just this really cool kind of old school place," he says. 

Producing his own work can get difficult, but luckily he has a mentor

As mentioned, Erik has his own home studio where he records everything for In Tall Buildings. He's been into recording since 13 years old. Talking more about his start with recording, Erik says, "I was given a 4-track cassette recorder by my dad for my birthday. That was the dawn of my love for recording. Just the ability to record one part and then add to it and record more parts, was just the coolest thing to be able to do. Just so exciting and so engaging. It’s kind of a classic tale, but literally that was when it started and I just never stopped. I’ve had a few different systems since then, now of course it’s much more elaborate. But it’s still just contained within my home." 

As for being his own producer when he's also the writer, Erik says it can be difficult, but he's been able to do it by listening to his work in a new light once it's recorded. "I was actually just recently reading this interview with Brian Eno, where he just hits the nail on the head. He says you’re a completely different person as a maker as you are as a listener. And it couldn’t be more true. That’s why in the past, I’ve been very deliberate about getting out of my studio to listen to what I’ve been working on in a different environment. To take some time away from it at times. To listen with fresh ears. It can be very hard to do that all yourself, but I’ve liked doing it myself," he says. 

Erik also says he was able to find a mentor who inspired him as an artist and producer. "Our old band NOMO, we were recorded by a guy named Warren Defever. His band is called His Name is Alive, and he’s been putting out records since 1991 I think. He is a good friend and mentor in terms of audio and recording of all kind. He recorded and produced all of the NOMO records. Between those experiences and being a part of some of the His Name is Alive records, I would say that he’s kind of the biggest influence in terms of learning about recording and kind of how to not only capture the best sound and manipulate it in good ways, but also just running a session. And working with other people, working with bands. He was a big influence."

His advice for getting into making your own music is...

Given the amount of work that Erik has done with a number of different bands, I had to ask if he had any advice for an artist looking into making and recording their own work. "I would say it’s easy to think you need way more stuff than you actually do need. My advice would be...advice that I myself am trying to follow lately, which is to really listen. Actually listen. And not just apply tools that you like that you think sound good that you think you need to apply. Often times something just sounds best completely naturally, just as it has been recorded. And not manipulated. I’m realizing this more and more and it’s so freeing. Because then the work is already done! If it sounds good then the work is done," Erik advised. 

As of now, there's still official word on the release date or title of the third In Tall Buildings record, but make sure to stay up to date on In Tall Buildings Facebook page. While you patiently wait for new music and tour dates, listen to 2015's Driver in full...

Get to Know: Jude Shuma

A couple of weeks ago, I finally caught up with Chicago musician Jude Shuma, after being impressed with his set at The Empty Bottle back in December and hearing good things about him from other local bands. We first met up on a Thursday evening at Sip coffee shop, but decided to move to the bar across the street, where we ended up chatting over a different type of brew. While hanging out with Jude, I not only got the scoop on his creative process, his influences, and news about his upcoming release, but things also got a little philosophical and weird (in the best possible way).  Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about the charismatic singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer, and part-time exterminator that is Jude Shuma.

The Renaissance man himself,  Jude Shuma.  

The Renaissance man himself, Jude Shuma. 


His grandma's guitar and his parents' records got him into music

"I found my grandma's guitar under my mom’s bed... started playing it, had a few lessons and then I bought a little 8-track recorder. From there, I just kinda… I wanted to write songs, so I started writing songs and kinda laid down one track, and then laid down the next," Jude explains when I asked what got him into music. Now, more than 15 years later, Jude says he's collected more than enough instruments and gear to start his own home studio, saying, "It’s kind of been like a ball and chain, cause you have all this gear and you need the space and the studio to record. Living in an urban area like Chicago, it’s really hard to find a space…you can get a rehearsal space with other bands, but then you’ve got fucking metal bands next door to you and you can’t record an acoustic guitar. So it’s been kinda like, the past four years I’ve been bouncing around and finding new spots."  More to come on his home studio later...

