State Of Music: Part 18: Illinois - Grand & Noble

View The State Of Music in a larger map Illinois has the pleasure of actually being the only state in the USA I have ever been to. Naturally it was Chicago I visited and I had a jolly nice time thank you very much.

Musically, Illinois has a strong history, most recently with alt country act Wilco - a group I have been a fan with for many years and Andrew Bird. Other acts include Smashing Pumpkins and members of Pearl Jam and Rage Against The Machine. It is no surprise a lot of bands I found in the Prairie State showed a lot of influence from those mentioned above.

Grand & Noble are perhaps the most American sounding group I have featured during this process, if that makes any sense. During The State Of Music I have tried to steer away from what would perhaps be the sound many of you would be expecting, but when my partner Anna alerted me to this Chicago based 4 piece I felt they would be a wonderful addition to the project.

Find out more about the band below and enjoy listening to their album.

CMM: Welcome to Choose My Music. I suppose the first question is - who are Grand & Noble and where in the world would we find you?

Grand and Noble is Jon Elling (Vocals, Guitar), Luke Sagadin (Drums), Joe Swierupski (Bass), and Scott Stukel (Keys). We're based out of Chicago, IL and are actually named after this scrappy little intersection called Grand and Noble. A long time ago it was a notorious mob neighborhood.

CMM: How long has the band been in existence and how did it all start?

The band started in 2009 when I put up a Craigslist ad and met Scott. I had a batch of songs that I initially recorded as a solo artist - just me and a guitar - and I wanted to make things a bit bigger.

CMM: How best would you describe your music?

We obviously love American music, both rock and folky stuff, but I've always been attracted to the urgency of punk. There are bands out there that write beautiful pastoral numbers but it would be dishonest for me to pretend all I really want is to live on a farm. We're the the rootsy kid that moved to the city and never came back.

CMM: What is the music scene like in Illinois right now? What the genre of choice out there at the moment? It seems like everyone is listening to Mash-ups. There is a group called the Hood Internet that is pretty popular. Aside from that, Wilco and Andrew Bird are based out of here so there's always an under-current of Americana/trad pop. Chicago is definitely the capital of the heartland and it shows.

CMM: One thing I am hoping to find in this series is some kind of link between where a band is based and their music. Do you feel as an artist you are influenced by your surroundings and the scene around you?

Definitely. When I write a song I almost always have a picture of where I am as the narrator. And usually it's Chicago. Our winters are pretty severe -,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_cp.,cf.osb&biw=1399&bih=770&um=1&ie=UTF-8&tbm=isch&source=og&sa=N&tab=wi - so there are a lot of songs that stem from being inside, both physically, and in one's own head.

CMM: What other influences does the band have, musical or otherwise?

I finally got a decent TV so I'm a kick right now to watch a lot of classic movies. I'm also somewhat obsessed with light color.

CMM: Could you perhaps give a run down of the music you have released so far?

We're wrapping final production on our debut album, which hits stores 1/12/2012. Prior to that I released an album in 2005 called "Storeyland" with a band called Auk, based in St. Louis.

CMM: Are you able to get out an play live much?. Where are your favourite places to play both in and out of state?

We're still building up our regional touring circuit but some of our favorites venues in Chicago are the Hideout and Marty'rs.

CMM: What's next in the pipeline for Grand & Noble?

Formal album release in 2012. And informing all the other bands in the state of Illinois that we officially represent the state now.

CMM: And finally, where can people reach out to you online and where can they get hold of your stuff?