By ERIC SCHELKOPF
All bands should take as many musical chances as Chicago band Counterfeit i.
The group blends surging guitars with electronic beats to create a sound that is totally original. Counterfeit i will bring its unique sound Nov. 16 to Mojoes, 22 W. Cass St., Joliet.
Shaman's Harvest and Delightful Downfall also are on the bill. The show starts at 7:30 p.m., and tickets are $10, available at www.theticketrumba.com.
I had the chance to talk to frontman Derek Allen about the band's latest activities.
Q - How do you think the band's music has evolved since your first release? In forming the band, what were the band's goals?
I think we've grown more in terms of composition, live show, and production. I've always been on a quest to become a better and better musician and stay true to myself.
That was probably the main goal in founding Counterfeit i. I wanted to play music that was honest, no matter if that meant commercial or not, or heavy or experimental or some sort of combination.
Counterfeit i is about striving to play music that is true to who I am. Hopefully, this comes across in the music.
Q - In sitting down to make "A Glimpse, an Eclipse," I understand the band wanted to make an album that didn't have a concept. What goals did you have for the album and how successful do you think you were in achieving those goals?
With "AGAE," I wanted to make something much heavier than our previous efforts. And I wanted no concept as to not restrain myself on a song-by-song basis.
Of course making an album with no concept is a concept in itself, but it was still freeing to write songs on whatever topics I chose and not have to fit them all together in a story or singular idea.
I try not to get too specific with goals prior to making an album, I try to just let the creative process take me in the direction it wants to.
I know that sounds cliche and cheesy, but it's definitely how I work. But the goals that I did have, I think I achieved. It is super heavy and noisy and really has no concept, which is about all I wanted.
Q - You guys are working on a new EP. What are your goals for the new album? Will you be building on your past work?
A: This album will be VERY different from "AGAE." The songs seem to be a lot less aggressive, but still intense.
Only half of the songs are complete, so I can't say much, but it's a much more organic collection so far. I think it's kind of building off of our "Search Party" EP, but with the heaviness of "AGAE."
It's been interesting to see where the songs are going, and we're really excited to get them out there.
We're posting updates on the new music at our website/blog, www.counterfeiti.com, and our Facebook page, www.facebook.com/counterfeiti.
Q- The band blends so many genres into its music. For those not familiar with the band, is it hard to describe the band's music? How would you describe the band?
I think we all have a really hard time describing our music. I usually just wimp out and default to experimental.
I never cared much for labeling music or fitting in a genre. Genres are meaningless and music is music to me.
I don't want to sound 'experimental' or 'electronic' or 'punk;' I want to sound like myself.
But that is a terrible description, ha ha. So to answer your question, I would have to say guitar-based experimental with a heavy emphasis on electronics.
We also have a 4-song sampler of "AGAE" up for free at www.noisetrade.com/counterfeiti for those interested in hearing for themselves.
Q - You guys opened for Project 86 in August. What does the band gain from such experiences? Is it a learning experience?
That was an amazing experience. Project 86 is one of my all-time favorite bands and sharing the stage with them was just awesome.
I wouldn't say it was a learning experience so much as it was a confidence booster and great time overall. Being able to play at a great venue and then watch one of your favorite bands is just amazing and inspiring and we are really thankful for the experience.
Q - How do you think the band fits into the Chicago music scene?
Not very well, ha ha. But I don't think we fit into any scene very well.
That said, we've made some great local (and beyond) friends and always enjoy playing with other Chicago bands, even ones that we are really different from.
I'd personally like to see more musical variation in the Chicago scene, but I suppose that's just the music scene in general. It seems like it's becoming increasingly rarer for musicians to experiment and bend 'the rules.'