As far as his sound, Jude credits records from the 60's and 70's with influencing him, saying, "I’ve inherited like 700 vinyl from my mom, dad, and my aunt and uncle. All those records, it’s all like the 60's. I’ve been listening to a lot of T. Rex. Anything out of the 60's and 70's and like that whole movement. Music was a lot simpler and more melodically driven those days."  


His next album focuses on the bittersweet, the baritone, and Boogie Nights

Right now, Jude is working away in his home studio trying to wrap up a new album, with a targeted release date in the spring. Talking more about the new material, he says, "I started singing in a lower register, where a lot of the other stuff I sing in a higher register, it’s more of a falsetto. Now I’m kinda starting to embrace my baritone."  In addition to his shift in vocal range, Jude says he's adding in horns, violin, and synthesizers to these new songs, but he's still trying to stay true to the indie, low-fi sound.  "I’m using a tape machine, doing everything on tape. Everything is analog so it has that white noise and saturation to it," Jude added about the recording process. 

Talking more about the album's theme, Jude says, "I’m gonna name the album Sugar Mountain. [That's] not released yet, but that’s gonna be the name. I’m pretty stoked on it. I’m obsessed with sugar…My mom had diabetes when she was pregnant with me, so I feel like there might be a correlation between how much sugar I intake every day. It’s more just that we live in a world of vices and turmoil and chaos every day. And sugar or whatever your sweetness... it’s bittersweet…"  

Jude also confirmed that although he's written and recorded about 20 songs, only 6 of them have made the final cut so far, including tracks called "Lemonade" and "Cosmic Feeling." "There’s one called 'Boogie Nights,' Jude continues.  "You seen Boogie Nights? It’s an ode to that film and the ridiculousness of that film," saying he imagines his tune "Boogie Nights" to be the song that was supposed to play after the final scene of the film, as the end credits roll in. 


Music was a lot simpler I feel like and more melodically driven those days. Now a days I feel like if you have a fat beat, it doesn’t matter.
— Jude on the evolution of songwriting

He splits his time between recording and killing rats... in Billy Corgan's old house

"It's Billy Corgan's old house, totally random...it’s in the garage, they built a room inside the garage. There’s two doors and it’s completely isolated. So like it’s 4 in the morning…I’ll stay up til 5:00 AM, smoking cigarettes, and there’s no circulation in there...there’s no windows. I’m just baking it in there, smoking weed, and just recording. The tape machine is all fucking cracked out, all the microphones are just saturated in smoke…it’s good," Jude revealed about his home studio.  

"The studio is called Rat House studio, because I have rats," he continues, admitting he's had to get a pellet gun and live trap to keep the rats out of the studio.  "If you wanna put it in a nutshell, my time is split between recording music, and then killing rats," Jude admits, while also adding that his growing tally of rat exterminations does get to him sometimes.  "I don’t eat meat, but this is different…I don’t want a rat walking in my house. I feel like there shouldn’t be a difference, like you should cherish the fact that it’s got a heartbeat, but I have the conscious thought before I shoot it," he says.  Jude joked that he may write a song called "Rat King" as an ode to all of the fallen rats of his studio. "I feel like it’d have to be a Leonard Cohen style song. You know like, spoken word," he added. 


He prefers producing and recording to playing live

"I find more pleasure in…and I like touring and playing live, but I find a lot of pleasure in recording and producing. Like sitting in the studio for hours...I kind of like look at myself as more of a Harry Nilsson. Check him out, that’s one of my possibly all-time favorite artists. He did the same thing The Beatles did. The Beatles hustled their ass and played live for how many years, and then they just cut it and just recorded records. I feel like I get more out of sitting in the studio, being creative," Jude gushed while chatting about his love of producing.  

While he loves producing, at the moment he acknowledges that he can't really take on production work for other artists, although he wouldn't rule it out in the future. "I think once I finish this record, I’ll be more in control. People open studios, and then they can’t chose who they get to record there because they need to accept business to keep the money flowing. I wanna be able to be a little picky.  I want to work on music I like. I’ve had homies hit me up and it’s like I dig their music, but it’s time," he says.  Although he plays live shows with three musicians called Blaze, Blade, and Church, Jude currently plays everything from drums to bass by himself in the studio, saying that he often finds himself running back and forth between instruments.  

