For our next installment of #MDInterviews, we get to know Sidewalk Chalk.
The Chicago music scene in 2015 is perhaps best known for its artist collectives, the talents of whom range from experimental hip-hop flows to classical woodwind blows. Sidewalk Chalk, an eight-piece group of Windy City natives, is one of our town’s flagship examples of that trend. Blending the styles of hip-hop, soul, and jazz into a flurry of sensual notes and rhythms,
Sidewalk Chalk formed in 2008 after meeting at Columbia College and has since released three full-length albums. Most recently, the collective collaborated with Chicago-based vocalist Lili K on the song “G.L.A.D.,” which premiered exclusively on the Wall Street Journal’s music blog, “Speakeasy.”
Music Dealers: This year has been very busy for you guys on the road. You’re currently on your Carry The Weight Tour with shows spanning from the Midwest to California and ending your tour in Canada. Can you speak on the response you’ve been receiving and how it’s been watching your fan base continue to grow across the country?
Maggie Vagle (Vocals): The response and love from fans new and old has been wonderful! It’s always amazing to return to cities we’ve played and see so many familiar faces ready to party with us! The tour has also brought us to new cities as well. It’s a humbling experience to play packed shows with many fans one night and then the next to play to all new listeners in a brand new city. It keeps us on our toes and also ready to prove ourselves. Each experience is a chance to grow and challenge ourselves.
Music Dealers: One thing I love about your live show is that you always have a freestyle segment. You’re all feeding off each other and Rico is rhyming “I Spy” based off what is thrown on stage from the crowd. Do you feel that jamming live is somewhat of a lost art these days? How does it help you connect with the crowd?
Josh Rosen (Bass): I think long form jamming is alive and well in jazz as well as in psychedelic music, although it’s not always executed well. However you don’t see much short form or on the fly improv, especially in contemporary live music. I think being open to anything and making up things on the spot definitely makes a connection with the crowd. Any time you can watch any sort of creator, create things right in front of you, you feel like you’re a part of a unique experience.
Music Dealers: I certainly think you have elements to your music any ear would appreciate. When you guys think of inspirations, what living or dead musician(s) would you love to have dinner with if you could?
David Ben-Porat (Trombone): I think some these are on behalf of the group and some are on behalf of myself. J Dilla, Duke Ellington, Meshell Ndegeocello, Bilal, Sting, Billy Joel, Tom Yorke, and Frédéric Chopin.
Music Dealers: How would you describe Sidewalk Chalk in 3 words?
Maggie Vagle (Vocals): Big. Warm, Embrace.
Music Dealers: As creatives listen to Leaves, what do you feel would be the perfect sync placement for your sound?
Charlie (Keys): Our music is progressive and forward-thinking, and we like to connect with brands that work the same way. A dream placement for one of our records? Probably a Tesla ad during the Super Bowl!
Music Dealers: Guys – I appreciate you all for taking the time during your tour to bring us into your world. We can’t wait to see you play Double Door on November 6 and look forward to licensing success together. Thanks!!
Charlie (Keys): Thanks for having us! We can’t wait to come home and play for you all.
Interview by Zach Lyons, Music Dealers