eGigs talk to Chicago's The Locals

music, history, influences, tattoos, arts, and playing the UK on Wednesday 20 April 2011

The Locals are an alt-pop, indie-rock trio from Chicago who are steadily winning fans and devotees with their latest EP 'Salt'.

Fronted by singer and songwriter Yvonne Doll, the Locals have been a part of the Chicago music scene for the last decade. They have played extensively in the Midwest and have earned themselves a dedicated fan base. The Locals current line-up of consists of Yvonne Doll, bassist Christy Nunes and drummer Kirk Snedeker.

I must admit of never hearing of you guys so could you explain some of the background for our online readers about yourselves?
Christy Nunes: Yvonne and I formed The Locals back in 1997/1998 with our neighbours 'The Daves'. Through the years our sound has evolved from our start as a 4 piece, acoustic jam band to the guitar heavy indie rock sound we play today. A few years back we were looking for a new drummer and met Kirk through an ad we placed on Craigslist. He was the 1st guy we met when we started auditioning new drummers and we clicked right away.

Kirk Snedeker: I'm from Connecticut. I met Yvonne and Christy shortly after moving to Chicago.

You have an EP called 'Salt' and it has had rave reviews, Its been described as a mix of The Pixies, The Yeah, Yeah Yeah's and The Breeders, what do you think of having a sound likened to these bands?
Christy Nunes: I love all 3 of these bands, so keep the comparisons coming. I think Kim Deal just screams "cool". She is so underrated, but so amazing. Karen O from the Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs is a crazy fantastic performer. We saw them at Lollapalooza a few years back and were just blown away.

Kirk Snedeker: It sucks because I've been pushing Yvonne to write more like Celine Dion and Rebecca Black.

Yvonne Doll: I think Kirk should grow a giant handle bar mustache, and I do mean GIANT. As far as the band's we're often compared too, I'm so very humbled by that. I adore those bands. So to be even mentioned in the same sentence as them is truly an honor!

What was it like working with Steven Gillis on the EP?
Kirk Snedeker: For me it's totally intimidating because not only is he a great producer and engineer, he's a brilliant drummer. I always get nervous working with him, but in a good way. It's great working with someone you can learn from.

Yvonne Doll: Oh boy - we fought at first! But wow, I love what Steve does and now we're great friends. He is so passionate about his work. I'm amazed by him. He is like the 4th Local. He's really a member of the band.

Christy Nunes: It really is an honor to work with someone that you admire so much. He is a true talent.

You've released Four other studio albums and another EP before, how come you've gone down the road of releasing an EP rather than another full length album?
Christy Nunes: The music industry is changing, the trend is more towards individual song downloads rather than full length album productions. I'm still a big fan of full records, but I think I am in the minority. The nice thing about the EP is that we can be releasing new music more often, as opposed to waiting until we have a full album worth of material. We really liked the process of focusing on 4 songs, and getting them out there. We are working on a new EP now.

Yvonne Doll: I'd like to get another full length album out soon. But I am enjoying getting the music out faster. Our music evolves kind of quickly, so the 4 song groups seem to work.

Who would you say are your influences?
Christy Nunes: I listen to just about everything, and I think that my style is a combination of it all. As a bassist, I love the simplistic cool of Kim Deal, the flow and vibe of Eric Avery from Jane's Addiction, and lately I've been really digging Nikki from Silversun Pickups. I think the best bass line ever written is 'Ramble On' by John Paul Jones of Led Zeppelin.

Kirk Snedeker: Right now I'm listening to a lot of totally random older stuff. In the last couple of weeks I've gone through Yes 'Relayer', Cocteau Twins 'Treasure', some 80s hair metal (Winger anyone?), Japan, older U2 and I can feel my annual Smiths all-play coming up. For drums, Phil Collins, Vinnie Coliauta, Terry Bozzio, Stewart Copeland, Neil Peart, Patrick Hannon (The Sundays), Steve Jensen (Japan).

Yvonne Doll: PJ Harvey, Smashing Pumpkins, The Pixies, Silversun Pickups. Lately I am totally freebasing: The Kills, Bombay Bicycle Club and Muse!!

Christy Nunes: I have asked Kirk to stop mentioning Phil Collins, but it doesnt work. I did actually see a great interview with Phil Collins about a month ago where he apologized for ruining music. I'm dead serious.

Yvonne, you seem to have numerous tattoos, How many have you got and do any of them have any special meaning?
Yvonne Doll: I have 4 right now and working on a 5th. They all have special meaning, actually. I'm usually prompted to get a new tattoo after a sort of internal breakthrough, ya know? I tend to take a lot of time working on a new piece. I have sketchbooks filled with many versions of each one (I sometimes take up to a year to work on one). I see them as sort of an evolving pictogram, adding up to my story. The newest one (on my right arm) is all about my struggle and eventual triumph over some pretty wicked back troubles. I actually used visualization and meditation to get rid of all my back pain. Which used to be pretty intense. But it's been nearly two years and I'm pain free. So, yeah, ink worthy for sure.

