Chicago Singles Club

January 2014

Sexy Fights

Sexy Fights makes music using drums, guitars, voices, and a spaceship. The spaceship is made out of keyboards, sequencers, samplers, effects modifiers, and all sorts of gear that you don’t often see in a rock band. Their songs may be dense and electronic but they’re surprisingly human, with retro sensibilities and a sound that is dark, danceable, and raw.

At the helm of the synth control center is Philip Shoemaker. Through his extensive setup, he sequences, triggers, warps, and modifies multiple melodies and basslines simultaneously, all while playing guitar and occasionally singing through a vocoder. While this technology-aided approach may be off-putting to some of those in the “rockist” camp, Phil’s performance has a transparency that is often lacking in live electronic music. This isn’t a man wrangling with his machinery that you see so often with these types of bands; no, he’s a conductor-slash-performer with a silicone orchestra.

Drummer Bryan Hart joins Phillip in melding the electronic and the acoustic. His percussion arrangements drive the ebb and flow in the music’s intensity, switching and blending between his drum sampler and his full acoustic kit. Jordan Rose Brzezinski’s languid choral-esque vocals are spacious and full of memorable hooks, and contribute heavily to the songs’ dreamy atmospheres. Fuzzy guitar stabs and melodies from Russell Augustine keep the music grounded in the rock idiom and give the band a considerable edge.

As a live ensemble they’re incredibly tight, and the interplay between such diverse elements creates a highly eclectic and unique soundscape. There isn’t another band in Chicago that is doing what Sexy Fights is doing, not to mention as well as they are doing it.

Sexy Fights is

Jordan Rose Brzezinski
Vocals
Philip Shoemaker
Synths, Vocoder, Guitar
Bryan Hart
Drums, Drum Machine
Russell Augustine
Guitar

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Video Interview

Contributors
  • Engineer Jeff Kelley
  • Interviewer / Videographer Iris Lin
  • Editor / Videographer Cassie Balynas
  • Photographer Kerri Hacker
  • Production Assistant Kevin Claxton
  • Production Assistant Jordan Morrell