Jude also chatted about challenging himself as his own producer. "You ever heard of Brian Eno? He had a deck of cards for the recording studio, and whenever you hit a rut, you pull out a card and flip it.  And it will tell you something to do, like one of them that I pulled once was like 'be extravagant' in your vocal performance.  So I’ve been doing that too.  I’ve been a little more extravagant and obnoxious…super obnoxious.  I'll start singing in different voices,"  he revealed.  


He's been on HBO, ABC, and the CW

Or at least, his songs have been used on TV shows on those networks. Nowadays, it's very difficult for an artist to make money off of their recorded music, with the rise of streaming services. Sync licenses for TV shows and movies are one of the best ways for musicians to get paid for their recorded work, and luckily for Jude, his music has appeared in a handful of new shows.  "I got three licenses, in the last month, which is dope and came out of nowhere.  It’s a show on ABC called Quantico, this show on the CW called Riverdale, and then an indie film called Can’t Say No. So that kind of helped boost me back up, like OK, I’m making money off music now and I can eat beyond bread.  I live off bread and avocado," Jude revealed about his recent success.  

He also talked about his first ever license, for a show on HBO, admitting he thought he was being catfished at first. "I thought it was a joke. The girl hit me up on Soundcloud. I was like for real? You’re a music consultant for HBO? But it turned out to be legit. It’s gone to show that it’s working, like whatever’s happening is working. I didn't have a lot of publicity on the last release, and now between those two shows that already aired, I’ve seen jumps in [plays]," Jude said. 


He doesn't have a back up plan

Speaking of success, Jude has dedicated everything he has into making his career in music take off, even if that means getting shit from his family members.  "I had a conversation with my dad…I’ve had this conversation with multiple people. A lot of people don’t want you to be where you are. They want to glorify you and support you like 'wow, I’m stuck at a 9-5 hating my life.'  Fuck 9-5, but those same people don’t want to see you succeed to a certain extent because then they’re really questioning themselves.  They wanna put you into the 9-5 world so then it justifies their own life and their own existence. Like 'do what I’m doing so then I feel better about what I’m doing.'  My dad and I sat down and talked and he was like yeah you know, do you have a plan B? I was like no, there is no plan b," Jude says about the struggles of being a musician in a corporate-driven country.  He adds, "If I take two eggs out of my basket, instead of having twelve, I now have ten.  Those two eggs are gonna go to something else. I need to give my 100 percent to one thing and I’ll succeed. I’ll do it. It might not happen overnight, but I’m gonna go all in. If I’m gonna do it, I’m gonna do it right. Cause if you half-ass it, you’re not gonna succeed. Then it’s a hobby."  

He continues on to say how much it bothers him that society only seems to correlate worth with wealth. "It sucks that in America that we sort of have a direct correlation between somebody’s worth and the size of their wallets. Like if somebody’s making more money we hold them in a higher light or higher tier than other people. Like you see someone super poor…maybe he made the conscious decision to be poor and live on the street, but if you discredit that human being immediately... I’ve sat down with homeless people across the country. I’ll sit there and I’ll smoke a cigarette with them. You can hear a crazy story about somebody, and your life can just get a little more enriched."

Diving even further into the subject of choosing to make a living in an artistic industry, Jude says, "Life without art would be really boring. And if you don’t try, you’ll never succeed. One of my homies from back home just like stopped doing music. Friends that I really thought had more talent than anybody I knew, they’d write amazing songs…they’d be like 'yeah, I don’t wanna do it.'  The music industry kinda sucks, and you’ve gotta play the game, you know. You have to be somewhat chauvinistic."  


 He's got the gift of gab

Throughout our chat, the topics sometimes strayed off to completely random topics, including the Georgian language and Mark Wahlberg's dick (to be fair, that came up while talking about Boogie Nights). While we talked about a slightly less scandalous subject like our favorite Chicago venues, the eviction of the legendary Double Door came up.  Jude mentioned he heard rumors that Double Door's space will be turning into a Baby Gap, continuing, "If that does become a Gap Baby, or whatever it's called, that’s just a red flag that gentrification has ended, that point…it has started and it has ended. Ukrainian Village is coming into pretty hard gentrification right now. The crime is skyrocketing too. You're not safe anywhere in this city. Doesn't matter where you go. I don’t know, everything’s fucked." 

