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« Obama's Geeking Out for Stevie Wonder Really Quick Contest: Get Some Walter Meego »

Feature Thu Jun 26 2008

Wanna Be a Star: The Rise of Walter Meego

Currently, Chicago is home to three of the "hippest" bands in the country. In rock we have The Russian Circles, in hip-hop The Cool Kids, and in dance music we have Walter Meego. Justin Sconza (vox) and Colin Yarck (beats/synthesizers) grew up in Beverly and Park Ridge respectively, and first met while attending the University of Illinois back in 2003. Self-releasing their self-titled debut ep in 2005, they began to gaining national attention through the support of blogs and a growing number of fans.

However, it wasn't until 2007 that things really started to heat up. The band released its second EP, Romantic (Brilliante Records) and blew crowds away at the SXSW festival. In July 2007 they signed a big multi-album deal with Almost Gold Records, a label that has helped the careers of acts like Bjork, The Arcade Fire, and recently Peter, Bjorn & John. The band began working on its first full-length studio album, which was fittingly titled Voyager (released May 27th, Almost Gold Recordings), as it has launched these Chicagoans into a whole new orbit. In last two month, their music has been heard on ABC's Ugly Betty, and been the focal point the latest Heineken beer commercial. Their music is a combination of infectious pop dance beats, live guitar, synths, and unique vocals.

Voyager Meego.jpg

Recently, Colin Yarck of Walter Meego was kind enough to answer a few of my questions.

Gapers Block: Transmission: You are being billed as dance music from Chicago, but do you think the location of the band plays a role in their musical development or sound? Are there specific sounds or scenes in different cities? Does dance music in Chicago sound different then LA or Detroit?

Colin Yarck: I definitely think wherever we are located at any given time will have an effect on our music. I don't, however, think that wherever that may be will necessarily make us sound like other music from that region. And yea there are specific sounds in different cities. Wherever people are getting together to create will also create like patterns and movements. Although, the speed with which information can now be transferred really shortens the distance between disparate places and scenes.

GB: I read that you guys now live in LA. What prompted that move?

CY: Yea we're in sunny SoCal now. We're born and raised in Chicago. It was just time for a change. We were entertaining the idea of going to various other places and LA is the one we settled on.

GB: Speaking of moving, you seem to be transitioning away from pure dance music into more of a rock hybrid with your live guitar work. Is this a conscious effort on your part to move away from dance music?

CY: It's a conscious effort to pave the way for a future of making whatever we may feel like at the time and not be pigeonholed into one specific genre.

GB: Did you ever think your music would be the sound of a national ad campaign or played during a national broadcast television show? Are there limits to what you are willing to endorse?

CY: No. We didn't imagine anything like that but it seems pretty cool. And yes, there are limits to what we might endorse.

GB: The title "Voyager" represents the launch of your career. Keeping with that theme where would you like the shuttle to land?

CY: I don't think we feel like landing quite yet...

GB: What's next for Walter Meego?

CY: Recording, remixing, pool parties, tanning (not in a booth), recording, the occasional mint julep, and tour in the fall.

Walter Meego's first full-length album, Voyager, is currently out on Almost Gold Recordings.

About the Author:

Jason Behrends is an accountant and father of four by day and an insomniac blogger/writer at night. He runs the arts and culture blog What to Wear During an Orange Alert and the soon to be launched Orange Alert Press. In addition, he is the Art Editor for the on-line literary journals Thieves Jargon and decomP, and the Music Editor for This Zine Will Change Your Life. He has a series of interviews being published by the downstate Rural Messengers Press.
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Nick Hilliard / July 1, 2008 6:27 PM

Beverly is not a suburb. It is a neighborhood on the southside.

Ian Avila / July 2, 2008 3:02 PM

Nice fact checking on that Beverly thing. Suburb? Real nice.

Jon / July 2, 2008 3:09 PM

I am guessing that Jason Behrends is not from Chicago if he does not realize that Beverly is a neighborhood, not a suburb

Rebeca Barney / July 2, 2008 3:14 PM

Do your research buddy.

