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Feb. 21, 2022

Interview with The O'My's

We had the pleasure of interviewing The O’My’s over Zoom video!

Soulful Chicago-based alt-R&B act The O’My’s persevere through love and loss on new EP No Swimming out now via ADA / Warner Music Group. Each song unpacks the complexity of life’s...

We had the pleasure of interviewing The O’My’s over Zoom video!

Soulful Chicago-based alt-R&B act The O’My’s persevere through love and loss on new EP No Swimming out now via ADA / Warner Music Group. Each song unpacks the complexity of life’s highs and lows through the lens of Maceo Vidal-Haymes and Nick Hennessey’s personal experiences living in isolation and learning from one another. Inspired by the arts and music that has shaped them, the duo manifested each track on the project in their newly built studio during the pandemic. With community at the forefront of everything they do, the EP captures the heart and strength of their beloved city like no other. While a nod to the various tokens of their hometown, they’re able to provide a comforting universal message for listeners anywhere in the world.

The new era of music first came to fruition in 2020. They would then spend the next year creating multiple productions for the song and with each rewrite Vidal-Haymes and Hennessey pushed their boundaries to the next level. Surviving through the pandemic with the power of music, the two challenged themselves with unfiltered artistic expressions that served as a savior. Vidal-Haymes says their new music “incorporates what we have learned as growing producers, writers, and men but at its core it’s what has always made The O’My’s.”

About The O’My’s:

Channeling their experiences and perspective into soulful music, The O’My’s grabs listeners from the very first note. Made up of vocalist-guitarist Maceo Vidal-Haymes and classically trained instrumentalist Nick Hennessey, they have etched themselves into Chicago’s music scene through consistency and collaboration. Together they produce a rich tapestry of sound, pulling from a wide range of genres, decades and emotions, and have additionally linked up with a wealth of notable talent including Chance the Rapper, Noname, Saba, Ab-Soul, Pink Siifu, ZZ Ward, and Carter Lang (Omar Apollo, SZA).

Their 2018 full length album Tomorrow was formative to their launch and 2019's EP Above Ground saw the band expanding on the sonics explored in its precursor. Ten years and tens of millions of streams later, The O'My's have honed their one-of-a-kind sound while cultivating an impassioned fanbase and positive praise from media critics. To date, they've secured coverage from the likes of Billboard, Chicago Reader, Chicago Tribune, Complex, The FADER, Highsnobiety, Pitchfork, among others, and Rolling Stone dubbed them 'Artist[s] You Need To Know.'

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2 (2m 25s): What's going on. It is Adam. Welcome back to bringing it backwards. A podcast where both legendary and rising artists tell their own personal stories of how they achieve stardom. On this episode, we chatted with Nick and Misael of the <em></em> over zoom video. Both Nick and Misael were born and raised in Chicago. They met through a mutual friend that attended both Misael and nix high school at different periods of time. We hear how both of them got into music. Misael has a story about booking studio time with no real songs, no complete songs. And then he runs into Nick at Lollapalooza, asked him if he wants to jam and finish the songs. So they put some songs together and went, the studio recorded them. 2 (3m 8s): Love what they're doing started playing shows around Chicago. We talk about their first record Chicago style. They tell this really interesting story about chance the rapper. He was still in high school and putting him on the song the wonder years, which Misael had just written about his grandfather that passed away. We also learned about their second record tomorrow, building a studio right before the pandemic hits and kind of having a full circle moment where they were able to record this new EAP, no swimming on their own time, demo the tracks out at home, and then kind of have free reign to, to come and go and write songs with no real time constraints. So we learned all about that new record, no swimming, and you can watch the interview with Misael and Nick and myself on our Facebook page and YouTube channel at bringing it backwards. 2 (3m 56s): It'd be awesome if you subscribe to our channel like us on Facebook, follow us on Instagram, Twitter, and tick-tock at bringing back pod. And if you're listening to this on Spotify or apple podcasts, it'd be awesome if you follow us there as well. And if you have time, hook us up with a five star review, it means the world to us, 3 (4m 14s): Appreciate your support. If you follow and subscribe to our podcasts, wherever you listen to pod, 2 (4m 19s): We're bringing it backwards with the Oman. This podcast is about the both of you and your journey and music. We'll talk about the EAP released and I'm really curious how you guys met and started <em></em> so, 4 (4m 32s): Yeah. Sweet. 2 (4m 35s): That was going to see that. Are you well, first off, were you guys born and raised in the same area? Like did you know each other growing up or no? 4 (4m 41s): No. We're both were raised in different parts of the north side of the city. We really cross paths. I got a scholarship to a school that was just south of me and it was down the street from Nick's high school. And so we had a mutual friend that went to both left my school, went to his and introduced us. And so that's kind of, 2 (5m 5s): Okay, well talk to me about where you grew up then Maceo. Oh, I lost your audio there. 4 (5m 15s): Okay. Now I 2 (5m 16s): Can hear you. 4 (5m 18s): All right. Cool. Yeah. So we met through a mutual friend that went to my high school and then left and went to his and so like fuse group, friend group. 