An Interview with Teddy Appert of The Bingers

 

There’s something effortlessly likable about the music of The Bingers. The skillful Chicago-based trio – comprised of Teddy Appert, Ronnie Appert, and Jack Callahan – have succeeded in masterfully blending classic and contemporary musical elements to cultivate a sound that is distinctly their own.

Sonically comparable to some of the early pioneers of American rock ‘n’ roll, the music of The Bingers contains a welcome authenticity that both warms and connects with the soul instantaneously – something that has been ever present throughout the entirety of their discography, up to Stay Satisfied, the band’s most recent release.

Stay Satisfied yields a variety of standout tracks, including “Blues #1.” Delightfully jaunty, it contains an insatiably addictive quality to it that keeps the ear begging for more. Moreover, this particular track immaculately encapsulates The Bingers’ ability to create an intriguing musical nexus between older and more recently emerging musical elements, something that has and will long serve the band well: the classic element makes their work instantaneously appealing, but the individualistic and modern twist they bestow upon it makes The Bingers stand out, and, subsequently, memorable as hell.

Of a similar vein is “Simone,” a track that boasts a finely mastered hybrid of authority and charm. In addition to containing exciting melodic interplay, the light, stylistic nature of the vocals is rivetingly juxtaposed by the richly rhythmic nature of the music, thus making way for a nuanced listening experience. 

The blatant proficiency that lies within the music of The Bingers stems from their ability to not only achieve auditory distinction, but their vast attention to detail as well – something that is immediately proven evident by listening to any song within their highly multifaceted discography. Exuding groove, The Bingers seem to play with a clear conviction. Their work effortlessly combines goodness with grit, adding a unique edge into the sheer musical delight they create.

Teddy Appert was kind enough to not only answer some questions for AMPLIFY, but allow us to share the music video for “Blues #1” as well. Read on, friends.

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AMPLIFY: What’s the origin story of The Bingers?

Appert:  The Bingers started around 6 years ago. I’d recently moved to Chicago where Ronnie and Jack had already been living.  We decided to rent a house together and start a band as something to do after work.  We all had previous experience writing songs on guitar, and so when the first time came to practice, we just all showed up with guitars.  We kinda scratched our heads a little and thought how we could make it work.  I had an old drum set from a previous band, so we set that up and started taking turns on drums-kinda learning as we went along, and using the tom toms to help make up some low end for the lack of bass.

AMPLIFY: How would you articulate the band’s artistic growth?

Appert: When we first started it was basically just  “let’s try to play a song together.”  We all more or less had an idea of what we wanted this band to sound like individually- and so each of our songs kinda leaned one way or the other.  The more we wrote together and listened to like-minded bands, the more comfortable we became with growing into what was possible with our set up and writing toward that kind of vibe.

AMPLIFY: If you could create the music festival of your dreams, which artist(s) would headline and why?

Appert: Hmm. Not really into festivals.  They’re kinda like all you can eat buffets. It can be appealing, but it’s kind of gross. That said, if it were the festival of my dreams, it’d be all my favorite bands, and they’d all ask the Bingers to open for each of them, and everyone would be like “THIS IS SOOOO COOL!” and it’d raise enough money to give everyone in the world a living wage.

AMPLIFY: I really love the “Classic Hits” album you guys have on bandcamp. Would you say that The Bingers are sonically influenced from the music of that era?

Appert: Thanks!  And yes! – although there’s a couple eras represented on that album.  We just called it “Classic Hits” because they are classic to us.   The Gun Club had their heyday in the 80s,  and while Jessie Mae Hemphill played in the late 60s, her recording career also began in the 80s.   But yea, the 50s and 60s r&b and early rocknroll are definitely influential to this band, and I personally love the droning boogey of Mississippi hill country blues.

AMPLIFY: Which aspect of the creative process do you find the most joy within?

