Sidewalk Chalk embodies Chicago. As much as the recent Vice “Chiraq” documentaries have done the opposite as of late, the eclectic eight piece band from the Second City pulls from both their hometown’s past and present while focusing on writing it’s future. The immediately soulful feelings of their latest project, Leaves, released February 24, is the result of an penchant for a sound that came off less polished and more gritty, capturing the sensibilities of both vocals and instrumentation that can be lost in post-production. The result is a fully-formed album that can keep you listening from the first to the last note. Long established in their hometown, Sidewalk Chalk has been making a large push around their latest album, and after playing a pair of album release shows over the weekend at Double Door in Chicago and Drom in New York City they will head off on a national tour in support of the new material. I had a chance to catch up with keys player Charlie Coffeen around the time of the release, check out or Q+A below.
Jake: So, the album is out in the world now. What has the process been like just readying this project to get out there?
Charlie: We’re really excited to put it out. The process was a bit different from our first album, we kind of played a lot lot harder on this record we let the music be what it is a little more. We did a few takes of the tunes of the tunes with keys, bass and drums and once we were happy with it we just kind of let it be instead of tweaking things and making everything perfect. We kind of embraced the imperfections of it and I think that was the right move for what we wanted this record to be: raw and gritty and kind of just sound like us. The first album, we wanted everything to be perfect and for everything to be polished and I think we achieved that but on this one we wanted to push the boundaries a little bit and see how far we can stretch ourselves and our sound to the point where we had a finished project.
Jake: Was that something that was a conscious decision from the get-go, to let everything kind of ride on this project?
Charlie: Yeah, that was certainly our goal from the moment we stepped in the studio or even began thinking about how these songs were going to fit on an album. We knew we wanted them to be raw and we wanted them to sound real, like us. That was really our primary goal.