2 (5m 28s): Sure. Well, how far away were you from like the high school? You got a scholarship to? 4 (5m 36s): That's probably what I would say. It's probably five miles, right? 2 (5m 44s): It wasn't like you traveled clear across the state or anything like that. 4 (5m 52s): Yeah. Decent travel in the city. The, 2 (5m 54s): Yeah, I guess five miles in the city. It would be kind of a, 4 (5m 59s): Okay, 2 (6m 1s): Well, we'll talk to me about where you originally grew up or where you grew up. 4 (6m 7s): Yeah. I grew up in Rogers park where I live now, like literally down the street from, from where I grew up and it's like the furthest north neighborhood in the city and probably at least for me that my favorite, but one of the most diverse neighborhoods, both like ethnically socioeconomically in the city, which is a very segregated city. And then one of the most in the whole country, it's like a designated sort of welcoming neighborhood for immigrants of all different types. So you've got people from the middle east, from Asia, from Africa and Latin America, sort of all in this one neighborhood. 4 (6m 55s): So we eat really good food up here. 2 (6m 58s): I was going to say, you must have some great food all over the place. That's awesome. How did you get into music? Good. Was your, were your parents musicians at all or music in your family at all? 4 (7m 10s): My parents aren't musicians, but music was always in the household. My, my dad, big, big dancer and music fan and, and my mom too. And so they just made it really, really made it a point to have music and, you know, music from their cultures, my dad being black from the United States and my mom being Cuban that sort of though that music was constantly played around the house and at home. And I think really the only the first times I really saw music being, you know, I mean, I obviously saw music as like an active activity and like dancing in the home. 4 (7m 56s): But like when I saw the actual making of music live was really actually through my grandparents on both sides. My grandfather, you know, like would like to sing, you know, old Cuban boletos and stuff. He lived with me for some time. And then my grandmother on my dad's side spirituals. And so seeing them both separately at different points, actually like singing and sounding good was sort of like definitely the first place that I really places I saw music being something I could do. 2 (8m 31s): Okay. And where you, what was the first century mailer? Was it a singing or are you like a singer as a kid growing up? 4 (8m 36s): No, never singing. I like took some lessons at this community organization and piano, but that didn't really stick. And then really the first instruments and that was pretty young and it wasn't until probably when I got to middle school where I started taking Latin percussion, congas, mostly going gospel something by less and, and others, the basics of Latin percussion. And that's really when I started, started really getting my feet wet, playing with other people, you know, cause with percussion land percussion, it's not something you do by yourself, but it's always in, in concert with other people. 4 (9m 23s): And so that's where I started like a finding like musical communities of land percussionists, but then also starting to like, think about how I could make music, you know, not just the traditional music. My mom was trying to make sure I learned, but also, you know, how I could apply it to what I was loving to do or was into, which was like hip hop. And so started at some point to take what I learned from that and, you know, started making beats and then eventually started trying to write my own songs once I figured out cause somewhat 2 (10m 0s): Right on. Awesome. Well, Nick, how about you, where'd you? Where were you? 5 (10m 4s): Yeah, I grew up in, in Wicker park, super centralized north side neighborhood of Chicago, like right off of the train line that goes straight to downtown and the airport. And so it's, it's always been like a pretty busy, pretty busy area, but, and just growing up, like it was pretty, it was like the early stages of being like actively gentrified neighborhood from like a Puerto Rican, Puerto Rican and Eastern European community into just, you know, like by now it's very yuppy white sort of middle upper, upper class type neighborhood. 5 (10m 47s): But growing, growing up, it was like tons of records, stores, skateboard shop that I worked at like loiter and lurked around like tons of just really like hanging out and all these stores, I had an older brother, like four years older than me. And we would just skate around the neighborhood, bother the local store owners and learn about music from hanging out at the local record shop and from people playing music at the skateboard shop, but definitely like a really hip hip, like cool, just, you know, artists type community, growing up coffee shops and all that stuff. 5 (11m 32s): So kind of like the little kids that everybody knew in like a twenties, thirties, 20 to 30 year old community that like everybody kind of brought us up and showed us what was, had been cool and all that type of stuff. So that was, that was really a lot of, a lot of my childhood. 2 (11m 53s): That's cool. I mean, I skateboarded growing up and that's really how I learned about a lot of music in different artists and bands is up because it's so integrated in that scene. I mean, you'd watch the skate videos and it's like, oh, what is this song? Oh, this is, you know, whoever and like far side like, well, okay, this is cool. I'm gonna go listen to that. It was that kind of a way away. You're discovering music at all. 5 (12m 15s): Yeah, for sure. I mean, from the, from the actual skateboard videos and then like learning where context, I mean, one of the main people who worked at the skateboard shop was like my first musical collaborator, like, but like 20 something years in age gap, but he had, he had been in tons of bands, like funk bands in the eighties and stuff, Stevie dread, and was a really, just an amazing like mentor of mine in general, just in life growing up. But then also was a really great drummer and had like, had a couple of friends who all had a studio space down the street. 