This post represents the first installment of Artist Interviews. I want to really understand the artists I listen to and there’s no better way to do that than to ask them questions! I have many questions and will attempt to get them answered and post them here for you!
The first installment is with Macie Stewart. She is the former singer-keyboardist of the Chicago band, Kids These Days. Their album, Traphouse Rock, was one of my favorite projects last year. After Kids These Days split, I was very interested in what the individual members were doing afterwards. At some point I would love to ask all of the members questions and luckily I got to do just that with Macie. I went to high school with most of the Kids These Days members, including Macie, so it was great to get responses from her, especially with her growing success. Macie now makes music with bands Sikiyadigo and Marrow. Learn more about her below!
Ahmad: What influenced you to start singing and to start performing in general?
Macie: I’ve been playing since I was very young, about 3 years old. My mother was a musician, and wanted me to start learning music earlier than she did so I started taking piano lessons. I guess performing has always been second nature to me, I enjoyed being in school plays and performing in my recitals so it’s really just been something I’ve loved to do from the beginning.
Ahmad: If you could work with one artist, who would you choose?
Macie: Right now it would be David Bowie. I’m in another big Bowie phase right now. His music always seems to have an awesome performance art quality to it while still being heavily rooted in rock. I’d love to work with him because he does whatever he wants to do with his music whether it’s making pop/rock ballads or singing about a lonely man in space.
Ahmad: Name one person, place, or thing that inspires you.
Macie: It’s hard to pick just one… Im gonna cheat a bit and say my close musician/artistic friends as one thing. Lane Beckstrom, Liam and Sima Cunningham, Giuliana Molinaro, Anna Castellanos, Vic Mensa. They all work so hard and practice everyday for their art, It makes me want to do the same.
A: What are five things you couldn’t go a day without using?
M: My piano, a cooking pan, I hate to say it but probably my phone, and my contacts because I’m blind. Oops thats four I can’t think of another.
A: Are you still making music with Sikiyadigo?
M: We definitely still make music, just not on a serious basis. Every once and a while we’ll get together and play just because we’re all good friends who love to jam. We’re actually playing a show at the end of December with a funk band called Orgone, so we’ll probably get together and play a bit for that.
A: How did the group, Marrow, come about?
M: When Kids These Days ended, Liam [Cunningham] called me and said “I still want to keep making music with you.” Liam is a fantastic songwriter, and we wanted to create a band with multiple vocalists and dual (although Lane writes occasionally as well) songwriting. Lane [Beckstrom] was also involved from the beginning, and Greg [Landfair] was initially our drummer. He helped us record demos but he was so busy that it wouldn’t work out with the amount of rehearsals we had. We were also interested in different things. The three of us (Liam, Lane, and I) jammed with a few other drummers including Matt Carroll. He was so amazing and just meshed perfectly with our music and personalities, so we asked him to join on a more permanent basis. He agreed and we’ve just been playing since.
A: What are your upcoming plans, musically, now that Kids These Days are no longer together?
M: Marrow is going strong. We just finished recording a 2 song EP called “TWO” which we will release in December. In the meantime were finishing EP details, filming videos, and playing shows to get ready for our big Chicago release show at Schuba’s on December 19th. We’re planning on playing SxSW next year and hopefully touring as soon as we can.
A: I saw you, Nico, and Greg join Chance the Rapper on the stage when he performs “Paranoia,” how did that come about?
M: Chance texted me and said he needed a female bass player who could sing and wanted to know if I was available. I can play bass a bit, but not that well so I brought a bass synth instead. I think it ended up fitting better with the music because it packs a bit more of a punch when you’re playing along with a dj and a rapper.
A: I know you played Lollapalooza last year with KTD and this year with Chance and Coachella this year, how is playing a music festival different from performing a regular concert? Is it any different?
M: The crowds are usually way different. People who go to festivals are there to have fun and party and see as much music as they can because they paid a lot of money for their tickets. Theres just such a mass amount of people that it’s hectic and sometimes hard to reach everybody. The venue shows usually have people who are there to just see you so they’re a bit more dedicated. The sound is also better (usually) at venue shows, because festivals have up to 10 bands on one stage in a day so it’s hard to get a great soundcheck.
I’d like to thank Macie for taking the time to answer my questions! You can definitely find me at Schuba’s on December 19th for that Marrow performance! Enjoy.