by Michael Glader
Over the past few years, Chicago band, Santah, has been garnering quite a bit of attention, and I must say it is very well deserved. Consistently releasing beautifully crafted recordings and pushing their personal growth, it is hard not to notice they are on to something quite large. Simply put, they are hardworking musicians: genuine, driven and true. They work not as perfectionists, but merely a familial unit considerate to dynamics, time and space. They’re not rushing and there’s no reason to. They are smart and relentless.
I visited them at Pieholden Studios to discuss their new album and see where they keep things trill in Chicago.
Michael Glader: Is there a common theme or new sound with the record?
SH: Thematically and lyrically, trying to see yourself in other people, sort of like finding your twin. It’s about learning to love yourself and see what you love about yourself in other people. There’s definitely an overall fascination with twin-ship.
Stylistically, we’re moving well into different rhythmic territory. The first couple of records were more rhythmically straightforward, but this new record we are really grooving a lot more and finding deeper pockets. As a band we have really grown to trust each other, and the result has become a rhythm section that has more trust to take bigger risks and have stranger rhythms. There’s also a lot more synths than ever on the new album, and a healthy amount of piano.
MG: Does being from the Chicago area impact your writing? How does Chicago come out in your music?
SH: Wherever you are is going to be a part of who you are, but If anything, growing up in the Midwest has made us lust for other lands, lyrically. The reason we play is to escape. It’s fun to create a new world, new images and vocabulary. When you’re walking down the same street over and over again and it’s 20 degrees out, it’s fun to be able to escape to a different place in your head.
MG: What is one of the strangest things to happen to you while playing?
SH: We were playing at a fashion meets music festival in Columbus and in between songs simply said we had CDs and vinyls for sale. Right before we could start playing the next song, this guy came up to the stage pointing to a piece of paper in his hand. The piece of paper said something along the lines of, “the plural of vinyl is vinyl,” but had a bunch of misspelled words that were crossed out on it. Two or three days later, a picture of us popped up from the festival and that same guy commented on it calling us out on how the plural of vinyl is vinyl, not vinyls.
MG: Where do you like to keep it trill in Chicago?
SH: We love Ipsento Coffee and love this Japanese restaurant, Yusho. But we mainly spend a lot of time here at Pieholden and at our rehearsal space. One of our many pastimes is to secure our stuff. We love to worry about the safety of our gear. We really are mind, body, and soul focused on this new record right now. This is the biggest record we’ve ever worked on. We want to do it justice.