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Chicago Sound: 1997

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1997.jpgIt shouldn't be a surprise that the conversation with Chicago-rooted band 1997 turns to numbers.

Twenty-five hours a day. Eight days a week.

Those are the figures they agree on when asked how much time they devote to their music.

"Literally, we do as much as we can without leaving to eat,"  bassist Matt Wysocki says.

Speaking from sunny Florida, the Chicago band is lounging poolside before embarking on the next leg of their current nationwide tour.

The sound separates them from so many of their emo-infused contemporaries and keeps them far away from a paint-by-numbers pop-rock outfit is rooted in pop, but also feeds off several tributaries of music.
"A lot of new sound experimentation is going on," drummer Nick Coleman said. "In addition, I feel like we are honing our musicianship. We still have pop sensibilities, but we're developing more of a folk side, an experimental side and a psychedelic side.

"We're not straying too far away from what we are, though. If you come out to a show, we're still going to rock hard."

Their freshman effort, 2007's "A Better View of the Rising Moon," is a 12-song testament to a group that is most comfortable in pop, but not overly dependent on hooks. After an internal personnel shake-up, last year's "On the Run" took on a more developed tone, but also retains many of the elements that helped build the band's fan base.

"We want to keep that one thread that times us to who we are, but at the same time, our fans are maturing and progressing with us as a band," guitarist Cody Josepson explains.

The group has an arsenal of 20-odd songs from which to work with when they begin recording their next album, a project tentatively set to launch in October.

A hallmark of 1997 to this point has been their willingness to do things themselves. Whether it be the writing, the mixing or the design of promotional stickers, the band feels that the personal touch makes the finished project just that much more rewarding.

Also refreshing is their sense of humility, and sense of history. They wax nostalgic about a show at the New Orleans House of Blues, standing on stage where so many musical legends have stood before. One gets the sense that they're honored to share the space. And that they don't take it for granted.

They take on an excited tone when recalling an recent episode in Virginia Beach. Causally lounging by the water, armed with voices and guitars but nothing else to indicate who they were, a random fan approached them and begged to hear the ever-so-catchy "Garden of Evil."

The guys were surprised, but pleasantly so.

Despite being self-categorized as a group of laid-back guys, the band sees their moments on stage as the time to go "as crazy as possible." To party like 1997, if you will.

They'll bring that type of energy to their all-ages hometown show Tuesday night at Schubas.

Here's a sampling of what you can expect. It all adds up to a good time.

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This page contains a single entry by Kyle Koster published on June 14, 2009 8:56 AM.

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