12th Annual Urban EP Nominee
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Record Label: Self-Released
Home Base: Chicago, IL USA
Genre: Hip-Hop / Rock / Other
Categories Entered: EP – Urban
Work Submitted: Tell No One EP
Artists Featured: Treehouse
Who are your influences?: Between the three of us, we share a variety of influences.. The Beatles, Immortal Technique, Avishai Cohen, Outkast, Rage Against The Machine, Robert Glasper, Sly, J Dilla, Radiohead, N.W.A., Bonobo, Jurassic 5, The Mars Volta, Miles Davis, Living Legends, Erykah Badu, Hieroglyphics, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Lauryn Hill, Al Green, Timbaland.. and so much more.
Describe your nominated work: The Tell No One EP gives listeners a taste of what we plan on releasing in the future. Musically, it’s hip-hop and rock combined with other shared influences. It’s simple and at times a bit more complex. Lyrically, it’s political and personal, dark and then humorous. It’s a true combination of all three of our creative influences.
Did you use any unusual effects or instruments in this recording?: We were pretty meticulous (read: obsessive) sonically. Each of us had specific ideas and would generally try to achieve whatever sound was in our heads. Once we found a specific sound, we reviewed it and decided whether or not we liked it. It was also great working with Noam Wallenberg, our engineer, since he shared the same enthusiasm in helping us achieve specific sounds.
A good example of this would be the 2nd track on the EP, “Chinatown Christmas.” We recorded glockenspiel, mandolin, and violin performing similar parts, but separately. We then ran the audio through an old tape deck a couple times, thus creating our own sample.
Were there any happy accidents while in the studio, or did everything go as planned?: Definitely! “Autonomous,” the 3rd track on the EP, could be considered a happy accident. The whole song was created in one day while we were recording in Nashville. The studio had a really old Rhodes keyboard that Rico was messing around with and Mike began playing a bass riff. The whole song was put together by that evening and the final recording wasn’t far off from what we did that day.
How did you raise the funds for this project? How long do you expect it will take to recoup your out-of-pocket recording expenses?: The Tell No One EP was funded entirely out-of-pocket. We hope to recoup our recording expenses over the next year.
Why did you choose to submit this work to The 12th IMAs?: The IMAs offered us a great platform to share and showcase our work.
What’s your definition of success and how will you know when you’ve achieved it?: In a certain respect, “success” is a relative term that defies definition. We try and set goals for ourselves and once they’re achieved, we set higher ones. There is no ceiling for us as a band or any artist in today’s music industry. We are our own barriers.
How will you leverage your IMA honors to achieve your career goals?: The IMAs are a great milestone for any independent artist. For many people, seeing the organization’s affiliation can be the difference between checking out a new band or not. We would love to experience more networking opportunities and to raise funds for the completion and distribution of our upcoming album.
Who’s sitting in your audience and what makes your fans unique?: We love our fans! Our audience is comprised of a very diverse group. We have fans from all across the globe in almost all age groups—that makes our audience truly unique.
What is your guilty pleasure on the road? Any close calls or mishaps while on tour?: Trail mix and almost all food could be considered our guilty pleasures. On occasion Rico likes to climb trees, but luckily we haven’t had any major mishaps, only lost luggage.
Who are your musical heroes & influences?: Each of us have extremely different influences with some overlap—Radiohead, The Roots, Rage Against the Machine, RJD2, Stevie Wonder, Flea, and Les Claypool to name a few.
Are there any songs you wish you wrote and why?: Once, Rico played “Half-Crazy” by Musiq Soulchild repeatedly for about 30 minutes—so maybe that. But most days, “Everything in its Right Place” would probably take the vote.
What artists are you listening to that would surprise your fans?: Our musical influences may or may not surprise our fans. We’re all over the place genre-wise in our own writing, in our cover choices, and in what we listen to. Some might be surprised that we listen to Edith Piaf or Tchaikovsky, but probably not shocked that we also listen to Hiatus Kaiyote, Florence + The Machine, or Kendrick Lamar.
How do you discover new music? Do you buy music or are you content with streaming?: We rely on a mixture of resources to find new music. Going out to shows is always inspiring and the Internet is home to endless blogs and music related websites. However, some of our favorite discoveries have been through friends, life experiences, and word-of-mouth.
We buy and stream music. Streaming is an amazing music discovery tool, but buying an artist’s music is a great way to help support them.
How will musicians make a living if fans continue to expect music to be free?: Musicians will have to focus on other revenue options such as licensing and placement for television, film, and web. More importantly, all musicians and artists will need to focus on their live performance as well as the creation of original content. People always love live music and the fans show support by purchasing that artist’s music and other merchandise. The increase in crowd-funding campaigns is also a sign that fans are willing to support the arts.
What don’t fans/audiences understand about the music industry today?: They are the future! Many fans/audiences don’t realize how much they influence the music industry today. Their consumption and behaviors determine how content is marketed, distributed, and ultimately created. This forces us as independent artists to wear multiple hats and to understand these trends. So much time, work, and money is required by the artist to create and distribute music. The music itself has become only a fraction of the work needed.
Are digital singles/EPs vs. full albums the future?: The release of EPs and singles has definitely increased over the past few years and the music distribution platform has been completely revamped. Although short-form bodies of work have always been popular (singles in particular), full-length records are the litmus test which separates artists that are dope right now from artists that are dope period.
Finish this sentence: The music industry is…an ever-evolving terrain, where people fight for survival and starve for change.
What do you have in the works for the upcoming year?: We are currently working on our full-length record. We’ll also be playing select dates across the US.