Jude also brought up technology and the global market that we have at our fingertips as entrepreneurs and consumers, saying, "I think our lives have been so pivotal. Like the span of time in human life. If you look at like the coming of the internet and globalization, and the way everything has now become a global market and the way in which everything and everybody is now intertwined. We can communicate…there are no borders now. It used to be super limited. Your news would be your newspaper or word of mouth. Now you can go on the internet and check news for every single country, every single place in the world. We are like hitting a place in human history. What a time to be alive."  

Jude acknowledged these tangents, saying , "Yeah, I'm a talker. I feel like that’s one gift I have. Music is maybe number one...actually number one might be the gift of gab. My girlfriend gives me shit about that all of the time. I’ll walk up to a coffee shop counter. I’ll be like how’s your day and it just opens up." 

Oh, if you're wondering, Jude officially broke the record for longest interview in ANCHR history, with a running time around an hour. 


As he mentioned, Jude is currently spending most of his time in the studio for the upcoming record, Sugar Mountain, but he says he'll move onto album artwork and booking a summer tour as soon as it's finished. Stay up to date with all of the Jude news by liking his Facebook page, and listen to his latest EP, Biggest Hits, here

 

Get To Know: Post Animal

This past Friday night, I caught up with the boys in Post Animal before they headlined night one of Chicago’s Psych Fest at The Hideout. Although the band was down one member, with this weekend being one of the first times they’ve played without guitarist Joe Keery, the remaining five members still had plenty to talk about. Throughout the conversation, I found out all you need to know about this up and coming Chicago band, including news on their upcoming album and tour, stories about their haunted recording space, their influences, and their feelings on a certain Netflix show (which, if you didn’t already know, one of them happens to star in). There’s no doubt about it, 2017 will be an incredible year for Post Animal, so get familiar with them now. 

Post Animal is: Dalton Allison, Jake Hirshland, Joe Keery, Javi Reyes, Wes Toledo and Matt Williams. Photo by  Kristina Pedersen . 

Post Animal is: Dalton Allison, Jake Hirshland, Joe Keery, Javi Reyes, Wes Toledo
and Matt Williams. Photo by Kristina Pedersen


Their Influences Include Bands like Black Sabbath and The Police, Their Parents... and Mel Gibson

One of the first things I always want to know about musicians is how they got into playing music.  Matt Williams, Javi Reyes, and Wes Toledo all credit their parents for getting them into music at a young age.  “I started playing music when I was like four,” Wes says. “My dad was a musician too, so he just kind of started me at an early age. I started listening to the Police and bands like that, like the Beatles and...my liking of music came from that," he continued on. Matt adds, “My mom was a musician so she kinda forced me to take guitar lessons. She’s a bass player, but she was like ‘you need to learn how to play guitar,’ and then I kinda got forced to…” Javi says his mom also had guitars laying around, and he first started playing the guitar that his brother was given for Christmas one year. “I  learned how to play the James Bond theme,” he recalls.

Dalton Allison says that other bands, like Black Sabbath, inspired him to start making music, while Jake Hirshland admits that his inspiration stems from just wanting to be in a band, saying, “I just wanted to be in a band so bad dude, that I like picked up a guitar and tried to get good enough.” All of the guys also agree that films scores played a big part in influencing them, with Dalton deeming the Jurassic Park score as his favorite.

Oh, and the part about Mel Gibson? That came up while Matt chatted about the early days of guitar lessons, revealing, “The very first lesson I took was so awkward. There’s like these guitar books, I think they’re called Mel Gibson, wait! Not Mel Gibson...those learning books...”  It turns out he was actually talking about Mel Bay guitar books, which we quickly figured out, thanks to a member of another band playing that night.

