The DIY scene in Chicago is coming back in full force. October 4th, a DIY show was held at the Fallen Log. By day, Kitchen 17 is a top tier vegan pizzeria. By night, the restaurant takes on the DIY scene in style as the Fallen Log. With an aquatic theme, arcade games, and steller lights the indie performances that rock their stage fit right in. Wednesday night one of these performers was the DIY artist Chaepter. Known for his RnB album Kicking The Cat, Chapter performed his latest, unreleased, post-punk album at the Fallen Log. He also sat down for a quick interview before his performance.
W: Would you like to introduce yourself?
C: Yeah, my names Chaepter, [I] make music in Chicago. Moved here from central Illinois,
moved here in 2019
W: I was wondering how to pronounce it.
C: Yeah, the ‘e’ is silent, it’s like-it’s my birth name and everything, yeah, my mom just- I got 8 other siblings, um, grew up in like a big catholic family out in the country so they all like, got a lot of weird names. Yeah- when you have a lot of kids you just gotta make up names once you get down the line.
W: How did you discover your interest in music?
C: Um, I feel like listening to music is how most people do it when your like really little, just stuff my parents were listening to and like I bought my first cd when I was twelve or thirteen, so I think that’s when I started to like, find my own stuff and buy CDs, make mixtapes, pirate music, rip CDs from the library, um so probably around 13 was when I started listening to bands from music I found and that’s when I was like “damn I want to be in a band”. So that’s when I started playing and yeah [I] just played in like shitty bands right around then.
W: And what was that first CD you bought?
C: I actually bought it in Chicago. I had a brother who was living here for a little bit and I was visiting for the weekend. It was at Reckless Records. So yeah thirteen. And so I was like- I went from the As to the Bs, and I was in the Bs, and some like hipster of that area– you know– came over to me and was like “Oh, you gotta buy this record,” and it was a Broken Social Scene’s You Forgot It In People… I heard that and I was like “Oh my god, I didn’t know music could sound like that!” Took me down a road.
W: Speaking of that road and where it’s taken you, how would you describe your
style and current sound as a musician?
C: Yeah, I just finished a record, actually just a couple weeks ago, and kind of– I would describe it as, let me try to think, post-punk, I guess? Post-punk and indie. My past record was more like RnB and indie, but this ones definitely louder, all guitars. First time doing a full guitar record, which is nice. So yeah, leaning into that with this most recent one.
W: What instruments do you play?
C: I play a few. I play guitar, piano, drums, base, and cello are my main ones.
W: And of those, which were you trained classically in?
C: Yeah, I learned piano and cello classically as a kid. And then guitar, drums, bass. I’ve just been poorly teaching myself, can not play any of those that well but enough to record. Yeah, not good at them but it’s enough to play a show.
W: Speaking of recording music, where are you between digital and analog equipment in your music production process?
C: Yeah, so I like started in the area of everyone getting a laptop and a doing it in their basement, which is what I did so I was just always like digital, [I] got my first– I still use the same audio workstation I got in 2013 or something, haven’t changed it– but I did recently buy a tape deck. So I have been moving towards analog. It’s just really expensive to record like, on a real tape, but for demos and just home tapes, I have been trying to make them all on cassettes and stuff which has been really nice, breath of fresh air. It’s like a harder work flow, I work slower, but it makes you more intentional. I guess I’m more like 80% digital 20% analog trying to push more into that [analog].
W: Right, there is definitely something to be said about that zing of intentionality that arduous analog methods add to the finished product. A little bit of a side track here, have you ever worn your shirt inside out all day?
C: Yeah, yes. It was like, I feel like I did this a lot in high school, all the time, I was just like very, yeah– like it’s always a friend will mention, at the end of the day, when it’s too late to do anything about it. You’ve already just looked stupid the whole day. Always how it goes.
W: Have you ever met a man with a pocket watch?
C: Oh, like in– recently or in general?
W: In general.
C: I don’t feel like I have, I feel like I would remember, I mean maybe? I’ve never seen like a man at a bus stop like pull out a pocket watch– I’ve never seen that, no. It’d be good [to see a man with a pocket watch], we need to bring back pocket watches.
W: Going back to music, how did you get into the DIY scene here in Chicago?
C: Yeah I moved here from central Illinois, specifically for music. I knew like one band, sorta, they are homies of mine. But other then that, yeah, I knew nobody. A lot of it was–well first what happened was COVID. So I got here and then covid happened like three months latter, so I was like, “Oh darn”. So the music scene was just kinda non-existent, all these touring bands canceled, and just, it was, you couldn’t much do anything. The past couple years, it’s been really flourishing. Just going to shows, playing shows, meeting people, making music with people, has been how i’ve been able to just, find like-minded artists and musicians… and yeah just kind of diving into the scene head first. I feel like you just got to do that. You got to go to shows, play with people, support your homies, make– you know make songs with people, do the fun stuff! Stuff that makes it worth it.
W: Could you elaborate on how the DIY scene was affected by COVID?
C: I mean everything just closed down show wise, a lot of venues, a lot of DIY venues went under. Right now there is a shortage of DIY venues I think in general. Um, and places have kind of filled that hole with not very good business models, like Book Club.
Maybe you know about Book Club, it’s a place, a DIY spot, but it charges bands to play. Which is really lame, it’s pay-to-play. So like, that stuff sort of started to crop up and be more accessible and so… I don’t know, I feel like there’s definitely a need for more DIY venues that, you know, don’t have a pay-to-play business model because I very much disagree with that, it’s very not cool. Yeah it’s [DIY venues] a little on life-support right now but should be coming back hopefully in the next couple years. Rents going up too. That’s another thing, it’s really hard to lease a building, make a DIY venue spot when it’s so expensive.
W: Would you like to shout out any of your favorite venues?
C: Oh sure, yeah, there are still some cool DIY spots. My friend runs a place called Empty Bliss, which is a really cool basement venue. In terms of like venue-venues in Chicago, Empty Bottle is awesome. This place is really cool, Fallen Log (Kitchen 17), it’s a newer spot, so if you’re a newer band I feel like they always have spots and are always willing to put a place down for you.
You can find Chaepter on Spotify where he will be releasing his new post-punk, indie album soon. Chaepter will also be performing at Reggie’s on November 9th with BOOM GONG and BLINKER.