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Transmission
« Bands Named After Centuries, Part 1 Sad Brad Smith @ The Paper Machete 12/4 »

Concert Thu Dec 02 2010

Northpilot @ Cubby Bear, 12/4

NP2 small.jpg

Listening to Northpilot's song "Naked Before My Captors," you can feel the onset of another Chicago winter. Snowflakes practically swirl from the track's twinkling pianos as lead singer Travis Shaver metaphorically exposes parts of himself to the listener. Perhaps it's Michigan's brutal winters or Detroit's economic woes that echo through the urban angst of Northpilot's work. It's the sort of decay and dystopia that underlies the movie 8 Mile and BBC's 2009 documentary about the city. Originally from Michigan, friends Shaver and Mark Colwell discussed the band's history and Chicago's scene over hot tea at Lakeview's LooseLeaf Lounge Wednesday night.

As the founding members of Northpilot, Shaver and Colwell migrated to Chicago in early 2003 after college. Since then, they quickly added others to their collective. The band is now comprised of other fellow Michigan transplants, including Matthew Cragnolin on bass, Dan Julian on drums, Danielle Schnurer on keyboards and Justin Vittori on guitars and whistling. Just as they added members to the band, Northpilot has also been adding fans.

No strangers to getting the word out, Colwell and Shaver stumbled upon the chance to get a music video sponsored by 7-11 through a contest after Googling "battle of the bands." In the end, the band made a valiant effort, but ultimately did not win the contest. However, they did gain more friends. As musicians in the age of social media, they saw their Facebook fans swell from 400 to 1,200. Colwell, who studied advertising in college, works as an online marketer and researcher in River North. He handles much of the band's promotions, but it's still largely a team effort. "It's nice to offer fans a little more...we want to eventually build an internal community and focus our message to our fans," Shaver said, between sips of chamomile tea. Fans are important to the band, and the band is hyper-aware of what it might take to get to the next level — getting signed.

"I feel scattered," Shaver said. He expressed discontent about the fact that Chicago really hasn't been identified or found out to be the newest music scene for the malleable indie-pop genre.

"I think that there are a lot of good local bands in Chicago, and that there are particular scenes that are getting by and are getting a following. But, there's still very little industry interest. All the labels are looking at New York, and so the question becomes, can we get them to look here, or do we go to them," Colwell added.

Northpilot does its part for Chicago by touring the midwest in hopes of gaining this attention. If they can't find the scene, they just might make it themselves — or at least help. Shaver continued to share his concerns, "are people not looking at us, or are we not trying hard enough as a band?"

Northpilot is one of many Chicago bands trying to make our great city thrive as a music scene. You can see them live at the Cubby Bear in Wrigleyville at 9p.m. this Saturday night, December 4th. When asked why you should come out to see them play, Shave offered, "I'm pretty sure we plan not to wear pants this time...I think that's still the plan...and it's great music."

Northpilot plays the Cubby Bear on 12/4. Doors open at 8pm and they'll perform along with Faraday and Workout Music. 21+ Tickets are $5. The Cubby Bear is located at 1059 W. Addison St.

 
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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 »

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