It’s July 13, 2018, and Third Coast Percussion is winding down from a video shoot at their North Side Chicago loft office space with DeBartolo Performing Arts Center staff. Nearly every surface is covered with neat rows of drumsticks and every imaginable mallet. The edges of marimba keys wait to snag a hip or shirttail as you snake through impossibly narrow paths from one side to the other. They really need to practice for a huge performance in two days at Wrigley Field’s Gallagher Way park venue. But, there’s always time for one more question.
DPAC: Hey, what’s on your iPhone, iPod, music device or whatever? Can each of you give a name of an artist or two that we should be keeping our eyes or ears out for?
Sean: Yeah, sure. So, we recently just performed a Tiny Desk Concert at NPR in Washington, D.C. and there was a balloon that said “superorganism” on it on the shelf in back of me. I was like, “What’s this?” And then I went home and I realized there’s this awesome group called Superorganism who had just done a Tiny Desk Concert before us and hung these balloons up that looked like manatees or something! Like, bright blue sea animals all over the desk. They’re so much fun and I’ve been listening to them a lot recently.
Rob: I’ve just been listening to a really cool Chicago hip-hop artist named Open Mike Eagle who I just discovered through like a podcast interview and been the really diggin’ the stuff.
Sean: What’s on your iPhone, Pete? (Laughs).
Peter: I found recently I was listening to a lot of Sigur Ros so I went to Iceland and was driving around Iceland listening to this music, like unpacking it. But, what else? I know I’ve been listening to another collaborator that we premiered at the University ofNotre Dame—Ryan Lott‘s music by Son Lux. He released a new album just a couple of months ago and that’s a really, really fantastic album that’s about as good as they get. What else have I downloaded? Let’s see (looks at phone), recently added … oh, Devante Hines aka Blood Orange is fantastic.
Oh! (laughs) They’ve actually been around for a while but I sort of rediscovered them through the Tiny Desk Concerts but NO BS! Brass if you’re into brass bands. NO BS! Brass is from Richmond, Virginia, where I lived for a handful of years and they are so talented. The bandleader is a trombone player who’s the trombone and multi-instrumentalist that plays with Bon Iver. But they’re so talented, so energetic, so fun. So, NO BS! Brass is really great.
David: Two artists that I love, one super famous, Kendrick Lamar. I listen to his music pretty much every day and find something new in it. And the other one, who isn’t as well known, is Clarence Clarity who’s a British artist that sounds kind of like, to me, like a cross between Prince and some kind of new wave ’80s pop band and super weird experimental electronic music. He’s worth checking out.
Rob: A couple other composers that we have future collaboration with people to check out if they don’t know their music. They’re all really, really amazing artists. Missy Mazzoli is a really amazing composer who’s making an amazing name for herself. Tyondai Braxton, someone who works both in the contemporary classical world but also sort of the indie and electronica world. And Georg Friedrich Haas who’s an amazing Austrian composer, now living in America, who writes incredibly detailed, very compelling and powerful, otherworldly music.
DPAC: Cool. Thanks, guys!
Third Coast Percussion is a Grammy-winning, artist-run quartet of classically-trained percussionists hailing from Chicago. Ensemble members include Sean Connors, Robert Dillon, Peter Martin, and David Skidmore. The group was the Ensemble-In-Residence at the University of Notre Dame’s DeBartolo Performing Arts Center from 2013–2017. They perform with 2018 Kennedy Center Honoree Philip Glass this March at the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center.