By crafting an engergetic, funky-dance-politio-RnB style of music nicknamed "post-punk soul," Chicago band JC Brooks (formerlly known as JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound) are one of the hottest acts to emerge from the the city's deep pool of talented musicians. The band has a new album out called The Neon Jungle (their fouth), and they are having a release party tonight at the Neon Jungle to celebrate.
CHIRP Radio volunteer and DJ Jessi D. got a chance to ask JC about the new album and what else he's been up to recently.
JD: Congratulations on the new album release! Do you know why Chop Shop was chosen as the venue for the release?
JC: We chose Chop Shop because the room sounds great and it's a perfect size to feel like there's a capital 'C' crowd but at the same time like you can give an intimate show.
JD: What's the best part of release shows, specifically?
JC: The best part of release shows is...well, the release. The letting go of this thing that you've been so close to for so long. It's like sending your kid to college or something...it's not just yours, it belongs to the world and you make the mental and emotional space to start filling yourself with something new.
JD: Your summer tour schedule is looking pretty heavy - what are you most excited about presenting from Neon Jungle?
JC: The new show mostly- we're putting on a brand new show. Same high intensity performance, but with a new feel, new style, new sounds...just a new life, really.
JD: What have you and the band learned between your last release, Howl, and Neon Jungle about making and performing music?
JC: We learned how to be more collaborative in the creative process. We've got a couple of newer members so when we went into the studio it was our first time writing as a group and we had to learn each others' creative shorthand (for lack of a better term).
JD: Howl is much darker and moodier than Neon Jungle. What prompted this shift?
JC: A little while back we decided that we wanted to make something fun, dedicated to Chicago nightlife...but it's also reflective of where I am mentally and emotionally. When we were working on Howl it was a darker time for me personally and for the band and while I love that album it's very reflective of a very lonely time in my life. Now things are damn near immeasurably better (both with the band and personally) and I feel like the joy shows when we're on stage.
JD: There appears to be a lot of Prince-like influence on Neon Jungle. Did his passing last year inspire you and the band to do a lot more Prince-style vocals?
JC: Haha- I'd love to say yes, but this album was practically in the can by the time Prince kicked. He's definitely an influence of mine...but that sentiment is pretty common.
JD: What do you get up to in Chicago when you have free time?
JC: I get up to hanging out with my man and my dog. We work opposite schedules so when we have some overlap it's nice to have some family time. Lol, you'll probably want to replace this with a more interesting, bombastic answer...!