11th Annual Rock / Hard Rock Album Nominee

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Record Label: Three One Two

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Home Base: Chicago, IL

Genre: Rock

Category Entered: Rock/Hard Rock Album

Work Submitted: The Nerve

Label: Three One Two

Who are your influences? Coming from Chicago, we’ve always admired Wilco. Rolling Stones, The Doors, and Neil Young are big ones for us too.

Describe your nominated work. The Nerve was an album written to be performed. We play live a lot and wanted our recorded music to convey that. We made the album at Electrical Audio, which has a reputation for its loyalty to analog technology.  We recorded with the four of us playing together in the same room to two-inch tape and, after some overdubbing, printed the songs back to half-inch tape.

Did you use any unusual effects or instruments in this recording? Pete plays some sabar drums (from Guinea) in a section of “Slow Night at the Red Sea.” Casey uses a Rhodes run through a Leslie simulator, and played some Wurlitzer, Mellotron, tack piano and B3 organ.

Were there any happy accidents while in the studio, or did everything go as planned? There’s a spontaneous element to every recording session we do. On this record Johnny’s guitar string broke during the outro of “Health” so you can actually hear him pulling the string out of the frets at the end of the song.

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? We rely on touring to finance for our recordings. We played 40 shows and logged 20,000 miles on Dee Dee (our tour van). When we hit the road, our album sales rise too. It takes a while, but we’ve been fortunate to have good turn outs at shows across the US.

Why did you choose to submit this work to The 11th IMAs? It’s a great organization with a reputation for recognizing works purely on their artistic merit.

What’s your definition of success and how will you know when you’ve achieved it? We want to make the best music we can for as long as we can. How to know we’ve achieved success? When someone other than us is lugging our gear in and out of venues.

How will you leverage your IMA honors to achieve your career goals? For us the IMA is just a little encouragement to keep doing what we’re doing. It’s exciting for us, and for our longtime fans too.

Who’s sitting in your audience and what makes your fans unique? They’re the best looking fans in the world and go nuts.

What is your guilty pleasure on the road? Any close calls or mishaps while on tour? Guilty pleasures depend on the geography: Chick-fil-a in the South, Whattaburger and In and Out out west, Culvers up north. Our tour van Dee Dee has broken down a few times—Ozona is the site of an infamous breakdown in the Texas desert. We also were late to a show in Manhattan one time and had to double park with our flashers on in front of a fire-hydrant while we played.

Who are your musical heroes & influences? We draw upon a wide range of influences—from Keith Richards and Bruce Springsteen to traditional musicians like Ali Farka Toure.  Among our heroes are our respective music teachers—we’ve all spent lots of time studying music.

Are there any songs you wish you wrote and why? The Hey Song from Jock Jams. It always brings a party to the next level.

What artists are you listening to that would surprise your fans? Zola Jesus, Electric Guest, Pastor T.L. Barrett and the Youth for Christ Choir. We don’t ONLY listen to rock ‘n’ roll.

How do you discover new music? Do you buy music or are you content with streaming? Any touring band plays with dozens of bands they’ve never heard of—playing live is great exposure to new artists. Delta Spirit, Tristen, and Black Angels are just a few bands we’ve discovered on the road. We buy the music we like.

How will musicians make a living if fans continue to expect music to be free? By being great live… ticket sales are the new album sales.

What don’t fans/audiences understand about the music industry today? They probably know about as much as we do, which is nothing.

Are digital singles/EPs vs. full albums the future? Historically, singles vs. LP markets have changed with evolving mediums and technologies for music. The phonograph yielded an LP market, then the iPod came around and changed that… but when we buy music it’s usually full-lengths. We’re big believers in the album.

Finish this sentence: The music industry is…what it is.

Where fans can find you and your music: