Tag Archives: Chicago

Ep. #223: Ian MacKaye & Steve Albini (Part I)

Ian MacKaye was once in bands like Minor Threat and Embrace and is currently in the bands Fugazi and the Evens. He also co-founded and continues to oversee the excellent label Dischord Records, which is based in his hometown of Washington D.C. Steve Albini has been in bands like Big Black and Rapeman and is currently in the vital and wondrous rock trio, Shellac of North America. He’s a very well-respected recording engineer who owns and operates the Electrical Audio facility in the city of Chicago, Illinois, where he has lived for a good long time. In this first of a two-part moderated conversation between Ian and Steve, we discuss how they first met via either the late John Loder or Corey Rusk, Steve’s harshly written published review of the Rites of Spring record, Big Black playing D.C., machines and heartbeats, the formalization of punk, the influence of Minor Threat, punk violence, the Butthole Surfers, one-upmanship, explaining Pailhead and how Ian came to work with Al Jourgensen, the significance of John Loder, his company Southern Records, and its role in distributing underground music, Ministry, Revolting Cocks, Wax Trax! Records, Strike Under, punk to electronic music, Paul “Ion” Barker, the Blackouts, Bill Rieflin, drumming, Chicago’s drug scene, Minor Threat’s ferocity and execution, the time Pailhead employed an Ian MacKaye impersonator at shows, Adrian Sherwood almost working with Big Black, the story behind the In on the Kill Taker sessions, staying in London and missing John Loder, why Fugazi recorded in Chicago, how the greatest session ever yielded the saddest demo tapes, Fugazi let its guard down, Steve’s magical rapport with bands, Fugazi goes hard, how Steve bonded with Fugazi during their session together, stifling your fandom as an engineer, treating people you record with respect and trusting their vision, Ian teaches Steve how to double vocals, Ian’s phrasing, single vocals are just fine, trumpets, Ian as a prolific producer, the first Teen Idles recording session with a mean engineer, how Terrie from the Ex obtained his first guitar, Skip Groff and Don Zientara, Inner Ear Studio, Round Raoul Records, resisting technological trends when running a studio, how the In on the Kill Taker sessions with Steve ended up circulating publicly, Fugazi tried to bury it, how records leak, the song “Great Cop,” and that was the end of part one.

Related links: dischord.com electricalaudio.com vishkhanna.com

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Ep. #213: Cameron Esposito

Cameron Esposito is a gifted and hilarious comedian and actress who originally hails from Chicago, Illinois. She’s a beloved figure who reveals much about her personal life in her stand-up, often discussing the fact that she’s a lesbian and covering various aspects and concerns pertaining to the LGBTQ community. In fact, her 2014 stand-up record Same Sex Symbol delved deeply into such topics and was acclaimed as one of the best and smartest comedy albums of the year. Now based in Los Angeles, Esposito is an in-demand performer who has appeared on TV shows like @midnight, Conan, Maron, Drunk History, and she will soon be voicing a character on the Cartoon Network’s We Bare Bears. This December Esposito is marrying Rhea Butcher and taping her first special, a mere two days apart. She’s touring North America in the next while, including shows at the Comedy Bar in Toronto between September 10th and 12th and Comedy Mix in Vancouver between October 1st and 3rd. Here, Cameron and I discuss being prepared and winging it, the new multi-faceted face of comedy, Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld, career longevity, stand-up is the end and not a means to an end, Jay Leno’s stand-up, villainy and heroism, the Late Night wars, David Letterman’s likability, Costco, taping a special and getting married only days apart, a wedding planner, collective memory banks, how ‘merica’s doing, regionalism, Sick Kids Hospital, bullying, Donald Trump and immigration and the LGBTQ, Mexicans, alienating America’s fastest growing voting demographic, distracting the world from racism against black people by being racist towards Mexicans, figuring Trump out, women’s roles in this upcoming election, why we think Jon Stewart left The Daily Show, social media, topical humour, talking about yourself without feeling pigeonholed, inspiring others, Hari Kondabolu, the book of autobiographical essays she’s working on, the “Fighter Pilot” bit, and that was that.     

Related links: cameronesposito.com vishkhanna.com

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Ep. #210: Mick Jenkins

Mick Jenkins is a powerful, uncompromising young hip-hop artist who has spent most of his life as a citizen of Chicago, Illinois. Born in Alabama in 1991, Jenkins first received widespread attention for his 2013 mixtape Trees and Truths and followed its success up with the gritty, politically-charged masterstroke, The Water[s], which many regarded as one of the finest albums of 2014. Working at a furious pace, Jenkins is back with an excellent and vibrant new release called Wave[s], which is out via Cinematic Music Group, and has prompted Jenkins to tour right across North America, including stops at Toronto’s the Hoxton on September 1 and Ottawa’s Ritual on September 2. Here, Mick and I talk about getting his hair done on the south side of Chicago, how violence in the city has been overblown, how American media outlets sensationalize violence, Chief Keef and drill music, scapegoating, being personally impacted by this violence, the story behind the explosive video for “Ps & Qs” and alliteration, director Nathan Smith, the state of the United States of America, the ways in which humans deliberately avoid solving catastrophic problems that are easy to fix, stories from the Bible and about Jesus Christ, the bathing suit, why the world is more evil, how Satan wants you to go to hell, trying to believe politicians, Republicans and Democrats and concepts of evil and good, the election campaign cycle, how the one percent controls the ninety-nine percent, the dynamic lyrical content of Wave[s], speaking about women, what relationships teach us about ourselves, the power of water, Feel[s], The Healing Component, when Ice Cube speaks on women and N.W.A., the rise of socially aware, sensitive rappers, liking Drake and getting over his origin story, being fine with people not always getting it, not changing, being a prolific artist, bringing Wave[s] to life on-stage, not being a lawyer or being politically engaged, the song “Your Love,” and then there was slumber.

Related links: mickjenkins.com cinematicmusicgroup.com vishkhanna.com

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