Band dynamics are a funny thing. As much as we’d like to believe our favorite bands are the best of friends on and off stage, that’s often times not the case. However, every once in awhile, a band comes along whose members genuinely enjoy each other’s company.
The level of comfort and admiration is apparent as soon as the three members of The Inventors gather around a small patio table outside of a Starbucks in Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood. Even with a show only a few hours away, their nerves seem at ease; an odd feat for such a new band with only two recorded singles and a drummer with less than a year of playing experience. Nevertheless, the boys hold their poise. They’re confident the show will go over well.
“Even though I’ve only been playing drums such a little time, we kind of know each others’ tics,” explains drummer and lead singer Joe Mango on why the band feels such ease on stage. “If someone is speeding up or they’re about to end, we know.”
The band contributes their awareness of each other to their longtime friendship.
“These guys are my best friends. They’re two of my favorite people in the world,” says Mango. There’s a deep sincerity in his words, but without letting the compliment sit too long, Mango spits out, “There, now you guys say some nice shit.”
Guitarist Ray Skamay leans forward to accept the challenge, ready to talk up his best friend. “Joe’s a risk taker. He’s not afraid of anything,” says Skamay. “Like when we couldn’t find a drummer. We tried out like six guys, [but] nothing was the right fit, so [Joe] stepped up.”
Bassist Nick Kieta nods in agreement. “There’s probably a lot of things I wouldn’t have confidence in if it weren’t for Joe. Joe was the main songwriter for the longest time, [but he] kept pushing us like, ‘Just do it. Just do it!’ [Because of that], Ray is singing and I’m writing a lot more. ”
The trio has been playing together for a number of years, but only recently have they settled upon their official groundwork. For the first few years of their musical career, The Inventors were a foursome. As a four-piece, they wrote, played shows, even traveled to Austin, Texas in 2015 and 2016 as part of South by Southwest.
“Those [SXSW] shows were the kind of shows with a built-in crowd,” explains Skamay. “We opened, played for complete strangers, and got a lot of good feedback. It felt liked we belonged playing on those shows.”
Unfortunately, the band’s original drummer left shortly after, ultimately leading Mango to pick up drums. But, roughly seven months later, The Inventors are determined to make a name for themselves. They’ve recently recorded two singles with Shirk Studios and are working on finalizing a lineup of songs for a full EP which begins recording in early May 2017. In addition, the band is planning a small tour, hitting up cities across Michigan, Kentucky and Indiana.
Fret not Chicago locals for The Inventors plan on making plenty of appearances across the glorious windy city. With respect to venues who wish for bands to only play so often in order to draw sizable crowds, The Inventors still hope to grace Chicago stages at least once a month with occasional hits in Milwaukee and other surrounding areas. At this point in their career, there is no such thing as playing too much, and as Kieta says, they’re willing to play anywhere and for anyone willing to listen.
Many future shows are still in the works, but The Inventors do have one booked performance that will be sure to stand out as a milestone in the future. On Saturday, May 20 at The Empty Bottle, The Inventors will open for Ha Ha Tonka, a beloved group and major influence on the band.
“[We] definitely want to get somewhere to how good they are,” says Kieta.”They’re songwriters, but their live show is absolutely incredible.”
“The fact that they’d be willing to put us on a show makes us feel like we’re doing something right,” says Skamay.
And how exactly did this fairly new Chicago band land an opening spot for a national touring band’s record release show at one of the city’s most popular venues?
“I tweeted a picture of their first four records all signed by them saying we would love to open for [them]. The picture was my proof that [they’re] really one of my favorite bands,” explains Mango. “I’ve seen them pretty much every time they’ve come through Chicago. I’m slightly obsessed.”
The three go off gushing with excitement over their upcoming show while simultaneously leaning back into their chairs. They smirk at each other, and again, instead of radiating nerves about opening for an idol band, they emit confidence, knowing that on that stage, they’ll have each other’s backs. But what else is to be expected from three best friends who also just happen to be bandmates.
The Inventors’ next show will be on Saturday, May 20th at The Empty Bottle. The night will also include performances by Ha Ha Tonka and Trapper Schoepp.