A Chat With: Mauno

Hailing from Novia Scotia, Mauno combines relaxed tones and soothing, harmonious vocals with melodies that’ll keep you on your toes on their latest album Tuning. The sophomore record, which follows up 2016’s Rough Master, threads 14 tracks together in one succinct package; each track existing in its own pocket, but working best when listened through in order. Following Tuning‘s October release date, Mauno are gearing up to hit the road this Spring, stopping by Chicago to play Schubas en route to SXSW. In advance of tonight’s show, we chatted with Nick Everett of the band to talk tour, SXSW, the process behind their record and more. Tune in below to our chat with Mauno!

Photo By Levi Manchak

Starting off, how did you all meet and decide to form Mauno?

Eliza and I met in the spring of 2014 and quickly started play music together, she on cello and me on guitar. We both nerded out about our love of The Books, but then the music we started playing asked to be taken in anther direction entirely, no matter what we wanted it to be. We expanded the sound when we brought in a drummer, Eliza moved to bass, and then we did a much needed lineup change to be where we’re at now with Adam and Scott on guitar and drums. They’re good guys who’ve been playing together for almost decades with an s.

Can you talk a little bit about the process behind your album Tuning? What was the writing and recording process like for the band?

We just try to make the noises. We try not to think about what it sounds like, so much as what the sounds are and what they need to be, to be more themselves. We don’t come at it from a musicological perspective, so the usual references don’t jive. The balance is a lot more pop-oriented than Rough Master, much more carefully crafted (we recorded the whole thing twice), and a lot more cohesive. Rough Master was about conflict and the clash of opposing ideas, and this one is much more about talking through the problems that arise in any creative project and then working together to make a whole. I think it sounds a lot more mature, but then I’ve listened to it about 10 thousand fucking times so I don’t know anything about it anymore.

Who and what are some musical and non-musical influences that inspire your writing? What about influences on your stage presence?

Definitely the work of R. Murray Schafer changed my life (Nick) and relationship to sound over the past couple of years. I read Soundscapes and moving through the world has never quite been the same since. The title is a reference to the subtitle of that book (The Tuning of the World). The background of the record is full of soundscapes, pieces from around Halifax, from around the house we recorded in there, and a couple Eliza recorded in Heidelberg and Berlin while she was living there last summer. They are little pieces of the places we lived in that have had an enormous effect on our sonic understanding and our sonic relationship to our environments. The collage of soundscapes on the record encapsulates this theme, as well as displacement– ideas of associating home with aural landscapes and the cyclical return to them. There’s a whole second soundscape record buried in there somewhere.

Other than that, the world of Christopher Small, especially Musicking has been really influential in the way we’ve talked about playing together and our relationship with the other people in the room while we’re playing. To not think of music as a thing in itself, as not actually existing, but rather a series of dance steps– an action performed in a room-has been really liberating.

As for stage presence, we just try to listen and look like a group of people listening.

What do you hope that an audience takes away from your live show?

Our album?

Which cities on your upcoming tour are you looking forward to playing in and visiting the most?

I have no idea! We’ve never traveled or played in the states, so we have no expectations. Excited to be in Chicago! We’ve driven by it a few times on our way to western Canada. American cities hold a huge place in our imaginations for sure.

What are three things you have to have with you on tour?

Instant coffee, free wifi, extra strings.

You guys will also be down at SXSW next month…what are some of your best music festival survival tips?

Oh my god, skip whatever you think you need to go to and go to bed instead. Take care of yourself — you’ve only got one.

Are there any other bands you’re hoping to catch a show from while you’re down at SXSW?

Yes definitely! Look Vibrant and Girl Ray and Fenster are good pals who rule.

What else is on the horizon for Mauno in 2018?

Making a new record and more horizons.

