Diving into the city's underground music scene...

NNAMDÏ wasn't born in Chicago, but the city's blood courses through his veins.

Brought up in small town Illinois, his arrival in the Windy City coincided with an upsurge of energy across the music community there, with a mutual sense of inter-dependence providing an array of support networks.

Very much a collaborative figure, NNAMDÏ has toured with a number of Clash favourites - step forward Vagabon - while his own work is highly sought after.

Fusing rap, DIY pop, and aspects of his Nigerian heritage, NNAMDÏ released the full length project 'BRAT' earlier this year, perhaps his most vivid, and fully realised album yet.

Recently given a full physical release, 'BRAT' has brought renewed attention not just to NNAMDÏ's work, but to the Chicago underground as a whole.

Clash spoke to this multi-faceted artist about his roots in the Windy City.

- - -

- - -

DIY VENUE

Auxiliary Arts Center is one of my favorite DIY venues for a lot of reasons. It’s gone through phases of different owners but luckily it still continues to have events every now and again. My bandmate Johnny Wilson used to book a lot of the shows here so I associate this spot with him.

This venue stands apart from a lot of other DIY venues because of the way the spot is set up. Through the front door you are immediately immersed in the music. There's a glass counter/case to the right usually covered in the merch of whoever is performing that night (if it's a musical performance) and there will usually be someone taking donations for the bands behind that counter.

Also, there is a stage which is rare for a lot of DIY spots. So the people in the back are able to see a little better than if they were performing on the floor. But it’s stage in no way takes away the intimate, raw vibe that’s usually attainable at house shows.

- - -

PUBLICATION

Outside of the Chicago Reader which will always have my heart for its top notch journalism of Chicago entertainment and arts, The Sick Muse covers sides of Chicago that may be slipping under a lot of folk's radar who aren't already active in this scene.

It is a collective of musicians, writers and designers in Chicago coming together to make this publication that’s really a beautiful representation of artists in Chicago. The zine is a great place to learn about art, read lyrics, find out about musicians and learn about different folks creating and working together within the DIY community.

Some of the main folks involved play in this amazing band called Blacker Face, who’s last record is amazing and came out on my label Sooper Records.

Check it out HERE.

- - -

PODCAST

What About Chicago?! is a weekly audio show/podcast hosted by Rahim Salaam.

When I think of DIY Chicago, I can’t picture it without him. He’s seemingly at every show. He is a musician, solo music and in a group Sex No Babies, he’s an artist and an all around creative, supporter of the arts. 'Praise Art' Is one of his mantras that always resonates with me.

I think you’ll get some knowledge and perspective about the city from Rahim that you won’t get anywhere else.

Get involved HERE.

- - -

VENUES

My three fav venues.

Empty Bottle always feels cosy to me and honest in the sense that It doesn’t try to be anything that it’s not. It hosts dope shows of all sizes. Also the restaurant next door BITE is delicious.

Subterranean has a special spot in my heart, being the first real venue I saw a show at in Chicago. Despite the stairs, you can definitely count on catching dope events here weekly, then wander out into Six Corners, get a slice from DIMO’s and get into some shit.

Lincoln Hall is the best sounding venue in Chicago in my opinion. Love performing here and seeing shows here as well.

- - -

LABEL

Is it weird to say my own...? Ha! Well, besides my label Sooper Records, which I obviously love, Grandpa Bay was a Record Label and venue that is now defunct. RIP. Although they may not be active their Bandcamp is full of so many Chicago gems. Records by artists that I love.

Two of the main folks I want to highlight that are Jamarcus Drake and Nate Amos both proficient geniuses in my opinion.

Jamarcus of Evasive Backflip, Opposites, Anthony Freemonts Garden Solutions span across so many different sounds all very unique and special. There is truly no one else like him. Definitely freaky business going on in his brain.

Nate Amos of Opposites, This is Lorelei, Thanks for Coming and Water From your eyes, is one of the most brilliant songwriters and also recording engineers I've ever met. They are both multi instrumentalists and savants.

People should definitely know who both of them are.

- - -

- - -

'BRAT' is out now.

Join us on the ad-free creative social network Vero, as we get under the skin of global cultural happenings. Follow Clash Magazine as we skip merrily between clubs, concerts, interviews and photo shoots. Get backstage sneak peeks, exclusive content and access to Clash Live events and a true view into our world as the fun and games unfold.

 

-

Join us on VERO

Join the Clash mailing list for up to the minute music, fashion and film news.