Second City Citizens
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Second City Citizens

Chicago, Illinois, United States | SELF

Chicago, Illinois, United States | SELF
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Audio interview - Windy City Underground Radio


It was a hot, hazy Labor Day weekend in Chicago—the perfect excuse to cool off with an ice-cold Dos Equis and get down to some sweet summer grooves.

Billed as “Summer’s Last Stand,” the third annual North Coast Music Festival featured an eclectic mix of DJs, hip-hop, and electronica. Spread across five stages in sprawling Union Park, the three-day festival prompted thousands of Chicagoans to drag out their raver sunglasses, trucker hats and hula hoops, and go shake what their mamas gave ‘em.

And no one could have been more excited to be there than the 2012 Dos Equis Toast of the Coast winners: DJ Vapor Eyes, hip hop group Second City Citizens, and “psychedelic funktronica”band IndigoSun.

‘This is a birthday gift,” said DJ Vapor Eyes, also known as David T. Cohen, who had just turned 31 the day before he opened up the entire festival as the first act. “It’s cool to be a part of it, and on the main stage.”

All three winning acts were from the Chicago area and had entered the Toast of the Coast contest previously.

Bradley Schacht, aka Swords, recalled his group’s first entry in 2010. They had just laid down their first track and were headed home when they heard about the contest. It was 11:50 p.m. and the deadline was midnight, so they came up with a name for their group—Second City Citizens—on the spot, entered their song, and managed to finish fourteenth.

“This was three years in the making,” Swords mused. “Now we made it to North Coast. It’s a great opportunity.”

Fellow Second City Citizen Rich Jones chimed in,“It’s cool that production companies were willing to take a risk and support independent artists.”

Chicago, Chicago!

Each of the groups commented on North Coast’s strongest point—the amount of local talent on the bill.

“‘We’re among friends,” said DJ Vapor Eyes, who had played along with IndigoSun and many of the other bands on the North Coast lineup at other festivals. “There’s a sense of community.”

“We’re very much inspired by where we’re from,” said Jones. “We believe in loyalty to Chicago and Chicago producers,” Swords added.

In fact, the chorus of one of Second City Citizens’ songs goes, “We’re from the middle of the map/We’re from the center of the sun/We’re from the city of the Chi/Now take your Cs and raise ‘em up…Chicago! Chicago!”

IndigoSun started as a jazz band in suburban Chicago, playing restaurants and wine bars, before band member Steve Florian went to an electronic music festival in 2008 and started “messing around with dance beats.”

“Electronic music is really coming to the forefront,” said band member Lucas Ellman. “The fact that the scene is exploding is cool. It gives me hope for the future.”

But IndigoSun isn’t just electronic music. They are a proper band, “combining catchy melodies and talented instrumentalists with booty-moovin’ beats,” according to their website. The group features a saxophone player (Ellman), a bass player (Mike Cantella) a keyboardist/synth player (Kyle Liss) and a drummer (Florian).

“I love seeing a live band and want that to still be a part of it,” Florian said.

The future of music is fusion

All of the Toast of the Coast winners commented on the widely experimental nature of music at the festival. “What’s next? Bluegrass yodeling dubstep?” Swords joked, but each group agreed that mixing styles and genres is the way forward.

“Electronic and organic fusion is becoming more of a part of it,” said Liss. “Creating a unique blend of these elements—funk, jazz fusion, rock, electronica—is bringing people a greater degree of communication.”

Fusion was key for Swords, too. “When you mix techno, hip-hop and dubstep, it becomes a whole new thing, and that’s what music is right now,” he said. “We want to keep hip-hop alive.”

“Hip-hop is infiltrating everything,” added fellow Second City Citizen Christie Wilkerson, also known as Naptie Christie. “It’s a reflection of what’s happening in technology.”

Where technology meets techno

DJ Vapor Eyes also attributed the rise in popularity of electronic dance music to the surge of technology.

“It takes the Internet and virality to break down the monoculture,” he said. “The rise of independent artists doing it on their own, forging their own way, stems from societal change. These days, technology is in your face—it’s a message for the many, rather than the one.”

And DJ Vapor Eyes would know. Like almost every one of the Toast of the Coast winners, he has a day job—his life as David T. Cohen includes a job in Internet marketing. Only IndigoSun’s Ellman works as a professional musician: Liss works in customer service at a contact lens company, Florian is an operations assistant at a data software company, and Naptie Christie waits tables. Rich Jones runs a food truck, along with barbacking and being an “all-around hustler.”

But in today’s digital society, this could change in a heartbeat. “Anything can go viral so fast, and anyone can do it in their bedroom,”DJ Vapor Eyes said.“Look at me—no label, no manager, and here I am.”

