Back to work. Chicago band The Hush Sound is back on tour again after an extended hiatus -- this time with new music and a new outlook on the music industry. The band's pop-rock sound has been able to withstand the break and kept their fans excited to see them active again.
On some time off from their current tour, Gimme Noise spoke with the two lead singers Greta Morgan and Bob Morris -- although the call cut out and only Bob was able to finish the interview which turned into a candid conversation about the current music industry -- prior to their show at the Triple Rock about what the band has been up to.
Gimme Noise: The band recently announced the tour. What was the status prior to the announcement?
Greta Morgan: We'd all been working on projects the last few years. Our drummer [Darren Wilson] has been in college, and Chris [Faller], Bob, and I have been doing music. We've been playing together once in a while, but we haven't been touring full time for the last three years.
Gimme Noise: How did the other projects take over?
Greta Morgan: When the band first got signed, we were touring non-stop and we might have been a little too young to be able to handle the pressure of that. Being away that much doing these long tours, we were just kind of burned out. After the end of 2008, we'd been on tour nine or ten months that year, and everyone was like, "Alright, let's have a change of pace for a while and explore that," and then the exploration lasted for a few years. We still continued to play Chicago once or twice a year, depending on our schedules, and just now, we decided to play some other cities. We have so much fun whenever we play Chicago.
Gimme Noise: You say you felt you all were too young to be touring. Would there ever have been a right time or, do you feel it would have been the same situation if you were older?
Greta Morgan: It's not that we were too young, I think it's that we were too young in general to be experiencing the amount of progressive exhaustion with the way our career arc was going at that time. None of us were thinking; we were so exhausted. A lot of times, we were the only van on a bus tour. We would be driving ourselves ten hours a night, sleeping very little months at a time. It was no life. If you're playing music, you want it to be fun. If you're going to try and turn your hobby into a job, you don't want it to suck the life out of it, and the fun was being sucked out of it. If you're gonna play music, you shouldn't do it in a way that's exhausting. It should be enjoyable. It's like a dream career, but you don't want it to turn into a nightmare.
Gimme Noise: Do you feel some people were made for the road?
Greta Morgan: Yeah, definitely. Some people thrive being in new places all of the times, and some people thrive in their homes. I really like the cycle of it. I feel like when I'm on tour for too long, I'm excited to work on an album, and when I've been home for too long, I'm excited to go on the road. I really like the next part of the cycle of when you're ready to start.
Gimme Noise: How did the mini tour come about?
Bob Morris: Greta and I started hanging out a bunch more, and some of our other projects were winding down for a bit. We decided we could get and do some shows and maybe work on some new music and reinvigorate things ourselves with playing great shows. It was kind of us talking about it, and that's how it happened.
Gimme Noise: Are you playing new material at shows?
Bob Morris: We're playing a little new stuff. We're gonna try some stuff out and see what happens in this and get a feel for what we're doing now. We've got so many different ideas that we're working on, so it's more for us to see how this plays and see how this feels to do with all of our other songs.
Gimme Noise: Do the other projects flavor the new music?
Greta Morgan: In a way, everything you're working on or everything you're reading you're discovering is going to influence the sound of a band. I feel like the Hush Sound's sound -- it feels weird to say that -- that the sound of our band is when the four of us get in a room together, regardless of whether there's other influences. Everybody brings something to the and no one person overtakes it so you come up with this original thing by mixing a lot of other influences.
Gimme Noise: Do you felt that the time was taken off to grow up a little?
Greta Morgan: We grew up, and we grew out. We're all 500 pounds now. (laughs)
Gimme Noise: Do you still connect with the music you made from years ago?
Greta Morgan: It's hard to connect with songs that we wrote when we were fifteen or seventeen. You have to approach it as something new. If you like painting, and everyday you sit down with the same colors, you can still find ways to work with them or a new way to draw or a new way to blend them. The idea is if we have the skeleton of the songs, we can find something we like about it, find something lyrically or melodically, and approach it in a new way and make it feel fresh.
Gimme Noise: Will there be a new album in 2013?
Greta Morgan: We're hoping to record in 2013 in the winter. We would just do an EP -- a few songs for the next tour.
Gimme Noise: What do you think of the trend where more musicians are putting out EPs rather than whole albums?
Bob Morris: I think it makes a lot of sense. For one: funding a whole album is difficult. Two: it's continually releasing new music, which is exciting, and three: people's attention spans are shorter. They probably won't hear the eighth song on the album unless they're a big fan of the band. A lot of people are casual listeners, and will probably hear one song from your band and decide whether they like you or not. They're not gonna give it a chance like when I would listen to music at a Border's listening station when I was in high school and discovered an album that blew my mind. If they hear a song, they're going to check out the band, but I think people are going to be a fan of a song here a song there from a lot of different bands.
Gimme Noise: How do you listen to music? Do you listen to albums or singles?
Bob Morris: I think we go through phases for sure. When we were making the other albums, we were definitely listening to albums on Spotify and Rdio didn't exist. I'm really grateful that these music streaming companies do exist, even though they pay less money to the rights holders, but it's for someone who wants to try an excyclopedia on their phone -- all different types of music that you could possibly wonder about. If everybody is asking me about Skrillex, I can go check out what he's doing. It's cool to have that on the same device where you don't have to buy every single album to know a lot about music. However, it's good to get into an album and just listen to the songs that aren't meant to be singles.