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Chicago - The Recording Academy At Lollapalooza: Saturday
Although I’ve lived in Chicago for two years now and spent the past 20 years only two hours away from the city, I have never had the opportunity to attend Lollapalooza. This Saturday, I finally got to experience this annual festival that I’ve heard so much about. With many thanks to GRAMMY U and The Recording Academy, I had the opportunity to attend Lollapalooza as a student journalist. This position allowed me access to the behind-the-scenes area, as well as admission to the festival grounds. And it paved the way for an experience I will never forget.
Saturday was the second day of Lollapalooza 2010 and we had a lot of awesome bands come through our tent. By the end of the day we completed six interviews, only three of which were planned. It was a long, exciting day, but we couldn’t have asked for better weather or bands.
Personally, I couldn’t have asked for a better band than My Dear Disco to start out the first interview. I was a little nervous as the band walked into our tent, but they made me feel completely at ease. Although the band members are still quite young, they answered all of my questions easily and completely. The band spoke about their music, dubbed “DanceThink,” and what it means to them, as well as their efforts to go green as they travel in a waste-vegetable powered shuttle bus.
Next up was American Bang, the rock band from Nashville. As the guys walked into the tent, it was easy to see that they were enjoying their time at Lollapalooza. They talked about their self-titled album being released later this month, and what they do to prepare for their shows. As for advice for other musicians, the guys in American Bang say you just need to have a good time.
Although much quieter than the first two bands, I had a wonderful time interviewing the xx. The three band members seemed incredibly down to earth as I asked them about their Mercury Music Prize nomination and the fact that Rolling Stone put their debut album as #9 on their “Best of the Year List.” While they didn’t expect any of this recognition, the xx were grateful yet incredibly humble. As they prepare for their next album, the xx have no expectations, they will just continue with the hard work that has gotten them this far.
While these first three interviews were planned, the next three were completely spontaneous. Three bands had openings in their press schedule and were wondering if we could do an impromptu interview. After having completed three interviews, I felt confident that I could pull of these interviews even though I had very little preparation time. With help from Chicago Chapter staff members Jackson Abbeduto and Sarah Mudler, I pulled together lists of questions for each band and we began those interviews just after 2:00 p.m. Matt Rooney, the student videographer for the day, switched up our filming aesthetics a little bit and we were ready for the next three interviews.
Freelance Whales was the first band to come by for their impromptu interview. We sat down with two of their members and discussed everything from their Lollapalooza after party at Lincoln Hall the previous night to their set coming up on Sunday. The band talked about how they used to play in the subways of New York to spread their music, and the variety of instruments that they include on the LP, Weathervanes, as well as in their live show. As the interview wound down, the band talked about their upcoming tours with Tokyo Police Club and the New Pornographers, and what they are expecting from these shows.
Violent Soho, hailing from Australia, was the next band to stop by our tent. It was clear that they were enjoying their time in the states and they had me laughing, hopefully silently so it’s not caught on tape, in my seat as they answered my questions. The band members spoke about their upcoming tour with 30 Seconds To Mars and the expectations they have about the crowds at these shows. They also touched on how they use technology to stay in touch with their fans through the use of live webcasting of shows and video blogs of their recording process. As the band wrapped up the interview, they signed a skateboard deck as a gift for The Recording Academy. Even without the skateboard deck, I think we’ll all have a lot of trouble forgetting this fun and outgoing band.
My last interview for the day was with Vyle and I had about 5 minutes to prepare for it. It was a little stressful, but I think we pulled it off really well. Sarah and Jackson helped me come up with questions and we put together a pretty solid interview. Vyle, a local Chicago musician, spoke about the Chicago scene and how he became involved with Lollapalooza. He also touched on the subject of illegal file-sharing, especially in the hip-hop genre.
It wasn’t until after the last interview that I realized how exhausted I was. I had a wonderful time interviewing all of the bands, but it was definitely a busy day. To wrap up my incredibly exciting day, a friend and I unwound as we watched Phoenix’s set. It was definitely a perfect ending to a day that I will never forget. I can’t thank everyone at The Recording Academy and GRAMMY U enough for this amazing opportunity!