Could you tell us a little about how Brontosaurus became? Were you all in other bands? Or?
Brontosaurus was born from the ashes of a band called Picture Books that the two of us played in since 2006. In that band we discovered we had an instinctual way of working with each other that went well beyond that of anyone we've collaborated with before, so when that band called it quits in January of last year we knew the two of us had to continue. In Picture Books we weren't the main songwriters so we had built up a large cache of our songs on the side that immediately became the basis of Brontosaurus.
Do you incorporate any other members on the road to flesh out your sound?
It's certainly something we've considered early on but in time we managed to develop an intricate live show which covers all of the bases. I play piano, guitar, and glockenspiel while covering the bass parts with pedals that I play with my feet. NK plays the guitar and drums and we both sing. Sometimes we'll create a drum beat together as NK plays the hi-hat and bass drum with his feet while strumming a guitar I'll play a snare drum with my right hand and the keyboards with my left hand. Some would say it would be much easier to just bring in another member, we instead chose a much more difficult route. Though I think it makes us a much more interesting band to watch.
Your debut lp Cold Comes To Claim comes out this month. Is there a theme behind the album? Or were most of the songs constructed on their own?
There is and there isn't a theme. Some songs are certainly tied to one another certainly touch on a similar subject matter, but they were never designed to follow a theme. It just happened that a lot of the songs can weave in and out with each other. With the latest batch of songs that we're writing for the next album we're much more aware of our lyrical themes and we're making a concerted effort to cover more ground. The music on the other hand was specifically designed to flow from one song to the next. We wanted to create something that could work as one continuous body of work should a listener want to listen in such a fashion. This was actually born out of our live show which is often (not always) performed as a straight 30 minute set without a break.
You both are located in Chicago. Were you both from the area originally? Do you enjoy the music scene there? Is it supportive of what you are creating?
I was born and raised in the Chicago burbs and have been in the city proper since I was 18. NK was born and raised in the Quad Cities area and has been in Chicago since 2006. The music scene certainly has it's positives. There's quite a number of great music venues and an the scene runs the gamut when it comes to musical diversity. There's also some great promoters in town that really try hard to get bands recognition. On the other hand the winter is a terrible time to try and get a good crowd out for local shows and Lollapalooza sometimes messes things up in terms of getting good touring bands into Chicago during the summer.
Many of your songs off the album clock in at over 5 minutes. Was this intentional or did this just kind of flesh out in the studio?
Longer songs was quite the opposite of what we set out to do. I remember early on in the writing process we wanted to write 2-3 minute pop songs. We would write all these little musical moments trying to achieve that then somehow all those moments sort of morphed into the songs you hear now. Along the way we decided to let the songs guide us and tell us where they wanted to go and not force anything that didn't come to us naturally.
How do you go about creating your music? Do you all contribute to the lyrics and music?
We're a rather democratic band. 90% of the music and the lyrics on the album were written together. Nothing happens in this band that we both don't agree on, which at times can be frustrating but in the end I feel makes for a song that we can be completely proud of. It is rare for one of us to bring a mostly completed song to the table. The point of the band is that we greatly admire what the other can do to our songs and ideas and we want to see what the other person has to add. Our songs usually start when NK or I bring a very rough chord progression or drum pattern to the table. After that we spend weeks trying out part after part and constantly editing everything until we have a nearly completed song structure after that we usually start to write lyrics. For lyrics one of us usually has a first line or a suggestion of what we want the song to be about and then we go from there trying to fill in the blanks almost mad lib style.
What would you like to accomplish as a band? What are the goals?
Our main goal right now is to get our record into Europe and follow that up with a tour. After that who knows. If we can continue to make records and tour until we run out of songs I'll be a happy man.
What made you want to dedicate your life to music? Was there a show or album?
I can't think of one single event that made me want to be a musician. For as long as my memory goes back I've always been playing music. I'm compelled to. If I see a guitar I have to strum it, I can't walk by the piano in my house without sitting down and playing for a spell. It's just second nature now.
Anything you would like to say to Pittsburgh?
Be kind to us. It's our first time.
Brontosaurus will be opening this show at Garfield Artworks. Doors are at 8p.