The North and Wells Band - 10 Questions Music Interview
The North and Wells Band was formed by four night-staff workers at comedy club The Second City in Chicago. Not funny enough to be on the stages, they figured they would play music together instead. Never allowing themselves to be tied down to one specific genre, they write and play music that they like, drawing inspiration from a wide variety of artists such as Vulfpeck, Tame Impala, Ms. Lauryn Hill, Haruomi Hosono, and Stevie Wonder. Forming only in early 2019, the band has already made some real noise on streaming platforms and the live music world. Playing at classic Chicago venues like The Tonic Room, Reggie's Rock Club, The Cubby Bear, Union Station, and The Second City, live shows are really where the band thrives. The ability to interact and connect with people at their performances is what fuels the band's passion for music.
Was there something (an experience) or someone in your life that was the "catalyst" for you to start writing music? Tell us about it.
The four of us have all kinda came from different personal experiences which each of us bring to the table to write out music. For 12:12 (vocals/guitar), he had a vision when he was 18 of him singing and playing the guitar, even when he didn't have a guitar yet. John (piano) was taken under a local playwrights wing who had him sit down and write music for the first time at 20 years old for a musical. Sam (drums) and a childhood friend, who both started playing at a young age, would drive each other to come up with parts, beats, etc. And Jake loved Angus Young from AC/DC when he was younger and wanted to play like him!
Let's get this out of the way. What is the CRAZIEST thing that has ever happened to you in your music career?
We've had a few kinda crazy experiences in our short time as a band. Our very first gig, 12:12's train shut down for an hour so he had to get off and jog to the show, while John did his soundcheck. We got to play Union Station for the opening night after party of the Chicago International Film Festival. The overall logistics were crazy, but the night was great! We were supposed to be just background music to the event, but by our last song, everyone in that room was over listening and dancing with us!
What has been the high point of your music path?
We've also had a lot of really cool high points in our path so far! The highest of all being, the ability to release and create music/content consistently. Seeing the warm reception for our first single, "Chicago Summertime" was also very reassuring and a high point. We've gotten quite a few streams for such a new band and that has presented a lot of opportunities. And lastly, after a few studio situations that didn't quite work out for us, we were able to use our streaming money to purchase our own recording equipment and set up our DIY studio setting we have now, so being able to do that was huge!
So, how do you approach songwriting or what is your creative process like?
There has been a number of ways we approach writing songs. Most times, one of us will come to the group with a tune and then 12:12 will freestyle over the beat, record himself, listen back, and then write around the parts he likes. Then we just fill it out around the vocals/demo! With our third single, "Holding Back," that was our most group-oriented creative process. We were just all together at Jake's apartment and wrote it in a night.
What do you see as the biggest challenge facing Indie Artists today? Or, if you could ask the music industry to change one thing, what would it be?
There are a few things we could see as challenging to Indie artists. The market situation is tough in general, getting heard when there's already so much content out there. On top of that, staying consistent. Even when the hype isn't there, building a genuine team is important.
If you could share the stage with one other artist or band, who would it be and why?
We all have different answers for that, but we all agree with each other's answers! John says Vulfpeck because they are the funkiest, most fundamental band he's ever heard and they seem like the chillest dudes. So much respect for those guys. 12:12 says he'd love to perform with H.E.R. because their styles combined would be a musical explosion. Sam says the Avett Brothers, who are well-known for their rich lyrics, but also have rockin' live shows. For Jake, it's The California Honey Drops cause they are just so groovy.
What are your rehearsals generally like? Or, how do you prepare for a live show?
Rehearsals are usually pretty laid back for us. Above all, we are just really good pals, so there is usually a lot of social drinking and then just getting into it. Live shows, 12:12 always meditates before each one. He'll go off on his own and meditate on scripture. Other than that, it's just having the setlist down, bringing our instruments to the venue, then grabbing a beer or two.
Pick one song that was your greatest challenge to write. Tell us about it!
Our latest single, "Issa Vibe" was challenging in that we kept generating ideas and we had to figure out how to incorporate them into the final process. The mixing/mastering process for that song was the greatest challenge to date because we had so much going on in the song. Props to Jake for pumping out the final version that you hear now. We also have an unreleased song called, "Fire" that was difficult for 12:12 to write around because it wasn't a typical writing format which made it a learning experience.
What's coming up in the future?
Hopefully another single release in the next couple months followed by a short EP at the end of the year! Other than that, we don't have any live shows due to the pandemic which is a real bummer. Live shows are really where we thrive. We love interacting with our audiences and showing them a good time!
Tell us where fans can access your music?
You can find us on pretty much all streaming platforms; Spotify, Apple Music, etc. Also, follow us on social media @northandwellsband for Instagram! We would love to hear from you!
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