By ERIC SCHELKOPF
From the very first track, Board of Governors' new EP, "Soul," surges ahead with energy.
At the same time, the band's infectious hooks are likely to bury themselves deep in your head.
The Chicago power-rock trio, www.boardofgovernorsmusic.com, - comprised of singer/guitarist Trevor Hougardy, bassist Frey Brown and drummer John Marino - will perform Aug. 17 at Lincoln Hall, 2424 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago.
Valo, Mooner and Daysleeper also are on the bill. The show starts at 10 p.m., and tickets are $8 in advance, $10 at the door, available at www.lincolnhallchicago.com.
I had the chance to talk to Hougardy about the band's new EP and its latest activities.
Q - Great to talk to you. Of course, the band's latest EP, "Soul," was released in July. One of the things that I liked about the album was its diversity. It's not a one-note album by any means. What were your goals for the EP and how do you think it compares with your previous efforts?
Whenever we release an EP, we are conscious of picking songs that flow nicely together in a way that will take the listener through the whole collection.
Each song can stand alone with its own style, meaning, and sound, but even during the early stages of the writing process, we were thinking of ways that the songs could fit together that would result in a larger, coherent piece of work.
Our older EPs were also made this way and I think accurately reflect the stage of the band at each time they were made. I think this EP shows a sense of maturity though.
It's sort of a nice blend out of the harder alternative rock sound that we were doing, and into more of a polished indie/pop sound that we seem to be moving toward.
Q - It seems like there should be a story behind the band's name. Is there? What does the name mean to you?
Ha ha ha, we liked this name because no one else had it! Its also kind of funny when you Google "Board Of Governors" because we show up with a bunch of old guys in suits!
Q - Several of the band's songs are featured in a new short film, "Invisible Fight," a film designed to give awareness to the issue of sexual assault. How did the band get involved in the project and how do you think the band's songs add to the film?
We were asked by a friend of ours who was working on the film if they could use a song or two for the film. Once they started going through our catalogue, they kept coming back with more and more songs they wanted to use.
In the end, they even approached me to write a specific song for the film which I was honored and excited to do, and took the opportunity to bring the piano into our sound.
I think they did a great job editing our songs into the film and I'm happy to see that our songs can cover such a large range of emotions in film.
Q - The Midwest, the East Coast and the West Coast are all represented in the band. How do you think that figures into the band's sound?
I feel like it gives the band a sound that is very familiar, but you can't quite pin point exactly what band we sound like. Sure, there are lots of influences that come through in the sound, but I think we all make subconscious decisions in our parts that are a result of growing up listening to the bands that were in each of our areas of the country.
The result is a band that doesn't quite sound like West Coast, East Coast or Midwest.
Q - Band of Governors was formed in 2008, but has had a changing lineup. What do you think of the band's current incarnation? Is it closer to your original vision for the band?
Yes, originally the band started with just me and John as a two piece. That was fun, and easy, but was very limiting. Our first EP was made this way and we used a synth to cover the low end.
We realized we needed an actual bass player to fill out the sound the right way and give more energy to our live show. We went through a few before we landed on Geoff and he is a great fit for the three piece arrangement that we've maintained for the last two EP's.
Now, much like before, we are planning to expand our sound even more and we have plans to add a second guitar player as well as a keyboard/synth/electronic person into the band. We're excited for the opportunity to add more layers to our sound, but aren't planning to change much of the foundation of the sound that we created as a three piece.
Q - What do you think of the Chicago music scene and how do you think Board of Governors fits into it? Do you have any favorite venues to play?
The Chicago music scene is tricky :-). I would say Chicago can be a bit tough on their musicians compared to some other cities, but like most things, if you are passionate about what you do, and aren't afraid to put in the work, you can definitely start to see results.
I would love to see a bit more unity between bands here because I feel like we have all the pieces to make a great scene...great venues, talented bands, and lots of potential fans....but I feel like sometimes bands can get competitive about success and lose sight of trying to create the art that is their music.
I don't know exactly where we fit into that. We've played shows ranging from House Of Blues, to Cal's Liquors, to Summerfest to triathlon packet pickups, and we always try to make relationships with the venues, or organizers, and the other bands.
Ultimately, we're all doing the same thing....keeping music alive...because we all love it, and need it in our lives.
Q - What advice would you give to a new band trying to get its music out there?
Start doing it and don't stop. The sooner you realize you're gonna have to figure out a specific way for it to work for you, and that's gonna take time, the better.
As far as Chicago goes though, start booking shows at the Elbo Room. They are a great venue that treats its musicians like family and they have everything you need to build a fan base.
Q - What are the band's short-term and long-term goals?
We are planning to expand our sound with the new musicians this fall, keep playing around Chicago and the Midwest over the winter and we are making plans to get a tour together to go play for our friends and fans down in Texas and over in Colorado, and up in Minnesota next summer!