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Interview Thu Jul 23 2015

RLYR: Breaking the Post-Hardcore Mold

By Chris Zois


RLYR is a band that is still in its infancy, but its members are no strangers to the Chicago music scene. Guitarist Trevor Shelley de Brauw (Pelican, Chord and Let's Pet), bassist Colin DeKuiper (Bloodiest and Lasers & Fast & Shit) and drummer Steven Hess (Locrian, Pan American and Cleared) have all made a name for themselves in other bands and they came together to try something new. The trio will be opening for black-metal darlings Deafheaven at Subterranean on July 25 and Shelley de Brauw was nice enough to take time out of his day to talk to us about the band and the upcoming gig.

How did the inception of the band occur?

Steven and I were invited to play as an improv duo at Utech Festival in Milwaukee in late 2013. We knew of each other's work and had travelled in similar circles, but hadn't ever entertained the prospect of playing together until the invite came. We decided to have a couple of rehearsals ahead of the show to try and give the set some kind of framework and ended up really clicking, both personally and musically.

After three practices we had something that felt suspiciously like a song and we decided to keep meeting up regularly after the show to see where else we could take it and what other stuff we could come up with. Not much later we decided the sound would benefit from the addition of a bass player - Colin has been on my short list of people I wanted to play with ever since his stints in Russian Circles and Follows. Luckily the feeling was mutual and everything gelled pretty quickly from there.

You all play in different groups, but is RLYR a full-time band or something smaller?

We're full-time in the respect that we practice at least once a week, have a record in the works, etc. We all take the group really seriously as an artistic endeavor.

With playing with other bands, how do you schedule time for each project? Do you find it difficult or is it more relaxed situation?

For Steven and myself it's only slightly tricky - most of the bands the two of us play in have members based in other cities and therefore don't meet up on a regular basis. Colin has it the hardest; I think all three of his bands practice weekly, more or less, so he's just a very tired person. Sorry, Colin.

What makes the music styling of this group different than your and the other members' bands?

I think all three of us are associated, in one way or another, with metal. While I think there are some heavy aspects of RLYR's sound they're primarily in the actual sonics than the musical influences, which draw on a palette that veers more toward melodic guitar rock or punk. We've carried over the non-traditional, lengthy song structures from our other groups, but overall the tone is a little more summery - points of reference that have come up have been along the lines of Wedding Present, Bedhead, Pavement, This Heat, Yes, Jesu, and so on.

What is the vision for the band? In the vein that is this project to try different things musically or just have fun with other talented musicians?

So far the writing process has been to improvise around one or two short riffs or musical figures and see where they take us, and then begin to focus in on the ideas that are clicking. It's been cool because the music we make is more intuitive and conversational than cerebral and structured. We haven't really set any specific aesthetic goals, we're kind of channeling whatever inspiration is hitting us.

You guys have been working on an album for some time, what can people expect? Is it a full album or something smaller, like an EP?

Yeah, we just had a couple of weekend sessions last month to record an album. It's a four song full length that will come out at some point in the future dictated by vinyl pressing plant turnaround times.

How was the process of recording?

It was great. We recorded with Greg Norman, who did the last couple of Locrian albums and has recorded the majority of the albums I'm on. He's a trusted collaborator. We did a few days at Electrical Audio for tracking and then mixed at his home studio. Pretty laid back overall, though there's something about recording sessions where I always wish there was one extra day because good ideas seem to come tumbling out of my brain the day after we wrap.

You are opening for Deafheaven Saturday and have opened for some acts in the past, but are you looking to headline some gigs? If not, do you prefer opening for bands that roll through town?

We're not a known quantity, so we're happy to play whatever shows we can get on for the moment. We're really excited to play on Saturday, I'm sure it'll be a fun night.


RLYR will be performing with Deafheaven at Subterranean, 2011 W North Ave, on Saturday, 25 with doors opening at 10pm and the show is scheduled for 10:30pm.

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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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