Take a listen to songs such as "Revolution Bound" (mp3) and "AlrightAllrite" (mp3) from Chicago's The Moves and you'll get a good idea of what the trio is all about: Catchy pop choruses, driving guitar and infectious energy all wrapped up in genuine rock and roll swagger. Since forming in 2007, the three - Dave Spaulding (vocals, guitar), Bryan Piper (bass) and Max Shreffler (drums) have played a long list of successful shows in and around the city, and recently hit the road for a Midwestern tour in addition to filming their first video.
As the band gets ready for their next gig on Thursday, February 18 at Beat Kitchen ($8, 8:30 p.m., more info and tickets here), WCR caught up with Spaulding to find out more:
WCR: Tell us a bit about how The Moves came together and the kind of music you guys set out to make.
DS: We came together about two-and-a-half years ago after my previous group disbanded. I was tired of the more straightforward punk rock I had been making in previous bands and wanted to draw in some of my other pop, glam and indie influences. Max called me up and asked if I wanted to get another project going and Bry answered an ad I took out in The Reader for a bassist. I had just recorded a demo of "Squeeze" (listen on the trio's MySpace site) and that sort of set the tone for the band.
What sets The Moves apart from other indie rock bands in Chicago?
I think we just have a different vibe. Many of them are very heavily influenced by emo - whether they acknowledge that or not - whereas I don't think we were influenced by that movement at all. That said, we have played with a lot of local bands that we like and respect a lot.
Last year you released your debut EP, One Two Three Four. Tell us about the recording of that EP and about some of the particular songs. Any favorite tracks among the band?
That was our first time recording in a professional studio - everything else we have laid down has been self-recorded. It seems like it took forever! We were doing these real late night sessions to save money. Bry and Max were done pretty quickly but I had to break up all the vocal sessions and mixing sessions since I couldn't always be up all night because of work. But it was a lot of fun and we learned a lot from the process, I think. Our favorite tracks tend to change all the time.
You recently made a music video for one of your songs, "Revolution Bound." What's the story behind the song/video?
Musically, the song came together really quickly. I had this vocal part in my head for the chorus - "come on, come on / we are the women / We are the men...," but I wasn't sure where to go with it. Then I started thinking about Prop 8, which had just passed, and the rest of the vocal just wrote itself. I couldn't think of any other songs that were real explicit about gay rights or gay marriage, and we've been proud of that I think. We did the video ourselves in our practice room with Max's brother shooting, and pieced it all together on a computer.
You've listed bands such The Clash, U2, Green Day and INXS as influences - which comes through in the music - but who or what would people probably be surprised to learn influences the band?
I think you can hear all of those bands in our songs in one way or another. More recently we've had a few people compare us to Muse and Placebo. We all like Muse but I don't think any of us have listened to Placebo at all! We'll have to download some of their records...
Bry is a big Yes fan, which might be kind of surprising. I've definitely walked in on Max playing classical music more than once (he's also an awesome marimba player). I'm unashamed to listen to a lot of modern pop stuff like Britney and GaGa. I'd say we're all pretty shameless about the stuff we like! Guilty pleasures without the guilt.
Last summer you took on your first Midwestern tour - how'd that go?
It went really well! We sold merch at almost every show and made it through with pretty minimal arguing. We literally came out a few dollars ahead, too, which was great. We can't wait to do it again, especially now that we know a little more what to expect!
Since you started playing out as a band, which has been your favorite so far and why?
There have been a lot that have been great for so many reasons, but playing the Night Of Noise the past two years has been really something special. It's an outdoor event outside the Thompson center sponsored by GLSEN. Basically it's a gay rights rally for teenagers. It's just awesome because the kids are really into it and it's a cause we all care about.
What can people expect to see and hear at Moves gig?
We rehearse a lot and we really try to be as tight as possible. So we like to think that people who come see us are in store for a solid performance, not a complete disconnect between the recordings and live show that you find with some artists.
What's next for the band? Are there plans to record more music?
There are a few tracks that have gotten a great response when we play live and we'd like to do them as more free downloads. We'd like to do another music video sometime soon as well.
Where can people go to find out more?