By ERIC SCHELKOPF
Bands like The Loneliest Monk are what keep the Chicago music scene so vibrant and interesting.
Fronted by Michelle Morales on cello and vocals and Miles Benjamin on drums and vocals, the Chicago art rock duo, www.wearetheloneliestmonk.com, will perform Friday, July 8, at Reggies Rock Club, 2109 S. State St., Chicago, www.reggieslive.com, to celebrate the release of its new 7'' red vinyl single, "Hiding Places," http://cdn.topspin.net/api/v2/widget/player/79316, on Kilo Records.
The show starts at 8 p.m. and tickets are $10 in advance, $12 at the door, available at www.kilorecords.net/hidingplaces.
I had the chance to talk to Morales in an e-mail interview about the new single and the band's approach to making music.
Q - What goals did you have in making your new 7'' record? What goals do you have in general in making music?
The two songs on our 7" were heavily influenced by our recent spring tour. Audibly we really wanted to showcase both sides of The Loneliest Monk. Side A ("Hiding Places") is all electric cello and Side B ("He Is The Bad One") is all acoustic cello.
Visually, Kyle LaMere of iShootRockstars had the idea of doing a domesticated shoot set in the 50's. It is one of my favorite decades and we were able to capture the fantasy of the era.
Q - I understand that you want your shows to be a visual experience as well as a musical experience. What do you think the visual experience adds to your show? Do you think people are more open to such theatrics because of the popularity of Lady Gaga?
Ha ha, well I don't think within our circle of fans, but you never know. The visuals add a bit of mystery and allure to our set. It's helpful in setting the tone of our music and it keeps us excited in getting ready for the shows.
It's really all about capturing the audience. As far as Gaga goes, she's adding that extra drama to the musical experience, although it's coming to the point of expectation which through time can have its drawbacks.
Q - Do you think that being a two-piece poses any musical limits? How do you address that?
Being a two-piece is actually very freeing. Over the years, we've become accustomed to how we work. As only two instruments, it gives us the freedom to explore and to stretch what we can do to evolve our sound without stepping on too many toes.
Q - When did you realize that your musical styles meshed and that you should form a band?
It was sometime after I finished grad school, after all the stress she needed something other than staring at music notes for hours.
Q - Is it easier or harder to make music as a couple? What challenges does that pose?
Oh, the couple question! Lets just say it keeps it interesting.
Q - Where do you see the band fitting in on the music scene? Do you think Chicago is a good place to make music?
Chicago how we love you. It is an amazing place to make music and we owe it and our community so much. We fit right in between endearing and rebelliousness.
Q - What are your musical influences and how do you think they fit into the music the band makes?
The influential range of music we look to is really never ending. From classical to the classics. Psychedelic (exploring noise) to hip hop (nice big fat drum beats).
Q - I understand the EP Theater is the band's favorite place to play. Why do like performing there and do you have any dream venues you'd like to play?
EP Theater will always be our home. It has given us the opportunity to tap into the drama and theatrical aspects such as designing amazing stage sets and costumes. We would love to play Red Rocks and the Chicago Theater someday!
Q - Do you see the band's music continuing to evolve? Where do you see the band's music going?
We feel like we just got started, there's so much to evolve into and that takes time and life experience and a lot of candy and whiskey to consume. Hopefully our music will take us places where there are smiling faces.