5 (12m 59s): And so that was like 12, 13, 14. Those were the first recordings I was ever doing. And it was super, just kind of have like very jam open, open jam session. They, they weren't very concerned about song structure or anything. It was just a bunch of dudes who liked to play music together and like hang out for hours light just with, with the tapes running. So like other than definitely like learning songs from those videos and just hanging out and being a fly on the wall in the skateboard shop. But a lot of those people were DJs. 5 (13m 39s): A lot of them were, you know, he was a drummer. A lot of them were in Skateboard and music, other than just the videos like there's, there's, 2 (19m 1s): There's a culture 5 (19m 3s): To different colleges. So like a lot of the people in there, like the owner was a punk had been in punk rock bands and was like avid punk rock seemed supporter. And part of that community. And then you had Stevie drag big into funk and hip hop. And then the other dude who worked there was a hip hop DJ. So more than just those, those, those videos, it was really like everybody also had a music scene to turn me on to and like put me on to music that I would have not even heard in those videos or wouldn't have heard at home. 2 (19m 39s): Wow. Where are you a musician prior to that? Like when you're skateboarding you're like, what was the first instrument you learned? 5 (19m 45s): Yeah, so I started playing instruments like super early on, like the ukulele was the first instrument, like just, I was too small. I, I was just expressing interest in music and instruments, John, I think. And my dad, both my parents are big into music, but my dad, neither of them are musicians. Neither of them had any participation in, in making music, but Bo, but my dad had like a huge record collection. Music is really important to him. So I grew up around a lot of music and must have just shown interest in music early on. 5 (20m 27s): So they, I was too small for a guitar, so they got me a ukulele and then I liked that and wanted to go to the lessons. So at some point I graduated to like guitar and piano. And so yeah, at a young age, I was already learning a little bit about different and like learning some of my favorite Beatles or Bob Marley songs. And then like always sort of essential big, big songs by big artists, like starting to learn them on guitar and ukulele and piano and stuff like that. So, yeah, I w I was, I was big into music early on. 5 (21m 9s): Okay. 2 (21m 10s): And you S you said you were, you met up with the, the guy from the skate shop who is 20 years or than you are when you're in like 13 years old and you're recording, like where you playing guitar with, with them. Like, how did that form you just past 5 (21m 25s): Piano is the thing that I liked was, has always been my main instrument that I had, like the most comforter knew the most about was most comfortable on like, was at that point 13, 14, like, I've listened back to some of those recordings, which is the coolest that I have them, but like, they're definitely still, like, cringe-worthy like the musical choices that I'm making, but I was at least capable of like sitting down with them and trying to hold my own. And they let me grab the keys. There was no one else trying to be the piano player in the cruise. So that was what I played. 5 (22m 5s): There was already a bass player and a guitar. 2 (22m 9s): So you had, yeah. You already were playing piano at that point. Okay. And then Misael. So when you, you said you're jamming with people also prior to meeting Nick, and then how did you guys end up, you went to the same high school. Did, did you start jamming right away or like, how did that relationship form as far as you guys meeting and befriending each other? 4 (22m 31s): Well, we didn't go to the same high school, 2 (22m 33s): But a mutual friend 4 (22m 37s): Got it down the street. And so like, really, we didn't really actually play music together until I graduated from high school. I'm a year older. We were like, just kind of like in the same group of kids that like one kid's parents weren't around that often. So we went and all partied at his house all the time. And so like, 2 (22m 58s): Is that kid right? Every town there's that kid. 4 (23m 5s): And so like, to be like, we weren't really close that during any of that time. And like, kind of didn't really like, have trust each other. Cause we both were like reaching for the ox cord constantly or playing, you know, music that both of us liked, but like, we're like, who's this person playing this. 2 (23m 23s): Oh, you guys are trying to like compete as far as like deejaying the party. 4 (23m 27s): Yeah. You know, court battles. So, and so like, you know, we both knew that knew each other played music, but it wasn't until a friend that was close to both of us in the crew Tom shoe. But he was like, you guys really need to, you know, make some music together. You know, Nick plays keys, I know you play guitar and sing. And like, I think you guys have like similar musical interests and we should make music. And that didn't really turn into any turn into anything until I graduated high school. And I like talked to this clued into buying from a high school to buy a studio time. 4 (24m 8s): And I was like, oh yeah, I got a bunch of songs. I got a band together. That's going to be good, man. Don't worry about it. And then I definitely didn't have a band. I had like six half written songs. Bi-pap written songs. And then we, I was at Lollapalooza that year, 2007 and was running around during