Proclaiming the Arrival of Chicago Rockers, Town Criers

 Photos by  Michael Salisbury

Written by Nina Clev


A Band of Friends Whose Music Rings True

In an industry where competition is crucial and relationships are wavering, it’s quite the refresher to sit down and talk with a group of guys who are more than just another band - they’re actual friends. True, to the core, friends. The jokes bounce off of each other easily and frequently and the laughs are as genuine as the reason they are in each other’s lives in the first place: music.

Town Criers, a Chicago-based band, has been around for a little over a year now. They all met kind of randomly, kind of not - Andre (singer) and Kevin (drummer) got to talking at a Post Animal show at The Hideout. Then, they got to jamming in their friend’s garage. Scott - the guitarist - showed up about an hour into their session and plugged in. Next thing you knew, they were unofficially a group.

About a day into these garage-jam sessions, they were asked to play a show. That’s when the jams became practices, and the group became more or less official. The boys went through a slew of different names – The Clerks, Village Greens - until finally, Town Criers stuck.

The Chicago music scene is kind of like an oversized small town. There are plenty of artists in plenty of genres, all working towards different - and yet similar – goals. Music is important in this city, and people know it. So much so, in fact, that Andre moved from Brazil to study music and literature at Columbia.

“The weed brought him here,” Kevin jokes, as Andre takes a sip of his water. We’re sitting at Maillard Tavern, a small bar in the West Loop.

“That, yeah. And school,” Andre quips back. In front of him sits a plate of fried onions, topped off with a bit of Sriracha. Kevin’s got a cheeseburger, and Scott a chocolate shake.

Andre and Kevin are currently enrolled at Columbia. Scott attended at one point, but didn’t finish. For them, music and opportunity come first.

“When things start to become about too much, artists get lost,” Andre said. “We’re trying to just focus on the music.”

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As a band, making music is a group effort. “Someone comes up with an idea, and then we put building blocks around it,” Kevin said.

“It’s kind of like Tetris, but better,” Scott added.

Right now, the Town Criers are getting ready to record their next project, a full-length record. It’s basically completely written, and they are set to finish by the end of the year, intending on a Spring 2019 release.

As for a typical practice session with the boys, it really depends on what their focus for the day is. If they’re working on a new song, they spend time going back and forth with each other, throwing ideas around and creating something from nothing. Tetris, if you will. If they aren’t trying something new, they spend their time together working on a set list and rehearsing what they have.

The psych-rock of the 60s and 70s mixed with the metal and punk of the 80s and 90s come together to form a sound unique to the band – some songs are softer, romantic even – others, loud and crazy.

“[Town Criers] listens to country music and stoner metal,” Andre said, laughing a little. “But, that is a serious statement.”

Growing up in an age where music from pretty much all of time is accessible truly makes for a wide-range of taste. The boys all have their personal favorites, but agree on a few majors: Lou Reed, The Strokes, Iggy Pop, Van Halen. For Andre  specifically, Mick Jagger is a big player.

The Town Criers listen to country music and stoner metal...that’s a serious statement

“Every time this dude plays Rolling Stones, he jumps up on a table,” Kevin said, laughing. “We’re trying to keep it under control.”

As funny and lighthearted as the boys are together, they’re also able to get serious when need be. Quite recently, in Chicago, a group of women came together with some local bands to bring to light the mistreatment of women and minorities in the music scene.  Many musicians and bands were called out for a series of events and actions that negatively affected certain individuals, even outside of the city.

“It’s pretty amazing to realize how strong a collective can be, especially a group of women,” Andre said. “We can always, and we should always, do more. It’s more than being a decent person, it’s setting better examples. What’s not absurd, what’s not irrational?”

“What it comes down to,” Kevin adds, “is that we’re all just trying to be the best people we can be.”

On Monday, September 17th, Town Criers kick off a short Midwestern tour with The Nude Party. Then, they will head east for their shows with In the Pines and Rookie.

The bill comes to our table and the dishes are cleared away. Scott puts his backpack on and stands up, and the rest of us follow suit. A few more laughs are exchanged, trailed by a round of goodbyes.

“Larry David is my favorite artist,” Andre said. “Final answer.”