Yvonne, what inspires you to write a song, do you come up with the lyrics first?
Kirk Snedeker: All of Yvonne's songs are about me. Clearly.

Yvonne Doll: Aside from my thinly veiled admiration of Kirk, I tend to inspired to write about relationships. Between people, between artists and art, between today and the future. I think way too much. This is a problem! LOL. Every song is different for me, sometimes I'll have a lyric stuck in my brain and I put music to it. Sometimes I just have a melody or guitar riff rolling around in my head and write to that. I've been doing a lot the the latter lately, actually improvising lyrics on stage when we play live and writing down the best bits afterward.

Yvonne, you're a keen photographer and painter, if you hadn't been in the band would you have followed either of these professions?
Yvonne DollOil painting is my second love. I belong to an artist's collective here in Chicago called 'Fulton Street Collective'. I have a studio, I get there when I can. It's such a different form of expression for me than music. My relationship to my visual work is a lot less volatile than to my music. When I'm writing a song I feel like one of us (either me or the guitar) is going to leave black eye, I usually want to kick something over...where as when I'm painting I feel like drinking wine and doing yoga.

Christy, You do photography as well, what's your favourite photograph you've taken and do you take your camera with you everywhere?
Christy Nunes: Yes and no...I usually shoot with a really nice Canon 20D, but I'm not the type of person to carry it with me everywhere I go. Lately, thanks to Yvonne, I've really be into the low-fi look of pictures I've taken with my cell phone, so if you count the cell phone I have a camera with me always. I almost prefer these shots to the look of the high quality stuff I get on my Canon. We were in Buenos Aires about 6 months ago, and one of my favorite shots is a picture I took on my cell phone of these old industrial silos that were turned into a condo building. The building still has this old industrial feel, the sky was kind of dark and the result was really a pretty eerie photo. I love the juxtaposition of this creepy kind of dark photo, but the subject is 'new luxurious condos'.

Kirk, you're the odd one out in the band, being the only man, do the two girls hen peck you?
Kirk Snedeker: Wait. I'm a man? Hold on let me check under my skirt. Oh my god. Shit! All this time I thought I was just an ugly woman. Those must be balls.

Yvonne Doll: He is SOOOOO hen pecked. OMG we are terrible.

Christy Nunes: We spend a lot of time with Kirk and his wife. I think that's the best, when he has 3 women all hen pecking him at the same time. He loves it, he'd be wandering into traffic if we didnt 'direct' him.

You guys are in the line-up for GoGo Festival in June in the UK, what are you looking forward to most about the festival?
Kirk Snedeker: I was a little concerned when I got into a band with two women, but then quickly realized we all like boobs. I've met a lot of girls being in this band. And while I got my wish, not one of them ever even pretended to be interested in me. It's a twist straight out of Greek mythology; lonely sailor lands on Lesbos. Oh well. I'm very happily married and will just enjoy playing to a huge crowd. A crowd with a lot more boobs. Seriously though, it will be a lot of fun and it is very exciting for us to play for such a great event! We are thrilled.

Christy Nunes: I'm thrilled to be part of a line up that includes Betty, Uh Huh Her, Joan Ov Arc and so many other great bands. Plus there are extreme air sports like sky diving and 'wing riding' where I understand they strap you to the wing of a plane and take a spin. I dont know of any other music festival that does that. Granted, I will not be taking part in any of these air events because no one wants to see me piss myself, but I am happy to watch others.

Which acts are you looking forward to seeing and why?
Kirk Snedeker: I can't wait to see Betty they seem like funny people, and their show has got to be great.

Yvonne Doll: Neon Choir, Midas Fall, Joan Ov Arc, Uh Huh Her, Betty, Boy..., looks like a great line up!

Have you ever played in the UK before?
Kirk Snedeker: I was in a band that toured Army bases and we did a few weeks in UK. I thought it might be lame doing that kind of thing, but then I got paid to tour UK and Europe. It was completely fun when we got off the bases.

Yvonne Doll: First time for Christy and I.

Are you looking forward to coming to the UK?

Christy Nunes: It will be my first trip to London and I'm super excited. Kirk Snedeker: I can't wait. Not only do we get to play such a great festival, I have a dear friend there I'll get to see.

Yvonne Doll: Totally. We love to travel. Been to Costa Rica, Portugal, Buenos Aires, Mexico, but never UK. So, yeah I can't wait!

You can catch The Locals in the UK at GOGO Festival: 17th-20th June: Tickets are still available at

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article by: Michelle Owen-Williams

published: 20/04/2011 12:13

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