Jammerzine has an exclusive interview with Michael Daly, creator of the project known as Michelles. Michelles is a project that reads like a concept with the new album ‘The Empty Promises of Rock and Roll’.
In this interview, we talk with Michael about the recording process and the construction of such a solid album and what the next steps are to get this music to the masses.
‘The Empty Promises of Rock and Roll’ is a purely signature sound that demands to be listened to from start to finish. To be honest, I get a little sick and tired of people in the review and promotion side of things tell me that the album is dead. That vinyl is a novelty. What we have here is a perfect example of the journey that an album can take you on. While each song is signature in it’s own right, together they make a story. A book, so to say. Consider each song a chapter.
I have a hard time keeping a favorite in regards to ‘The Empty Promises of Rock and Roll’. That distinction has changed a few times since the interview was recorded a couple days ago. And yet, after the few times I’ve listened to it, it still sounds fresh and vibrant. And still sounds best when listened to from start to finish.
take from that what you will, but take these empty promises in the car with you and just hit play. Then his the gas. You will return a better person.
Michelles is a band from Chicago, but doesn’t really sound like a band from Chicago, though in many ways there really isn’t a Chicago sound, at least not now, if there ever was. It’s also a bit of a stretch to call Michelles a band, as it is the singular vision of Michael Daly, who writes and plays nearly every sound heard on every recording. The sole exception is the drums, which are handled by Ryan Farnham, who has stuck around to provide percussive and moral support through the so-called band’s existence.
Daly and Farnham first started collaborating in 2013 after listening to a version of what would become the eponymous first record, with both agreeing that a qualified drummer would help things immensely. Working back to front and from around the bend, in what would become a consistently inefficient workflow, new drums were layered onto existing tracks, and stretched, twisted, and edited into an entirely new recording. The rest of a band was recruited, and the quartet spent the next two years playing in all of the usual Chicago haunts. For reasons that are still unclear, half of the band decided to stop returning phone calls, and Daly went back to the studio to begin putting together another record.
2017 saw the release of Dark as a Daisy, a stylistic jump featuring more expansive song structures and instrumentation, and a fresh batch of players was found to fill out the group. Following a handful of live outings, this new lineup soon dissolved as well, but in a much more copy-worthy fashion than the first, with one member moving to Ghana to join the peace corps, and the rest heading to Massachusetts to start a farming co-op selling honey and micro-greens. Back to where it all started yet again, Daly continued writing and recording.
Arriving five years after the previous release, the new record, titled The ‘Empty Promises of Rock and Roll’, took its time finding the light, due to circumstances both personal and global, with entire versions of the album being discarded and redone, and lyrics and arrangements constantly shifting and evolving to reflect whatever state of mind or the world one currently finds oneself in, until you finally say ENOUGH. In a cultural landscape that values an unceasing torrent of content above all else, nurturing scarcity and practicing patience become revolutionary acts.
So here it is, nine songs about all of the usual things; love and loss and change and regret, moving away, staying put, book reviews and half remembered New Yorker articles.