Why You Should Care: Because we should all care about supporting local musicians! While I’m the first to admit that I receive a lot of inquiries to feature local artists, not everyone is worthy of a feature (I don’t mean to be blunt, it’s just the truth of the matter). However, once I heard just one song by local group The Foons, I was honestly surprised they hadn’t shown up on my radar earlier. After lead single Erik crossed paths with Taed (drums) in college, they started creating music together. Erik eventually moved to Chicago after college, and had met other musicians in the scene soon thereafter, and invited Ross (keys) in on the project. Taed happened to have two twin brothers, Sam and Will (who play bass and guitar, respectively) who gradually started participating in the collaboration process.
The Foons have an easygoing, upbeat, chill vibe about them that reminded me of similar artists I’m a fan of. I also think it’s crazy that one of their influences is LCD Soundsystem (more below), because I personally heard similarities between Erik and James’ voices. See our full Q&A below!
Chicago Haze: The band’s debut album, Balloon Fruit, was released earlier this year. What was the process like creating that album? Was everyone involved in the process?
Erik: Just before The Foons had fully formed, I had released a demo EP that consisted of most of the songs that ended up on the Balloon Fruit album. Once it was clear that everyone in the band was on board to get the ball rolling as a group, I took the demos down from Distrokid and booked a studio session at Handwritten Recording. We had maybe 2 practices with the whole band before we got into the studio. The songs fell into place where they did. We had no idea really what the due process was behind recording, releasing and promoting an album. Luckily we had a lot of friends and family that were very supportive of our endeavors from the start, which helped us gain our first little bit of traction in the Chicago music community. We sort of just jumped into the process and figured if we didn’t sink, we’d float. Maybe we’ll learn how to swim someday!
Chicago Haze: It’s listed on The Foons’ Spotify page that inspiration is taken from the likes of LCD Soundsystem (which I can hear very clearly) and Kanye West—can you explain how you find inspiration from these artists and others? Was that something that derived from being a fan of their music growing up?
Erik: I take inspiration from all kinds of anything. Going forward we’re planning on messing around with a lot of analogue sounds, programmed sequences, ambient drone noises, and unique drum tones with uptempo dance beats, which is why I listed LCD Soundsystem as one of our band’s inspirations. Taed and I are both very fond of James Murphy, we just think he’s the cat’s pajamas. Kanye West inspires me in many ways and for many reasons. There are also plenty of other artists who have influenced me in very substantial ways, who make many different sorts of music and even different forms of art than we do as a group, but it’d be nearly impossible to list them all. It would, at least, be a very long and ever-growing list. Among many other things, I’m inspired by great artists, and in my not-so-humble opinion Kanye is the most important American artist since Warhol, and Basquiat. To not be inspired by Mr. West would be extremely hard for me.
Chicago Haze: As I stated before, Balloon Fruit is a new release, and obviously the shows and promotion plans for the album have been halted due to the current pandemic, AKA Covid-19. How has that affected things?
Erik: The pandemic hasn’t made anything easier for us at all and it’s definitely having a vast negative impact on music, theater, and art communities all around the globe. The Virus is having its effect on things but we’re all still trying to make the most of our time in quarantine. I know Taed has been having fun being stuck at home with his drum machine and his other music toys, side-chaining away. Everyone is pretty antsy for our next jam session together but I think we’re all developing a lot of material on our own time, which will be great for the next project. There were a few shows scheduled and in the works, that we’re all very bummed about having to postpone and cancel, but we’re trying to stay positive. On a side note I’ve been in Spain for about a month longer than I expected to be. There is still plenty to work on in isolation though, and we talk every day about how to keep the ball rolling as best we can. It’s just a little harder to collaborate with each other from afar.
Chicago Haze: What do you think The Foons are bringing to the Chicago music scene, or how do you think the band fits in?
Erik: I think we bring music, art, spectacle, fun, friends, family, collaboration, a little bit of humor, Balloons and Fruit whenever we play. We fit wherever there is space to be filled. We’re hoping that eventually we’ll stand out too.
Chicago Haze: What else do you hope to achieve as a band this year—if we ever make it out of quarantine? Any specific venues you’d like to play in the city?
Erik: In light of the current health-crisis, our focus has shifted more towards the development and production of our next project, rather than the touring and promotion of Balloon Fruit. We’re booking shows as best we can but as of now, all dates are tentative. Right now we’re really hoping to find opening slots for bigger acts coming through town. Once venues begin to open up again we would love to play a slot at Lincoln Hall or Thalia Hall.
Chicago Haze: Anything else you’d like to add?
Erik: We’re very proud of our first album for what it is. We’re very excited to see what else we might accomplish in the years to come.
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