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The clock is about to run out on 2017. But that doesn't mean CHIRP Radio is done celebrating the holiday season and an amazing year for the station. Not with Chicago band The Right Now ringing in the New Year in style with an "Up All Night" show on December 31st at The Hideout. We recently had a chance to talk to Brendan and Stef about the band and what they've got going on for the New Year...
First, an introduction for the CHIRP readers. Tell us something you want us to know.
Greetings! We’re a seven-piece soul/pop band from Chicago called The Right Now. We’re very excited to partner with CHIRP for an amazing New Year’s Eve show at the Hideout.
As we close out 2017, what do you see as the band’s big accomplishments for the past year?
Brendan (keys, guitar): We had a big year in 2017 since we released Starlight, our first album in five years. The band hit the road hard, playing fests and clubs all over the midwest and East Coast. The reception to the album was pretty incredible. We knew we had done something our fans would appreciate, but hearing NPR’s Sound Opinions rave about it (comparing Stef to Adele!) and getting spins on college radio all over the country knocked our socks off. We also had a tragedy this year that Stef will touch on.
Stef (lead vocals): 2017 will be the year that forever changed my life. Brendan touched on some of the incredible support the band received upon the release of our third album, Starlight. It was so amazing to release a product after five years and have it be so well received. We got to go back out on the road and tour following the release and had a packed summer with some really memorable moments.
Unfortunately, 2017 will leave me, my family, and this band with an immense loss. Tragedy struck my homefront early this year when I lost my very best friend and the father of my children tragically to suicide. Since then, this band has gotten much closer as family and as a creative team. We take our jobs very seriously as we realize that we have such a unique platform to connect and help people while we are here. We’ve partnered with Hope For The Day, an incredible organization that is on a fearless mission to make mental health a safe and comfortable topic to talk about. Founder Jonny Boucher and the rest of their team were there for my family when I needed their support the most and we are honored to give back where we can to this extremely important cause. Readers can visit this page for more information on our story.
Low Strung is a new Web comedy series based in Chicago about an audacious pair of friends, Victoria Lee and Shervin Bain, as they navigate their way through adulthood in the Big City, with hilarious results. The show was recently nominated in four categories at the 2017 Brooklyn Web Fest, with Lee winnning in the category Best Actress. A classically trained cellist who performs with the Chicago Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra and recorded with several other Chicago artists like Chance the Rapper, Lee and her co-star Bain (actor, Second City student, world traveller, and staple of Chicago's vibrant LGBTQ community) also write the scripts for the show.
Low Strung | Official Trailer from Low Strung Series on Vimeo.
CHIRP Radio volunteer Clarence Ewing was able to ask Lee, Bain, and music supervisor and Chicago musician Lili K. a few questions about themselves and the series:
Chicago indie-pop band Berry has been together since 2002. Since that time the band has separated physically but not musically. While several members have relocated to different cities, the group still makes music together. Their lagtest album Everything, Compromised was recorded in five different states and mixed in at least four different countries..!
Berry is performing tonight at Schubas Tavern (with The Icarians and Kodakrome) to finish up their first tour in seven years. To mark the occasion, Clarence Ewing spoke to Paul Goodenough about the band and what it's like to make music across three different time zones.
Clarence Ewing: Give us a history of Berry from 2007 to now.
Paul Goodenugh: The big obvious theme of the history is that in 2007 we existed as a band in the closest possible quarters--living together, recording constantly, touring intensely. Now we exist in three different time zones. There was a period from 2010-2014 when we had to take some time to focus on family, school, and life adventures. That was right after we released and toured for Blue Sky, Raging Sun (Joyful Noise). Once we settled after that transition period, we got the Berry-ball rolling again, but it took a while to gain momentum. An early collaborator of ours, Paul Klimson, basically kicked our asses and got us serious about recording and releasing music with some semblance of direction. For the last two years, we have been "practicing" weekly via conference call, and we usually spend a week together each summer to either record or tour.
Local artist Jash Huggins (formerly of Evasive Backflip) has spent the last few months compiling music from local artists who identify as trans, non-binary (nb) or gender non-conforming (gnc). This week that effort will be released as the Trans Lib Comp. They recently chatted with CHIRP volunteer and DJ Amelia Hruby about the project and the status of marginalized communities in Chicago's music scene.
Amelia: Can you tell us a little bit about the project as whole?
Jash: The Trans Lib Comp is a collection songs by trans/gnc/nb musicians. All artist are based in, or from, the Chicago area. I'm dubbing a run of 30 cassettes, and throwing a release show with artists appearing on the tape at a local diy spot. All proceeds from the tape, and the show are going to the Trans Liberation Collective. TLC is a local group that organized a very large demonstration earlier this year. They also have free self defense classes and continue to organize. You can reach them at their fb page here: /TransLiberationCollective/
Dan Rico has gained renown for performing as a part of local acts EGO and MAMA, but last year he released a solo album entitled Endless Love. This month he'll perform at the Empty Bottle on April 11th highlighting tracks from that release alongside fellow local Flesh Panthers and fellow rock-band-member turned soloist Ian Saint Pé (of the Black Lips).
CHIRP volunteer and DJ Amelia Hruby recently caught up with Dan Rico to chat about his solo work and upcoming shows.
AH: After your work with other local bands, what made you decide to record a solo album? How do you think this work stands out from those projects?
DR: Recording a solo album wasn’t so much a decision as it was a discovery. After exploring in the studio for a number of years at a certain point I turned around to find there was plenty of material to put together a cohesive album. Another factor was that I know I'm gonna be making music for a long time. Why not lay the first bricks now for a road I will inevitably travel the rest of my life? In my experience bands come and go-- people quit and move and get married etc—but this way I’ll always have this project to build on.
To answer the second part of your question I’d say Endless Love is a departure toward a more pop-oriented sound (not billboard top 100 type EDM-hop pop but a little more traditional). I grew up listening to pop and as an artist aspire toward a sound that’s universal. Most of the bands I’ve played in have had very niche audiences (hard rock, experimental, etc) and though I’m proud of these projects I want music I can show my parents and friends and kids and have them all enjoy it. Growing up playing in punk bands, I hope to make music that’s still counter-cultural, that confronts norms and encourages critical thinking, but that’s also enchanting, uplifting, harmonious, atmospheric, and accessible. I don’t lnow if "Endless Love" achieves this on all fronts but that’s what I’m working toward.