the Kanye concert and bumped into Nick. And I was like, well, shit, he, I know he plays music. So at that point I didn't have a phone. I asked him to like write his number down on my arm. And I was like, I got studio time in like two weeks. So, you know, I got some songs. He said he had a couple Kathryn songs too. 4 (24m 51s): And it just kinda started from there. We got together and like had tried to hash out the unfinished songs we had. And that took about a week, a little bit more. And then with the remaining remainder of the time, we like threw together a band of people that I had been playing with at high school. And then people that Nick had been playing with, he was in like a bunch of, of after-school and out-of-school jazz programs. And so like he brought a horn player and a drummer and I brought a bass player and one of my close friends at the time. 4 (25m 31s): And then, you know, one of the original band members, Zack wicks was an emcee at the time. Cause I was like singing, but still really, you know, early in my singing. And definitely wasn't like confident enough to like, to, to lead a band like, you know, on the stage or be the lead, the only vocal happening. And he was just tremendous and big inspiration to both of us, but his writer amazing straight at stage presence and just amazing human being rest in peace. And he, he was sort of like part of the energy and fire to like fused it all together. 4 (26m 13s): And so, yeah, and that's kind of how we started, we, we had a recording of those songs and then once we had those like, ah, these don't sound bad. Well, we should probably play some shows. Right. You know, like we have some music, I guess the next thing is to play shows and like, yeah, okay. We need a band, we have to be a band now. So we have the NAB name. So we figured that out. And then, and this is the 2 (26m 36s): Same group of people that recorded that you all kind of threw together 4 (26m 39s): In the studio? Well, it was, you know, because for the most part, you know, cause it was Nick a nice project, you know, like it was, they were down to come and play whenever, but you know, it was like our writing and, and they came and helped make it sound good. But the core of the band was in those original recordings, our drummer and bass player, bass player at the time, Carter led amazing producer. And that S dude, he was in the band, was in the band for a long time. And then members of the horn section, it, you know, like, because we started so young and it was at the age of people you're going off to school or still being in high school and not being able to come to shows or performances or whatever the case may be. 4 (27m 25s): There was sort of over the past whatever years, like a changing group of, of, you know, faces depending on who had to leave town and whatever. But the core was then, and then we just kind of haphazardly started figuring out, you know, what, what we wanted to make and who we wanted to be. Because, you know, at that point it was just some songs and a couple, a couple of high school kids with no real plan. 2 (27m 55s): And you guys just wa would play around Chicago area. And eventually you did a, any NEP one, 2000 potty mouth. Was that your first? 4 (28m 4s): Yeah, that was the first EAP. And that had like a couple songs from those original recordings and then a couple other ones. And that like, we really just started playing shows wherever we were allowed or not allowed, but we're let in, you know, because we were so young, like playing in bars and clubs was pretty hard to, to navigate, but there were a couple people that were willing to bend the rules. And so we, you know, we just started playing and that, I think that once we started playing shows, I think that really sort of galvanized us and like was like, okay, this is, you know, we're a band and we love playing. 4 (28m 45s): We love playing our music live. It's not just some, some song that we wrote together. And like, you know, either of our bedrooms and then recorded, you know, in a studio, but it's like to be shared with people and to perform. And so I think that's, once we started playing shows is when we really decided that, you know, this was something that we wanted to push further. 2 (29m 4s): And then that's when you decided like let's pursue this as A slower development. 4 (29m 14s): Okay. We sort of slid into that being like, oh yeah, this is what we want to do. But at that point it was just like, this is fun. This is where we want to put energy. And really like for the, at least the first five years, you know, obviously we were hustling and wanting to play shows and wanting to get our music out there. But the thoughts of it being a career was kind of, not even a thing. It was just like, we're a band and we want to play music. And the thought of it being a career, like bringing any kind of money very, very far away. Okay. 5 (29m 47s): Potty, mouth come out and pat him out, they didn't even come out until like 2009 or I think like 2010. So like at least that first three years, and then it was a gradual like increase of professionalism and like using it as a career path. Definitely even like for years after that, but like the release us getting our, our, like our shit together enough to at least make those records, the potty mouth project, and like start to put that out and figure out how that was. That was like, that was more the beginning of trying to figure out how it worked as a business and all of that. 5 (30m 29s): Cause those first three years was the own. The only business side of it was definitely just trying to play local shows and build a local performance audience. But like that first audience base really, they weren't showing up because of any recordings. It was just through word of mouth, like the communities that we were part of and then playing, getting better at like bringing a fun experience and adult night of, of show and entertainment