photos and story by Jeff Perlman and Sean Kelly
This week, finally shaking off the holiday hangover, we met up with Charles, Smags, and Alex of SOLIPSE. After a night hike around some of Chicago’s more industrial offerings, we stopped by Tacos Tequilas for a bite and a conversation about a spicy new record release.
EMULSION: Tell me a little about Solipse and how ya’ll got started.
CHARLES: I guess in terms of this project, it's one of those situations where it starts as a solo project, then becomes a two-piece, then becomes a three-piece. It's just slowly grown, you know? I started working on an album by myself in my free time, then I had Smags start playing drums on it because I can't play drums. Those were the earliest recordings that we kind of just did for fun on the side.
SMAGS: We recorded in my apartment in a lot of weird ways. Was that when we tried recording drums outside?
CHARLES: Oh yeah! We recorded drums outside just to try it, and it like almost sounded good! The only bad thing was the overheads had a lot of wind noise, but everything else actually sounded alright.
ALEX: Outside your apartment?
CHARLES: Yeah in the parking lot hahaha.
ALEX: What the fuck....
SMAGS: 1622 W. Le Moyne, right by the Hollywood Grill.
CHARLES: Oddly enough, the only thing we used was the windy overheads. It was kind of just a cool effect in the background.
EMULSION: I know you guys have this record release show on January 25th, what's the story on this new album?
CHARLES: We started making this record when it was really just me and Smags, but we wanted to start working on something in a studio. We started doing sessions at Atlas at the very end of 2016, initially we actually added our friend Chris on bass. He came up with the bass lines on three of the songs on the album but he had a kid and it was kinda tough for him to continue. The second to last show we played with him, Alex was at the show and was like "I'll play bass for you".
ALEX: I was kind of half joking half serious...
CHARLES: The problem ended up solving itself hahaha. It's been working out super well.
SMAGS: Alex's other band is Basement Family and we've all played in various ways with each other, it's kind of just a musically incestuous friend group.
CHARLES: A lot of the album was recorded hastily at the very end of Atlas Studios being a thing. We were originally scheduled a month after they left that space, so we bumped it up to just be the last band that ever recorded there. A lot of overdubs were done at the practice space and various other spots. It was out of necessity but I kind of also like doing things like that, it forces you to keep on your toes.
EMULSION: I'm sure a situation like that would inspire moments that couldn't happen in any other way, which is really cool. Where's the release show at?
CHARLES: It's at Elastic Arts, Not For You is playing too. It'll be fun.
EMULSION: Anything in particular you guys are planning after the record's out?
CHARLES: Not really sure honestly, we're kind of trying to see what happens organically.
SMAGS: We already have half of another album written.
CHARLES: Now that we've been playing with Alex, we already have a bunch of new songs, it's not going to take real long to put this next record together.
SMAGS: The weirdest thing about the band, for the majority of time that it's existed, it has just been a studio project. We've played a grand total of what... 5 shows? We haven't really played live, it's been mostly a recording project that we've just enjoyed doing and now it's starting to move elsewhere.
CHARLES: We're ready to start getting out there, STAY TUNED.