There is no lack of rock bands in Chicago. The alternative airways are filled with electric guitars and growling vocals fighting to be heard. They fight for the same audiences, and more importantly, they fight for the same shows. In theory, one would think this competition would create a rivalry, but the boys of Heavenfaced swear the scene is filled with nothing but respect and healthy competition.
“We all, as bands, have the same goal. We want to [make music] for the rest of our lives, but there is never that point in time where I would say ‘oh, they didn’t deserve it,’ or ‘that should have been us,’ says bassist Zac Wesoloski. “We all drive each other and I think healthy competition just creates great music versus creating grudges or bad blood between anyone.”
These feelings may not be mutual for every band clawing their way to success, but Heavenfaced proves their love by spending more time raving about friends’ bands than they do discussing their own achievements. Compliments and high praises for their comrades are tossed about their StoargeMart practice space. They can’t get enough of I Made You Myself’s new single “Blunderbuss” and love catching shows from Tiny Kingdoms. They are so happy for Ghost Key signing with InVogue Records and advice from The Howl is always appreciated.
As the name-dropping continues, the focus of discussion shifts further away from them, but they don’t seem to mind. They’re like proud parents, successful in their own right, but way more proud of their children, or in this case, their friends. “It’s so inspiring to hear friends and former peers releasing something really good,” says singer Zach Keenum. “[It] really gets my engine going in terms of writing and ideas.”
Wesoloski nods in agreement. “Whenever we see someone take that next step, we’re super stoked and more so than anything, it inspires us be like ‘let’s get there.’”
Getting there may take time, but the young band knows the importance of utilizing their relations in order to grow. Their first EP was recorded with friend and audio engineer Jeff Leber. While he may not technically be a member of the band, Leber plays an important role in the band’s existence and progression. Aside from recording, Leber has helped shaped each song, taking them from skeleton tracks to the fully formed pieces found on To Keep You Safe.
“Jeff [Leber] really gets the five of us as people and what we want to do musically,” says Wesoloski. “He took our songs and put them on another level. That is the kind of person we would love to have around with our next release.”
In terms of their next release, Heavenfaced says they aren’t rushing it. While they would like to be in preproduction by the spring of 2017, they also want to make sure they’re putting out their best music. The band has only been around about two years, but each member is a seasoned musician, and they know the importance of not putting out something until it is ready. This is especially important as Heavenfaced’s next release will hopefully be a full-length album and their official introduction as a solid band.
The first EP was mainly written by Wesoloski, James Spannraft and Connor Spurgeon before the band had officially formed. The songs are guitar heavy and lyrically pleasing, but with Ben Chavez and Keenum rounding out Heavenfaced, their learning to collaborate as they explore the different corners of rock and each other’s talents.
“I think [the] function of a debut release [is] to be like ‘alright let’s get our feet wet with all these different tones and just kind of figure out where the center of each song is’”, says Keenum. “As we write all these new [songs], we’re finding common ground in each one and trying to move forward with that central theme.”
Along with a new release comes new opportunities. Like most growing bands, Heavenfaced hopes to tour and play iconic Chicago venues such as Lincoln Hall and Metro. They also hope to achieve the success they’ve witness from their peers. There’s definitely intimidation, but as Spannraft points out, seeing local bands become national superstars proves anyone can make it from anywhere. Hell, the next big thing might even be found jamming out in a StorageMart.