and fun. And like, so our first little following was just friends and associates and friends of friends who had a fun time at the first show and continued to come back. 5 (31m 11s): And I don't think any of them had heard any of our demos or any of like the, the OMI as a recording band. It was really just the OMI as, as a live gig band. Okay. 2 (31m 23s): Okay. When, when would you say that that all changed? And this was like, okay, this is something we really should pursue. Was that when you put out the first album, 5 (31m 33s): The PI starting with potty mouth, that was the gradual, like maybe the very, very beginning that was like when we saw our first radio play. And I mean, yeah. And that was the same weekend that we played the Metro for the first time, which is a huge venue in Chicago. Got to open up for our close friends, the kids these days back then. But so that, but that, that was like baby baby steps levels of starting to take it seriously and starting to think about it professionally. At least that's in my head where it started to kick off. 5 (32m 13s): I don't know about from Maceo. 4 (32m 15s): Yeah. I mean, for me, I think it was similar maybe a little bit further down the line that even just became, you know, when you're in, you know, your city and you're playing music at venues and you know, you're like building your following at that age or whatever the world is pretty small, you know, it's like, oh shit, like get to play the Metro, like cool. All right. That's like, check, we've done it, you know? Right. And then I think it was once we started collaborating and then I feel like really around the time that we put out Chicago style and then subsequently went on a national tour, opening up for ZZ ward that sort of the horizon split broadened a little bit, because we were like, okay, this is what a national touring touring band looks like. 4 (35m 8s): This is what a tour looks like, and this is okay, this is what we're going to LA and playing some like, you know, music sessions are or taking meetings or going to New York and playing gigs and sort of once it, once it became a little bit bigger than just the couple of venues that we play in the city and the couple of people that were at our shows that we knew in the city, cause Chicago is a big city, but it's a big small city. And so I think, I think that was, for me, at least I was like, oh shit. Like this could be something. And I think it took a little bit longer, even for it to be like, this, is that something, you know, this is what I want to do. 4 (35m 50s): But even being on the horizon, I think that really started like post post Chicago style. 2 (35m 57s): Well, I would say, I mean, having on, on Chicago style, having chance of rapper on the first song in the record that must've been like, tell me that's must, must've been a huge accomplishment, a huge milestone 5 (36m 9s): Time period. 2 (36m 11s): Oh, that was, 4 (36m 12s): Yeah. I mean, at that point he was, you know, cause like some of the kids, these days was a big band in the city and they, you know, a number of people in that band were members of our band at certain points prior to that. Cause they're a little younger than us and chance was really, like, I only knew him as their friend slash one of the hype men on stage he's in high school at this age. And so like, wow. Yeah. You know, I had known of him, you know, Nico Seagal, like, like there's a close friend who was in the band and I went to elementary school with, he he's like sort of like how I even like had chance on, on our radar as just a person. 4 (36m 59s): And then we're working with blended babies on the project and they were like, Hey, there's this kid chance, you know, is working on music. He's about to put out a project sometime soon, you know, remind if he hops comes in the studio and we're like, oh yeah. Oh yeah, I know him. But not like, you know, didn't really know him for his own personal music at that point. And yeah, so he came in and the song was about my grandfather who had just recently passed and I was already a little apprehensive because of, you know, the subject matter and it being very fresh and like, okay, well, like who is this new kid that's going to come in? And like, do I trust, do I trust him to like put, and I didn't imagine wraps on the song period, but then like, you know, do I trust them to take that subject matter? 4 (37m 45s): And like, which is really delicate and really personal and family oriented and like to, to, you know, take that story further and you know, and he just came in and killed it. You know, he, it ended up being a lot of what I know his music, him to be really great in his music, which is being able to like sift through really intimate and sort of family moments. And so it just ended up working really perfectly. But yeah, I mean, at that point he was like a local kid doing 2 (38m 19s): That's crazy. And then, I mean, nowadays he's one of the biggest artists on the planet, right? 5 (38m 26s): Yeah. He dropped 10 day before Chicago style came out. But when we recorded that 10 day wasn't even out yet. So right before his first full mix tape came out off, all that was out was five days, which was a five song version of 10 day. So, but like, but that had an established on it, which was a really beautiful, beautiful song. That was the one thing that, that I had already become a big fan of that that made it seem like potentially wonder years could be an amazing fit for him. 5 (39m 8s): But I, I understood the saying I was hesitating, you know, he, he, he, I don't know if Ms. Taylor had even heard that song yet. Cause it was, it was very brand new. So it was, but yeah, it was a different time. 2 (39m 22s): Yeah. It's, it's interesting to hear you talk about like, yeah, I don't know if I trust this guy, like, cause nowadays it's like chance the rapper called you and asked you to, if he wants to collaborate with you, it's like one of those, you know, career changing for, you know, a younger band now, you know what I mean? Like it was just funny to hear those stories about him being so young and, and being like, I don't know about this guy and then the success that he eventually has. It's so funny. 