Last week we let you in on a little secret from Chicago called Color Radio. This indie four piece features two brothers, Jonathan and Tohm Ifergan, along with Matt Thomas and Joel Chasco. Their sound is gigantic, layered with all manner of bells and whistles just waiting for you to grab Architects and throw on a pair of headphones. You’ll be enamored.
Since their second album is about to see it’s physical release, we thought it’d be a great time to send some questions their way and see what we could learn about them. We even get in a little football talk. It’s just a shame I didn’t to ask em about Theo or Ozzie.
(S = myself, CR = Color Radio)
S: What is Color Radio and how did you guys form?
CR: Color Radio is a four piece ambient rock outfit from Chicago. We comprise of two brothers from Mexico and two friends. We all worked at Home Made Pizza Co so after two members left for grad school, Matt and Joel were the first people we asked. It worked out pretty well and we’ve been going strong since.
S: For those who might not have heard you before, what bands or sounds would you compare yourself to?
CR: We have been compared to a variety of bands from Radiohead to Explosions in the Sky. I would agree our sound pulls a lot of certain playing stylings from those two infused with a Most Serene Republic like dreamstate.
S: Out of the large crop of bands debuting in the last few years, whom do you gravitate toward and listen to regularly?
CR: We have all been huge fans of the work Grizzly Bear has put out the last couple years. They are extremely solid in everything they do and we’re happy they finally got some national attention.
S: Chicago has had some big bands birthed within it’s confines, not to mention a healthy amount of commercially successful artists from all genres. How has life on the Chicago scene been for you?
CR: I would say it has been up and down for us. The people working in it generally are great people, but like any big city you’re competing every night against other great shows. The local scene thrives on buzz and summer music festivals since music fans aren’t as eager to seek out, rather than be told “This is your new favorite band.” That’s why building a community with other bands and helping each other is the best way to get to the top, and when you’re there, Chicago is one of the best places to be.
S: You can’t live in Chicago for long without getting embroiled in the plethora of Bears info/talk as well as either the Cubs or the White Sox. Who does Color Radio support? What’s your opinion on Cutler?
CR: I love the Bears and I think Cutler is a good quarterback that takes too much heat. The guy has had 3 different offensive coordinators since he came into the league and has thrived when given good line protection. As for the rest…half of us root for the Cubs and the rest don’t care. We all agree that Derrick Rose and the Bulls will win a championship soon though…if there’s basketball.
S: Your sound is massive, I would describe it as arena ready. When crafting the tracks on Architects did you intentionally go for big sound or did you end up there while coming from a different direction?
CR: Thank you for noticing! It really was our intention and we’ve always thought we would flourish in larger venues. We did try to put a few quieter songs that would respond well in most Chicago venues since you can’t always play Pritzker Pavilion.
S: We listen to a lot of music here. A lot. First impressions are everything, and when I first listened to “Vespers” it begins like it’s going to be another indie rock track until the final minute which builds into this cinematic climax (think John Murphy’s “In The House – In A Heartbeat”) of guitars and keys. These crescendos are found throughout Architects and take the album to another level. Many bands can’t ever seem to drive it home like you’ve been able to with this album. How important is it for you to take listeners on this kind of journey in your music?
CR: We appreciate the kind words. The biggest void we find in music these days is dynamics, not only in recording but songwriting. This is why we put so much emphasis in destructing and rebuilding melodies (hence the name Architects). We wanted to send the listener on a journey that engages you throughout the whole album where the quiet moments feel more dramatic and build ups more epic.
S: If you had to pin down the one area that the band grew the most in between Be Safe, Beware and Architects what would that be?
CR: We had so many personal impacts (muggings, break ins, family passing, flooding) it was impossible not to mature. The result was less poppy and more melancholy, but a little more in depth. I think we spent a lot more time building layers and creating a mood.
S: “Smile At A Funeral” is a dark piece in the progression of Architects, though it seemingly floats from melancholy to slightly more upbeat and back again instrumentally. I’m curious, what was the inspiration for the track?
CR: I remember listening to a lot of Blonde Redhead and Massive Attack at the time so when Matt (keys) wrote the part I felt the beat immediately. We had the idea of a split song and wanted it to change rhythm without changing the feel. This was actually the first song we wrote for Architects and hence the inspiration for the whole album.
S: Are there any upcoming touring plans to support the vinyl release of Architects?
CR: We just came back from the East Coast and want to really focus on the Midwest the rest of the year. We definitely plan on going to SXSW next year though.
S: What’s the next step for Color Radio?
CR: We plan to get back to writing and expanding on our sound for a follow up EP next year. We hope this release will give people an idea of who are and get them excited for more.
Thanks a lot to Color Radio (and Crash Avenue) for taking the time out to answer our questions. Once again, Architects will release on vinyl on October the 11th. If physical ain’t your thing, don’t worry baby – I got links to the digital goods below. Also, feel free to pick up “Smile At A Funeral” and “Quiet House”.
MP3: Quiet House
MP3: Smile At A Funeral