Chicago indie act Varsity is having a solid year, and is currently touring behind their second full-length album, “Parallel Person”, which was released in April on Babe City Records. That tour includes a stop in Milwaukee at Cactus Club on Wednesday night, and Madison on Thursday at High Noon Saloon. We caught up with the band to talk about the new record ahead of the show here. Check it out:
B&E: You guys just put out your second full-length, “Parallel Person” this year. What was the process of recording the album?
VARSITY: We began writing the record about a year before we started recording and spent June 2017 in the studio. We tracked it at Minbal Studios in Chicago over eight days and then spent the next month on and off mixing it.
B&E: What was the biggest change between making this album and your debut?
VARSITY: All of our other records were done in a few days in a basement studio. For “Parallel Person” we actually went to a proper studio and had the luxury to experiment more with sounds, instruments, and set-up. With eight days there wasn’t as much pressure to get stuff done in a weekend or anything like that. We spent a lot of time getting tones and adding extra sounds and harmonies. I think it results in a more experimental sounding and interesting record, especially if you listen with headphones.
B&E: What’s your favorite song on the record?
VARSITY: I think we’re all really happy with how “Alone In My Principles” turned out. We rarely write songs longer than three or four minutes, so we challenged ourselves to make a long song that takes the listener on a journey. The lyrics and the sounds and the ambience all really came together on this track. It’s the last track we wrote for the record and it also makes the perfect closer.
B&E: After this run of tour dates, what’s next for the band?
VARSITY: We’ve been kicking around the idea of returning to our digital single series. Back in 2015-2016 we recorded and released pairs of songs at a time. It’s different than making a record because the reward is immediate and and it’s fun to do in a weekend. There’s a couple songs we wrote after “Parallel Person” was released that we’re really happy with and itching to record and release as soon as we can.
B&E: What’s the weirdest thing that has happened to the band while on the road?
VARSITY: Well there was the time Paul lost Stef’s shoe on the side of the highway when we were opening the door to switch drivers. We didn’t notice until we got to the venue a half hour away and Stef didn’t have any other shoes, plus it was snowing out. Paul and Stef drove back and found the exactly spot on the side of the highway and the boot was still there! Also one time a car with the license plate VSAP drove next to us for a really long time. So yeah, we’re pretty crazy.
B&E: Finally, you’re playing Milwaukee. What’s your beer of choice?
VARSITY: Oh boy this is a tough question. Our fridge at our practice space is usually stocked with Miller High Life or PBR. We’re going to Wisconsin though so I feel like we must say Spotted Cow or some other New Glarus beer. There’s also these little tiny beers you can get in some places in Wisconsin for $1. I forget what they’re called but I never see them anywhere else so I always drink a bunch of those whenever I come across them.
You can catch Varsity at Cactus Club on Wednesday, July 25th with Tallies and Northern Haunts.