4 (39m 48s): Yeah. You know, it's just like, no, it was just like, you know, like trusting someone to come in. It's just, you know, like trusting someone to come in to a super personal and like raw sort of moment in the song, you know, my grandfather just passed. So I was like, I don't know if this high school kid is really gonna be able to dig into those deep emotions. 2 (40m 13s): Wow. Wow. And you said when that record came out, that's when you got your first tour opening up for ZZ war 5 (40m 19s): Sometime after that, 2 (40m 21s): How did that connection happen? 4 (40m 25s): So the producers that we had worked with for Chicago style blended babies had also done some work for her and they used, and one of the songs that actually the first song that I ever like rope, they actually ended up repurposing it and using it for, for one of her songs called darling. And my original one was probably a little darling. And so, yeah. So that's kind of how that sort of all happened, you know, and, you know, she was super sweet and her whole band was super sweet and welcomed us on. 4 (41m 5s): And we were like, you know, super, not super, super green to the whole experience. Yeah. 2 (41m 13s): I learned a lot. And from that tour, what was the next milestone for you guys? 4 (41m 20s): The next milestone I think was, I mean, to be honest, it wasn't until what Nick, like I think after that we realized we needed record more music. And so we, I think really it was a large, a big gap of time of us learning, learning how to record and write, you know, I think like we had spent some time playing shows at the beginning of the band and then, you know, our sessions for Chicago style were really our first sessions really in, in a, in a real studio. 4 (42m 1s): And so getting the glimpse of like, okay, this is how, you know, the process of recording happens and producing, you know, there's like, you can have a song, but then it could sound a million different ways depending on, you know, what you do in the studio. And because we didn't have access to a studio just like building out our own. And I lived with Nick at that point. And so we had a home studio and, you know, I guess the milestones are really about creating music, you know, like I think, and that's why personally in some ways, you know, I think it took a lot longer for us to really look at it as, as a career because, you know, we were really just interested in making music at that point in Chicago, that was so much some, so much budding talent and like amazing community of people that it was just about like creating, with creating with different folks from all different types of genres and music and like having fun. 4 (43m 0s): And I don't think that at least in our head completely transferred to like, this is going to be a career. So like humble masterpiece was I think our first, first step into like, okay, let's try to produce, you know, it's like super, roughly produced, but I think that was sort of what started us on our way. And from there, I think headlining our own, like Metro shows in the city, 5 (43m 34s): Yes, we lost you for a second 2 (43m 36s): There, 4 (43m 38s): We'll just start starting to tour like our actual own headlining show. And then, and then starting tour, I think those were the biggest sort of next steps for us, but really it was the music, you know, learning so much from collaborating with a bunch of different people in the city and different musicians, because that was always changing. Yeah. I think it was mostly about being immersed in what was happening in Chicago for a little while. 2 (44m 11s): Okay. And you obviously stayed in contact with, with chance cause he was on your, on the tomorrow record. I think he did another song with you guys in between there as well. 5 (44m 20s): Yeah. Everybody in that community, like I was, that was definitely the timeframe where on any given day, all types of different, amazing artists, all different genres could be hanging out in our living room, like right outside of our home studio. Like it was like a way a waiting room or, you know, like it was an endless cycle of people coming through the house that were all really talented. So that whole timeframe like around Hubble masterpiece all the way up to keeping the faith. But right before and after the ZZ ward tour, that was all like just super organic constantly either, either I was letting him to say, oh no, that somebody told me they were coming over and we should get ready for a session. 5 (45m 11s): Or Maceo was telling me that I had 10 minutes to get ready. Cause a bunch of people were about to come through our house and make music. Like it really, it happened from day to day, like very fluidly or are they just knocking on the door or, or we just run into them like on the street, like, cause, cause it was a busy neighborhood and it was, you know, anybody might be out and about, and then all of a sudden we're all making a song together. So. 2 (45m 41s): Wow. So that was, that those records were done was tomorrow done in your house? 