All Of The Band Members Are Multi-Instrumentalists

If you’ve ever seen Post Animal live, you know they’ve got a lot of guitars on one stage (they also have a lot of hair on one stage, but that’s besides the point). The reason for so many bandmates stems from a few of them originally being substitutes who just never left. Dalton and Matt grew up together as self-proclaimed “bad boys of Danville,” first starting a band in sixth grade. As for the rest of the guys, Matt says,“We just kinda met people through friends and through work, and then someone was like ‘Hey I know this guy who’s a really good drummer, Wes. You should play with him.’ Then we did, and someone was out of town and Javi had just moved into town. So we were like ‘Javi wanna play these couple shows with us?’ And he just never stopped playing with us.”  

“We’ve pretty much just been tacking people on. I moved to Chicago and started playing with these dudes. It was a lot of people going out of town for a while, so we were just subbing people,” Jake chimes in.  The rest of band agreed that they just can’t let anyone go.

Dalton also gives credit to the adaptability of his bandmates, saying “We’re really lucky to have a mutli-talented group. Like Javi can pretty much play anything, Matt can pretty much play anything, Jake can play anything. Wes is one of the best drummers that I’ve ever played with.”  

The Lakehouse They Recorded in Is Haunted

It’s been a minute since Post Animal released their 6 track EP called The Garden Series, but lucky for us, the next album is just about ready. How is this new full-length different than the band’s previous releases? Other than the location where they recorded it, Dalton says,“It’s the first one with all 6 of us on it, so this is the most exciting for sure,” adding on that it should be between 10 and 13 songs. He also says that this new record is more collaborative than their past work, crediting each band member with writing their own parts.  

“Yeah we’re all pumped. Recordings are done and Dalton’s in the cave doing [post] production on it. We’re hoping the spring time,” Jake adds about the progress and planned release of the record.  Continuing on about their recording process, he adds, “I feel like the way we recorded is also...we did a lot of stuff at the same time and we never really used the rooms we were in. Rather than recording it in Dalton’s bedroom like we’ve been doing for the last couple, we actually went to this lakehouse of our good friend and just squatted in the living room and played everything loud...getting all the sound of the space. I think you can tell [it was recorded live].”

While we’re on the subject of the lakehouse, Wes drops the bomb that the place was haunted. Javi and Dalton both attest to strange glitches appearing on their recordings from the lakehouse, while Jake, Wes, and Matt admit to having to sleep in the same room eventually after several scares. Jake recalls one night in which a nightstand flipped over in the room they were sharing, after already being woken up by a ghost. “These old, wrinkly leather hands just tugged me awake. It was bizarre,” Jake says. The rest of the band add that they’re not big on embellishment or really into paranormal activity, with Jake continuing, “Yeah we’re rational at heart, but it was bizarre, I had no explanations for some of the stuff I was feeling and seeing. The table flying over…”

In addition to the ghost scares, coffee got spilled on their computer halfway through recording, causing the band to worry they’d lost all of their work. Despite all of these scares, the band say they still had the time of their lives recording in the house adjoining Paw Paw Lake.

Rather than recording it in Dalton’s bedroom like we’ve been doing for the last couple, we actually went to this lakehouse of our good friend and just squatted in the living room and played everything loud...getting all the sound of the space
— Jake on the band's recording process

They’re Really Excited to Play Daytrotter Downs Festival In March

At the moment, the Post Animal boys have only got a string of live dates announced for this year, including some shows in Michigan with Twin Peaks and a slot at Daytrotter Downs Festival in Davenport, IA. However, they let on that they’ve just locked in the first two weeks of an upcoming tour, with Wes adding on that they’ll be out on the road all summer.

Talking more about Daytrotter, Dalton says,“I think that’s the first time that any of us were kinda shocked that someone asked us to play. We really respect what they’ve got going on.” They’re also all excited to check out some of the other bands on the line up, with Jake shouting out NE-HI and Wes and Matt giving nods to Joan of Arc and Gaelynn Lea.  

Daydrotter Downs Lineup Poster

Daydrotter Downs Lineup Poster

They’re Also Really Excited To See The Country

Before the interview, I noticed that a fan had commented “come to Brazil!” on one of Post Animal’s recent Facebook posts. To me, the summoning to Brazil is a sign you’ve made it. Bringing up this comment, I asked the band where in the world they’d like to tour.  

