words by Meredith Tucker
interview by DJ Shannon Sauter
pictures by Susana Meza
A loud folksy set of dueling female vocals, 70â€™s-style backup flutes and a full yet light-hearted sound brought by the 1900s kicked off Day 2 for KEXPâ€™s 3-day broadcast at Engine Studios in Chicago. Jangling guitars, smoky boy/girl vocals accompanied a family singers-esque array of musical offerings. With vocals ranging from lilting to haunting in this ensemble of harmonies and a fun personable yet polished sound all to their own, the 1900s’ new, recently released album Cold and Kind should be full of as many surprises as their early morning live set. Charming pianos, hand clapping, and a synth-like violin interject the usual rocky folk ballad sound to make the 1900s’ set an enjoyable, engaging musical trip.
DJ Shannon (Sauter) talked to a few members of the seven-member band consisting of Edward Anderson (vocals/guitar), Caroline Donovan (vocals), Mike Jasinski (keyboards), and Audra Kulans (violin), Tim Minnick (drums), Jeanine O’Toole (vocals), Charlie Ransford (bass).
Shannon: I hear youâ€™re playing a show with the 1990s. How did that show come about?
Edward Anderson: Actually they cancelled. Theyâ€™re afraid weâ€™re going to beat them down. They just chickened out. Weâ€™re going to write a song about them so we can start every show with it.
Shannon: What do you think about the confusion with your similar names?
Edward: Itâ€™s pretty frequently. They donâ€™t think weâ€™re that band but itâ€™s a misprint. Change our name so itâ€™s spelled out.
Shannon: Tell me about the new record, Cold and Close.
Edward: We are recorded at Clava Studio in Chicago which is across the street from US Cellular Field (White Sox). Weâ€™re Cubs fans. But when we started recording in November so there were no Sox fans around. Baseball season was over. Then later we went in for a remix session and we couldnâ€™t find parking. For the record, mostly live on tape, bass drums and rhythm guitar, we did it all live on tape. Spent months overdubbing. Tried to do it all old school, use 3 or 4 violin players. Had a quartet play. Mike works at Shure microphones. Thereâ€™s a studio there with a 1870 Steinway. So we recorded some there. Some percussion at Grahamâ€™s apartment. A Steinway from the 1800s. Not the 1890s.
Shannon: Who are your influences?
Caroline: I like to say we take influences from everywhere. You can pick up something from each, even bands you donâ€™t like.
Edward: I like Heron. I like the Dixie Chicks. (long pause. Not sure how I should react). Toad the Wet Sprocket. No, I really do like the Dixie Chicks.
Caroline: New stuff like orchestral stuff, Belle & Sebastian. Old stuff Van Morrison. Feist, my new favorite. Kinda all over the place. Anything but the Pipettes.
Edward: Them and 1990s in the hate pit.