Interview Music

Too Hot to be Cool?

Over the course of Chicago music’s history we have seen the rise and fall of several great clubs and venues. Some have risen high and quickly but at the end fell due to the changing times and economic down turns. Others have shown the staying power over the years. The truth of the matter is no one can tell what will stay or really anticipate why it goes. We’ve lost some legendary places just recently: Neo, Excalibur (kind of), The Congress, Crobar. But, with venues such as Metro, Aragon, Cubbie Bear, Legends, Green Mill, Schubas, The Abby, Concord we stay loyal because we know that at some point the music we love will find itself there and us with it.
Well, boys and girls there’s a new joint in town that has the potential to make itself one of our new music mayhem stations and join the others in campaign to bring solid sounds to local clubs. It’s a little bit of motor city lined with a touch of LA and topped with a Chicago Pizza. HVAC (Heating and Cooling) deep in the heart of Wrigleyville, just doors away from the Cubbie Bear where last year David Grohl brought the Foo Fighters on the Sonic Highways Tour, has now, since they have been open, a few boasted chart appearing artists. Artists like Ryan Cabrera, Dee Snider from Twisted Sister, The Three Kings (Jason Aldine’s band) with School of Rock and slew of local talent. We were fortunate enough to catch BIG DATA pull a DJ set last month on July 3rd, and sat with him after for a few moments.
BIG DATA played to a half packed room until people on the street caught wind of who was spinning. By the end of a well-curated mix set HVAC was rocking out with people to the walls. Alan Wilkis gave the low down on his start in the music industry, coming out of Harvard with an English degree, his collaborations all the way to his rise to “Dangerous” heights on the charts.
I asked him pretty bluntly,” So… Harvard… What was that like?”
“A lot of studying…”
“Fair. So, how did the degree play into this project or did you just turn from it all together?”
Wilkis revealed, “Well, I graduated with a major in English language, so, it has some influence. Maybe not as much as I like but I am doing alright.” (under statement) I started to ask a bit more on what it’s like to transition to topping charts so quickly?
“It’s been kinda wild.” Wilkis mentioned, “There has been a lot of change and collaborations.”
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Wilkis seemed pretty excited about the night commenting on the set at HVAC, “This venue’s cool. The crowd was pretty responsive. Really dig the art here (referring to the famous photographer Paul Natkin and the overall motorcycle chic). This was a nice stop to come to Chicago. I’m really happy Damon called me up and asked me to play.”
“Wait what? Called you up? Like come hang out and chill?” I said. “
“That’s right.”

Damon Ranger(Left) seen here interviewing Perry Farrell (Right)

Damon Ranger, Oscar/Grammy/Emmy artist, called him up, as friends usually do, and said “Hey come play at my new club.” So, it seems that Damon, a Chicago born resident, is the curator and part owner of this new take on Rock Club Pizza Joints. And his way of getting his friends to come play is by calling them up and having them over for beer and pizza. What a Concept! No brainer right? Well, with the company that Damon keeps, and it goes deep into the music world, I wondered what he had in mind when opening up HVAC. Damon stated, “I wanted to make a Chicago type of Viper Room.” I mean when you make a business of winning Grammys for collaborating with artists like Kanye West and taking stages at Riot and Lollapolooza what could you possibly anticipate? It seems Meat Puppets are set to play this week Saturday, August 29th directly after the Foo Fighters at Wrigley Field for an after Party. Catch my drift. This place has the legs and the backing to become a destination spot for greater music makers in a more organic way of drawing them to play Chicago. Not a lot of places like that here any more. Buddy Guy’s Legends is probably the only other one I can think of that has the same type of feel and way about it. Carmen Rossi and Adolfo Garcia restaurateur owners of a few other prominent clubs in Chicago like Pearl Tavern and Hubbard Inn, having been friends with Damon from years ago decided to all get together and bring their passions with them.
From the inception of this club HVAC has surrounded itself with strong talented friends, committed to bringing in big acts and support local music with talented high quality artist. Even though they are in their proving stages it seems like a recipe for success. Go check out the Meat Puppets if you can. But, even if you miss it make sure to stop through you never know who will show up.
The Meat Puppets 6x4


Baby In Vain, Kills: The Lolla After show

August 2, 2015

Metro Chicago

Lollapalooza After Show

Feature with Baby In Vain by Mark Umstattd

To may times do we hear an artist on the radio and are left wondering “what is that sound?” or even watching a video saying “what the hell is going on?” that we are left a little bit confused. The celebrity and the artist become blurred lines that almost prevent us from being able to access the truth of who these people truly are underneath the public presentation. Was she really born that way? Is he bad to the bone? Did she in fact build that ship to wreck?

