The Chalice: Collaborating in Minneapolis has helped us all out

Photo by Anna Gulbrandsen
Could there be a better group than the Chalice to play host to 10 Thousand Sounds' first go around? In short, no. It's only been 12 months since these three ladies dropped their first single, "Push It," but they've been quick to leave a mark with their brash, sassy, and fun-loving brand of hip hop. They even topped City Pages' Picked to Click poll last fall.

So it should be no surprise that they're ready to party.

"I see it as us having a party, and people being a part of our party," says singer, Claire de Lune, of the group's upcoming hosting duties. She and her bandmates, rappers Lizzo and Sophia Eris, are gathered at Muddy Waters for late-night drinks, barely a week after appearing at Soundset, and mere days before a further performance at Voltage.

Indeed, the members of the Chalice are plenty busy these days -- Lizzo, for instance, has her debut solo record, a collaboration with Lazerbeak and Ryan Olson called LIZZOBANGERS, due out this fall -- but 10 Thousand Sounds is just another chance for them to do what they do best.  "As long as there's drinks," Lizzo says, "we'll be straight."

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Gimme Noise: It's closing on a year now since you put out the EP, and you guys have stayed busy with live shows. How's the show been evolving in that time?

Lizzo: We've slowly been adding other songs. The cool thing is how we're a collective, so we do solo songs. When we have a new solo song we want to debut -- for instance, Claire had a new song that she wanted to debut that was very experimental -- we can do that at our shows. The songs from the EP, though, they just keep getting better as we perform them.

De Lune: Basically, instead of adding tons of new material, we've just been focusing on trying to make the material we have the best it can be. We're just trying to put on the best show we possibly can regardless of what the songs are.

It does seem like a big aim for the Chalice is to mix in a lot of the different personalities -- to find ways to express the different sides of the members.

De Lune: I think it's a very central thesis or point of the group. We've talked about it that, when we come together, it's something super special, and there's a very special energy to that, but we are a collective.

Lizzo: We don't just do stuff to be like, "Here's my shine." It's putting on a dynamic, well-rounded show.

De Lune: It's definitely gotten us to higher places quicker and [now] we can excel on our own, but it's really intended to be a platform to jump off of.

Part of that is visual too, though. You each have your own distinct styles, and it seems like that's an important consideration you make, as well.

De Lune: That's part of the appeal. It's not just like, "Oh, we're hot," but like it's aesthetically interesting and cool. We play up matching and we play up the differences. I think it's kind of old school to be thinking about coordinating outfits, which kind of sets us apart. A lot of contemporaries don't think about that.

How do you feel your individual contributions have evolved over time as a function of the group?

De Lune: I think we've all gotten better at working with each other, and all learned a lot from each other... But besides that, we're all pretty different; I think that's what makes our music compelling. It's not just three Lizzos or three Sophias or three Claires.

Eris: I've grown a lot. My rapping has gotten better. I know what keys are and what tunes are; I didn't know that before. I feel more confidence in myself.

It seems like a pretty fundamental change for you, Sophia, having come from a poetry background. How has being in the Chalice changed the way you write?

Eris: Now when I write, I hear drums in my head. I'm not just writing poetry, I hear a beat. My writing is like a drum now. I know my cadence and I know how I want it to sound before I think about words.

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