They tell me Keeping the Faith has no collaborations. Chicago Style had a couple guest features (GLC, Chance The Rapper) and A Humble Masterpiece only had one (Noname Gypsy), but it is obvious that they are acting independently, as their own band, this time around.
“It’s a project that stands alone as our sound,” Maceo says. “It’s a statement piece.”
They tell me about their first recording session for Keeping the Faith that took place in a barn in Michigan.
“We had no service out there,” Maceo smiles. “It’s hard for all seven people to not be on their phones.”
“My parents have a barn in Michigan,” Nick continues. “We went up there when they were gone and had a nice house and a big barn where we made music for five days.”
“The barn was the first session, first demos,” Maceo says.
“In the barn,” Nick adds, “we had two mics like this [makes an X with his hands] for stereo and Maceo had a mic. If horns were too loud, we said, ‘Go further in the corner’. It’s nice to have the rough versions. It was a writing workshop.”
“Whatever wasn’t finished,” Maceo says, “we worked on. One song was written when we were all together. There’s something about writing a song in 30 minutes with not a lot of extra thought.”
Now that they are back in Chicago, they are putting all of the pieces together, spending their time at the studio as well as in front of the computer at their home. When I first arrived, Nick was working on artwork.
“We still need to add a sexy guitar,” Nick says, “some weird little synths, shit we weren’t gonna take up time doing in the studio. Bass and drums are the most important. Then horns. We still have to lay down some vocals, some horns, some keys. But we have the drums, we have the bass. Drums are crucial. Song to song should be the same mic, same room, same drums.”
As we close and as I let them get back to focusing on an album we will hopefully hear in December, I ask if they have any final words or shout-outs.
“No real big shout-outs,” Nick says. “The list hasn’t changed.”
“Keep your head in the books,” Maceo says. “That’s what my dad always told me. I told some kid that at a show and he looked at me like, ‘You’re the lamest rockstar’.”