We had the chance to ask rapper Alex Rubin a few questions, who is wrapping up his full-length album, recorded at Gravity.
How long have you been rapping?
I started as a senior at Evanston Township High School, banging on the lunch tables to make a beat and battling about my classmates’ attire and their moms.
What inspires you most?
The struggle of the every day hard worker in America is my inspiration. We all go through things, and my job is to let people know that they’re not alone.
What did you work on at Gravity?
When I moved back to Chicago, I had an album worth of tracked out material, but the mixes were nowhere near radio quality. So I had Mike Penny re-tweak the mixes and Doug McBride do the final mastering.
What did you enjoy most about your experience at Gravity?
I really enjoyed the personalized experience at Gravity. They respect my attention to detail, whereas other engineers often just want to get through the work without ensuring that each sound sits properly within the mix. I was invited to sit in on every mixing session to make sure my music was going in the proper direction.
What does the future hold for you?
For now, I’m on the open mic circuit. I just placed in the top 5 of the Jack Daniels Jack N’ For Beats competition, which was a months-long artist showcase that culminated with a final live performance event at the Shrine Nightclub hosted by Power92.
Alex Rubin plans on releasing his music soon, so keep an eye out for it. For now, check out the video below of his performance in the competition!
We recently had the chance to talk to Jack Be Nimble, who is recording their new single at Gravity Studios.
Erik: How & where did Jack Be Nimble form?
Jack Be Nimble: Well, the band formed originally as an acoustic group between Mike, Doug, and Kevin at Lewis University. We played acoustic shows at bars around the local scene there it was a lot of fun and people came out. We decided we should probably record our music and get the word out. That’s when we came to Sean. Sean had just graduated from Tribeca Flashpoint Academy for music recording and he said he’d work with us. We started recording with him and with his outside opinion the songs got more intricate and we decided to add drums with his help and electric instruments. Eventually he just kind of became a member of the band and we’ve been a pop punk band ever since.
Erik: How did you come up with that name?
Jack Be Nimble: The name comes from the nursery rhyme. We like it because it’s something everyone has already heard and it’s pretty easy to get stuck in your head and associate with us. Plus we like to think of ourselves as a pretty fun group so that helps.
Erik: What is the song writing process like for the band?
Jack Be Nimble: Song writing varies greatly with us. Some songs will be written by one member completely, others will be a group effort. Lately Mike and Doug have been writing the rhythms and lyrics before showing the song to the band, then we all come together and play it live until it takes a life of its own. You can write songs on an acoustic guitar all day, but you need to hammer it out with the band for it to have a real personality. That’s how we wrote this song and we’re really happy with it.
Erik: Why did you decide to work at Gravity Studios?
Jack Be Nimble: There’s plenty of reasons. First off, we heard of Gravity thru Sean who was a student of Doug’s in college. He had and still does have nothing but great things to say about Gravity. We tracked an EP a couple months back and we had Doug mix a few tracks from it and really liked his work. Sean has always praised Doug’s ears for mixing and tracking, it’ll be nice to work on this song in its entirety at Gravity. Also the best drum tone in the midwest comes out of Gravity Studios, hands down.
Erik: What song are you working on?
Jack Be Nimble: This song is called “Slow Down Charlie”. It’s about getting lost in the speed and stress of the average everyday life people have these days. It’s about doing all you can to exist in some form today, and in turn not being able to enjoy the things that really make you feel alive. It’s something we think just about anybody who hears it can relate to in some way. We’re really excited about it though, it’s got great energy and dynamics which is something we’ve been working really hard on as a band lately. We wanted to record this song in October because we have a huge show at The Rave in Milwaukee in which we’ll debut this song live and open for Mayday Parade on. It’s been a little while since we’ve released music, and we’re huge fans of Mayday Parade. We wanted to give our fans something new that we’re proud of, and make our mark at this show. We can’t wait for it, we’re honored to play with some of our favorite bands, and excited as can be to release this new song.
Erik: What do you see in the near future for Jack Be Nimble?