Mauno will be at Schubas on tonight, March 6th and the show is FREE. Check out details here

This article was originally posted on ANCHR Magazine

A Chat With: BANNERS

Liverpool bred singer-songwriter and musician Michael Joseph Nelson, AKA BANNERS, boasts an impressively dynamic catalog. From sweeping, cinematic choruses, addictive melodies, and goosebump-inducing falsettos, his music carries it all. Music has been a huge part of Nelson’s life for a long time, from his musically-inclined family to his participation in the Liverpool Cathedral Choir, his work as BANNERS has been a long time coming. We recently caught up with the life-long musician to chat about his latest EP Empires On Fire, his writing process, his upcoming appearances at some major festivals, and what else we can expect from him this year. Keep reading and get to know BANNERS now!

1497019579472-j7ptqbx0zw-a0492a1d4b7c381f0089385505200e08 (1) As I understand it, you come from a musical family and your dad has even worked with Coldplay! What was your first memory of wanting to play music yourself when you were younger?

I don’t ever remember it being a decision really. Just something I was always going to do. That sounds like a cliche but I think that’s how it works. There’s so many ups and downs to a career in music that I think you need that certainty, the lows would be unbearable otherwise. I grew up with music everywhere, my mum plays loads of instruments, my Dad is a record producer and I sang in choirs from a really young age. Music just gets in you until it’s just the thing you do. I remember going to see my Dad in the studio and him showing me how the desk worked, how you could isolate a vocal or bring a guitar up in a mix and it totally blowing my mind. I’ve always been fascinated by recording studios. The idea of spending a day recording and by the end of the day a thing that didn’t exist before now does. I always thought that was magical. Still do!

Can you talk a little bit about the writing and recording process for your Empires on Fire EP? Do you have any specific musical or non-musical influences that you saw pull through in your writing for this project, or that you felt inspired the songs?

Well the different parts came together over quite a long period of time. The title track “Empires on Fire” has been done for about a year and a half. Which has been good because in that time I’ve been able to play it live and test it out on audiences. You really start to get a good understanding of the song that way I think. Then when it comes to mixing it you’ve got a much clearer vision of how it should sound. I really like that song so i’m really happy that people can finally hear it! I wrote “Someone to You” with a friend of mine called Sam Hollander. I’d been in LA doing a month of writing sessions with people. The session with Sam was the very last session before I flew back to Toronto and we wrote the best song of the whole lot. It’s always a massive relief when you get something good. Writing can be so hit and miss and when you’ve got a record label waiting to hear new songs there’s a lot of pressure.

You’re from Liverpool, but currently live in Toronto, right? What are some of your favorite aspects of each city, and do you think both locations have influenced your songwriting and sound in a way?

Yeah I live in Toronto but Liverpool will always be home. Liverpool is a city with a real sense of itself, of it’s own identity. It’s confident and defiant. It has that mix of people and cultures that only port cities can really have. I wouldn’t want to be from anywhere else in the world. And of course that informs you’re writing. Loads of my songs are about the sea! Really, your influences are a culmination of every experience you’ve ever had and nearly all of my life so far was spent in Liverpool. Toronto is great too and I’m so fortunate to have ended up here. It’s been so supportive of me and my music. Canadians are naturally quite self deprecating so they’d never admit it but Toronto has a claim to be one of the great music cities in North America, there’s so much great music being made here by so many talented people that it can’t help but rub off on you.

In general do you have any sort of rituals or habits that you use to get into a songwriting flow?

I think it’s just a case of doing it regularly. It’s like a muscle, the more you work it the stronger it becomes. If you take a break from it, like if you go on tour or something, when you get back you feel really rusty. I like writing with other people that I trust and being totally open to their input. It’s easy to get stuck in your own little rut with songwriting so writing with other people keeps things fresh.

I hear you’re big into football/soccer! Any other hobbies or interests of yours that your fans might be surprised about?

Liverpool Football Club are my darlings. I spend too much time agonising over those lads. Honestly their ability to shape how I feel for an entire week after a match is horrifying. I read a lot (god, so pretentious). Music is one of those professions where it can be really hard to give your brain a break. I suppose all creative endeavours are like that. You’re always thinking of melodies or lyrics, or stressing over a release or whatever, so I find reading a really good way to relax. I just finished “On the Road” by Jack Kerouac for the millionth time so I’m not sure what to start next. 1984 might be a good fit for the Orwellian nightmare we all seem to be inhabiting.

