The sound of Chicago. That’s how vocalist and poet Mykele Deville describes his music. Grounded in the DIY scene, the art is fueled by collaboration and sprinkled with thoughtful lyrics over the beats of friends and local artists. But it’s not just the musical implications that describe Deville’s music or the idea of Chicago’s sound. It’s the voices of protesters. The cries of outrage. The tunes of the streets. It’s everything that the city stands for, music and all.
With two full-length albums and a third before year’s end, Deville has explored many social and cultural issues from race to injustice and personal acceptance through poetically crafted songs and poems. Not only does Deville shine as a musician, he is also a successful poet and actor splitting time between continuous shows and his upcoming role in the U.S. premiere of Octagon by playwright Kristiana Rae Colón.
And that’s just the work of 2016.
The lights are lowered in a back room of Music Garage with only a faint glow projecting from the back wall to illuminate the faces of Chicago’s alternative pop-rock group, Even Thieves. Vocalist Adrian Day removes his cap and pulls on the hood of this gray sleeveless hoodie, walking from wall to wall, microphone in hand, as the rest of the band prepares for rehearsal. Slowly, each member falls behind their instruments; Vincent DePierro on guitar, Jeremy Atwood on keys, Tyler Leninger on drums and Joseph Paul Chouinard on bass. A spot among the members remains open for guitarist Olivia Garza, who was unable to make rehearsal.
Each member silently acknowledges one another, signaling their readiness before the room erupts with sound and commotion. This may be only a rehearsal, but to an outsider, the performance is as riveting as any legitimate concert.
A few years ago, two friends and avid music lovers, Charlie Greengoss and Adam Victorn, sat in a basement spinning vinyl while watching YouTube videos. What started as an average night turned into a business venture after viewing a performance of Brand New’s lead singer Jesse Lacey covering Modest Mouse’s “Trailer Trash”.
Prior to playing, Lacey spoke of his admiration for Isaac Brock and Modest Mouse; what it meant for him to cover the song and how honored he would be if given the opportunity to collaborate with the band in some fashion. In awe of the admiration for a fellow musician, Greengoss and Victorn discussed how they could bring local artists the opportunity to collaborate with other bands.
This insight was the spark that ignited Vinyl For A Cause; a record label focused on raising money for charity by releasing limited edition vinyl of bands and musicians covering each other’s music. The next day, Greengoss and Victorn started on a business plan and three years later, they’re now ready to record and release their first records.
What happens when a few metal heads, an R&B singer, an indie god and a closet Paramore fanatic join forces and start a band?
No worries, this isn’t the start to a bad hipster joke. Actually, it’s the foundation of Chicago-based band, The Pact. It may have taken nearly four years of reformations and sound searching, but the alternative pop group has finally established themselves with the perfect blend of unlike genre gurus.
With less than a year behind their current formation, The Pact has already played a number of icon Chicago venues (House of Blues, Bottom Lounge) and shared the stage with national touring acts (HalfNoise, Spirit Animal). Combine this with the success of a recent EP release and an upcoming January 28th show with Tribe Society and The Karma Killers, and one might think The Pact has had a pretty easy ride.
But with any great story of success, there must first be failure.