Getting ready to celebrate the recent release of their new EP, Veva, Hold On, Saturday night at Metro, I spoke with Bill Giricz of The Bishop's Daredevil Stunt Club about the power pop sounds on the local quintet's latest project...
Moving from a grittier, more guitar oriented sound on their last full-length album to a brighter, more polished form of power pop on their excellent new EP Veva, Hold On, local quintet The Bishop's Daredevil Stunt Club celebrates their latest effort Saturday night with an album release show at Metro.
I chatted via email earlier this week with vocalist/guitarist Bill Giricz about the new EP as well as Chicago's storied power pop history...
Q: So tell me a bit about the new album... Did you work with a producer on it? Where was it recorded?
Bill Giricz: The new album is actually an extended EP. I guess we could call it an EEP if we wanted to be clever. Did we just invent something there? I think maybe we did... Right on!
This project was recorded at the band's 'home studio,' affectionately referred to as Crushed Vinyl Studios. It's a really creative environment with everything set up to record at anytime.
I tend to handle the majority of production decisions, though there is a diplomacy about the more gray areas of a song or idea.
Q: I noticed on your ReverbNation page a reference to "roughed-up power pop" in your bio which is fitting because power pop was about the first thing I thought of upon listening to Veva, Hold On. Chicago has a pretty rich power pop tradition with artists like The Shoes, Material Issue, Cheap Trick etc. Not to pigeonhole but was there a concerted effort to write more in that power pop type vein when it came time to begin work on the new EP?
BG: Yeah, this was certainly in the thought process. Additionally, this was to be a more accessible group of tracks than our previous effort. These were selected from a group of about 12 tracks as the easiest to relate to - a bit of summer-pop I guess.
And to your point, one could certainly do worse than to carry on in that power pop tradition in our great city. I remember first hearing Material Issue - songs like “Valerie Loves Me” and “Diane”- and thinking they must have known those tunes had the appeal to make a splash even before the band was famous. It kind of gives you goose bumps when you hear a “perfect" song. I'd say those were near perfect in that power pop sense.
With this effort, we were trying to make songs that you couldn't help but get into.
Q: Power pop was big in the nineties nationally too, not just in Chicago, and when I listen to Veva, Hold On I kind of hear artists like Matthew Sweet or The Posies and - especially in terms of the keyboards - The Rentals. I hate to ask the “influences” question but who are some artists you've listened to over the years collectively that might be coming out in the mix now?
BG: Well... Matthew Sweet, The Posies and The Rentals! These are definitely some of my favorites - just candy for my ears. I don't know how you would've known that without reading my mind...Well, my friend, you certainly have a sixth sense!
I always loved how The Posies percussion was so in touch and integral with the phrasing of things and added to the emotional ebb and flow. The Rentals have that crazy Moog keyboard throughout. I would definitely add Nada Surf to that list as well.
Q: Your self-titled 2013 album, to me, had a bit more lo-fi/Guided By Voices, guitar driven type of sound, where on Veva, Hold On - especially on tracks like "Bob's Yer Uncle" and "Singlehandedly" which are two of my favorites - the keyboards are higher in the mix. Would you say there's been a growth in terms of songwriting or arrangements since that last project?
BG: The previous record is definitely more grit, and even some aggression, along with sonic experimentation. It was a bit more diverse from a stylistic standpoint, reflecting influences from Iggy and the Stooges with “Red Deelish,” to STP with “Sergio Leonne,” to glam pop with ”Very Nearly Nova”... a bit all over the place.
I think the style of the band has grown more cohesive, and we have developed more similar objectives as time has gone, so in that sense we've grown. Progress in the art of songwriting is certainly a never-ending endeavor. We always hope that change, over time, is for the best; and we hope our fans see it that way as well.
Q: Well, the new EP is out [now] you've got the big show at Metro on Saturday. Would anyone care to reveal the first Metro show they attended or a favorite Metro moment over the years?
BG: So many great bands have played this venue which is so quintessentially “Chicago!" While it's tough to narrow it down, I guess the one I remember most from recent years - and it fits nicely with this particular interview - was Nada Surf about three years ago. They played a lot of their older tunes, and they still sounded fantastic, but what made the night even more special was seeing the opener: the Chicago-based band, Bailiff. They were amazing and I've kept track of them ever since... and I secretly want to play a show with them someday! Oops, cat's outta the bag, I guess.
- Jim Ryan (@RadioJimRyan)
Never miss a story or interview! Simply enter your email address and click the "create subscription" button. My list is completely spam free, and you can opt out at any time.
(Details on Saturday's The Bishop's Daredevil Stunt Club show below)
The Bishop's Daredevil Stunt Club (Veva, Hold On release show)
Saturday, September 13, 2014
Doors open at 7:30PM
Show starts at 8PM
18 and over
Also performing: Arbor Creek, The Ross Originals, Vandalay, and Purebred Stems
Click HERE to purchase tickets