Gig Seeker Pro


Chicago, Illinois, United States

Chicago, Illinois, United States
Band Alternative Rock


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Still working on that hot first release.



In the current rock landscape, Chicago-based rock band Ayanami sticks out like a sore thumb. Over the last few months, they've been building a small but steadily-growing fan base in their home city. Their secret? Completely eschewing the sounds that many of their peers are cultivating, and hearkening back to the roots of alternative rock.

"I don't really think we really fit into any particular scene. We're too heavy and earnest for the indie-rock crowd. And we don't play fast and heavy 100% of the time, so the punk or metal scene doesn't take us seriously," says Ayanami front-man, guitarist, and songwriter Jason Gallagher. "A lot of people tell us that we sound 'like the 90's', whatever that means."

But is being anachronistic a blessing or a curse in today's rock scene? "I'll take that over being compared to any band that's popular right now. It's a dark time for rock music, creatively speaking. We're trying to divorce ourselves from any current trend and make something with real staying power. Most of the stuff I hear on the radio is trendy shit to load onto an iPod like some fashion accessory. Here's how I look at things - go listen to 'In Utero' and it still sounds fresh and urgent. Then put on the current indie-darling flavor of the week. Do you honestly think anyone will be listening to most of this stuff in 15 years?"

With thunderous drumming and buzzsaw riffs giving way to spacey, beautiful melodies peppered with phased guitars, Ayanami has garnered comparisons to other Illinois rock bands like Smashing Pumpkins and Hum. And like those bands before them, a penchant for the unexpected seems to a be this band's strong suit. According to the band, the people who keep coming back to their shows are those who can appreciate a beautiful melody, but can "still hang when a really punishing guitar riff kicks in".

When asked to describe Ayanami in a nutshell, Gallagher had only this to say. "We just really want to take everything we like about the music we love - whether its shoe-gaze, heavy metal, or grunge, or whatever - and throw it in a blender and try to make something that really feels good out of all those disparate parts. And people are responding to it, so we must be doing something right."

Certainly an interesting statement-of-intent from a band with a promising future ahead of them. Ayanami currently is circulating their self-produced demo and hopes to release an EP by the end of the year.