Molehill

Molehill

 Chicago, Illinois, USA
BandRockAlternative

Cinematic, high energy rock. "Combining elements of progressive rock with pop sensibilities along with expansive and emotionally charged lyrics, this band delivers a symphonic listening experience."

--Jesse Menendez, Vocalo and WBEZ, 89.5FM and 91.5FM Chicago

Biography

Molehill’s third release, the 3-song Hearts on Fire  EP, finds the group further exploring large production techniques while staying true to their alternative rock roots.  From the West Coast hip hop groove – meets – Gregorian chant “Old Soldier” to the electronic/organic hybrid “Reverie”, to the rock anthem title track, the synth-heavy textures and razor sharp rhythm section provide a lush backdrop for Peter Manhart’s baritone storytelling.

Molehill had humble beginnings in small local venues in Champaign, IL, and has since grown into an established presence in the Chicago music scene.  They has played over 300 shows between the Midwest and Eastern United States, including some of the more prestigious venues in Chicago, as well as national (and international) festivals like Summerfest, Musikfest, SXSW, and Canadian Music Week in Toronto.  Molehill has built a reputation for explosive live shows and a tireless work ethic, as well as the work they’ve done towards fostering a more friendly and cooperative music community in the city of Chicago.  They were one of the founding members of the Chicago Roots Collective, which was a 10-band collective working together to promote the Chicago music scene and their music, and for the last 2 years have curated a monthly email list to dozens of local bands to try to promote live music in Chicago and encourage local bands to attend shows, discover new bands, and support each other even more.


Peter Manhart, lead singer, lyricist, and guitar player, started playing piano at the age of 3.  At the University of Illinois, he pursued a double major in engineering physics and piano pedagogy, but dropped the piano major after 2 years so that he could focus his practice time on the guitar.  He went on to get his physics degree, but also took numerous creative writing and poetry classes to develop his lyric writing ability.  After moving from Champaign to Chicago, Peter met bassist Trevor Jones, who was studying double bass at DePaul University.  Trevor had spent a large portion of his life in various orchestras and has always had a penchant for well organized noise, whatever the genre. He also grew up watching his father, a music professor, manage and play in a 16-piece jazz big band. This instilled in Trevor a strong business and management sense, and helped him complement Peter not only musically but with the business aspect of the band as well.  After Peter and Trevor started working together, drummer Devin Staples joined the group.  Devin has been a fixture in the Chicago gospel scene for years, and had also been a member of two highly-respected Chicago bands, NYCO and Cassius Clay. The 4th and final piece of the puzzle, keyboard/synth player Greg Van Zuiden, joined soon after. Greg had recently graduated from Illinois Wesleyan University with a music degree, moved to Chicago, and was looking for a band to join.  As the youngest member of Molehill, he was the light-hearted “glue” that helped the band stay strong.


The Hearts on Fire EP continues the group’s tradition of storytelling in music.  The dark, brooding “Old Soldier” tells the story of a proud, religious, soldier, living out his last days in a nursing home - “And he sits in a dead room, sterilizer and perfume, and the lights are slowly growing dim.”   “Reverie” has the narrator lamenting the loss of a parent long ago, while also thanking that parent, for “you made me the person I am.”  Last but not least, the title track was inspired by the “Euromaidan” protests in Ukraine - the birthplace of Peter Manhart’s mother.  The song is about the common people rising up to fight an oppressive regime.  Though the people in this protest were unarmed, the government sent riot police and snipers to kill them, and yet the people’s numbers kept growing until they were finally heard. This song is about the strength of community, sheer willpower, and the resonance of a good and virtuous idea. Though the few in control may try to keep the will of the people down, the masses can change the world if they fight together. With the recent wave of public dissent and protests happening around the world, this seems like the perfect time to share this song.


Lyrics

Almost Broken (Heroes)

Written By: Peter Manhart

[Verse\]
These are the bitter days
The sour taste my failure leaves
Is there no one who believes?
I paint in blood every day
Everyone has run away
please don't make me fight alone

[Chorus]
Hold on my Love
Don't let me go
Days are bleak
I'm Almost Broken
Don't Let Me go

[Verse]
Almost over now
My fear has brought me to the edge
of the place where I forget
that there's a fight left in me
I need you to help me see
that is isn't really gone

[Chorus]

The Repeating

Written By: Peter Manhart

I want something new,
tell me something good,
maybe about that girl who loved you.
‘Cause this romance ain’t right,
I’m on the losing side.
I gotta grit my teeth and close my eyes.

Dirt beneath my nails
never goes away,
and my arms and legs are scarred,
but I’ll keep taking hits
until the hammer falls,
the bell rings one last time, and I drop it all.

I’ve been to war, a fight that keeps repeating.
I’ve been to war, and it’s gone for my whole life.
And that’s all I know, I wish it had gone better.
That’s all I know, until the day I die.

Discography

Discography:

Hearts on Fire EP (5.12.17 Release)

1. Hearts on Fire

2. Reverie

3. Old Soldier

Tin God EP - 2015

1. The Repeating
2. Gain Green
3. A Thousand Fires
4. Tin God
5. Two Souls
6. Ghost Town

Live in Chicago - Recorded Live at The Metro in Chicago, IL on 3.29.13

1. Stronger Now (Live)
2. Almost Broken (Live)
3. February (Live)
4. Wildfire (Live) - SBTRKT
5. I'm Okay (Live)

Why Did You Make Me Care? - Single

1. Why Did You Make Me Care? (Beck)

Equinox-2012

1. No Reprieve
2. Almost Broken (Heroes)
3. The Fall
4. February
5. Crystalline
6. Money Life
7. Interlude
8. I'm Okay (feat. Nathan Swanson)
9. I Hope You're Happy
10. Someone Better
11. The Old Man
12. Stronger Now
13. Control
14. Coda

Set List

To be selected from our discography. We always mix our take on at least one well known cover.