Q&A: Capital Soirèe

Three best friends start a band, record some tunes and play shows around their city until they make something of themselves. It’s a story told time and time again, but no matter how many bands the boys of Capital Soirèe find themselves among, the Chicago-based trio continues to strive, most recently with their new 3-song EP Waves of Change.

The new release exhibits a different side of Capital Soirèe. The band has taken on a new approach to writing and recording, maturing their sound as they explore different vibes, tones and instrumentation. Multi-instrumentalists James Kourafas, Max Romero and Steven Rejdukowski gather in their recording basement to discuss their latest music and other upcoming projects.

Listen Live and Local: Capital Soirèe recently released a new single, “Waves of Change” which is part of an upcoming EP. Can you guys talk a bit the process of putting this record together?

Max Romero: The new EP is done now. We just finished the other day. It took us like four or five months.

Steven Rejdukowski: We ended up splitting [the EP] apart.

James Kourafas: We had like 20 songs and we narrowed them down to nine songs and narrowed those down to seven songs. Then we started recording all the drum tracks and we re-recorded a bunch of new demos of these songs. We basically took the longest process we could have taken. Our idea was [to] go in and really try to make a great EP, but it ended up taking so long. We were kind of drifting and eventually, we were like, “Let’s make this more manageable” and we’re like, “Let’s try to break it up into three and four.” So, that’s what we did. We took a new process with recording and stuff. We do all the recording, writing, producing, mixing and mastering here in [Max’s] basement so it takes very long. We took a really long time but we already have a next EP done, or already written, so we just got to catch up with ourselves at this point.

LLL: Of the three songs on the new EP, why did you choose “Waves of Change” as the single?

Romero: Truly, I don’t think there was any specific reason. It already had a name. A lot of the songs we write, we’ll just name them something very stupid, you know? Of the three songs, it was pretty much the single. Calling the EP Waves of Change was just kind of the easiest thing as well.

Kourafas: I mean, if we want to sound cooler than we are, “Waves of Change” [means] we’re going into a new era. Stylistically, the new stuff is a little bit different.

Rejdukowski: These three [songs] coming out are really pretty different. Stylistically, they’re a bit darker. The other four are more pop and synth-based. That’s another reason why we split them up. It’ll be interested to put all these new songs out [and] do them live. It’ll be an interesting mash-up [of] our styles.

Romero: I am excited to have “Your Place” be out finally. That song was [written] probably like two years ago now.

Kourafas: A lot of these songs are really old. We started writing them a long time ago.

LLL: You guys seem to constantly be writing and releasing music. How do you stay motivated?

Rejdukowski: Man, I wish we were putting out more.

Kourafas: Preferably, we want to put something out every few months, if we can.

Romero: We all love it. This is what we’re all doing anyway. When we’re not together [writing music], we’re out doing it on our own.

Rejdukowski: I don’t know a day I am not thinking about writing a song. We’re all songwriters so we’re always trying to write.

Kourafas: We’re constantly sending each other demos and stuff when we can’t link up. Then we will get together and flush them out. It’s just kind of the only thing we really do with our lives. We’ve all changed in our skill sets, talents and the things we bring to the table. Over the course of the years, things have shifted and the way we create music has shifted. Back in the day, it was more straightforward. [We’d] come with a song on an acoustic guitar, meet up in a room and try to put it together. I’d say it’s definitely gotten more collaborative as the years have gone on and we’ve kind of figured out each other’s strong suits and how we can put them together and make something okay.

Rejdukowski: At this point, the dynamic that we have is so much nicer than it was. It’s taken us a while to get to this point. There was a hiatus when we all got out of high school where we all knew things were going to happen, but it was very up in the air. Over these last couple of years, [we have] really solidified what Capital Soirèe is.

Romero: As far as releases go, I feel like every time we put something out, we’ll make something better immediately after and it’s like, now we have to put this out to be a better representation of what we are.

LLL: Do you ever feel overwhelmed balancing the creative and business sides of music?

Kourafas: A lot of bands do their business side, but it’s difficult because we obviously have other things going on in our lives. Finding the time for all of us to get in a room together is not the easiest task. The three of us have to take care of writing the songs, recording the songs, producing the songs, booking the shows, answering the emails, all this stuff and it’s hard because we’re trying to learn how to prioritize. What is the top priority? What do we need to get done? We have all these songs on the back burner, like a list of the next two EPs already written, we just need to record them. Do we [record] or do we spend time trying to figure out the marketing and all these other things that go into it? We’re honestly learning as we go and trying to do the best we can on all aspects, but we try to focus a lot on making good songs right now and hopefully everything else won’t completely screw up.

LLL: Capital Soirèe is playing a show on Friday, February 9th at Beat Kitchen. Is there anything special about this show?

Kourafas: This is going to be the first official show with this new EP out.

Rejdukowski: We played [the EP] for the first time at our last show. The other two, not the single “Waves of Change”. The other two new songs, that was the first time we played those.

Romero: It’s weird because we would learn to play the songs first and then record them. This is the first time we’ve recorded them and now we have to learn our own songs.

Rejdukowski: It’s a backward ass process. Like the song I wrote, I wrote it, played it once and never played it again until we rehearsed it, and that was a year and a half ago. It was just really strange having to learn a song I wrote.

Kourafas: It is weird too, especially nowadays, the way we write the songs. You don’t really know who is playing the stuff live. Who came up with it in the studio is a totally different story. We’ll kind of be like, “Okay, so what are we going to play on these songs? Who is going to play what instrument?” Especially with the newer stuff, it is all up in the air. Taking them to the live environment is a totally different thing.

Capital Soirèe’s next show will be on Friday, February 9 at Beat Kitchen. The night will also include performances by Owens Room, The Wldlfe and Hardcastle.

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