Friday, July 20, 2018


10 Questions with NE-HI

Emerging from underground venues in Chicago’s Northwest side, with their live energy and cleverly wrought guitar anthems NE-HI made their name. The band initially formed to score a friend’s film in the summer of 2013. The foursome which is made up of Alex Otake, James Weir, Jason Balla and Mikey Wells recognised the chemistry between its four members and chose to continue making music. Known for their energetic stage presence, NE-HI have since toured with Twin Peaks, Car Seat Headrest, Whitney and the American Wrestlers.

NE-HI's self-titled debut album was recorded by Dave Vettraino at Public House Recordings and released in 2014 on Manic Static, it garnered critical acclaim. The second album "Offers" came out on Grand Jury Music in 2017. It took their basement-forged instincts and refined them letting its guitars explore new angles, while focusing on the songwriting. Working quickly they recorded everything but the vocals live, the end result captivating with soaring pop, it shimmers with atmosphere.

Vinyl Tapestry still can't stop listening to "offers" and can't wait for album number 3! We asked James Weir the bass player our 10 questions...

Where do you go to discover new music?

Probably my most successful digging place is YouTube. You cabn find videos or songs that lead you down the rabbit hole. I have some friends that are really good at finding weird stuff or old cuts. We listen to a lot of music in the van too so a lot of what I'm hearing that's new is from my friends DJing from the passenger side.

What have we got to look forward to with you this year?

We're playing a couple fun gigs in the states- one's the Audio Tree Festival and the other is at the Pritzker Pavilion in downtown Chicago. It's this huge Frank Gehry pavilion that looks like a torn up can of soup with a stage in the middle. People sit in the lawn and drink wine. But really our focus this whole year has been write, write, write, record, record, record. Hopefully a couple new songs towards the end of the year ;-).

First song you fell in love with?
The first song I think I fell in love with was Queen's “Bohemian Rhapsody.” It's weird and funny and complicated and I first heard it actually from people singing it acapella. There was a sort of charm and community surrounding it as this song we all sang together. It was such a challenge to try and memorize all the words. It's funny because I feel like I hate songs with a lot of words now. Who would you most like to collaborate with? We did a song with Jamila Woods last year and I found it was really fun to stretch my ideas about music outside of my comfort zone, specifically the "rock realm" (devil horns in the air lol). It just opens up a lot more fresh ideas. More collaborations like that would be fun. Kendrick? Drake? Get at us...

What would you most like to own on vinyl? 
I've been getting into the Art Ensemble of Chicago lately. Definitely something from them. They were based in Chicago and Paris for a bit starting in the 70's. It's like this beautiful mess of creativity, jazz, soul, funk. It's music that sounds really free.

Who are you listening to at the moment? 
Arthur Russell and Bob Dylan. I feel like my music taste is getting more and more polarized, I'm getting really into like songwriters, but then also way more free form stuff like the Art Ensemble.

What's your guilty pleasure song? 

I kind of disagree with the concept of the guilty pleasure because if it's what gets you going what's there to be ashamed of?

What inspires you to write music?

In two parts, it's a way for me to try and explain the world around me to myself. It's easier for me to deal through music most of the time. The second element is the chase. It's this never ending chasing of the way two notes might interact or a rhythm makes you feel or when everyone in the band is completely in sync.

What's your favourite song to play live? 

“Out of Reach.” Really any song that gives me an excuse to act like a freak.

Where would you most like to play? 
The UK pretty please.*

*we would love it too if they played the UK