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Monday, December 5

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Interview Thu Mar 31 2011

Color Radio: An Interview in Four Parts

[This interview was submitted by Rachel Angres — a music enthusiast and creative writing teacher. She is also a three time thumb war champion.]

Color Radio is a band unique to the Chicago local scene. Two brothers, Jonathan and Tohm Ifergan came together with their close friends to create such marvelous lyricism and dynamic sounds that are as echoic and obscure as they are familiar. To listen to their forthcoming album, Architects (due out in June 2011) has such rhythmic precision. It is their glowing vocals, which blend over layers of dreamy guitars that are finely tuned and followed up by ambitious percussion. Their sound has similarities to such bands as Here We Go Magic and Radiohead. Though it is unique to its own, blending dreamy pop with glimmering guitar solos, their talent is immediately apparent when listening for the very first time. And on stage it is their warmth and exuberance that can't keep you from smiling ear to ear. I had a chance to ask the men a few questions, and they gladly agreed.

Pictured from left to right: Joel Chasco, Matt Thomas, Jonathan Ifergan, Tohm Ifergan
(photo courtesy of Color Radio)

How did you begin your career and who were your influences?

Matt Thomas: I took classical piano for a number of years...and then while in college joined Color Radio.

Jonathan Ifergan: it all really began when i was in the basement - converted bedroom - of this old retro house we used to live in Deerfield, IL by South Park Middle School (YES it existed here!). It was my older brother David's room. He was a hippy those days. So there was a waterbed, tons of U2, Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Doors, the Cure etc paraphernalia all over the walls, a lava lamp, and an old custom Fender Strat that I strummed one day and knew it was it! Ever since then, I listened to Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins - whatever was "cool" at the time, until my brother/dad got me back into Classic Rock, Jazz, Blues which I'm forever grateful for. Then was in a ton of bands since then, ALL without my younger brother Tohm - until Color Radio happened. That's when knew this was it.

Tohm Ifergan: My dad and my brother were both musicians - so I aspired to be like them. Living in Florida and having trouble making friends I stayed home and learned to play and write songs. I remember really being inspired by Ben Folds and Ben Gibbard.

Joel Chasco: Both answers=Craigslist.

[What's the] strangest venue or gig you've ever played?

Matt: We've played many strange gigs but one that stands out is when we played this house party for these kids in the suburbs and we played outside on their deck at night and of course two songs in there's this crazy old neighbor guy yelling at Joel while we're still playing....Cops showed up a bit later and shut the whole thing down and we left.

Jonathan: We've played a ton of weird venues, but by far the book fair downtown was the weirdest, because it was the first time we showed up prepared with all our gear and we were told it had to be acoustic only. We played in a tent the size of a cubicle, and it was just Matt, Joel, and I. Tohm sat in front of us watching as we attempted to play all our crazy climactic songs with a whisper.

Tohm: Midway Cafe in Jamaica Plain, MA (All the other bands didn't show and it was just really creepy bar peeps watching in a super sketch area where the owner talked like a coked out Joe Pesci)

Joel: Well that old drunk guy screaming in my face was pretty strange. I didn't turn down or stop playing.

What is the most memorable concert you've ever attended?

Matt: I'd probably have to say seeing Radiohead at Lollapalooza -- so magical.

Jonathan: Radiohead Amnesiac tour at Hutchinson Field in Grant Park with my friend Simon. I remember reading the press says it was the best sounding outdoor concert since Woodstock!

Tohm: Sigur Rós orchestrating to Merce Cunningham

Joel: Jonsi. The set design and ambiance was amazing

What are a few items essential to your "tour survival kit"?

Matt: Coffee, beer and food.

Jonathan: Chai, must drink chai! Trail mix, water bottle, Sriracha, iPhone (obsessed!), and headphones. Wait...did I say BEER?

Tohm: A pillow, cards and an etch a sketch, COFFEE!

Jonathan: Toothbrush and soap...maybe

What are you listening to now?

Matt: Lots of electronic stuffs, Flying Lotus is a current fav

Jonathan: Really into Grizzly Bear, Beach House, and latest Arcade Fire.

Tohm: King of Limbs - Radiohead

Joel: Jonsi and Alex

Listen to Color Radio's EPs Be Safe, Beware and Newest News on Bandcamp.

Color Radio plays the Empty Bottle on Friday, April 1, 2011, opening up for California Wives and Soft Speaker (record release). Music starts at 10pm and tickets are $8.

- Rachel Angres

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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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