Want to start your own electronic dance music jam funk band? Apply now for the Dos Equis Stay Thirsty Grant and we might just fund your first world tour. - Dois Equis


Common and Kanye notwithstanding, Chicago hasn’t gotten much attention in the national hip hop scene. This lack of publicity hasn’t stopped the local scene from flourishing, especially in recent years as artists like Second City Citizens have begun rocking stages. Backed by classic boom-bap style beats, this under-the-radar hip hop trio have more than earned their spot as one of North Coast’s three “Toast of the Coast” play-in winners at this year’s fest. (Saturday, 12:30-1:30, Coast Stage) –text: Griffin Waterman - Chicago Innerview


Second City Citizens dropping visuals for their song 'Windy Boys', which was produced by Montana Macks. Pretty sick track so be sure to download this song or even the whole mixtape in the link below! - GreatMusicAllNight.com


The Second City Citizens just hit us with their new video for “Windy Boys”. The record is produced by Montana Macks, with the video directed by Wasted Potential. I’ve seen them play this song a lot at live shows, and it always gets a nice response. Check the video below. - RubyHornet.com


Second City Citizens give us a new song and video from their 2011 release, Spliff Notes. “Everyday People” is produced by the Rarity, and represents for the working man. Some blue collar Hip Hop for a Monday morning. Can you dig it? - RubyHornet.com


Here is the latest music video from Chicago based hip-hop group Second City Citizens - TheDailyLoud.com


Chicago’s very own Trifecta of Mic Wreckers, the Second City Citizens, have not slept much in 2011. Since voltroning in 2010, the alternative hip hop trio has toured relentlessly in the Midwest—playing notable shows with Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, C Rayz Walz of Def Jux, Mac Miller, Blueprint, CunninLynguists, Mac Lethal and many others. Emcees Rich Jones, Swords the Ronin and Troy Boy have released a combined 5 projects.

This track “Everyday People” comes off their recent release, Spliff Notes. Second City Citizens just performed for legend Kool Keith and now they just booked their spot to open for Ohio rapper, Stalley.

Follow Second City Citizens on Twitter: Rich Jones (@jonessoruthless) X Swords (@SwordsTheRonin) X Troy Boy (@TroyBoyC) then collectively as a group. Don’t forget to ‘LIKE’ them on Facebook to view show and other exclusive info! - Puffgreen.com


Who are the Second City Citizens? Well, the short answer is, they’re Everyday People like you or me…except they’re better at rapping/singing, more fashionable and significantly fly-er overall. So I guess they’re not all that much like us. Regardless, average Joes and Janes are sure to identify with the sentiments expressed by Rich Jones, Swords the Ronin and Troy Boy in their latest single/video and first Booth feature. With The Rarity‘s boom-bap percussion, bells and interlocking synth lines as their backdrop, the crew chronicle their struggle to make sense of the crazy world around them - and get paid/laid in the process. Rich steers the record into more political territory on the back, evoking the injustices of endless war and environmental destruction and capping his verse off with the rallying cry, “Everyday people off your ass, it’s time to lead!” Interest piqued? More fresh tunes await on the crew’s SpliffNotes EP, released last summer and available for free download from their Bandcamp page. - DjBooth.net


8 tracks of fun from the Second City Citizens collective and producer-extraordinaire Tony Baines. Produced entirely by the BAINESGOD. Stream and download it below.

Live from the Super Trap house. - FakeShoreDrive.com


The Second City Citizens have linked up with legendary Chicago producer Tony Baines for Super Trap. The 8-track project is just the tip of the iceberg for the crew this year, with multiple other ventures, both solo and group centered, coming down the pipe later in the year. Stream the album below and check out SCC member Rich Jones’ recently released Politely One Hundred EP with Dave Coresh. - Rubyhornet.com


S.A.R.S. all day son... All day..
The Second City Citizens return with a new mixtape, SpliffNotes Volume 1. The mixtape is 14 tracks deeps of new music from one Chicago's up and coming indie crews. Download and listen to it here - RubyHornet.com


See link. - ChiGrind Magazine


A new project from Second City Citizens (S.C.C.) has arrived for our listening pleasure. ‘Spliffnotes’: “Featuring tracks both new and old, this project is meant to be a refresher/introductory course on S.C.C. and the music we’ve made in the short time we’ve been together, hence Spliffnotes.” On this new collection of material from S.C.C. you’ll find production from The Rarity, Tony Baines, Nima, SCP, Montana Macks, and Benny Nice. If you’re not already hip to this crew of spitters, it’s definitely worth a download! - GoWhereHipHop.com


Discography

2012

Super Trap
http://secondcitycitizens.bandcamp.com/album/super-trap

2011

Spliff Notes
http://secondcitycitizens.bandcamp.com/album/spliffnotes

Side of Dope Vol. 2
http://secondcitycitizens.bandcamp.com/album/side-of-dope-vol-2

2010

Side of Dope, Vol. 1
http://www.mediafire.com/?2ujxd41iy2n7jjy

Photos

Bio

Chicago’s very own Trifecta of Mic Wreckers, the Second City Citizens, have not slept much since voltroning during the Summer of 2010. The alternative hip hop trio has performed relentlessly in the Midwest—playing notable shows with Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Freddie Gibbs, Mac Miller, Blueprint, CunninLynguists, Mac Lethal and many others. Emcees Rich Jones, Swords the Ronin and Troy Boy have released a combined 5 projects—filled to the snapback brim with fun storytelling, clever lyrics and twenty-something sight and sounds—headlined by the compilation album Spliff Notes. With a project with renowned producer Tony Baines (Supertrap) on the horizon, SCC is ready to spread their love for hip hop and energetic live performances to the masses—in the Second City and beyond.

Citizens of Chicago and of the world, stand up!