Friday, July 11, 2008

Band of the Week

The Interiors

With all of the hype surrounding the hip hop scene here in Chicago, it easy forget that Chicago also has a thriving and ever-growing underground rock scene. With bands kicking around The Hideout and Schubas and The Empty Bottle week in and week out, they come to understand and almost lash out against the Chicago experience. They might feel the need to reach out and hit the road. There they can form new relationships and find new fans. It's while on tour that they polish their stage presence and discover new and varied song styles. This is a vital time for a young band to learn about themselves and their audience.

The Interior's released their debut album late last month on 54-40' or Fight! records, and now they are touring the Midwest. They return home to Schubas on July 16th with new songs and new feeling of success. Their self-titled debut is an eclectic mix of great pop tunes, soaring anthems, and intimate ballads. If first appeared in my inbox back in early February, and I haven't stopped listening to it since. Their hit single "Powerlines" has been receiving a tremendous amount of well deserved praise by the likes of AOL/Spinner, Under The Radar, and of course as the lead track of Orange Alert's Orange Pulp mixtape. The Interiors are on the rise, and enjoying every minute!

Recently, the trio took some time out to answer a few of my questions.

Orange Alert (OA): Your self-titled debut album was released on June 24th. What has the experience of recording and releasing this album been like in general? How long did this process take?What is the overall feeling amongst the band now that the date is here (relief, anticipation, satisfaction)?
The Interiors (TI): We actually finished recording the tracks for the album last June. Thing is, Chase got a large chunk of his left finger cut off in a freak accident several days after tracking had finished, and for a few months the band was in existential limbo. Fortunately he was able to rehabilitate and the group continued, but due to the fact that he couldn't play, we were able to spend the rest of the year mixing and tweaking the album. It was a grueling process, particularly for our bass player Collin, who mixed the entire disc at his studio.

As for the current feeling, we're mostly just excited to be going on tour and to see what the world has to say about us and the album. People seem to like it so far.

OA: You guys are on 54-40' or Fight!, how did you choose that label, and what has your experience with them been like? What are your thought on band who choose to remain completely independent?
TI: We'd been in touch with them for a few years - some other labels showed interest but were noncommittal, whereas 54-40 was much more to the point about wanting to release an album.

As for the latter portion of the question, I really don't believe there are many, if any, bands that make a conscious choice to be 'completely independent'. That phrase implies more than eschewing a label affiliation to me. There may be some bands out there doing well on a national level without a label, but they've almost certainly got a team of lawyers, booking agents, and PR people behind them. I should add that I see absolutely nothing wrong with this. The quality of the music is the only thing that matters, and if this machinery can bring good music to an audience that would not have heard it otherwise, that's a good thing.

OA: Do you feel there is more of a push to be played on internet radio and be included in "big" blog podcasts, as opposed to mainstream radio and other media outlets? Do you feel blogs generate fans, sales, concert attendees, etc.
TI: Hate to disappoint you, but honestly I can't say. Let's see how many people come to our next show after this runs! Speaking of which ...

OA: What are The Interiors like on stage, wild animals or paint by numbers?
TI: I suppose you'll need to see us at Schubas on July16 with Moaners (Yep Roc) to find that out. Seriously though, I feel like we've improved immensely since recording the album, and the live show will only get better through touring.

OA: What your thoughts (be careful here) on the various concert venues and booking opportunities in Chicago? Is there room for more or are there too many? Do Chicago's band get ample opportunity to play their home city?
TI: There is definitely room for more clubs. I've noticed more and more tiny venues and DIY spaces putting on shows over the past few years, and I think we're more than ready for another club that's the caliber of the great venues we already have like Empty Bottle, Hideout, and Schubas. It'd be great for the music scene here.

OA: What's next for The Interiors?
TI: We're going on the road on a series of 3-4 roughly weeklong tours in June through October. We're mostly playing cities like DC, New York, Philadelphia, Boston, and Cincinnati multiple times rather than doing one long tour and hitting a dozen small towns along the way. Hopefully this will lead to mass adulation and acclaim.

We're also writing new songs, which don't bear much resemblance to the old ones. I'll leave it at that to keep you in suspense.

Listen to: Powerlines (mp3)

Bonus Questions:
OA: Coffee? If yes, where is the best cup of coffee in Chicago?
TI: I couldn't live without it. Alliance Bakery and Letizia's are great, great cups of coffee, in my opinion. Letizia's also has criminally good cookies. Both are on Division in Wicker Park.

OA: What was the last great book you have read?
TI: Sacred Games by Vikram Chandra. Amazing! We've already got a song about it. Well, more like inspired by it.

For more information on The Interiors please visit their website.

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