Now, there are moments of great revelation and moments of great disappointment when it comes to exploring new sound that sometimes even go hand in hand when beginning a new relationship with an artist that our ears just haven’t been prepared for…yet. We hem, we haw, we listen and twist in our chairs searching for that hook or riff which will lead us down the sonic rabbit hole to the heart of the music and, ultimately, the artist themselves.


Baby In Vain is an ambitious project, 5 years in the making, created by one of the Hottest trios to come out of Copenhagen. (That’s Denmark for the geographically disinclined.) Now music is taking a largely digital turn these days, which I don’t think anyone but the purists are really complaining about. But Baby In Vain is bringing something out of the cold northern lands that almost takes up where Joan Jett would have continued her sound were she born the  industrial Nancy boy beating younger sisters of Jack White. THESE CHICKS ARE HARD. Not to say that they have fully come into their evolution as musicians as they are still in the studio for their debut album, but they are currently on their second US tour with the Kills, so they are obviously doing something right.


I really didn’t know what to expect from these youngins’ (all under the age of 21) after watching their music video “Muscles”  as the images were so wild and disjointed that it left me slightly uncomfortable,  not knowing how to absorb the music and its visual presentation in combined force. But, the ambition and the confusion worked well enough to peak my interest  into holding an interview.

Hours before the official after show, Lolla hadn’t let out yet, I walked into the green room where the girls were getting ready for that nights performance. Lola (vox and lead guitar), the younger of the tribe at 19yrs. having just graduated high school, was restringing her guitar, while Andrea (rhythm guitar), BIV’s big sister, and Benedicte, drumming jokester, were chillin collecting themselves. The Kills were on the stage at the time for sound check. We talked about their album (release undetermined at this point) of which is being done completely independent. “We are not with a label,” Andrea stated. Meaning their efforts and schedules are done by their booking agent. So, how did they get linked up with the Kills? “Our agent called theirs and they chose us to for support, we knew we were coming threw again, so, supposed it just made sense.”

Heck yeah it made sense! The sound was a perfect appetizer for the main course. When these girls took the stage it was obvious that they were so comfortable and adept at being present and playing. So much so that when they started to make noise the unhinging squeal of the amplifiers primed you up for the explosion. “We like to be loud. Its easier for us in venues this size,” I remember them saying. Repeating bass chords and hook drawn guitar riffs mixed with a grungier blues/punk sound all walked up and down like an angry pirate strolling the ships deck. Their power and electricity was pretty undeniable as they everything but through themselves into their instruments. They were good. Real good. Better than I had hoped for, pumping out power and youthful feminine energy like it was hard candy. When I congratulated them they had just finished breaking down. “It was a good crowd. The Chicago crowd really responded,”said BIV’s drummer.
“Yes they did Benedicte, yes they did”

