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Interview Fri Aug 31 2012

Chicago's Up-And-Coming: Interview with Cold Blue Kid

Atmospheric. Hauntingly mesmerizing. These fresh, layered indie rock sounds from up-and-coming Chicago band Cold Blue Kid can be found on both albums they've recorded, from their self-titled debut released in 2010, to the more cultivated Mimic, released in February of this past year. I got a chance to chat with frontman Alex Longoria about Cold Blue Kid's history, namesake, and what the future holds for the dynamic group.

Cold Blue Kid's music has a unique, innovative sound, but also one that is also grounded in stability. The dreamy, fuzzy backdrops combined with darker rock elements and experimentation with different instruments leads to the culmination of a soothing soundtrack featuring all that is good in the world of indie folk rock. Songs range from introspective, comprised of languid beats, to summery, synth-induced rock.

"I'm always writing music. I feel like I have journals, and journals, because I always wrote. Maybe they are not full songs, but I went back and took these abstract obscure words and put them together," Longoria stated of his song-writing method.

The group's namesake actually came from a phrase that his mother stated back when Longoria was in the hospital.

"When I was born, I was a really sick kid. I had pneumonia and I was in an incubator. This was a time before cell phones, and my mom would not leave the hospital. Finally the doctors said 'look, you need to go home.' My mom was on her way out the door and she hears 'cold blue, cold blue,' and had this gut feeling that it was her son, and she ran back into the room and sure enough there were all these doctors and nurses around. It wasn't until later that I realized she must have meant 'code blue,'" Longoria noted.

Cold Blue Kid's formation began from more dire circumstances; Longoria found himself without a job and disintegrating from the rock outfit he was a part of prior to Cold Blue Kid. Seeing a fork in the road as he mentioned that the situation was a blessing in disguise, Longoria turned his apartment's third bedroom into a recording studio.

"I spent every Friday and Saturday, Thursday nights and during the day, locked in there with all these instruments and bottles of Jack Daniels, and so I made this album, finished it and I put it online," he stated.

Quickly, the album began to gain ground in a far more immediate nature than Longoria expected. "All of a sudden, it was tripped out in the first four weeks on MySpace. I understand when something goes viral, but like all of a sudden people were just like sending me messages, and the thing is, I almost felt like I was cheating because I didn't have a full band at the time," Longoria mentioned.

Cold Blue Kid's newfound praise led to Longoria seeking out band members in December of 2010 to boost the group's signature sound even further. Eager to fill the spots of sounds he was envisioning, he placed ads in Craigslist and found individuals who appreciated Cold Blue Kid's initial sound. "Having a skeleton, having a foundation to say 'hey people, come and join me' works out so much better than me saying 'hey, I got some songs you guys want to hear," Longoria noted. By discerning the group's signature sound early on, Mimic showcased the sound as becoming bigger, bolder, and more captivating than before.

The group's sound has been influenced by many of Longoria's favorite rock outfits, from the Smashing Pumpkins, to Broken Social Scene (who Longoria actually shared Cold Blue Kid's music with recently), Radiohead, Sonic Youth, and folk music such as Fleetwood Mac. Longoria frequently works late into the night to communicate Cold Blue Kid's identity to media outlets.

"I stay up a lot of nights until one in the morning just emailing blogs," Longoria mentioned. "We actually shot down a few records deals, and I booked the tour on my own."

Cold Blue Kid's next steps are continuing to tour and play concerts around the city, from festivals to show sets, with plans to release another album. You can catch Cold Blue Kid in Chicago this weekend at Ravenswood Remix, a two-day music and art festival set at 4100 North Ravenswood Avenue. With a $5 suggested admission fee that contributes to Hamilton Elementary School art programs, Cold Blue Kid will play their set at 12:45pm this Sunday, September 2.

"With music, it's weird because it isn't a guarantee, but I feel like everything I'm doing is right. I feel like all the signs are go," Longoria stated.

 
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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.

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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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