Appert: I think it varies a little between the band.  Ronnie used to say performing was his favorite.  I really love the writing part. It’s like a puzzle how to unify all the elements of the song. We usually do the recording ourselves vs being in a studio.  We’ll start with one melody or rhythm and get a solid base. Then from there it’s really cool how you can intertwine another melody and take the whole thing in a new direction.  Like two or three really simple parts can sound really cool together. It doesn’t have to be complicated.

AMPLIFY: If you could change one facet of the contemporary music industry, what would it be and why?

Appert:  Hmmmm.  I dunno. I’m not sure we have much contact with the contemporary music industry. When I hear that, I envision Big Nashville or songwriter think tank teams. From what I’ve read, I could say something like “it used to be simpler/easier/ better before this or that happened” but really I’ve only my own experience to go from. But I guess in my perfect world, emerging musicians would be more fairly compensated at shows.  Nothing like having to leave your real job early to make soundcheck at 5:00 pm, playing to a large crowd, packing your gear back up at 2:00 am and making $100 to split 3 ways.  I know “it’s not about the money, maaaan”  but a more considerate  payout system would be cool.

AMPLIFY: In your opinion, what is the most unique aspect of Chicago’s creative community?

Appert: Chicago has a lot of really talented people- that’s for sure.   I’ve never been as involved or active within any other city’s music scene, so it’s hard to compare. There’s always like 10 shows going on at once, every day of the week- and that’s just in the scenes I’m familiar with- which is increasingly shrinking.   It’s great to get out and see what your peers are doing- it’s fun, and it helps to navigate your own kinda vibe or where you stand in it all.  The flip side to all that awesomeness is that it can be overwhelming.  Like there’s sooo much going on it becomes the rat race you initially were trying to escape. You feel bad for having to pick and choose between certain bands/friends shows. Or you get strung out from trying to do it all whereas it never really ends.  We’re kind of a homebodies too- like we’d rather smoke a joint and play music or record in the basement than party all the time.  But then that awkward time comes where you’ve spent the last few weeks ditching everyone else’s show to prepare for your own and it’s like- “Hey remember me?”   It’s a delicate social balancing act.

AMPLIFY: How have the band’s creative objectives evolved over time?

Appert: When we started, we were literally just trying to fill a set list.  We had a show booked before we even had any songs. I wouldn’t recommend that.  It made everything seem like playing catch up. We were trying to write and record, but at the same time we were getting asked to play really cool shows that we didn’t want to turn down. Strike while the iron is hot ya know?  For a while, all we could do was 3 or 4 songs here or there on various EPs.  Almost 5 years later we released our debut LP.  But in that time span we’ve learned a lot about how to better function together as a unit. For better or worse, we’ve sorta finally figured out our wheelhouse.

AMPLIFY:  As a band, which aspect of your work are you most proud of?

Appert:  I think the three of us would agree that aside from making our last album “Stay Satisfied” we’re proud of the unique things we’ve experienced.  We’ve shared bills with the bands who’ve inspired us.  We’ve been to cool cities. We’ve gotten a surprising amount of licensing placements for a band of our size and style. We’ve played live on Chicago radio.  We’ve met a lot of fun and  talented people. It’s been a good ride.

AMPLIFY: Lastly, what’s coming up next for The Bingers?

Appert: We’ve got a couple videos in the works- one is a badass animated video for Big Operation, and the other I’m sharing with you now! Our friend Ryan Andrew put it together for Blues#1 and we think it’s sweet. Really captures the vibe.  We’ve also got the bones for a second LP whether we record it or not.  Our time with this lineup is fleeting; Jack may be moving away next spring. We’ve joked about two LPs and then a greatest hits record of regurgitated material from the two LPs, so maybe we’ll follow through on that.

 

Aaand now…we are SO stoked to share the music video for “Blues #1,” put together by Ryan Andrew! Enjoy!

 

To learn more about The Bingers and listen to their awesome tunes, click here to visit their bandcamp page.

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