After cracking open a few beers, and taking a look around their studio, we sat down with Casey Gibson, and brothers Johnny, Teddy and Pete Mathias. Making music together for over 10 years, Filligar has been able to evolve and progress to a place in their music that most young bands are never able to get to.
Working on their upcoming album, a follow-up to The Nerve (2010), Filligar is back in Chicago. They will be celebrating their homecoming this Thursday at the Hideout for a sold out show with Paper Thick Walls. Didn’t grab your tickets? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.
MP3 or Vinyl?
Casey: Vinyl obviously, that’s a no-brainer. The convenience obviously of MP3, there’s something to be said for that. I’ve inherited all of my parent’s records, and I’d like to think that I have a pretty mean collection. You throw on a record, and it’s an experience.
Teddy: The argument has generally been, what’s the better quality? I think that it’s pretty easy to make an argument in the favor of vinyl. For me, when you put on an MP3, it kind of serves as background music, but if you’re putting on a record, you’re actually listening to it. That’s why music fans listen to vinyl – cause they are actually listening.
Casey: It’s proactive. You’re flipping the vinyl and it’s a labor of love. I love it.
What’s one vinyl record that you think everybody should have in their collection?
Casey: Led Zeppelin, that would be a personal favorite of mine.
Teddy: Eric Clapton – Slow Hand. There’s not too much noise, there’s a lot of empty space. There’s a lot of silence in it. If you have it cranked enough, you can really hear what makes it good on vinyl. If you have enough silence on a record, you can hear the vinyl spinning. From front to back, it’s awesome.
Johnny: I think Dark Side of the Moon belongs on that list. Even though it is kind of a go-to.
Pete: I think you’ve got to have some Frank Sinatra in there
Casey: The last one is The Doors – L.A. Woman.
Teddy: Of course, L.A Woman is much better when you’re driving down a freeway somewhere, and I haven’t really seen any cars with record players in them.
Tell us a little bit about the record you’re working on right now.
Johnny: We’ve had two years to stew now on various types of music. I think on the last album, The Nerve, classic rock was definitely a big influence. There is a lot more of that influence in the next round.
Casey: The Nerve is kind of a good starting point for where this one will end up. Back then, when we were recording, it was essentially all The Band and Neil Young, and those are still some of our favorites. More recently, at least personally, I’ve been getting into the punk side of The Clash and Nirvana. At least the few songs that we’ve finished, are definitely faster, as a whole. Other than that, I don’t know if there’s like a tendency. It’s just a bunch of ideas that we’re trying to gel into one contiguous sound.
Teddy: With an album like The Nerve, we had an epiphany that we just want to be a really great live band. In the past, we did a lot of stuff that was hard to recreate live. Now it’s sort of settling into that idea of being the best live band that we can be.
Knock Yourself Out | Filligar
Are you going to continue the progression of your sound with the new album, or are you staying at the place you’ve come to with The Nerve?
Teddy: We’ve been a band for a long time and made so many more records than most bands make in a career. We’re going on 8 records in 10 years as a band. There have certainly been changes from record to record. For us, we are now a band that is settling into a certain groove and a certain way that we see ourselves. As a kid, you don’t think about that. We were 13, we were doing absolutely whatever the hell we wanted to. Which is good, but the bands that you love all have some sort of an arch to it. So we’re, I think, at the start of that arch.
Casey: I think we have figured out where we want to be, and I think this may be the second album where we have an intention. When you’re young, you try everything. We’re still young, we’re still trying a lot of stuff, just not necessarily with our music.
Do think that being brothers and friends has given you an advantage over bands that center around one member and interchange the others?
Johnny: I think the longevity of our career has helped in many ways, because we’ve kind of encountered nearly every single thing to bicker about at this point. I think that we’ve become comfortable with how things are run in our band. We’ve been together for ten years now, and I don’t see any reason to break off.
Pete: Another advantage is in the songwriting. We all have equal stake in this. Not only that, but we’re also brutally honest with each other to a point where it’s not even an incendiary thing to say to someone. They just kind of go back with it like “I disagree”. I’m not saying it’s all nice. The attitudes that we have, about certain things, at least some of us, if we had been in other bands, we wouldn’t have survived. You are able to get away with a lot more with people you really trust. I admire bands that just put up flyers and enter these situations that are potentially volatile, and that they might have to move on to another band.
Dead Wrong | Filligar
You guys are from Chicago, but have spent a lot of time in new York and LA. How do they all compare?
Pete: Our roots are in Chicago, and we love this city more than any other city in the country. Chicago has something special, and a lot of our music, especially on The Nerve, it’s heavily influenced by the music that came out of Chicago in the 20th century.
Casey: If you are talking about a musical legacy, Chicago is the historical home of the blues, and that’s obviously a big influence on what we do.
What artist, dead or alive, would you like to work with on a track or an album?
Pete: A band that’s around today, that has their own loft not too far from here, is Wilco. The reason would be is because pound for pound, each of those musicians, has something that you can learn from. These guys, each of them, have something that we look at in their records and say, that’s remarkable. It would be pretty cool to work together on something.
Casey: Maybe we’re talking female vocalist, Janis Joplin, that could be kind of cool. Maybe a rapper, do some sort of crossover, hip-hop stuff. That would be pretty cool.
What would have to happen for you guys to put this next album out on vinyl?
Pete: I think actually it’s on our immediate agenda to put, not just our next music on vinyl, but our existing discography. We are believers in the album, as we said, and listening to vinyl forces you to engage with the music and not just a series of individual tracks and MP3s. So it really is to our advantage to have our music out on vinyl, and if we were a band 30 years ago, who knows, maybe more people would be listening to it because it is really meant to be a listening experience.
For a chance to win a pair of tickets to Filligar’s SOLD OUT show this Thursday (12/1) at the Hideout, tell us your favorite group where two or more of the members are siblings. I’m going to have to go with Creedence Clearwater Revival.
The winner will be chosen on Thursday, 12/1 at noon.