Thursday, December 29, 2011

Midwest Hype creating fresh buzz through its music


Midwest Hype is an appropriate name for a band that is creating a fresh buzz through its eclectic mix of funk, reggae, rock, jazz and hip-hop.

The seven-piece LaPorte, Ind. band,, will perform Jan. 5 at Schubas, 3159 N. Southport Ave., Chicago, to celebrate the release of its new EP, "Dayglow."

The band Otis is also part of the bill. The show starts at 9 p.m., and tickets are $10, available at

I had the chance to talk to Midwest Hype drummer Max Kepler about the band and its activities. 

Q - The band's sound has been described in many different ways. How would you describe the band's sound? What made you want to create the sound the band has?
Yeah, lots of people describe our sound differently. The best way I think to decide is to see the live show. When I am telling people about it, I say a combination of funk, rock, reggae and hip-hop. We have coined our sound "Urban Garage Jazz" or "Urban Garage Rock." 

We have always listened to lots of different music from both coasts and had an uniquely Midwest experience growing up by the beach (Lake Michigan). We wanted to write songs that combined a lot of sounds from the artists that we listened to including the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Steely Dan, Dr. Dre, Sublime, A Tribe Called Quest, Bob Marley and many others. 

I think that we achieve that with Midwest Hype because I don't think anyone really sounds like we do.

Q - What was it like opening for the Wailers? Do you consider them a big influence?

Opening for The Wailers was amazing. They are such a good act and we were honored to share a stage with them. 

We have been listening to Bob Marley, Toots and the Maytals and lots of other Island artists since we were all young. Playing with them made us realize how much of a rock band we are compared to them. We use use reggae elements, but what they do is so authentic and it was amazing to watch.

Q - You have a new EP, "Dayglow." What should people expect from the album? How did you hook up with  Steve Gillis?

The Schuba's release is going to be amazing and we can't for people to hear the EP. We met Steve through the band How Far To Austin. They have been great friends and opened a few doors for us. Steve was finishing their record when we started recording "Dayglow" a year ago.

Q - What was it like to be named last year as the "Best Band About To Make It Big." Did it put additional pressure on the band?

It's always nice when people recognize something you create and respond to it positively. We try not to get too caught up in expectations and always just try to write the best songs possible and have a great live show.

Q -
Are you pleased with the impact the band has made so far? What do you think the band adds to the music scene in Chicago and Indiana?

We are pleased with what we have done so far. Opening for the Wailers and Girl Talk, and playing slots at Summer Camp, North Coast and the Indy 500 are pretty big accomplishments for any band. 

I think that having Midwest Hype on any bill always adds a bit of fun. We always have a good time and hope that everyone else is having a good time too. We don't take ourselves too seriously, but we are serious about our music and how we create it and show it to people. 

As long as we continue to have fun with this I'm sure we will grow and build. "Dayglow" is going to be a big next step.

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