Festivals Interview

TenTrees Tribe Jewelry

Follow your dreams full heartedly, don’t hold back, be your authentic self and the rest will follow and flow naturally,” Ten’s advice to other young entrepreneurs.
Two gypsy souls brought together by their passion to create. Their nomadic collection is handcrafted and one of a kind. Their pieces are elegantly made for the rough and the rigid… For the night-dwellers, and the day-trippers. For the fierce and the fancy. For the starry-eyed vagabonds dancing through life, painting the world with their spirit.
Tenisha and Tree carefully craft their jewelry using materials like leather, metals and precious stones. Inspired by the beauty of nature, they travel across the globe to soak up Mother Earth’s magic. TenTrees Tribe is a collaboration of handmade elegant, bold, and beautiful creations– A shared vision of raw stones, layered chains, and unique designs with intentions of awakening both the wild feminine and masculine within. In their line some of the most coveted pieces are the body chains, druzy rings, statement septum rings, and quartz crystal necklaces. They also do custom pieces by request.
Check out their website:
TenTrees Tribe     TenTrees Tribe     TenTrees Tribe     TenTrees Tribe     TenTrees Tribe 
We got to [virtually] meet the two rad babes behind the incredible TenTrees Tribe and learn about what it takes to be a young entrepreneur in today’s competitive environment. Check out how they got started, how they run their business, and what fuels their fire…
Q & A with the TenTreesTribe Babes
How did you girls start your business?
We’re actually cousins, and in the summer of 2010 we started going to a bunch of festivals like Coachella, Lightning in a Bottle, Burningman, etc. This started our love of the festival culture and style. We started making feather earrings and feather hair clips for fun, and quickly it became a small business that helped fund our festival attending. Over the years this turned into what is now known as TenTrees Tribe! Everything we’ve ever created has been completely self-taught; Tree has a more classic, elegant style, while Ten has more of a funky bohemian edge. We both bring a different set of skills to the table, and together we balance out the business perfectly. We’re only 22, but we have huge dreams, determination, and big goals in our vision. Our ultimate dream is to open a store one day!
How long have you guys been in business?
We’ve been doing this for 4 years. It was originally a small hobby, and now it’s turned into this! Every day it becomes more and more of a reality that this is our life; we’re living our dream.
What is your biggest inspiration?
Traveling is our biggest inspiration! It’s the classroom that makes us happy and we chose this life over a traditional education. This may be one of the hardest decisions we’ve made in life thus far, but we went against the grain and chose to pursue these dreams of seeing the world. Through this we’ve gained an open hearted open-minded passion and lust for life. We find ourselves bouncing between SE Asia and Central/South America. We’re greatly inspired by the jewelry, and the cultural fashion! Being from Humboldt County, nature is also a huge inspiration to us. We love the raw, the real, the weird and the wild. We appreciate the mystery as well as the natural textures and patterns found in the forest and the ocean. Lastly, music is a pivotal part in inspiring our self-confidence and motivation. The way some music can make us feel is the way we want the tribe to feel when wearing our creations; free, infinite, and unstoppable!
What kind of music do you listen to while creating?
The Grateful Dead and the Beatles always! As well as Thriftworks and Phaeleh… and some recent musical musings would be Biolumigen, Hakuu, and Onhell.
Do you plan on transitioning to an independent website vs. Etsy? 
Yes, hopefully over the course of the next year. For now we have a high demand from retail stores so we’re focusing more on that versus online sales. Right now we’re currently being carried in Divine Origin located in Redway, CA and in The Lucky Heart Shop located in Fortuna, CA, and will be in another soon to be announced. We’re also currently looking to branch out and get our jewelry in stores located outside of NorCal. There’s only two of us in this business and we can only do so much, hmmmm..Maybe it’s time to find some apprentices 😉
What’s next?
Focusing on taking our business to the next level. We’re working on designing a clothing line for next summer actually!
Any advice for young entrepreneurs?
Ten: I once read a quote from a fortune cookie that said: “It’s kind of fun to do the impossible.” That quote has always stuck with me, and how you really can accomplish anything you set your mind to even if it seems impossible. I think our overall advice would be to follow your dreams full heartedly, don’t hold back, be your authentic self and the rest will follow and flow naturally…and like they say, we all have as many hours in a day as Beyoncé 😉

 ***Save 20% with coupon code: DAYTRIPxTTT***

   tentreestribe, bohemian jewelry, gypsy soul, daytrippingal, vanessa nealey photography, tentreestribe jewelry, bohemian, hippie, chicago fashion blogger

tentreestribe, bohemian jewelry, gypsy soul, daytrippingal, vanessa nealey photography, tentreestribe jewelry, bohemian, hippie, chicago fashion blogger

tentreestribe, bohemian jewelry, gypsy soul, daytrippingal, vanessa nealey photography, tentreestribe jewelry, bohemian, hippie, chicago fashion blogger

Written by Stephanie Bacos of DayTrippinGal

Editorial Pictures by Vanessa Nealey

Jewelry by TenTrees Tribe

Rompers by Futa Kashmir

Header Picture by Joshua Lee


Freaky Deaky Lineup Announced

For the seventh annual FREAKY DEAKY, React Presents is thrilled to announce the expansion into a three-day festival!  The event also has a brand-new home, the massive Toyota Park, about 12 miles away from downtown Chicago on October 30 – November 1, 2015.  Featuring a fully interactive spooktacular experience, with 75+ artists, 3 stages, and 3 days of music, Freaky Deaky 2015 promises to bring the freak out of everyone this Halloween Weekend.
Tickets are on sale now at!
The Largest Halloween Event in the Midwest returns with a monstrous lineup that’s bigger than ever before. Powerhouse headliners include BASSNECTAR, ARMIN VAN BUUREN, PRETTY LIGHTS, 2 CHAINZ, BIG GIGANTIC, and CARNAGE, along with eclectic artists like ACTION BRONSON, BENNY BENASSI, BORGORE, DATSIK, FLYING LOTUS, GRIZ, LOGIC, MAC MILLER, OLIVER HELDENS, and many more.