“South America would be a dream. It’s gonna be dream to even…. like I’ve never even been to New York City in my life. Every single place we go is gonna be a new place that I’ve never been, so that’s pretty crazy,” Dalton admits.  

Javi agrees with South America, saying “I’ve got family down there, so... Just so you know my name is Javier.” Jake agrees with Dalton’s point that it’ll be crazy to see the country, while Matt says he’s particularly excited to play in the states he hasn’t been to, like the Southeast. “Speaking of the south,” Jake adds,“We might be playing SXSW, but nothing is locked in.”  

They’d also love to eventually play some European dates, so keep your eyes out for that.

They’ve Got a Lot of Love for Fellow Chicago Musicians, Especially Jude Shuma

Post Animal recently headlined The Empty Bottle, with support coming from fellow Chicagoans Lucille Furs and Jude Shuma. Not only was the show entirely epic, but it turns out the Post Animal members all love the other two bands. Wes started the love fest for Jude and also gave props to Lucille Furs by saying,“[Twin] Peaks rocks, Joe Bordernaro. Lucille Furs obviously. Jude Shuma!” Jake recommended also interviewing Jude, with Javi attesting to his great interview skills, calling him a charismatic guy.  (So Jude, if you're reading this, let's set up an interview?) 

The guys have also got a lot of love for Chicago venues, including The Empty Bottle, The Hideout and Thalia Hall. “It was a bit of a dream playing Thalia with Twin Peaks. That was scary,” Jake says about the latter. “I’ve just never even been on a stage like that[with a barrier], but in the crowd it doesn’t look like there’s that much space. But when you’re up there, it’s like a good eight feet of space. It’s just like intimidating being that far away from people,”  he continued.

Dalton agrees that it’s more intimidating being separated, saying “You have to like really try to see how the audience feels when they’re not crammed against the stage.”  

They’re Big Fans of King Gizzard, Ty Segall, The Nude Party...and Dire Straits

Not only are the Post Animal members really into fellow Chicago bands, they’re big music fans in general. When asked what they’re listening to at the moment, Javi says, “This new Ty Segall album that just came out, or it comes out today. It’s been streaming the past week.” Jake says, “Mild High Club has such a special place in my heart,” while also mentioning that the entire band loves King Gizzard [& The Lizard Wizard].  

“I’ve been listening to this fucking sick rapper named Denzel Curry, who is so good,” Wes adds, while Dalton shouts out Vince Staples. Javi calls the band’s music taste eclectic, while Jake admits that they listen to a lot of older material as well. Similarly to the love expressed to Jude Shuma, the band also gushed for a few minutes about their admiration of The Nude Party, a band they recently played with in Milwaukee.  They also went to see NYC band The Lemon Twigs the night before at The Empty Bottle. 

Lastly, Wes chimes in, “Dire Straits is a good band,” joking,“They fucking rock. That better be in the interview by the way. Dire Straits fucking rocks.”  

They’re Happy For Joe’s Success As an Actor, But Please Get Their Name Right

If you weren’t aware, the sixth band member, Joe Keery, was MIA for this interview because he stars in a little known Netflix show called Stranger Things.  Naturally, the insane amount of success that the show has had has brought some new attention to the band over the past several months.  So, are Joe and his bandmates sick of the Stranger Things-driven attention? Not at all, but it does make things a bit more challenging at times.

“It’s hilarious that he’s not here right now,” Dalton says when I asked the question.  “It’s just weird cause there’s like this hesitation...like last year, Matt would be gone so Javi would fill in for Matt. Or like Wes would be gone so Joe would play drums. So originally Wes came into replace Joe. So now it’s like weird cause we wouldn’t really hesitate to play without anyone, but we kind of like have to hesitate to play without Joe. That’s been like the weirdest part... kinda feeling detached from our own project because of all the fame that got brought to it, not necessarily for the wrong reason, but for a different reason.”  

