Chicago-based emo band Boss Fight has been around since early 2013, but the four-piece recently released their debut album Deej at the end of 2015. We caught up with the growing Chicago band to talk about their latest record and what’s coming next.
Ghost Track: Your new record Deej has been out for two months. Is it a relief finally having the debut behind you?
Kevin Portelli (vocals/guitar): It was pretty stressful getting the CDs and cassettes made, which we didn’t really have much experience with before. We still are holding out hope for putting Deej out on vinyl, but vinyl is expensive so no promises. It’s definitely nice to have the songs done and to have something we can show people.
John Heinze (bass): In terms of the songs themselves, we scrapped a lot of the earliest songs from the first iteration of the band so the songs are still somewhat fresh. It was a big turning point for the band when we added Glenn (Francisco) on guitar. He proceeded to write a lot of what appeared on Deej. We took about a year to write the eight songs, recorded the record in like two and a half days, and put it out a bit later.
GT: Typically the genres associated with you guys are emo and math rock. Do you think those are accurate? Do you care about the genre labels at all?
KP: Yeah, those are accurate, but we don’t strive to do any particular genre. We listen to bands that are in those genres for sure. We don’t make songs more emo or turn up the noodle on the guitar though (laughs). We do purposely write mathy stuff, but it doesn’t feel forced. We don’t try to force those elements into songs. It has to feel natural. We typically write the riffs and then (drummer) Mikee (Pourhadi) builds the drums around them.
GT: There are a lot of bands in Chicago making emo and math-rock hybrids. What distinguishes Boss Fight?
Glenn Francisco (guitar): Our music has a lot more dissonance. We don’t do the clean, noodly guitars that a lot of emo bands do. Mikee is also a unique drummer. There is structure to his rhythm and it evolves. He really does a great job accentuating our guitars and seamlessly transitioning between parts. His drumming really sets us apart. He doesn’t just wail on the drums quickly and overwhelm tracks either. There is always a beat with our stuff. We try to make our mathy parts still follow a beat and have a sense of structure. We don’t want to be overly technical like some bands. We’ve all seen bands do that live and it seems cool, but we just don’t want to be that challenging of a listen. We want to be more fun.
GT: The Chicago math-rock community is pretty big. Do you guys feel a sense or connection to that scene and if so how has the scene supported you? How does Chicago influence you?
GF: Chicago has facilitated this scene for us and definitely given us some bands that we’re close with. We recorded Deej with this guy named Dan Tinkler, who probably knows every rock band in the city. Working with him has given us some connections that we wouldn’t have had otherwise. He was huge for getting us shows.
KP: There are a lot of cool people in this scene that we want to play shows with and hang out with. Everyone is really supportive so that makes it easier and more fun. Since we’ve started playing with bands that sound like us, we think that has helped us spread our small popularity too.
This excerpt is from a story in Issue #2 of Ghost Track’s print edition. Grab a copy for $3 to read the full Q&A:
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