Jack Be Nimble: Hard work, and lots of it. We’ve been playing lots of shows trying to get the word out and show people what we can do live. October is a very busy month for us, we have 4 shows in 4 weeks and the sessions for this single booked, on top of our day jobs. Following the release of the song we plan to write even more music, get even tighter as a band, and broaden our fan base as much as possible. 2 of our shows this month are playing with national acts(with Kingsfoil at Mojoes in Joliet, IL and with Mayday Parade at The Rave in Milwaukee, WI) that’s a great opportunity for us and we’re extremely grateful for it. We hope to book more of these shows and play out of state more, a tour would be really cool. But you can expect a steady flow of music and other content from us. These next few months have us stoked.
We recently had a chance to talk with Miranda Wood, who recently released her single “We Won’t Stop“.
Erik: How and when did you begin playing/making music?
Miranda: I was singing before I could talk; I began taking voice lessons at the age of 11 through high school, where I was active in competitive choirs. I decided to follow my passion of music in college and pursue Vocal Performance as my major at Columbia College Chicago. I didn’t start seriously writing songs until my senior year of college, and once I started writing, it became my primary creative outlet.
Erik: What inspired you to write this song?
Miranda: This song actually came about as an assignment for my songwriting class; the topic was rhyme and I wanted to go over the top with the end rhyme scheme and make a super poppy Ke$ha-esque party song. Once the song was finished, I realized that I actually liked the song a lot, and it got positive feedback from my peers. It’s one of my catchier songs that I’ve written so I decided to record it and make it my first single.
Erik: What was the songwriting process for this song like?
Miranda: Writing a simple pop song was actually a lot harder than I thought it would be; I had to make the lyrics short and to the point (which can be hard for me sometimes, I tend to get emotional when I write and have word vomit) and have the melody be something that wasn’t too complicated. The most fun part of writing the song was using moments from actual nights out with my friends as inspiration for the lyrics- there are little inside jokes from experiences I’ve had out on the town in Chicago.
Erik: What was the recording/producing process for this song like?
Miranda: This was my first experience recording in a professional studio; I had visited other studios previously, but Gravity had the most comfortable atmosphere. I had a strong vision for what I wanted as far as production goes, and was lucky enough to work with Tim who fed off my ideas and make the song turn out really great by adding the “poppier” sounds not made by the instruments. The band I had brought into the studio recorded their parts all at once, and did it in a few takes, so I ended up spending most of my time on lead vocals, backup vocals, and listening to Tim and working with him in mixing and production.
Erik: What are you planning on doing with this song?
Miranda: This is the first single I am releasing as an artist; I plan on making several different remixes- one that will be techno dance remix and another with live horns and more of a hip-hop feel. I also have been meeting with a director to do a video for the song- it will be a fun, comedic video where it goes back and forth between the actual night out and the expectation (or “drunk goggles”) of the night.
Erik: What is next for you/your band?
Miranda: I will continue writing new material and working with my band to get ready for my next gig October 3rd at Goose Island in Wrigleyville. After that show, I plan on booking shows around the Midwest, in hopes to expand my audience.
Originally hailing from Wisconsin, the Chattermarks have decided to break into the Chicago music scene by recording their 2nd EP at Gravity Studios with Mike Penny and Doug McBride. The band has been playing together for just over a year and met through previous band and mutual friends. Although they are a fairly new band, the Chattermarks are pulling their experiences from previous bands to make a rock’n album.
What inspired their new album??? The band cites “love, pain, and all of the other craziness that life throws our way” as the driving force behind their songs. Although the band likes to write their songs as a collaborative effort, Monte (Chattermark’s guitarist) will often bring song arrangements for the band to work with.
We had a chance to talk with the Chattermarks about their recording experience at Gravity Studios. “We spent a few weeks dialing it in with pre-production on Mike’s laptop prior. Mike Penny (Gravity) understood our approach, and his proficiency with pro tools, allowed us to be comfortable and efficient. Stellar engineer, and great guy. Doug McBride absolutely killed it on mixing and mastering as well. He was also a pleasure to be around”, Monte.
Stay tuned for the Chattermarks to be released on CD and digital in the near future.