By Charlie Matthews
Ok, I am just going to open up with the fact that Friday Pilots Club is killing it! Their EP "South State" is the third release from FPC in the last two years and released last year in October. Recorded at Rosebud Studios and Chicago Recording Company, the quality is impeccable. In fact, it is so well put together, you have the feeling the the FPC Crew are intentionally trying to make it look simple. But, it is anything but. Self billed as an indie-jam-alternative band, they open up their EP with "Ain't Your Son" which is drenched in Third Man Records-style indie-rock, and it carries you right into a drum and bass groove that carries the vocals just perfectly. Oh, the guitars....yes, they are expansive, lush, and they scream out "come see our live show!"
Actually the whole EP is great. The rest of the songs are equally well written and showcase a band that can write great songs that have a rhythm section that makes you want to get out of your chair. Caleb can sing ya’ll! "South State" is definitely worth spending some time with. And if you're in the Chicago area, you should probably check them out. The band's intention is to fill the summer with live shows. Check out their schedule and pencil in the date.
Friday Pilots Club Is:
Drew Polovick – Guitar, Vocals
Mike Fornari – Guitar, Vocals
Spencer Rydholm – Bass Guitar
Ethan Mole – Drums, Vocals
Caleb Hiltunen – Guitar, Lead Vocals
Friday Pilots Club are from Chicago Illinois, and Emma Zanger, who runs press and publicity, got the band together (just like we like) to take part in the not-so-standard interview. You can tell they had fun!
How do you describe your music to people?
Caleb: Alternative Rock influenced by bands like The Jets, The Arctic Monkeys, Young the Giant, and The Black Keys
Drew: Think Hozier singing Strokes covers with the Arctic Monkeys
Spencer: Indie Rock. Black Keys, Arctic Monkeys, Young the Giant like.
Ethan: I say we sound like Young the Giant and Arctic Monkeys had a baby
Mike: We're like a blend of jam and music such as Dave Matthews and OAR, blues rock like arctic monkeys and black keys, and indie rock like local natives and Bombay Bicycle Club.
Tell us about your local music scene:
Caleb: Chicago has proved to be an amazing place to grow a band. Even when we started and didn’t really have our chops up, people were still coming out on a regular basis. Students around the city comprise the majority of our demographic but there is a pretty big range of whom we see at shows and that’s changed a lot over the years. As far as shows go, there are shows almost every night and countless promoters to book them. We have found quite a few really great people in the mix and management usually goes to them when we decide to book something in town. For anyone interested, Kevin Singleton does a great job over at the Bottom Lounge and Peggy over at Kickstand Productions is always a pleasure to work with and is a consistent hard worker. Those two aren’t the only two that do a great job but they really are outliers when it comes to booking.
Drew: The Chicago music scene is vibrant and bustling. You can find a show of any type of music almost every single night of the week. There is a real symbiotic relationship between a lot of the bands out here too with a lot of people sticking their necks out for each other and doing there best to promote and support one another.
Spencer: The Chicago scene is incredible and it’s really up and coming because of Hip Hop. Everyone is extremely collaborative and wants to push other artists to success, there isn’t a competitive nature here. The scene is really small too and everyone has a connection to just about everyone else. For example one of my good friends from high school is dating Walter from the band The Walters, a Chicago band currently getting a lot of attention. It’s cool to have such a close-knit scene here where everyone wants to help everyone else.
Ethan: Chicago has a lot of hip-hop and indie rock.
Mike: There's pretty much a community for every genre and sub-genre here.
It is the weekend, who should we be checking out in your town?
Caleb: Oh my god, so many great bands around Chicago right now. As far as rock goes, check out Out the Car Window; I’ve been to a couple of their shows and they are consistently amazing. Everyone in their band is amazing (Jake, Matt, you already know) but their drummer Griffin is a drummer’s drummer, the guy can play the shit out of any venue and has been touring and performing since he was like 15. As far as hip-hop goes, Charlie Curtiss Beard, this dude…. Just go to one of his shows and you’ll know what I mean. Lastly, Anna Agosta is a killer songwriter, performer, and overall human being. Check out her song “Never Fall”. I saw her perform it at the metro a couple weeks ago and to say it had me dancing, would be an understatement.
Drew: I just learned about an amazing hardcore band called La Armada. Those guys wreck; like a full on thrash onslaught. If you want something a little more low-key, check out Leah Jean Griffith. She’s a jazz guitarist and vocalist who is probably the most talented person I’ve ever met. Even when she plays and sings acoustically it sounds like a finished and polished record. She lives in the pocket. She took out a mortgage on the groove.
Spencer: The King of Mars or really any local hip hop show, always a good experience.