Jake chimes in, “We sort of just decided, actually it was a pretty recent decision, but we decided the only way to do this properly from here on out is to play without...like doing exactly what we would have done before. Like tonight is a great example of a show that Joe couldn’t be at, and we’re just playing a damn show.”  

Dalton does admit that it breaks their heart to play without him, but he credits Joe with doing a great job of handling it all, and coming back when he can. “His life has gone from kinda 0 to 60, so it’s a little hectic. So here and there it’s gonna be without him. [Joe] just flies...he’s so committed to flying back day of," Jake says.  

The band also take all of the attention in a positive light, with Jake saying, “Even the people who come mostly to just meet or be in the presence of Joe, they end up being pretty cool audience members. I think a year ago we would have done almost anything to play these types of shows.”  

With so many band members, the guys also comment that they’re still able to deliver their best performance, but Matt contributes, “People can learn each other’s parts. The big difference is like the presence of a body. The nuances of how they play.” “No one can replace Joe’s stage banter,” Dalton adds in. Luckily, Joe is willing to do all he can to be there for shows, so the crowd won’t miss out on too much banter.  For their recent show at The Empty Bottle, Joe told the crowd he took two planes to get there.

All the guys really ask, is that you get their band name right, and don’t call Joe “Steve.” Javi recalls a time when someone said “give it up for Stranger Things” right after Post Animal performed. While something like that is clearly disrespectful to the entire band, no one was more upset about it than Joe himself.  “It’s kinda like exploitative of him personally. Like when people call him Steve...it’s just like, you don’t even take the time to...They don’t think about the fact that he’s a real person and not the character. We’ve all had these crazy experiences of how people interact with him when we go to a bar or something like that. That’s been like the most hilarious and most disgusting part of it,” Dalton says in defense of his friend.

It’s clear that the guys in Post Animal are all great friends and they’re all supportive of Joe, but they’ve also got a great sense of humor. Wes joked, “Fuck that guy. Off the record, he’s one of my best friends, but on the record, fuck that guy," about Joe.  


Later on Friday evening, the guys did exactly as they'd promised and delivered a killer performance. Seriously, I picked a terrible night to leave my earplugs at home because they don't hold anything back during their shows.  Throughout the set, they also seemed to be genuinely enjoying themselves, which always makes a show more enjoyable from the audience.  Keep up with all of the Post Animal news by checking out their Facebook page.  You can also listen to The Garden Series below:

 

A Chat With: Splashh

Almost every time a writer describes a band, the band's hometown or current location is brought into play (i.e. "the British band" or "the LA-based duo," etc.) Well, with this band, it's difficult to pinpoint an adjective based on their geographic ties, seeing as two members live in London, a couple of them live in NYC, and their newest member resides in Berlin...but they're all from Australia or New Zealand.  Nonetheless, we caught up with the worldly rock group Splashh during their tour with Public Access T.V, while all of the band members resided together in a van currently traveling cross country.  Although it's been over three years since Splashh's debut album Comfort first made waves, the band just recently announced their sophomore album's release on April 14th. We chatted with keyboardist Jaie Gonzalez all about the new album, the recent inauguration, staying sane on tour, and what's to come this year, prior to their show this Thursday at Schubas Tavern. 

ANCHR Magazine: So let's talk a little bit about the new album and how tour is going so far. You kicked off tour the other day, in Washington D.C., right?

Jaie Gonzalez: Our first date was in Boston, and then Washington the day after that.

AM: How crazy was it to be in DC when the inauguration was going on?

JG: I mean, it was an amazing experience.  It was really cool to be there at that time.  We went to the march the next day...The Public Access dudes made a nice little event out of it, smashed a TV...it was good!

AM: Nice! What were some of the best signs that you saw at the march?

JG: Ah, some of the good signs…”Viva La Vulva” was pretty good.  There’s so many good ones!

New single "Rings" from Splashh's new album Waiting a Lifetime

AM: I actually interviewed John from Public Access T.V a couple of weeks ago, and he mentioned that you guys would be doing this tour all together in a van.

JG: Oh yea, we’re in it right now…

AM: So how has that been going so far? Has anyone lost their mind yet?

