The highlight of my Audiotree Festival 2018 Sunday was undoubtedly the performance of Chicago’s Slow Mass at the WIDR FM stage. And then to top it all off, I got to sit down with these lovely people to discuss their work. Listen below as I chat with Mercedes, Dave, Josh and David about their involvement within Chicago’s music scene, their Far Out Audiotree Session, and what’s up next for the band.
Check out some highlights from the interview down below:
Could you tell our listeners about your Far Out session with Audiotree? You looked very cold.
Dave Collis: It was about 30 degrees. It was at the Garfield Park Playhouse. The first song we recorded was “Dark Dark Energy” and it was so cold that we would do a take and then go inside and warm up and then walk back outside and do another take. And then we didn’t really that we were chasing worse weather, so “Suburban Yellow,” we did one take and it started snowing while we were doing it. It didn’t pick up on the camera as much but it was condensing on our pedals and equipment.
Josh Parks: You can see some water splash off the cymbals a couple times.
DC: Yeah, we went immediately into a second take because we weren’t sure how much worse it was going to get. It was stressful but it was fun because everyone was in it together.
Mercedes Webb: I thought it was going to look epic.
It did look epic!
MW: Well, I understand why they use milk as rain in movies now.
MW: Yeah! They don’t just use water, I heard that they use milk. Because it shows up better on camera.
David Maruzzella: What if they’re lactose intolerant?
MW: Just don’t open your mouth.
Do you find any influence for your writing from people in the Chicago music scene that you interact with?
DC: Aesthetic and work ethic, I would say, I’m inspired by the bands in Chicago that I see that in. I love a lot of bands in the city, but I would never want to see a contemporary and say “I want to do what they’re doing,” because what they’re doing is wonderful and they’ve carved out their own space for it.
MW: I think it does help to know that Viv (Vivian McConnell of V.V. Lightbody) has so many different skill sets with different instruments. So in making the record, we definitely keep that in mind. We have in mind, when we write a song, that “oh it would be so sick if this friend played this instrument on this.” So I guess there is an influence in the writing process.
DM: It’s all sort of like parallel tracks. We all love Nnamdi (Ogbonnaya)’s album, but we don’t sound like Nnamdi. Or try to do that, but we listen to his album all the time. The first show I played (with Slow Mass), we played with Monobody, which is basically a jazz fusion band, which we sound nothing like. But still, we like to play shows with friends in bands, even if they don’t have anything in common with what we sound like. Everyone has their own little area, but it’s cool if we all get to do it together.
Slow Mass will be playing Beat Kitchen November 15th with Rozwell Kid and Bow & Spear. More info for the show can be found here.