Friday, April 25, 2014

Chicago band Vintage Blue shows off expanded sound on new EP


Chicago band Vintage Blue is not the type of band to stand still.

The band's sound continues to evolve, as evident on Vintage Blue's new EP, "No Going Back."

In celebration of the new CD, Vintage Blue,, will perform May 2 at Metro, 3730 N. Clark St., Chicago. The Future Laureates, The Ivorys and Mike Golden and Friends also are on the bill.

The show starts at 8:30 p.m. and advance tickets are $11, available at

I had the chance to talk to Vintage Blue's Ben Bassett about the new EP.

Q - Great talking to you again. Of course, the band will be performing at Metro on May 2 to celebrate the release of your new EP, "No Going Back." What were your goals for the EP and do you think you accomplished them?

Thanks for checking out the new EP! Our goal on this endeavor was a focused effort to create a record that contained the best of the best. We wanted to present songs that fit into the current music landscape, while also staying true to our rock roots.

We worked on these songs for nearly two years and culled through nearly 60 to 70 tunes. We are very happy with the songs we created and the feedback we have been getting is great as people have responded well to every track.

Q - Is there a story behind the EP's name? The video for the song has been getting a lot of views. What was the concept for the video?

Choosing the name of a song, an album, or even a pet can be a crazy process. Input from a million people, friends, family, etc can be overwhelming. However, this one came pretty easy.

As a group, we all loved the title track "No Going Back" and when it was suggested we just use that as a album name, we all agreed. Probably the easiest band discussion we have ever had.

From there, the ideas flowed into doing a music video and the cover art and developing a story in the record.

The idea for the video was a collection of ideas from different band members. [Vocalist, guitarist] Ryan Tibbs had the idea for the transition of black and white to color through a Groundhog's Day type sequence, where the protagonist is constantly reliving days, but during each day there are elements of color added until eventually she finds something and gains her own color. 

It was my idea to incorporate an artist that would be painting through the video, and that the painting would ultimately become our album cover. Paul Rodriguez did an absolutely AMAZING job on the painting, so making it our cover art was an easy decision.

Q - The band raised $15,000 through Kickstarter to help make the EP. Does the fact that EP is now done mean even more to the band knowing that your fans contributed to making it?

The success of the Kickstarter was truly humbling. When we first picked that number we were really nervous. 

As many people know, if you do not reach the number, NONE of the money gets delivered. We were preparing backup plans to cover amounts and all sorts of craziness.

We are proud to say that our family, friends and fans made it happen all on their own and we could not be more grateful. Making an album is always a long and wild journey, but holding the EP in our hand now, knowing it happened because of our Kickstarter is definitely very rewarding.

Q - Last year, you guys played at Taste of Chicago for the first time. How was that experience and what is the band's next goal?

Yes! Taste of Chicago was such a great experience for us. 

Everyone at the City of Chicago Events Department were so helpful and complimentary of the band. It was a beautiful day last year and we had a blast seeing all the bands that shared the stage with us! 

The goals for us are always changing. Our big goal this year was to expand our festival reach outside Chicago. 

We have been considering a number of different festivals and are hoping to get back to Summerfest this year as well. Longer term goals include securing some licensing deals for the new record, as well as continuing the success of our current radio campaign, which has seen our single reach the top 150.

Q - How do you think the band has evolved since forming and how do you see the band continuing to evolve?

The easiest answer is that we officially added Brent Shumard to the band lineup. The new record has a heavy bandwidth, as our producer Jamie would tell you.

It means that there are many layers to the work we tracked and bringing Brent on as a multi-instrumentalist, allows us to add layers to songs that we could not do live without him. 

This record truly is an evolution for us. It feels like we moved from our '70s and '80s rock roots to a '00s and '10s indie rock type sound on many of the cuts.

We hope to continue growing as writers and musicians and keep seeing where it takes us.

Q - The music industry continues to change. How has the band tried to keep up with those changes?

The music industry is a wild animal. There are so many different ways to make an impact, to be heard, to distribute your music and to exist as an artist. 

The funny part is that no one really knows which of those options are "THE" path to exposure and success. If major labels knew they would not be losing so much money. 

If indie artists knew, then all of them would be trying the same tricks. The facts are that nothing has replaced hard work, professionalism and damn good music. 

We do our best to cover each of those, and we cannot wait to show the world this EP.