In support of genres and talent from all spectrums in the dance music sphere, Freaky Deaky will also be curating themed SCARY STAGES hosted by electronic tastemakers MARKUS SCHULZ, GESAFFELSTEIN (DJ Set), and RICHIE HAWTIN.
Additionally, this year’s annual Halloween event will bring a wide range of sounds that will keep more than 75,000 fans dancing throughout the weekend, spanning from Hip Hop acts RIFF RAFF, JOEY BADA$$, VIC MENSA, and CL, to underground connoisseurs like DUBFIRE, PETE TONG, JORIS VOORN, and THE MAGICIAN, along with Trance Family mainstays including SUPER8 & TAB, MYON & SHANE 54, plus a special back-to-back set with CASH CASH and TRITONAL.
Complete with top notch decor, carnival rides, games, and terrifyingly fun haunted houses and graveyards — have no fear of missing out and join us with the ghastly ghouls and wicked witches at Freaky Deaky!
About Freaky Deaky:
Ever since this dark and twisted adventure was founded in 2008 by React Presents, Freaky Deaky continues to grow bigger, better, and a little spookier every year, transforming into the freakiest costume party in the Chicagoland area. In 2011, the single day event expanded into Detroit with over 5,500 people in attendance. In 2012, Freaky Deaky expanded to two days, which attracted over 9,000 attendees, making it the largest Halloween event in the Midwest. Offering a diverse range of world class artists, past performers include MSTRKRFT, Chromeo, Wolfgang Gartner, Laidback Luke, Dada Life, GRiZ, Claude VonStroke, Flux Pavilion, Nervo, Knife Party, Danny Brown, Tommy Trash, A-trak, Araabmuzik, Kill the Noise, Tchami, Bloody Beetroots, Crystal Castles, Boys Noize, TOKiMONSTA, and more.
Toyota Park
7000 Harlem Ave
Bridgeview, IL 60455
18+ | 2:00 PM Doors


North Coast Music Festival Official After Parties Announced

North Coast Music Festival (NCMF) is thrilled announce 2015’s Official After Parties, happening at the finest clubs and venues in Chicago! Tickets for the Official After Parties and the festival are on sale now at

  • Le Youth + Plastic Plates – the MID 21+ | Free with RSVP | Tickets


  • Daft Rock – Future Rock Performs the Music of Daft Punk + North American Scum – Members of Turbo Suit, Digital Tape Machine, Spare Parts Present the Music of LCD Soundsystem – Concord Music Hall 18+ | Tickets
  • The Main Squeeze – Official Mind Your Head Album Release Party – Bottom Lounge 17+ | Tickets
  • Knife Party – the MID 21+ | Tickets
  • Salva, Sicko Mobb, Martin $ky + Cofresi – Cobra Lounge 21+ | Tickets


  • The Disco Biscuits – Concord Music Hall 18+ | Tickets
  • Lyrics Born, The Heard + O.R. They? – Cobra Lounge 21+ | Tickets
  • Sweater Beats, Humans + Smoko Ono – Bottom Lounge 17+ | Tickets
  • Steve Aoki + Ricoshei – the MID 21+ | Tickets
  • Galactic – 1st Ward 18+ | Tickets
  • Chromeo (DJ Set) – Studio Paris 21+ | Tickets


  • Goldfish + Auto Body – Bottom Lounge 17+ | Tickets
  • Green Velvet – the MID 21+ | Tickets
  • Kill The Noize, The Trap House + Rodga – Transit 21+ | Tickets
  • Until the Ribbon Breaks, GGOOLLDD, Equator Club – Cobra Lounge 21+ | Tickets


  • NCMF Official Closing Party w/ Porn N Chicken + Special Guest TBA – Evil Olive 21+ | Tickets


About NCMF:
North Coast Music Festival was originally founded in 2010 by a group of independent promoters who came together to create an urban taste-maker festival of emerging and established artists from a diverse range of genres. Between them they produce hundreds of Chicago-based events each year, including multiple festivals in the Midwest, one off events at Chicago’s premiere music venues, street festivals, and more, that attract thousands of fans and artists from all over the world. Last year, NCMF celebrated it’s 5th year anniversary and sold out of 3-day passes for the first time, with nearly 60,000 people in attendance.
North Coast Music Festival
September 4th – September 6th, 2015
Union Park
Chicago, IL 60607
Friday: 3 PM – 10 PM
Saturday/Sunday: Noon – 10 PM