JG: *laughs* Mostly, sanity is intact.  Eleven boys in a van...it’s pretty calm actually at the moment. There’s been some cabin fever moments, definitely. The driving from Boston to DC was, just cause of all the traffic, a good 12 hours in the van.  There was some loopy moments.  We had a day off yesterday, though.

AM: Did you get up to anything cool on the day off?

JG: It was another long van day.  We ended up at a middle-of-nowhere rest stop in North Carolina or something.

AM: How do you guys usually keep occupied during the long drives? Do you have a good playlist?

JG: Max from PATV has been doing a bulk of the DJing. Toto is making a flyer for our China tour right now.  A lot of people with headphones and their phones.

AM: Nice! Talking a little more about the album now, you guys just announced last week that Waiting a Lifetime is the follow up to 2013’s Comfort. How does it feel to finally be getting a new album out after a few years?

JG: It feels great to have the record done. To just have a finished thing that we can listen to now, and don’t have to think about. We put a lot of love and time into it, so now that it’s finished we’re kicking into touring mode.

AM: Can you talk a little bit about the recording and writing process?

JG: Yea, well we recorded it at Rare Book Room Studios with Nicolas Vernhes. That’s been our first choice of where to make the record for a few years now. It was really great to have the opportunity to work there. Nico...we’d kind of been hassling him for years, getting him to come out to the shows.  I guess we could just never afford him, but then we got this deal with the Cinematic Music Group and we could finally afford Nicolas... and we got him. He made the record that we hoped he would and it came out great.  That’s been his studio for like twenty years, he lives above it...it’s a nice little place in Greenpoint. He made all the Deerhunter records there. A lot of records that we love were made there.

AM: Oh cool. So what was the songwriting process like, was it kind of spread out?

JG: Yea, the songs on the record are written pretty much over the past three years.  The first single “Rings” was one of the first songs that me and Sasha wrote together.  Basically when Sasha first came over to New York a couple years ago, we started writing songs and we would send them over to London to Toto and kind of bounce them back and forth between New York and London. Then some of the songs were written like a month before we went into the studio, and one was even written on the spot in the studio.  It’s kind of like a greater sense of our past three years of writing.

AM: You just mentioned now that you some of you are based in New York now, and you have someone based in London...and originally you’re all from Australia and New Zealand.  So do you think that the change in locations has had an impact on how you write, or even just your sound?

JG: Oh yeah, big time.  It’s cool, I like that the past few years have kind of turned into a nowhere or an everywhere band.  We’ve got a brand new drummer and he lives in Berlin.  I live in New York, Toto and [Tom]Beal live in London, and Sasha is just a gypsy so he floats in between.  I mean, now that we’re getting so deep into this touring we’re all kind of living together in this van.

AM: So you’ve got a lot of touring booked for this year and the new album...is there any other big news your fans can expect this year?

JG: Anything other than touring the world and putting out a record? Well...maybe. Stay tuned! There’ll be things. We’re gonna play in China, and hopefully Australia, our homeland.  It should be cool. We’re excited to go back to Europe and play.

AM: What places are you most excited to head back to that you’ve already announced?

JG: Well we’re doing a big UK tour, and our London show is gonna be at a pretty interesting place.  Somewhere down in Peckham in South London. I’m excited to play in Paris.

AM: For sure, that’s always a great city to go to! So what are some other bands that you’re listening to at the moment?

JG: Gee, Public Access T.V is pretty good.  Any new records you’re into, Toto?  Oh yeah, Promise Land. Best band in New York City.

AM: Cool, and what was the first concert you ever went to?

JG: The first concert I ever went to was...at 12 years old, my friend and I bought tickets to No Doubt.

AM: That’s an amazing first concert.  Ok what about the last concert you went to, that wasn’t your own?

JG: That wasn’t my own... Hold on, let me think about this one second. I’m gonna say I saw Promise Land actually!

Splashh plays Schubas this Thursday, with the show kicking off at 8PM.  Grab your tickets here to make sure you see this killer show.  If you're feeling lucky, enter our Twitter contest to win a pair, courtesy of Schubas.