The Deli (TD): What can you tells us about the new ep Big Bang?
Leilani: It's really just a taste of what we have been working on musically. Hopefully, people like our sound and our songwriting. I think the EP is both fun and complex... We have also been writing a lot of new stuff, and I can't wait for people to come to shows and hear songs that they like from the EP, as well as the new stuff.
Ellie: I think the coolest thing about the songs on Big Bang is that all four of us really pay tribute to our influences, but very few of those influences are shared between band members. Emily and I joke that the only artists she and I both like are Tom Waits and the Ramones. It can be a peculiar dynamic when we're writing together, but the music is more interesting for it. As an example, I tend to focus very heavily on things like alliteration, internal rhymes and lyrical syncopation, which is something I've picked up from listening to a lot of rap music. I'm pretty sure no one else in the band would list Ludacris as an influence, and you couldn't pay me to listen to Cocteau Twins or the Jesus & Mary Chain (some favorites of my fellow Maybenauts), but all of those artists (and many, many more) have their own strange little place in our music and on this record.
Emily: It's our first EP, and we're really proud of it! The single, "My Head is a Bomb," was recorded with Jane Wiedlin (of the Go Go's) and Travis Kasperbauer up in Madison last year. The other four songs we did at the awesome and brand spankin' new Horse Drawn Studios out in Berwyn, with our good friend Eric Yoder. This EP really reflects the four of us writing together as a band. Like Ellie said, there is a very wide range of musical backgrounds and influences amongst the 'nauts, and I love how we all bring something different to the table to make something new.
Vee: It was a labour of love! Space Panda love! Ladynauts love! It was something that can't be defended with fly swatters. This is a serious playground swing sock in the jaw music that makes one want to embrace and hate the world we live in, our quiet little midwest megatown where cars will soon be outlawed!!! Blue Line tells the story over and over again...that same story but now it is DOCUMENTED in musical prose. Say what you want about our single but it is the new "At Seventeen". Janis Ian naked at a prom. Should not have rented that Rolls Royce!
The Deli: What is fascinating about the band is your live shows and especially the costumes won by one member in particular. What is the story behind all of those unique and shiny outfits?
Emily: Well, the story is that -- ooh, shiny!
Leilani: Since we are MaybeNAUTS, and need to travel to space on a regular basis, it is important that we look awesome both on Earth as well as on other planets. The silver, black, pink, and blue palette seem to work well in all solar systems. That other stuff that I just said is all true, but really, I just like to sparkle.
Vee: What is fascinating is that our music is what matters more than everything we do. The way we live our lives, the way the band conducts itself in public, the way we write, the way we fight, the way we love, the way we talk. We are sewn together by the music. Our patchwork consists of many stories and experiences all rolled into the hyperbole that is the Maybenauts. That and we really like to dress in flashy spacey costumes that do not breathe whatsoever.
The Deli: When someone visits your website they will find a myriad of ways to connect with the band. Do you find it challenging to manage all of those communication streams?
Emily: I personally don't. I find it to be a piece of cake. Ellie, however, might have a different response. *Ahem*
Ellie: Challenging? No... Tedious? It can be. I handle most of our online presence (though the other Ladynauts and the Space Panda often chime in on our Facebook page). I perpetually have Tweetdeck and Fanbridge and Facebook open on my desktop. I spend hours upon hours a day trying to develop relationships with music lovers and spark some interest. We don't wanna fall into the rockstar vibe where we lose contact with the people who were there from the beginning -- these folks rock our world and we want to keep them entertained and interactive, otherwise the music becomes impersonal and just another product we're trying to pitch. In the era of Facebook and Twitter and constant information overload it's easy to get lost in the feed, so making personal connections with our fans and rewarding them for their support is invaluable.
Vee: Ths Space Panda does not like crossing streams.
The Deli: What are your thoughts Chicago music right now? Is it a good time to be a band in Chicago?
Leilani: I have nothing else to compare it to because I've never been in a band in another city, but I know that we're having a great time. Things just seem to keep getting better and better. We have more people enjoying our music, more people are showing up to our shows and events, and we are making more great music together as a band. I don't think I could ask for anything more.
Ellie: I don't think it's ever been a bad time to be a band in Chicago. There are some amazing acts out there and more are popping up every day. There's never a night without a great show somewhere. The best thing happening in Chicago right now is that nights like Double Door's "recession special" no-cover shows are really working to get people into the clubs and listening to live music again. I think every small and mid-sized venue in the city should offer free shows; it lightens the investment from the average concert-goer and gives them more reason to come out and rock out.
Emily: There is so much amazing music in Chicago right now! In addition to drumming for the Maybenauts, I'm also a DJ at the Chicago Independent Radio Project (CHIRPRadio.org). I'm lucky enough to hear a lot of new local artists through the station, and play them for our listeners. Chicago has always had a diverse and vibrant music scene, and there's just as much going on now as there ever has been. In addition to all the awesome independent labels and venues we already have, I particularly love that people are taking the initiative to open their own spaces and record their own music, totally D.I.Y.
Vee: Oh it is always a good time to be in a band in Chicago. Chicago has a long legacy of good music. Other live music genre which are part of the city's cultural heritage include Chicago blues, Chicago soul, jazz, and gospel. The city is the birthplace of house music and is the site of an influential hip-hop scene. In the 1980s, the city was a center for industrial, punk and new wave. This influence continued into the alternative rock of the 1990s. The city has been an epicenter for rave culture since the 1980s.
That was from wikipedia...honest.
My answer? Chicago will always be Chicago. For better or worse!
The Deli: The release show has so many bands and no cover (before 10pm) how did you decide on the line-up for the show and what can fans expect to see on the 21st?
Emily: In addition to it being our CD release show, it's also Vee's birthday! I think he's turning 73 or something. Anyway, he chose the bands and put the whole thing together. We're all sharing a backline and only playing 20 minute sets, so it's going to be pretty raucous. In, out, rock faces, lather, rinse, repeat. Do not expect to be standing around with time to kill -- expect to dance your ass off!
Leilani: As far as what you can expect to see from us: Glitter, sequins, silver makeup, space costumes, smoke & lightning, three girls rocking as hard as possible, and the Space Panda, of course, shredding on guitar with bamboo in his mouth.
Ellie: Friday night is just going to be a huge, ridiculous, over-the-top party fueled by great music.
Vee: I was curious to see what would happen if I booked 7 bands that complimented each other.
7 is a magical number. 7 is also lucky. 7 is the number of bands that agreed to do this show. 7 x 3 = 21. 21 is my birthday. 3 is my favourite number. Get me? You get me? Seriously, get me? Fans can expect to see bands at their very best and trimmed down to their boxers. Seriously, 20 mins for them to show you why they are awesome. None of the usua...ooh shiny! This is obviously a ploy. My master plan is to bring the masses to the show. Broke and unemployed alike. You get me? Get me?
The Maybenauts play at The Darkroom on Friday May 21st at 8pm with 6 other bands.