Get ready to just chill. Chicago group Cold Country is releasing their new EP, Fall, on November 17. Fall is a collection of B-sides and alternative takes from their recent album Willow. From its mellow sound putting my mind at ease, to the amazing artwork, I am at peace. A certain calm comes over me as I listen to the opening of the first song that stays with me as the sometimes orchestral band, and sometimes hinging on psychedelic sounds plays on. I am so grateful they did not let these songs go! I got to chat with band leader Sean McConnell who wrote and recorded all the songs. The band also includes members Chris Jesurun, Jayson Homyak, Anna Holmquist, and Will Wholesome. Here is what McConnell had to say about it all, and do yourself a favor and listen while reading…
-Can you tell us a little about Cold Country and what you’re about?
Cold Country began as my means for developing my more personal songwriting and the sounds I wanted to hear. I’ve since made it a kind of overarching recording project where everything I do regardless of genre or the message is pursued. I’ve also become highly collaborative and use it as way to get all my favorite contemporaries onto my albums.
-What made you want to do a B side project?
Well, I put out our full length, Willow, at the beginning of April, and really, it went out totally under the radar, which was strange because I had worked so hard on it and it took like a year and half to finally call it “done”. The thought that no one outside of my friends and family was going to hear this thing started to wear on me in the following months, and so I decided I would release a handful of the tunes that didn’t make it onto the full length as a way of resurrecting it. Giving it a second chance. Ironically I’m very proud of what we recorded for the Fall EP and I am just as happy to have people hear that.
-With more musicians involved, unlike being alone, was it hard to come up with your sound?
Not really. The sound has developed and continues to naturally. As my recording processes change and I get more folks involved with the sessions, it just grows into what you eventually hear in a very organic way.
-What is a live show like for you?
It’s very exciting for me to play live these days. It used to be a bit nerve wracking, but I’ve learned to loosen up and just enjoy my time up there with my friends. Having the band helps a lot too. Like we’re all in it together. My team. And we’ve become very comfortable playing the songs, so that helps.
-Who influences your sound the most?
The folks I play with. The local Chicago scene. And definitely a lot of the classic records I’ve grown up listening to, and continue to discover. I’ve never been satisfied trying just one thing. So I take bits and pieces I hear from everything and that filters into my style. I can’t even say I’m always aware of that happening. It’s often very subconscious.
-What band or artist is your favorite right now?
Although I usually refrain from name dropping the current artists who don’t really need the extra hype, I have to say I’ve been on a pretty steady Kurt Vile kick lately. I just love everything that guy is doing.
–What was the best show you have ever seen?
Hedwig and the Angry Inch live on Broadway, with John Cameron Mitchell playing Hedwig. It was one of the most exciting and inspiring things I’ve ever seen.
-What is Cold Country’s plans for the upcoming year?
We’ve got this EP release show coming up at The Hideout in Chicago on November 19th. After that I’d like to put out another EP and maybe do a festival tour come next spring/summer.
What else can I say… Except that our mutual love for Kurt Vile is making me intrigued by this guy even more! Check them out on Facebook to find out where they are playing next. Thanks Sean for doing this interview with us!