Who are some of your favorite up and coming bands at the moment, or albums that you’ve had on repeat lately?

I’m heading out on tour soon and I’ve invested some money in some stage production stuff. I’ve spent the last few months programming lights so i’ve been watching a lot of live sets for inspiration. These are in no way up and coming but I’ve been watching a lot of Bon Iver live, there’s one gig on Youtube (I think it’s in Cork in Ireland if anyone wants to check it out) that I’ve honestly watched every day for the last month). I’ve been listening to The National a lot recently I’m a bit late to the party but I’ve really gotten into War on Drugs. The band, not the disastrous foreign policy.

This year you’ll be performing at Firefly Festival and Hangout Fest, and the lineups are insane! Are you already planning any special surprises for your sets at the festivals?

Haha! Surprises? Like what? No, I’m just going to try to play my songs to the best of my ability. Maybe that’s a surprise. It doesn’t bode well for my general reputation if it is!

Who else on the Firefly and Hangout lineups are you hoping you get the chance to watch?

I’m looking forward to seeing Arctic Monkeys, I believe they haven’t played live since 2014 so it’d be good to see what those lads have been up to. Man, I love festivals. They’re so much fun to play and then you get to hang out with loads of people that really like music. They’re a great opportunity to watch how other singers do it, how they act on stage and how other bands put their shows together. And then steal all the best ideas and pretend you came up with them!

Besides the festivals, what are your tour plans this year?

I’ll be touring North America in the spring and then I’ll be announcing more stuff throughout the year.

Any other goals for 2018?

Oh man, I just want to get to the end of it without the world imploding. Honestly I just want to get better and singing and playing and writing. Hopefully release a bunch more music and play live to a load more people!


Banners will be in town on March 30th, playing at SPACE. Grab tickets here.

This article was originally posted on ANCHR Magazine

ANCHR Magazine Anniversary Showcase: Lucille Furs, The Evening Attraction & Capital Soirée


ANCHR Magazine turns one this January! To celebrate, they’re ringing in 2018 with a showcase at Schubas Tavern on January 5th (it’s a Friday!), featuring Lucille FursThe Evening Attraction, and Capital Soirée.  Matt Williams of  Post Animal and Cadien Lake James from Twin Peaks will also be DJing. For more about each band, keep reading, but grab your tickets to the show here.


Retro rock and roll that puts a refreshing spin on the sounds we all love from the 60’s and 70’s.

20170818-IMG_5122 (1)

For Fans Of: The Stones, The Beatles, Cage the Elephant, Levitation Room

Go To Tracks: “Alabaster Crayon“, “Baby Blaise,” “In Samsara

Fun Fact: Lead singer Trevor Pritchett starred in Post Animal’s video for “Special Moment.” Find out more about the band here.


Punchy, bright guitar melodies blend with sing along choruses and a hint of twang for irresistibly catchy earworms

20170819-IMG_5424 (1)

For Fans Of: Blackfoot Gypsies, Sundara Karma, The Nude Party, Allah-Las

Go To Tracks: “Love So Fine,” “The Kids Don’t Care (For Rock and Roll),” “Bad Things

Fun Fact: Paul Ansani and Miles Malin of the group have been playing together since middle school, and they were in a band called The Break in high school. Find out more about the band here.



Good ol’ pop rock tunes with sticky choruses and riffs that’ll get you grooving

20170827-IMG_6368 (1)

For Fans Of: COIN, The Walters, Blossoms, Hippo Campus

Go To Tracks: “Second Home,” “Old School,” “Take Me Anywhere

Fun Fact: The band played a Halloween show as COPital Soirée this year, and all dressed as cops…and one of them had an unfortunate run in with law enforcement in Tennessee once. Find out more about that here.

