Sunday, November 18, 2012

Chicago band Falldown bringing strong presence to scene


We should feel fortunate to have so many talented musicians making the Chicago area their home.

A few of those musicians have come together to form alt country band Falldown. Comprised of members of The Redwalls and The Hue, Falldown,,  will celebrate the release of its debut EP on Nov. 23 at Martyrs', 3855 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago.

The Anna Fermin Band and Phil Angotti also are on the bill. The show starts at 8:30 p.m., and tickets are $12, available at

I had the chance to multi-talented Falldown frontman Jared Rabin about the band.

Q - You've been involved in so many bands and projects over the years. How did Falldown come together?

Falldown is a collection of people that I have known and been playing with for years that I thought would be fun to have in a band together. 

I got it organized and we played some shows over the last couple years, and at some point this year I felt like I wanted to take it to the next level so we did this recording and are hoping to be playing some more gigs starting in 2013.


Q - In sitting down to record your EP, what goals did you have?

For this record, it being the first real product that we have put out, the goal was to get the wheels rolling. I wanted something we could play for people and to generate interest in a new band for a bunch of musicians who already have a ton of other projects. 

Also, it's the first time I recorded my own originals in this genre of music, and my first time singing my own tunes on a record, which have always been a goals of mine.

Q - Phil Angotti and The Anna Fermin Band will be playing with you guys at the Nov. 23 show. Of course, both acts have developed quite a reputation in the pop/alternative country world. Have they provided any inspiration to you?

Our drummer Jordan has played some shows with Phil and is a big fan of his music. They are both really well known and well liked in town and we are definitely honored to have them on the show with us.

I am really excited for Anna Fermin to sit in with us.

Q - It seems like roots music is back in fashion. Why do you think that is?

I think certain genres will always be coming in and out of style, just like in the fashion world. Roots music encompasses so much that you realize it has always been around in one way or another. 

I grew up listening to everything from the Grateful Dead to Bela Fleck to Miles Davis, all of which have elements of roots music to them and appeal to people in different ways.

Q - You started playing violin when you were five. It seems like kids really soak up things at an early age. Was that true for you? Did you take to the violin right away?

It is good to start kids at an early age. I don't know how much I loved it; I probably would have rather been playing basketball. 

But I come from a musical family and there was a lot of encouragement from them to practice and continue playing music. I did not enjoy it all the time, but I did sometimes, and knew I was good at it and stuck with it long enough to be able to appreciate it. 

Now all I do is play and teach music.

Q - Of course, you also teach at The School of Rock. What do you get out of the experience? As a teacher, what do you try to convey to your students?

Teaching is not what I thought I wanted to do, but I have gotten a lot of good out of it and realize now that it is part of being a good musician. There are not many good musicians out there historically I can think of who never taught in some regard, ranging from classical greats like Mozart to modern jazz greats like Pat Metheny. 

They were all teachers, and its part of the evolution of music to pass on what you know how to do. I try to teach my students how to play the guitar instead of just showing them how to play songs. 

That way, hopefully they will be able to figure out songs themselves using what I have taught them.


Q - It also seems like you need a lot of musical variety in your life. Is that important to you?

I have been in phases where I am heavily focused on one thing or playing mostly with one band for periods of time, and it is always nice to be able to go do something totally different and play with other people after that. 

Lately, I will have days where I am rehearsing pop music with the "jobbing" band in the morning, jazz band at DePaul in the afternoon, teaching five lessons and going to play a bluegrass gig at a bar night or something crazy like that. 

I like being able to do all those things though, and I get to play with a lot of different people because I am pretty versatile.

Q - What are the short-term and long-term goals for Falldown? Where do you see the band fitting into the Chicago music scene?

Well, the goal is to start playing more in 2013, maybe do some Midwest shows, and start to get the band name out there. I hope to do another record with songs included by some of the other band members, like Liza Day and Pat Lyons eventually. 

It is such a diverse scene in Chicago and I think our music fits in well in more than one area, so I hope to start playing more on the scene we already know about and continue to broaden our horizons to reach more people as well.