For our second installment 2018’s Silent Movies and Loud Music series we welcome Side Hug, a local northside Chicago band as they soundtrack the Tod Browning classic West Of Zanzibar.
I had an opportunity to talk to Allan, Christian and Lyd about the formation of Side Hug and their upcoming performance on July 11th.
How did y’all become Side Hug?
L: We met working at an ice cream on the north side, called George’s Ice Cream and Sweets. Eventually Allan reached out and came to one of our shows in the winter so we added him as a guitarist this past year.
Does anyone still work there? Why the name Side Hug?
L: Not anymore! Our scoopin’ days are behind us. I think the name came to me because it seemed to describe us (hopefully Christian and Allan agree) as people - kind of awkward but well intentioned.
A: I agree with Lyd on the band name. I think we all kind of feel that way. Except maybe Christian because he’s just too damn cool in every way. I’m also glad to be in the band. I’ve wanted to play with Lyd and Christian since I first heard them play as Peru years ago.
So you weren’t always Side Hug?
L: We played under the name Peru for like a year but were still babies and played one show or somethin’.
What spurred the change?
L: Our bassist at the time and I were writing more songs and it took on kind of a different character than before. We used to play poppier stuff but since Allan’s come in our sound has changed a bit and the EP were recording soon is going to be more dreamier and a bit more complex which is exciting.
Any plans for your next release?
A: We don’t have any specific plans for the next EP yet. We’re still writing and getting to know the songs we have. But we’re excited to release something in the near future.
With recent EPs like dreamy indie pop, I asked Side Hug how they would categorize themselves. Generally, a dreaded question for any artist.
L: Probably close to a fusion of Gregorian chant music and polka. Just kidding. Genres are weird but maybe beachy garage rock?
A: I think I’d describe the sound as Indie-pop. Sometimes beachy, sometimes mellow and moody, and other times a little jazzy and upbeat. And the music is very clean with hardly any dirt or fuzzy distortion. And we have one of the better drummers in the scene. Which is dope.
Have you seen the Silent Movie and Loud Music series before?
L: We haven’t been to the series before but we’re planning on checking out the first movie in July!
Why West of Zanzibar?
L: Actually an ice cream flavor at our old ice cream store was called Zanzibar so we thought it was a sign, haha.
The original West of Zanzibar is a 1928 silent movie starring Lon Cheney as a paraplegic magician seeking revenge against his wife’s lover in Africa. It’s a relic of the silent era and a glimpse into what the threat magic, including voodoo looked like 90 years ago.
What’d you think of West of Zanzibar?
L: I think we all like it! Obviously it’s dated so it’s easy to note a lot of racially insensitive or problematic things but evil white dude loses in the end so that’s always a plus. Spoilers? Haha.
A: Lon Chaney is the man. He’s such a creepy actor, but he’s great.
What inspires you right now?
C: For me, my I find my inspiration in movies & documentaries about musicians. The Hired Gun, which is on Netflix and is about studio musicians - and of course Walk the Line.
Catch Side Hug’s original live score to West of Zanzibar, this Wednesday July 11th on the Comfort Station lawn at 8:30 pm, or whenever the sun goes down. This event, as always, is free - any donations collected go towards the artists.
Interview conducted by Emily Perez, Comfort Film Programs Assistant.