Get ready for the show by picking up our Chicago Compilation, featuring both Lucille Furs and The Evening Attraction. Get it in store, or online here. You can also pick up Lucille Furs’ debut album in store or online now!


American Grizzly – Instore Insight

Words and Photos By Alicia Maciel 

Good ole’ fashioned rock n roll band American Grizzly performed in-store Friday, October 6. From sharing a few beers together to talking about shows going on the same night, the Southsiders put on a cozy show that drew a lot of people in. With Matt Ladd on vocals, Jack Doyle and Dennis Wilson on guitars, Marty Funk on bass, and Anthony Perez on drums, American Grizzly is a fantastic local act worth listening to.

While “Love Somebody Else” is my pick from their noise rock twist on American folk music, I chatted with Dennis, Marty, and Jack to learn some more about the band.

How did you choose your band name?

Marty: I was listening to a My Morning Jacket album I just picked up called It Still Moves right around the time we first started playing together 3 or 4 years ago. I was listening to the record and admiring the album art, which has this really groovy bear wrapped in tinsel with geometric patterns all around the front and back covers and the name “American Grizzly” came to mind. We were throwing around band names at that time and I suggested American Grizzly and it kinda just stuck.    

Are you guys actually local? If so, what neighborhood are you from?

Dennis: We’re all local. We’re all originally from the Southwest Side and have been living in different neighborhoods throughout the city for a while. Our studio’s in Pilsen.

How did you guys get to know one another?

Dennis: We all met through a mutual friend group. Marty and I grew up down the street from each other and have been playing music together since 7th or 8th grade. Jack and I kind of knew each other from mutual friends then I saw him play some Black Keys songs at an open mic and called him up to jam a few days later (7 or so years ago). Jack knew Matt and Anthony from some other bands they played in. Once we all got together,  we realized how many friends we all had in common. It felt very natural for us all to hang out.

What gear do you have? If any of you are gear heads, what does your gear mean to you?

Dennis: Marty plays an Epiphone Thunderbird bass that looks super cool and always gets compliments on how it sounds. He’s currently in the market for a Fender Mustang bass. Jack plays a Fender Stratocaster and, on special occasions, Telecaster and has a few different Fender amps he plays (shoutout to his Fender Champion 600 which is a small tube amp that’s too small to gig with but sounds amazing). He also has a Waterloo acoustic that you’ll hear a lot on the next EP. I play a Gibson ES 390 hollow body electric guitar through a Vox amp. I also have a Musicvox Space Cadet 12 string electric guitar that’s made its way onto a few recordings and a Gretsch lap steel for when a bit of twang is required. Anthony will use anything he can get his hands on for drums/percussion. He once recorded a steak knife on a metal mesh screen and it was exactly the sound we were looking for. Matt has the good fortune of his instrument being his voice – pure and simple. I look at a nice instrument like a work of art. They’re so cool looking and have such personality. At least with guitars, the way they look and feel definitely influence how you play them.

What do you think about Chicago’s music scene?

Marty: Chicago has a great scene and a lot of cool venues and house shows to either play or catch a show. Since we moved into our studio in Pilsen a couple years ago, we’ve been catching a lot of shows at Thalia Hall and have been itching to play there.

If you can describe your music (genre, tone, etc.), how would you describe it?

Jack: The American Grizzly sound in most simple terms is good old fashioned rock ‘n’ roll, which gives us the luxury of pulling from a lot of different genres. Some of our tunes have heavy blues roots and others have a southern rock and/or country vibe. American Grizzly changes shape from show to show and album to album . We play folk songs, noise rock and pop tunes. We don’t really have a predetermined sound, so we can pretty much explore any area of music we want at any given moment and regularly do.

What’s your favorite song you’ve composed so far?

Jack: Favorite song we’ve composed so far is probably “Big City” because we got to collaborate with some awesome horn players and a great keyboard player here in Chicago. The song has a lot of energy and we enjoy playing it and listening to it. Anthony crashed his van the first time he heard the recording. That being said, our first album was recorded in Nashville, so any one of those songs could also take this slot.