Ethan: The North 41, Whitney
Mike: Out The Car Window, Ohmme, and Retirement Party
What’s the immediate future look like for your band? Tours, festivals, working with other bands, etc.
Caleb: We are playing a ridiculous amount of shows all over this summer (check out our websites “Tour” page for all dates), but the one I’m most excited about right now is our set at Summerfest. We’re playing 30 minutes before Highly Suspect and I cannot tell you how excited saying that gets me.
Drew: This is a busy summer for us. We’re playing a bunch of shows around Chicago, as well as Summerfest in Milwaukee; Scorched Earth Festival in Algonquin; and a handful of SoFar Sounds shows around the Midwest. We’re also in the process of writing our next full length record, which is going to be a bit of a departure from the FPC sound that everybody knows. It’s a little heavier, a bit more dynamic but definitely bigger sounding. I tend to write “larger than life” arrangements featuring at least 3 different guitar parts, strings, piano, backing choirs and even some synths.
Spencer: Currently working on releasing music to be heard by labels. Trying to get label attention. Playing Summerfest.
Ethan: Some festival talk in the works, hopefully a tour, and some new music to be recorded.
Mike: Summer shows at Summerfest, scorched earth days, and beat kitchen
What's your outlook on the record industry today?
Caleb: I could write a novel on this but I’ll try and keep it short; someone we were meeting with the other day said it perfectly, “the industry is this tiny little pond with miles of frogs around it trying to get in”. Now, more than ever, it is important to grow yourself as a brand and a musician, as well as grow a good team around you, before you even think about labels but I would say do not be afraid of them. I have found more naïve people to say labels are bad, right away, and they are certainly entitled to that thought but I find that it isn’t necessarily labels that are bad, it is the contracts that labels offer and the excitement induced laziness they are met with, to be the real culprits. Gain leverage; create great demos, book great shows and find ways to get out of town for shows more often (I know this is expensive), grow your brand, make your live show better, film a music video, stay up till sunrise emailing blogs, magazines, and anyone that will listen to help, then sit down and get what you want out of a contract. Don’t hire your cousin as an attorney, find a good one, then sit down and figure out what the best contract you can get AT THIS VERY MOMENT is, and if it’s not what you want, get to work. The industry does have a few snakes but it is also full of people who genuinely love music and want to take care of the artists that make it, but you have to remember that they have to turn a profit to keep doing that. If they can’t see (any less, believe) that you are going to do that, there’s no way you’re going to see a “good label”. At the end of the day, working really fucking hard and then once you get there, work harder, and you will see a good side of the industry.
Drew: It bums me out that nobody wants to buy music anymore. Nobody cares about fidelity or quality and it’s definitely the fault of streaming. Don’t get me wrong, I use Spotify but I LOVE CDs and that is primarily what I use to listen to music. Artists spend a ton of time and money to get a record to sound a certain way, so I believe that I owe it to them to listen to it at it’s highest quality.
Spencer: It’s tough to say. I love streaming services as a music fan but unfortunately artists can’t live off of that. Yet, people are going out to shows and supporting artists more than ever and that is what is driving careers. It’s really difficult to make it big and I still believe in using a label as much as I’d like to see success independently. Still, we are able to listen to more artists now than ever before and people are so immersed in the industry, it’s great.
Ethan: It’s rapidly changing with all of the technology that’s available.
Mike: The industry is in a weird shift right now into the streaming world, but more people have access to music which is the best thing in the end
What three bands are you listening to right now?
Caleb: Circa Waves, Kendrick Lamar, and Band of Skulls.
Drew: He Is Legend, Code Orange and Fit For An Autopsy.
Spencer: Kendrick Lamar, Smino, Beyoncé.
Ethan: Dave Matthews Band, Sara Bareilles, The North 41.
Mike: Paramore, Explosions in the Sky, Cashmere Cat
What is that one piece of equipment you can't live without?
Caleb: My Fender Deville, that boy screams.
Drew: D’Addario strings! They are the only company that makes strings that I can abuse so heavily and still retain tons of bark, snap, sustain and bite for months. I tried their strings for the first time 4 years ago and I haven’t looked back since.
Spencer: My love. My Fender Jazz Bass. Shoutout mom and dad for the greatest gift ever.
Ethan: Bass Drum pedal
Mike: My pedal tuner
Catch Friday Pilots Club at their next few gigs
Beat Kitchen, Chicago IL, 5/25
Birdy’s, Indianapolis IN, 5/26
SofarSounds, Chicago IL, 5/27
GMan Tavern, Chicago IL, 6/24
Uline Stage at Summer Fest, Milwaukee WI, 7/8
Check out the Friday Pilots Club www for the most up-to-date tour info!
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