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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Live Review: Broken Cycles, Dig Engine, Tougher Than You Thought (6/15) @ Elbo Room

A collection of primarily Chicago-based bands gathered on Thursday, June 15 at Elbo Room for a night covering a wide spectrum of rock from alternative to pop punk and metal. The concert featured performances by Broken Cycles, Dig Engine, Tougher Than You Thought and the Moline-based metal band Within the Grey.

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Q&A: Rakunk

The holidays are right around the corner, and what’s a better way to celebrate and wrap up the year than a charity show at one of Chicago’s iconic venues? On December 13th, House of Blues will be hosting Let’s Rock The Bells: A Holiday Benefit Concert. Audience members are encouraged to bring a toy to donate to the Marine’s Toys For Tots while enjoying a mix of rock performances from local  bands including Chicago’s own Rakunk.

The four piece band has spent the past year working to perfect a unique sound that dances somewhere between modern rock and pop. Their first EP Rakunk is compiled of rock heavy tunes such as “Writing With A Knife” and “Banged Up”. Since then the band has blended with the realm of pop with catchy singles “Trillionaire” and “Turn the Power On”. With plans to release a few new compilations, the band sat down to share some secrets on writing captivating song and developing a signature sound. Plus, they were generous enough to give some tips on picking up chicks (it includes business cards and great facial hair, obviously).

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Q&A: The Avantist

Fernando, Erick, David and Luis Arias of The Avantist gather in their parent’s Hickory Hills’ basement which doubles as a rehearsal space. Erick, Luis and David set up behind their instruments as Fernando teases them for always running to their security blankets. The eldest brother sits in a folding chair and chipperly points out how he doesn’t need to hide behind an instrument.

Without missing a beat, each brother sends out a rebuttal concluding that Fernando isn’t behind an instrument because he doesn’t know how to play one. Bickering and insults continue to pass back and forth. It’s brutal and ruthless, but as any sibling knows, it’s all meant with love. Within seconds the room erupts with laughter as they prepare to share their journey on what brought them to these “security blankets” and how they’ve used them to grow with each other.

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Profile: Even Thieves

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.

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Profile: The Pact

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.

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