Audey Murphy / July 2, 2008 3:25 PM

If only Jason Behrends had consulted wikipedia he would have found: "Beverly Hills (or Beverly) is one of the 77 official community areas of Chicago, Illinois, located on the southwestern edge of the city."

Jerry Gentleman / July 2, 2008 3:29 PM

I am tired of this northside conspiracy to convince people that Beverly is a suburb.

vercingetorix / July 2, 2008 3:37 PM

you think there would be something more interesting to write about than this suburban trash.

Herself / July 2, 2008 3:39 PM

How could Behrends, an accountant and father of four by day and an insomniac blogger/writer at night, perpetuate this outrageous misrepresentation of Beverly??

SoxFan05 / July 2, 2008 3:47 PM

Beverly is a neighborhood, which any writer covering Chicago should know. This is the kind of mistake that exemplifies why bloggers need editors...

Gerry Adams / July 2, 2008 4:27 PM

As the leader of Sinn Fein, I feel it is my duty to support Irish populations around the world from the unprovoked verbal attacks of insomniac blogger accountants.

Gerry Adams / July 2, 2008 4:28 PM

As the leader of Sinn Fein, I feel it is my duty to support Irish populations around the world from the unprovoked written attacks of insomniac blogger accountants.

Sully Sullivan / July 2, 2008 4:31 PM

Gerry Adams also needs an editor. Anyway, when I joined the military so that I could take part in any future invasion of Grenada (mission accomplished in 1983) I didn't think I would come home to an America where accountant bloggers would call my neighborhood a suburb.

The Beverly Art Center / July 2, 2008 8:50 PM

Even though I am technically located in Morgan Park (a neighborhood south of Beverly and yet, amazingly, still in the city) I feel compelled to speak out on this subject. Beverlyites have suffered for too long under the false impression of suburbaness. Rogers Park, a neighborhood on the north east (and therefore exact opposite) edge of the city, does not face the same discrimination.

Ginger Rugai / July 2, 2008 8:58 PM

Hi, Alderman Rugai, 9th Ward, here. Listen pal, I didn't make a fortress paradise out of north Beverly just so people could call it a suburb. You know what a suburb is? Evergreen Park. That's a suburb.

Paddy O'Halloran / July 2, 2008 10:32 PM

My fargin' arse Beverly is a suburb...

The utterly impractical, never predictable,
Sometimes irascible, quite inexplicable, Irish.Strange blend of shyness,
pride and conceit,
And stubborn refusal to bow in defeat.
He's spoiling and ready to argue and fight,
Yet the smile of a child
fills his soul with delight.
His eyes are the quickest to well up with tears,
Yet his strength is the strongest
to banish your fears.
His hate is as fierce as his devotion is grand,
And there is no middle ground
on which he will stand.
He's wild and he's gentle,
he's good and he's bad.
He's proud and he's humble,
he's happy and sad.
He's in love with the ocean,
the earth and the skies,
He's enamoured with beauty wherever it lies.
He's victor and victim, a star and a clod,
But mostly he's Irish—
in love with his God.

Mayor Daley / July 2, 2008 10:36 PM

Listen here guy...

You wanna write some music stuff you betta git yer facts straight. Beverly is NOT a suburb. It's the place where I get all my votes. Go Sox! Go Irish-Catholic! Go Streets and San!

Rick Steves / July 3, 2008 9:45 AM

I've done a lot of traveling and I know for sure that Beverly is not a suburb.

ParkRidgePlayboy69 / July 3, 2008 9:57 AM

We don't want Beverly to be a suburb. Those pasty fatties aren't tan enough for real suburban pool parties. Ta ta!

Pat Meechan / July 3, 2008 9:59 AM

Hey, you got a cigarette?

Ravenous Wolf / July 3, 2008 10:05 AM

I'm wouldn't feel right roaming a suburb. The city is where I stalk my prey!

GoatBoy / July 3, 2008 10:10 AM

mmmmmneahhhhhhhhhh!!!! Beverly is not a suburb.

Nick Hilliard / July 3, 2008 10:29 AM

This thread has been hijacked by assholes that are making comments only tangentially related to proving Beverly is not a suburb. I renounce it.

