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Kids These Days, Gold Motel, + Maps & Atlases backstage @Palooza

| August 12, 2011

To call Kids These Days sudden upstarts on the scene would be an understatement. The group began turning heads earlier this year on high profile blog-curated bills at SXSW, and have been making moves ever since. IE caught up with the group’s Liam Cunningham, Vic Mensa, Nico Segal, and Macie Stewart backstage at Lollapalooza to ask the adolescent group about operating across multiple genres and being underestimated due to their age.

IE: It looks like Kids These Days are having a hell of a year. Is that fair to say?
Segal: Definitely a hell of a year. Going to a lot of different festivals around the country, places I’ve never been, and doing a lot of shows, and recording music. We have a new project coming out pretty soon called Trap House Rock. And just making this music with all my brothers and my sister.
Mensa: Yeah, man. It’s that official [Kids These Days] summer, so we’ve been in here all day, every day, getting it crackin’, at the trap everyday rehearsing, listening to albums together, just doing everything, just being together. It’s a good feeling to know that the world is embracing our work ethic, and just liking what we put out. It’s just good for anybody to like you. Because these days, there’s a lot of haters, there’s a lot of people that don’t like stuff. So, for them to like us, and for us to be so young still, and only two years into being a band, it’s just crazy.
Cunningham: Yeah, I mean, the hands down thing you can say is, in the past year we’ve turned this into, a hobby and a passion of ours, into a job. This is absolutely in the purest sense a job, we work hard, we work more than a lot of people do, I think. And while it is fun, it’s what we love, it’s great to see our hard work is finally turning into something that we can really sort of work with over a long period of time.

IE: Running down some of the highlights from the last year: SXSW, Mobfest, the Rahm Emanuel Chicago Together inauguration event in Grant Park, and performing at Lollapalooza. How does it feel? Is it surreal?
: It’s surreal to me, man. Coming out of Chicago, being a jazz trumpet player, I never thought any of that stuff would happen. Obviously, it’s a sad thing, but jazz music doesn’t really get the recognition it deserves these days. But this type of band, and the music, I really feel, deep down in my heart, is this kind of music. So, the fact that this is getting the recognition, or starting to get the recognition it deserves, is a beautiful thing.

Following her time in The Hush Sound, musician Greta Morgan now fronts Gold Motel, an act whose upbeat pop is perpetually infused with a strikingly summer-set aesthetic. Prior to Sunday’s later torrential downpour, they opened the day at Lollapalooza, with Morgan later finding time to talk to IE about the group’s reaction to landing on the Lolla bill and what’s in store for their second record. 

IE: How was Gold Motel’s set?
: We had perfect weather, and the set could not have gone more beautifully. I was so excited about how many people came early to hang out with us. I thought we played one of our best shows, and it was just perfect. It was great!

IE: That seems appropriate, as Gold Motel’s music is very sunny sounding and inviting.
: I think it was a good opener for the day. We were the first band on one of the major four stages, and so, it was, I think it was a good warm-up for people.

IE: It’s been a pretty momentous week leading up to Lollapalooza. You guys played on a sold out bill opening for Cold War Kids at Metro before going on to perform at WGN and The Apple Store. How has the week felt?
: It’s been exciting to me in every way. Not only all those things for the band, which were so exciting, and kind of just show that we’re on the right path, that was really exciting. But also personally, my brother and his girlfriend and their two month old baby came to visit, I had four generations of my family over on Saturday. So, really just in every way, I had one of the best weeks of my life. The band, my family, my friends — everybody’s been close by, it’s been really great.

Though the group’s full length offering Perch Patchwork (Barsuk) dropped last summer, Chicago’s Maps & Atlases are really feeling the pay off from that album in 2011. Earlier this year, the band performed as official festival talent at SXSW, and here at home, the act made it onto Lollapalooza. IE caught up with Maps & Atlases’ Dave Davison and Erin Elders to talk about the year they’re having and delayed returns.

IE: I was looking at the Maps & Atlases Tumblr, and it looks like you guys are coming off a sizable wave of touring this summer. Are you guys exhausted at this point?
: We were exhausted I think the day before yesterday, but being back here, being able to see lots of people, and sort of being in this nice environment in Chicago, I think really has genuinely been, I mean it sounds cheesy, but it has kind of been rejuvenating. Like after you’re gone for so long, and then to come back and have things be familiar and nice and also be really exciting, it’s fun. We’re having a great time.
Elders: We basically got into town from being on tour for like six straight weeks, to, we just drove straight to Lollapalooza. So, it’s been crazy.

IE: When you’re out on the road so long, do you hit a wall where you can’t wait to get home, or when you’re home, are you antsy to get back on tour?
: I think there’s somewhat of a balance. At this point, I think we’re used to it enough and we have — so many of our friends that were here, we all went to college here, and a long time – in the band, we were just were in college and not touring too much. So many of those friends have spread out, that it really is an amazing situation, or amazing opportunity to be able to visit with those people who live wherever else, and obviously, sometimes you just want to be home. But, we typically haven’t really toured like, crazy long tours, this has been the first time we’ve done that. But, we’re having fun and it’s been awesome, and we usually are touring with our friends and stuff, anyway. So, it’s like, kind of no big deal, it’s like a kind of comfortable and mellow environment.

IE: Looking at 2011, Maps & Atlases performed at SXSW as an official festival act, and now the band is on the bill at Lollapalooza. Has it been a good year?
: Yeah, definitely. It’s been really intense for us, but it’s been a really positive [year], and I think we’re definitely excited about all the stuff we’ve gotten to do in the past year. And definitely Lollapalooza feels like a really exciting kind of cap to that.
Davison: I think also, the record that we released almost exactly a year ago, I think it’s kind of now seeming like we’re really – it seems like people are just getting more familiar with it over the past year. This is the first LP that we’ve released, and it seems like, just, I don’t know, it’s kind of interesting and, once again, maybe sounds cheesy, but it does seem like people have developed more of a relationship with it over time, which is really, I don’t know, it just feels really rewarding to play for people who have this — I don’t know, it’s just amazing, I never really — when you are creating something, you never necessarily think that people are going to develop a relationship with it, and I think that, we toured right when it came out, we were really touring a lot, and, so now to go back to these places and headline, again, after a little bit of time later, it’s like, we are playing the songs better and have a better relationship with them, just in our level of comfort and sort of made them our own in the live setting, and people are responding to them differently. Like, responding to them like something that they know, rather than something that they’re being shown for the first time. So, it’s really cool.

— Jaime de’Medici

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