Q&A: Vast Canvas

Like many up-and-coming bands, Vast Canvas has experienced their fair share of band members; a year of lineup changes that have settled to include drummer Taylor Kreemer, bassist Parker Langvardt, lead guitarist Justin Doebert and the only original member, vocalist and rhythm guitarist Chelsea Foss-Ralston. In October, the four members worked with engineer Josh Stanley to record their 3-song EP Fck Around, out August 14 via Bandcamp, just in time for their August 17 show at Beat Kitchen.

Vast Canvas falls somewhere on the spectrum of DIY. While their sound is more fit for a conventional music venue, they took a hands-on approach to their latest EP, recording it in Foss-Ralston’s Pilsen home, just blocks from The DoJo, one of Chicago’s top DIY houses. It’s in the bright and open living space of this home where Kreemer, Langvardt and Foss-Ralston gather, (along with Uncka, the band’s polar bear pup), to discuss their new music and the ultimate struggle of responding to emails.

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Q&A: August Hotel

A year after August Hotel dropped their single “12 am”, which has been listened to nearly 100,000 times across streaming services, the indie pop group has finally put the finishing touches on their 4-song EP Charms. Although the band has a number of tunes available online, Charms will be the first official collection of music released by the current Chicago lineup which includes guitarist Ryan Lammers, bassist Cale Singleton, keyboard player Craig Schwartz, vocalist Joe Padilla and drummer Dean Sinclair.

In preparation for their release, including the single “Michigan Again” available Wednesday, August 9, August Hotel will be closing out the summer with two Chicago shows. The first will be on Tuesday, August 8th at Schubas and the second on Wednesday, August 16th at Reggies.

Lammers, Singleton and Schwartz gather in a studio on Northwestern’s campus in Evanston while Padilla and Sinclair join in on Skype to discuss their new music and semi-concerning band dynamic.

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Q&A: Sadie and the Stark

Vocalist Sadie Rogers, of Sadie and the Stark, admits the name and concept behind her experimental fantasy band may seem like a joke, but promises the music created by herself, guitarist John Tweedie, drummer Tom Stukel and bassist Anthony Johnson, is anything but. Their dedication to each others’ creative visions in their 2017 EP Ghosts proves commitment and seriousness. The songs may be full of sci-fi lyrics and mystical themes, but there’s an artistic energy within each melodic and instrumental line.

In preparation for their upcoming show on Sunday, July 16 at Quenchers Saloon, the foursome gathers in their rehearsal space to discuss new music, dream venues and live show expectations.

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Q&A: The Diving Bell

Storytelling and music often go hand in hand. Musicians have a way of turning personal heartbreaks into compelling anecdotes brought to life with vibrant instrumentals and mystic vocals. They craft songs to explore various realms of life, love, and in the case of The Diving Bell, Panama excursions and poisonous frogs.

The alternative folk rock group is headed by husband and wife duo Steve and Clare Hendershot, backed by Charles Murphy, Mike Parton, Graham Gilreath and Jake Gordon (pictured above). Clare and Steve met roughly five years ago during an open mic night at Uncommon Ground and have since worked on a number of creative products in addition to their band, including a multimedia art project and podcast. Even after recently welcoming a new member to their now family of three, the couple shows no signs of stopping. With a new EP expected for release later this year, and a few upcoming shows, Steve and Clare settle onto a couch in their Edgewater home to share how they’re turning art and creativity into a family business.

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Q&A: The Just Luckies

Members of The Just Luckies have a hard time describing their sound. With various musical influences flooding their creativity, they’ve settled on the label twang-punk. Sonically, their instrumentals and vocals fall within the realm of Americana. A hint of a southern accent can be heard in the lead vocals, backed by touches of ukulele and uplifting beats. Their lyrics and individual personalities, however, are the epitome of punk. They embrace their uniqueness and use their music as a tool to comment on various types of relationships and today’s political culture.

Gathered in a glass conference room in the back of Portage Grounds on Chicago’s northwest side, vocalist KC Weldon, drummer Shea Briggs, guitarist Nat Greene and bassist Lucy Diavolo share the ins and outs of creating their latest album Lovesick Politics and discuss what it’s like growing within Chicago’s music scene.

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Q&A: Cardinal Harbor

To residents of the Berwyn, Illinois, a western suburb of Chicago, Euclid is nothing more than the name of a residential avenue. During the day, it’s filled with cars. At night, the lights of houses and street lamps illuminate it. From day to day, that’s all there is. It’s an ordinary street. But somewhere along that street, not far from Taco Yo and Wire, sits a  home of inspiration to the bandmates of Cardinal Harbor. A home, so influential, it’s been honored by an entire album; the third for the progressive rock group made up of Spencer McCreary, Chris Hills, Joel Stapleton, Scott Carrick, Mark Andersen and Taylor Dalton.

At the corner of Euclid and Roosevelt, McCreary occupies a couch on the stage of Friendly Tap, a local coffee shop and bar. “We want to play here, but we’re maybe a little big for this stage,” laughs McCreary, settling in as he gets ready to explain his passion for this venue, this suburb and Cardinal Harbor’s infamous street.

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Q&A: The War on Peace

With a few releases and business models behind them, The War on Peace collectively agrees that their newest EP Automated People encompasses the sound and creativity they’ve been striving for. With a stellar first single, “Fear of Loss”, and accompanying sci-fi inspired music video directed by Chicago-based filmmaker Chris Hershman, the band is setting the groundwork for what they hope will turn into a successful career.

In addition to covering the basics (solid music and supplemental materials), The War on Peace is working on new and creative ways to not only standout in a saturated music scene, but to monetize on their art. The first result has been a subscription service called The Collective, which the three members were kind enough to discuss with Listen Live and Local, along with some interworkings of the band and their creative process behind putting together an EP.

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