Are you working on new music or touring soon?

Jack: We are going into the studio October 22nd to record a new EP. We are very excited. We are going to practice restraint.

What are your favorite Chicago bands?

Marty: We’ve all been diggin’ Lucille Furs album they put out a few weeks ago.

What are your influences?

Petty, Neil, Hendrix, Dylan, The Band, Auerbach, Aretha, Jim James, Dylan, Garcia, Petty, Lennon, Mic, Keith, Ray Charles, Natural Child, Brian Wilson, Allman Bros.,Freddie King, Jeff Tweedy, Pete Townshend, Clarence Carter, Denney and the Jets, John Prine, Stevie Wonder.

With their upcoming shows consisting of Lincoln Hall on November 2 and opening for Third Eye Blind December 1 at 115 Bourbon Street, make sure to catch American Grizzly before they hibernate in the studio to work on another EP.

Alicia Maciel is a junior at DePaul University studying marketing, music business, public relations, and advertising. Immersing in photography, promotion, interviews, interning at Metro and Notion Presents, managing The Chicago Vibe, curating live music, and plenty more – she hopes to bring innovation to the music scene. “A Chicagoan gal making music personnel personal.”

Engine Summer – Revved Up

Words and Photos By Alicia Maciel 

At first listen, up and coming Elmhurst trio Engine Summer resonates rock music like that of Parquet Courts, Omni, and their biggest inspiration – Wire.

With a name that appears to have come from a mad lib, it turns out that the band got their name from a novel titled Engine Summer. As Jeremy Marsan, guitarist and vocalist, read the book in college and was fascinated by the plot line of society 3,000 years into the future – it’s no wonder he chose a band name that emphasizes the importance of time and motion.


Engine Summer’s most recent lineup consists of Jeremy (mentioned above) with Ben Kostecki on bass and Ryan Ohm on drums. Being friends since high school with the possibility of being MySpace enemies at one point or another, they’ve all grown closer over the past few years. While Jeremy makes fun at Ben for his hands being “too small” to play bass way back when to simply goofing off with one another, the guys are more than ecstatic to be in a band together.

The group formed collectively after having had jammed for a while and narrowed down members to be the trio they are today. Starting to have played plenty of shows in 2014 and having had played 30-40 shows to date, they finally decided it’s time to make a record together as Engine Summer – titled Trophy Kids and self-engineered by Jeremy.


While garnering influence from bands like Creedence Clearwater, Sonic Youth, Meat Puppets, Spoon, and any other krautrock bands – Jeremy, Ben, and Ryan bring some of those stylistic elements when composing songs. Recording the bass and drums together for their upcoming album release ensured that the rhythm carrying each track would bring adrenaline to any listener.

Attending concerts regularly and being active in the local scene is important for the suburban group. With their favorite local bands including Luke Henry, Twin Peaks, and Knox Fortune – it’s obvious that their taste delves into more than just rock music.

When asked what their ideal lineup would be, throwing names like Wire,Van Halen, Iggy Pop, and Ben’s dad performing slam poetry were no hesitation to the guys. While some merch they have coming out will include Elmhurst’s tree, you’ll see Engine Summer in the city more than you’d expect.


With a top-secret release show followed by a benefit show at Tonic Room the same weekend, Engine Summer is bringing a limited run to their show Sunday, October 29. You can buy tickets here and who knows – maybe a record or two will end up at Shuga.

If Ben’s dad loves Engine Summer more than any of the other groups he’s been in, I’m pretty sure you’ll love ‘em too.

Alicia Maciel is a junior at DePaul University studying marketing, music business, public relations, and advertising. Immersing in photography, promotion, interviews, interning at Metro and Notion Presents, managing The Chicago Vibe, curating live music, and plenty more – she hopes to bring innovation to the music scene. “A Chicagoan gal making music personnel personal.”