Chicago - GRAMMY U SoundChecks With Phoenix

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  • Photo: Saloni Jaisingh
  • Photo: Saloni Jaisingh
  • Photo: Saloni Jaisingh

By: Mia Taylor / GRAMMY U Chicago Student Member

Monday, June 5, GRAMMY-winning band, Phoenix, made it back to Chicago supporting their world-tour for their latest album, Ti Amo. It’s been just over two years since the French quartet toured in 2014 and GRAMMY U had the honor of welcoming them back. Phoenix invited the Chicago GRAMMY U Chapter to a SoundCheck before their sold-out show at Aragon Ballroom.

As our chapter walked in, Phoenix’s talented team flipped the iconic venue into their own synthpop sanctuary. The stage was filled with bright iridescent illusions, smoke, mirrors, and an intimate set up. Phoenix stepped onto the stage shortly after and played for us 10 minutes of back-to-back songs from both older and newer albums. Together, the production team, band members’ and manager’s effortless synergy created a flawless SoundCheck.

After the SoundCheck was complete, Phoenix artists Thomas Mars, Christian Mazzalai, Laurent Brancowitz and Deck Darcy met us for an intimate Q & A led by GRAMMY U Representative Austin Godwin. They opened with explaining that even though their music is in English, it is still very French-influenced. Not only are they French-influenced; one of their main music inspirations is German electronic band, Kraftwerk. They proceeded admiring Kraftwerk’s aesthetic as they also take pride in carefully crafting their sound, performance and story holistically. The gracious artists continued to answer every question with a smile as they provided thoughtful feedback. When Phoenix was asked the reason behind their sound changing after the release of their GRAMMY winning album, Wolfgang Amadeus, Phoenix guitarist Christian Mazzalai simply answered that success for them meant more freedom!

Phoenix continues to exercise freedom in new album Ti Amo, which vocalist Thomas Mars unforgivably mentions features all of the cheesy romantic sounds they love and more. The artists hung out, answered questions by the rest of the chapter, shook hands and seemed to be enjoying every minute of their tour so far. Go catch a show by GRAMMY U’s favorite French band!

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