Bob Hannon / July 3, 2008 10:35 AM

Get back to work Nick!!!!

Nick Hilliard / July 3, 2008 10:36 AM

You spelled your name wrong Bob.

Eamon de Valera / July 3, 2008 10:42 AM

Looks like Gerry Adams has too much time on his hands. Perhaps he and Bob Hannon (sic) can interview prospective proofreaders together.

Bob Hanon / July 3, 2008 10:45 AM

Don't you ever disparage my spelling ability again.

By the way, did you get the memo? Beverly is not a suburb.

Gerry Adams / July 3, 2008 10:46 AM

Well, since the Provos signed a peace agreement I have some idle hours.

James "Whitey" Bulger / July 3, 2008 10:53 AM

Bring it on Gerry! Anytime, anyplace. I'll smack you down, you two-faced S.O.B.

Gerry Adams / July 3, 2008 12:14 PM

Whitey, your agression seems misplaced. All I've said is that I support Irish populations abroad and that I have time on my hands. I think ratting out your friend Flemmi and killing 17 people including your step-daughter might have gone to your head.

James "Whitey" Bulger / July 3, 2008 1:09 PM

That's it you filthy mick..for kissing up to the limey likes of John Major and selling out your fellow Fenians, for some measley political posturing. You heartless bastard!!! Where's the retribution? Where's the redemption? Where's the justice? I'm coming for you and the rest of the Winter Hill boys. Let's see if you can talk your way outta this one.

P.S. Beverly is not a suburb.

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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

Our Final Transmission Days

By The Gapers Block Transmission Staff

Transmission staffers share their most cherished memories and moments while writing for Gapers Block.

Read this feature »


  Chicago Music Media

Alarm Magazine
Big Rock Candy Mountain
Boxx Magazine
Brooklyn Vegan Chicago
Can You See The Sunset From The Southside
Chicago Reader Music
Chicagoist Arts & Events
Chicago Music Guide
Chicago Singles Club
Country Music Chicago
Cream Team
Dark Jive
The Deli Chicago
Jim DeRogatis
Fake Shore Drive
Gowhere Hip Hop
The Hood Internet
Jaded in Chicago
Largehearted Boy
Little White Earbuds
Live Fix Blog
Live Music Blog
Loud Loop Press
Oh My Rockness
Pop 'stache
Pop Matters
Resident Advisor
Sound Opinions
Sun-Times Music Blog
Theft Liable to Prosecution
Tribune Music
UR Chicago
Victim Of Time
WFMU's Beware of the Blog
Windy City Rock


Abbey Pub
Andy's Jazz Club
Aragon Ballroom
Auditorium Theatre
Beat Kitchen
Bottom Lounge
Buddy Guy's Legends
The Burlington
California Clipper
Concord Music Hall
Congress Theater
Cubby Bear
Double Door
Elbo Room
Empty Bottle
Green Mill
The Hideout
Honky Tonk BBQ
House of Blues
Kingston Mines
Lincoln Hall
Logan Square Auditorium
Mayne Stage
The Mutiny
Old Town School of Folk Music
Park West
The Promontory
Red Line Tap
Reggie's Rock Club & Music Joint
The Riviera
Thalia Hall
The Shrine
Symphony Center
Tonic Room
Uncommon Ground
The Vic
The Whistler

  Labels, Promoters
  & Shops:

Alligator Records
Beverly Records
Bloodshot Records
Dave's Records
Delmark Records
Drag City
Dusty Groove
Flameshovel Records
Groove Distribution
He Who Corrupts
Jam Productions
Jazz Record Mart
Kranky Records
Laurie's Planet of Sound
Minty Fresh
Numero Group
mP Shows
Permanent Records
Reckless Records
Smog Veil Records
Southport & Northport Records
Thick Records
Thrill Jockey Records Touch & Go/Quarterstick Records
Victory Records

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Transmission is the music section of Gapers Block. It aims to highlight Chicago music in its many varied forms, as well as cover touring acts performing in the city. More...
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