Thursday, June 18, 2015

Musically adventurous Chicago band The Ars Nova to perform at House of Blues


By ERIC SCHELKOPF

In refreshing fashion, Chicago band The Ars Nova likes to be musically adventurous, roaming through such genres as blues, funk and rock.

The Ars Nova will perform June 20 at the Green Acres Music Festival in Bourbonnais. Later that day, the band will perform at House of Blues, 329 Dearborn St., Chicago, as part of the Spring Stash concert. Tickets to that show are available by going to livenation.com.

I had the chance to talk to The Ars Nova guitarist/vocalist Ryan Form about the band.


Q - Great talking to you. I understand you are finishing up a new album. When will it be released and what should people expect from the album? 

Good talking to you too, and we appreciate you taking the time for this interview. In regards to the album release, we’re shooting for some time in July or August but it’s pretty difficult to say for sure.

The tracks from our latest studio session are still in production, but we hope to have them finalized and mastered within the next couple weeks. After we have everything sounding just right, we need to take care of the logistics such as album art, printing, and the release party.

Gotta have the party. 

Q - How do you think the band has grown since first forming? How did the band form in the first place? 

We all met at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. As the four of us became friends we realized that we all played the instruments to make a band, so we decided to go for it.

It started off with about six months to a year of just messing around on acoustics and hand drums since we didn’t have a kit down there, but then Jon brought his drums down and the Ars Nova came into full swing.


As for how the band has grown, the reasons are uncountable. First off, our sets have gone from primarily covers to maybe one per show.

Our songwriting and attention to detail have made us much more critical, yet satisfied with our tunes. If you even listen to where we were at in the studio one year ago compared to today you can notice that.

And after playing together for these last few years we’ve developed a certain telepathy that allows for our jams to stay tight. Having everyone riding those same mental waves is what makes jamming so much fun. 

Q - The band roams through several genres of music. Does the band have a favorite genre of music or do you need the diversity? 

We certainly need the diversity. While individually we may have a preference to particular songs or styles, switching it up is what not only keeps our listeners on their toes, but ourselves too.


None of us want to get stuck in one particular genre, and more importantly we have a certain sense of pride in the fact that no two shows are the same. Bridging multiple genres has a huge hand in that. 

Q - It seems like the band puts a lot of energy into its live shows. What do you try to do in your live shows? 

Oh yeah, live shows is what music is all about. As I previously mentioned, we never play two shows the same.

A lot of bands will play the same songs in the same order every show. We play different songs and we play them in different ways.


There certainly are some staples that we play pretty much every show, but we make them different. We also like to branch out in our live shows.

We experiment with riffs and chords and jams that we never recorded because in our eyes in a live show it’s better to expand the creativity beyond what you will hear on the radio. 

Q - Is there a meaning or story behind the band's name? Do you think it helps that the band has such a distinctive name? 

Yeah, the name comes from a music appreciation class we took in college. Ars Nova was a musical movement in the late middle ages and it means “new art” in Latin.

We thought it sounded cool and we knew we were playing music nobody else was playing so it seemed fitting. We have discussed the name a lot amongst ourselves and we have all agreed that its uniqueness helps it stand out.

The only problem is people knowing how to spell it, but that really comes with any band’s name. 

Q - What do you think of the Chicago music scene and how do you think the band fits into it? 

The Chicago scene is killer. We absolutely love all the venues and bands we have worked with.

Everyone tries to help each other out and support one another, it’s really cool. The fact that we cross so many genres has actually made it kind of difficult to really place us anywhere in particular into the scene.

We play with jam bands, alternative bands, blues bands, classic rock bands, you name it.

We think that’s really awesome though, the more new ears we get to listen to our tunes the happier we are. 

Q - What are the band's short-term and long-term goals? 

It’s kind of hard to distinguish the short-term from the long-term since this whole musical adventure is constantly evolving and new and unexpected things are always happening. I guess some of our short-term goals would be getting this upcoming album perfected and out to the masses/media, getting outreach into other cities to grow our fan base, and playing as many festivals as possible.

Some long-term goals are opening for big name artists on tour ultimately leading to our own tour, more and more recording, and in the end we just want to spread the joy of music by playing music that both our listeners and we love.