4 (45m 46s): No. Tomorrow is the burst project posts post the house first project studios. It was like, yeah, we did Chicago style studio. And then we did tomorrow in a studio and everything in 2 (45m 60s): Between was done in your house 5 (46m 2s): And demand tomorrow was like the wind. Like we stopped living in the same house together. So it changed like it made like a different, but super what I think was a really healthy change, but just it made it something that needed a little bit more intentional, like intentionality to like even just making a song as simple as it still was. Cause Maceo was only 10 blocks from my house, but he have that distance. And the fact that we actually had to like plan on when we were going to get up and make music that changed. And it took a while to figure out that process, that creative presence versus just literally at any given moment, nighttime morning, afternoon, living together the day could become a song. 5 (46m 57s): But like that, that process changed around at the time of tomorrow where, where we were more intentionally making time to write songs and record songs and, and yeah. 2 (47m 9s): All right. Well, it sounds like with this new record though, account came back full circle, then she built a studio during the pandemic and record the record and you're in your house again? 4 (47m 19s): Well, not in the house. So like, so, you know, tomorrow is, you know, aside from, from Chicago style was like our first time or second time being in real studios, like consistently and work in a project in a real studio. And there was really amazing process, like learned a lot, a lot. And then also like, you know, what we loved and then also learn a lot of what we didn't or what we needed to do, sort of not in a studio with like, you know, the clock ticking and bunch of people. And so on a, a studio space 9 (49m 35s): It's been said that the best way to predict the future is to create it for over 50 years. As AIC has embraced the unknown mission focus to build a tomorrow that works for everyone, bold transformations, digital engineering, the explosive thrillingly awesome power of tech. So no matter what the future holds, we're ready to bring on tomorrow, 4 (50m 6s): Like in Rogers park. And I just moved back to Rogers park and you know, the whole building is like, no one, none of them are musicians. It's like carpenters and a pool hall and a bunch of other random things, but there was a space and it was, you know, we could afford it. And so we just built it out and built like, you know, isolation booths and took what we learned from working in studios and like was okay, how do we do this for ourselves? You know, we're obviously not gonna mix it ourselves, but we want to be able to create and like explore sounds on our own time. 4 (50m 46s): And also, you know, there's like always the thing about being in a studio of you hearing it in your head, what you want and then trying to like communicate it to somebody and you know, the engineer, which half the time works and half the time just, it gets lost in translation. And so to like begin to give yourself the vocabulary and to get your hands in it yourself was kind of what we were shooting to do. And so we built it out. It was like right before COVID hit and which actually a blessing because all the studios shut down. And so once we were like, well, shit, we have a studio fully, you know, fresh and built out. 4 (51m 31s): And so we just spent all of our time in there and that was a lot of, sort of like a hybrid. I really looked at it as like a hybrid of, of sort of like what we were doing prior to tomorrow when we lived together and sort of the organic newness of the space and also, and this amount of time to actually to experiment, you know? And so we did that, but then also, you know, with us learning, learning, you know, from the engineers and the studios, the basics as well as then sending it to them to mix, we kind of found like some sort of happy middle ground where didn't feel constrained by, by, you know, being in a studio, but then also could, you know, use some of what we can't do ourselves. 2 (52m 28s): And would you say like the pandemic, you know, having all that time, did you feel like it affected the record at all? 4 (52m 37s): Yeah, I think, I think, well, a, I think the time, you know, it was like a very introspective time, you know, and because of that, you know, pieces of it were songs that had been started just prior to, prior to it and pieces of it were ones that, you know, started during it. But I think the songs that we chose and the songs that we finished were really informed by, you know, what was going on because there's so much about interpersonal sort of relationships, whether they're romantic or not, it was kind of really about figuring out, looking at, looking at all those relationships from, from a good amount of distance that we had, you know, as people like the whole world just shutting down and not seeing people really gave a lot of, a lot of perspective to those. 4 (53m 34s): And so I think in that way, it really did. And then also in terms of the process of recording, I think this is probably the first project where, you know, the majority of everything is played by us. We have some, some drums from Alfonso Jones and some bass from boy Ammazza Pola and a little bit of, of trombone from JP Floyd, all members of the band at different points. But like, you know, I play drums and bass on songs, you know, there's a lot more guitar or other things that usually I would do a little bit of or sub out to have somebody else do or whatever. 4 (54m 22s): So I think it just forced us to, even on the engineering and just figure it out ourselves and like, you know, okay, lay it down if it isn't, if it doesn't sound exactly the way we want it, that's good for now. And we'll figure out how to get someone to play it better if we need to. But a lot of the stuff just ended up sticking. So yeah, I mean, I feel like the process for all of the terrible things that came with with that time, I think also is a really a really big growing, growing point for us. 2 (54m 59s): It's amazing that your guys are able to have, you know, inspiration, cause I've talked to a lot of artists either. They had a lot, like they're inspired by everything that was going on and like they just needed to get it out. Or they were like, oh my gosh, I've been sitting in this house for, you know, now what was the two years? And you know, how am I going to pull any inspiration and any inspiration for something I'm not doing? It's like you aren't outliving. Right. I mean, you're more, did you, did you run into that at all? 5 (55m 27s): Definitely. Yeah. We definitely experienced a good amount of that. And I think we were also really fortunate to have, we always had tons of the beginnings of ideas and a lot of these songs, like the very early skeleton of those songs had happened right before all this, just like we were lucky that we built that studio, Justin, we were also lucky to have spent a whole summer, you know, like we had lived a whole lot of life leading right up to that point. So there was, there was things to reflect on it. And there was ideas of songs to go to Maceo had had pieces of a good amount of the songs. 