Self-described as “Dark & twisted, light & airy, or raucous & wild,” Chicago quartet Unicycle Loves You formed in 2006 and have since garnered buzz among hometown blogs and national press such as SPIN and Filter thanks to their energetic and impassioned shape-shifting live performances, notably during CMJ 2008 and 2009. Currently hard at work on their self-produced sophomore release (due in “late summer/early fall” on Highwheel Records), we caught up with band co-founder Jim Carroll to find out more about this group of hard-working and irrepressible raconteurs who have waited in the shadows of Vampire Weekend, MGMT and The Raveonettes for far too long now.

And while you’re at it, check out the bloody good video Carroll directed for “Justine” right here.

What year did the band form?
We started playing together the summer of 2006 and played our first show in November 2006.

How did all the band members meet?
Most of us worked at the same day job and one by one, we just kept inviting another employee to play. It all came together very organically.

What is the band’s favorite venue/city to play?
New York. Hands down. New Yorkers have a passion for live shows that I have not experienced anywhere else.

What’s your funniest band audition story?
Auditions have generally been total nightmares for us. Without getting into too many specifics, the “funniest” would be when a would-be keyboardist and I were teetering on the brink of a fight the entire time based on conversation somehow involving Clarence Clemons, Chicago DIY culture, and gentrification. I have absolutely no idea how the conversation got so heated and sour, but not even one hour into the audition, and we had a mutual understanding that this was not a match made in heaven.

What was the strangest/most interesting thing to happen to the band?
We were playing a show in Minneapolis, and were approached by a particularly intoxicated gentleman who insisted on giving us all sorts of advice. He went on to invite our drummer (JT Baker) and keyboardist (Adam Labrada) to jam with him. But he was particularly fond of bass/vocalist (Nicole Vitale). The rest of the night, we couldn’t seem to get away from this guy as he unsuccessfully continued to try to woo her into forming a band with him in Minneapolis. As it turns out, this guy was the original bassist for Soul Asylum.

If you could meet any musical hero living or dead, who would it be and what would you say to this person?
I’d like to party at the Grateful Dead house in 1966.

What do you simply hate about being in a band? You know, like the sound man showing up two hours late for a gig, buying guitar strings from “that guy¬†” at the music store who is more interested in his Chinese food than ringing you up, or trying to find your drummer, (sorry drummers), or insert your band mate who always goes missing, two minutes before your set time.
Really, the only thing I can’t stand about being in a band is the bureaucracy of the music industry on all fronts in general. It can really put a damper on your art at times.

What is the band currently working on?
We are currently recording and producing our second full length album due out on Highwheel Records late summer/early fall this year. Recording our first album in a studio with a producer was an extremely valuable experience and I suggest every band to try it at least once. But, this time around we are doing it all ourselves. No studio. No producer. No more ‘to many cooks in the kitchen.’ We will have total control over how our next album sounds. That’s the way we’ve always functioned before, and that’s how we gained the attention of a label and a producer in the first place. It’s all musicians’ dream to have total control over their art and actually have it get out there to the press and to the public, and I’m so excited about it, I might just explode!

(Photo credit: Ginny Garramone)

  1. [...] of our favorite discoveries of the last year, Unicycle Loves You, is set to release their sophomore album, Mirror, Mirror, on September 7, 2010 via Highwheel [...]