“That’s the Chicago way!”
~ Sean Connery
Truer words have never been spoken. This past weekend, I had the privilege of chatting with the laid-back boys of Modern Vices (MV), the kings of The Windy City. Modern Vices consists of 5 lads: Alex Rebek [vocals], Peter Scoville [Guitar], Thomas Peters [Guitar], Miles Kalchik [Bass] and Patrick Hennessey [Drums] who all took time on their early Saturday morning to shed some light on their self-titled debut album set to be released on October 21st, via Autumn Tone Records.
Our talk began over Skype on a dreary rainy day in NYC. The fellas welcomed me from Chicago in their comfortable Saturday morning attire, coffees safely in hand. After some quick introductions we jumped in to learn about the biggest challenge of the band world, the name game. Their inception had some major difficulties due to the unfortunate dilemma of a fellow band sharing the same name! Luckily, they were able to settle on Modern Vices, though they admit it was much more difficult than expected. “It was a lot harder than writing any music,” said Thomas, the Dude reborn, “it took us like 6 hours to get it right.”
The men then regaled upon their origins. They all grew their music taste via high school and through playing in different bands in college. Once they all came together, by fate it seems, the magic of Modern Vices was born. Now, they all live together in the city where coffee is their main form of sustenance and music is aplenty. Time in the city is best spent attending local shows for inspiration and meeting their fellow comrades in arms. Bass master Miles states that, “there are so many great shows and friends here, the city is the perfect place for all of this.” Chicago’s urban landscape truly is a safe haven for the musical and artistic masses. There is simply never a dull moment.
Tours are the next best thing for the MV’s, who in July graced us with their presence in The Big Apple. Highlight of their trip was an epic rooftop performance with friends and hosts in the hipster realm of Brooklyn. They had absolutely no expectations for that adventure and continued to rock out at Baby’s All Right a few days later. Modern Vices’ favorite performance occurred a few weeks ago, in classic party house themed moment, where they entertained a group of fans who could barely fit into the room. Perhaps it was the togas the band wore that kept their fans satisfied? Think Animal House style show…legendary, right?! (A little bit louder now) To note, the band’s ideal venue would be a music festival or perhaps even to perform in Japan. I have a feeling they will be able to make these dreams happen.
Now let us get to the important stuff, their debut album, Modern Vices. The ‘dirty doo-wop’ crew gave us a brief break down of the creation of this well-done release. Modestly put, the album was spawned via a mess of excitement and pure musical flow. What started as simple riffs, sprung into little mini masterpieces that give this album its heart. Alex, who owns the power of the mic, stated that the theme of the album had a mix of, “Chicago spirit intertwined with our catchy and signature dirty doo-wop feel.” This trademark is something they own up to well as seen in their key first single, Cheap Style. Personally, the tune is one of my favorites from the album. Cheap Style immediately gets the foot tapping and makes the listener eager for more. Thomas wrote the riff, which would later become the band’s obsession. “It was the first thing that we ever had that was so dope,” Said Thomas, “we practiced on it for hours on end until we had it down.” Luckily, the fellas do not slack off there, the pulsing vibe of their album pushes further and further into each song throughout. “This was that one thing that we put all of our effort in that set the tone for us,” proclaims Miles. Boy, oh boy, is he right.
What makes these guys unique is that they carry a pure sound city taste. By following their niche, the medium continues to feel new to them. This prompts musical inspiration on their sound through their various musical influences to create a collection worthy of a Modern Vices repertoire. They keep it in their place and own it. Modern Vices are great dudes and I am super excited to see where they go from here. Keep an eye and ear out for these guys folks. They are worth it.
By the way, when they make their way to the CMJ Music Marathon on Friday, Oct. 24th at Rough Trade NYC, you all will not be disappointed. Check them out y’all. For serious.