5 (56m 9s): The lyrics for Synthi were already written lonely as a book on the shelf. That concept was already there. You know, a lot of the, a lot of the, even if it was just the smallest amount that was really helpful to have all these little ideas to expand on in a time where yeah, sometimes it wasn't feeling super inspired to maybe start something from scratch for myself. And it was really helpful to have these bits and pieces to, to, to build on and spend time turning into full really, really amazing songs. I think, 2 (56m 49s): I think the record is incredible. 4 (56m 52s): And also the like, and also I think part of what pushed us or was inspiring was also, we'd never had our own space to like record music outside of our homes. And like we had just spent all this time building this and like getting shit for it and getting it ready. And it was just like excited to just go crazy in there also, you know, I think if, if it, if it, if I was staring at the same home studio that I was staring at prior to that probably would have been a little less, less inspired to like get up and go to the studio five days a week. 5 (57m 28s): Yeah. If it was right next to the living room, I might've just been 2 (57m 36s): Yeah. Put the effort in to get there and everything. That's probably a lot of it too. I'm here. I got to work. 5 (57m 42s): Yeah. Just like a safe, safe, responsible place to go during the lockdown where we were still in our bubble, but able to be out of the house and be together, getting creative was such a blessing. 2 (57m 55s): Were you able to work? I mean, obviously the, you guys just put out the record, but were you working on other stuff now? I mean, is it just keep going? Are you constantly writing? 4 (58m 5s): I mean, yeah. There's like car drives and hard drives worth of stuff because you know, like Nick, at that point, wasn't living in the neighborhood. And so he would travel up during the daytime and we would like finish and work on a bunch of stuff. And then afterwards the nighttime and be like, okay, well let me work on some stuff by myself or let me hit up my buddy that I make beats with down the street. And so like, I think we both like just kept even if there weren't things that would traditionally have been like something I thought I was going to be like a no Mies record or something that was like, okay, it's going to go in this direction. 4 (58m 46s): The, I guess it con continuously started to grow as we got to experiment more with what, what our sound could be. You know, I think at certain points you gain, if it doesn't sound like this and it isn't recorded like this it's not OMI is record or what are they going to think? It was like, well, no, one's checking for that first, but also like, that's not what it's about. And so I think as much as like some, there's so many different things that looking at it, not sure if this is gonna turn into a full song, not just getting it out and allows for a lot of possibilities. 2 (59m 27s): That's amazing. Well, I appreciate your guys' time. Thank you so much for hanging out with me today. Yeah. Nick, I have one more question for you both. Honestly, if I can get an answer and meet you though, I want to know if you have any advice for aspiring artists. 5 (59m 48s): Yeah. I, I would say as, as simple, maybe unhelpful as this is, but just, just get started and just do it, lay an idea out, try a show, you know, try all these things out because, because no one's really clocking you and watching you as closely as you are watching yourself and being tough on yourself, creatively and business wise, like your, your friends, your fans, everyone's just proud and happy that, that you exist and that you're making your ideas come true. 5 (1h 0m 30s): So just like continue to do it. You can always edit it later. Like if you have an idea, don't worry about if it's good or not. Like just to put that idea down because the next week you might not remember that idea and who knows how good it was always. It's always better to be able to come back to something, decide if you like it or not. As opposed to in the moment, decide that you're not sure of it. Or you're being judgmental of yourself and then you just don't even document it. So 2 (1h 1m 2s): I love it. I love that. 4 (1h 1m 6s): Yeah. I would say like, definitely just get your hands dirty and do it. And then also, you know, don't, don't wait on other people, you know, I think, I think like for better or worse, artists have to be everything for themselves and both on the business end, but also on the creative end and the writing and recording end, you know, like if the idea is there, lay it down. If you want to hear what it sounds with the keyboard on it, try and figure out what's going to S you know, you may not be a drummer, but like, if you hear something, try and lay it down. 4 (1h 1m 46s): And by the same token, if you want to see something happen, you know, either, you know, business wise or career wise, you know, you can't really, you know, you can't depend wait on other people to make those things happen. You know, you really, I, at least personally, I feel like you have to have your hands in it all. Cause no, one's going to care about it. As much as you.