Audiofeed 2018 preview: Qajaq
Photo by Meagan Nystrom
On both occasions of experiencing a live set from ambient songwriter duo Qajaq (pronounced like “kayak”), I was in the living room of experimental cellist/songwriter Xioma in the emerging trendy neighborhood, Old Town East. It was a fitting environment—a certain amount of class yet down to earth and a “come as you are” atmosphere all the same. That’s how I would describe the sound and ambience of Qajaq.
Their performances are simple. A husband and wife, trading vocals as well as organic and electronic guitar parts, weave straightforward soundscapes basking in the glow of white Christmas lights. They keep the vibe down to earth, interacting with the audience on their level—it’s hard to be larger than life in a living room setting anyway. Everything the band offers, from t-shirts to their music itself, is available on a pay what you want basis. They just are stoked to be there with you no matter what.
Tuned Up: Sum up the band’s sound like you’re describing your favorite beverage (hot or cold)
Qajaq; A little sweet with a slight bite, but hopefully it helps quench your thirst.
When’s the last time you were really gripped by a piece of music?
My good friend, Fallon, plays music under the moniker “Every Day.” He played one of his last shows for awhile at flood city fest in Johnstown, PA, and he ended his set with a song he wrote called “There Will Be A Point.” The lyrics and music to that song just really destroyed me.
What do you think of music fans using the term “Stan” to describe being a superfan? I’m behind on Twitter lingo and still forming an opinion.
I’m not familiar with that term. I personally just like saying that I really like something. I don’t need an extra word or term to describe my fandom, but I’m cool if that’s what someone else wants to do.
Who would you like to see play Audiofeed in the future?
If Anathallo played a reunion show that would be killer. Maybe Hammock. One might say that I’m a Hammock Stan. Also a holographic Johnny Cash would be sick.
What’s a hobby you (or someone in your band) enjoys that would surprise people?
I don’t know if this would surprise anybody, but I love Dungeons & Dragons and collecting medieval fantasy miniatures. I love collecting miniatures a lot.
How do you find out about new music?
I honestly sit down at my computer and search music sites. I just got Spotify Premium, so I’m going to see if that helps me discover new music as well. Also my spouse and I have been traveling and playing music since October of last year, so we’ve also been discovering new artists by playing shows with them. So that’s a pretty awesome way to discover new artists.
What releases from 2018 have you enjoyed so far?
My spouse and I have been listening to John Pryne’s new record. He’s still got it! Grouper is an ambient artist who I always love. Her last release was not a disappointment.
Do you have a favorite music festival memory?
I’ve also loved camping out at Audiofeed to play the front porch. I met my good buddy Ritchie from The Lionhearted doing that. A non-Audiofeed memory: Justin Vernon from Bon Iver co-founded a music festival in Eau Clare Wisconsin called Eaux Claires. In summer 2016 Bon Iver played their newest album, 22, A Million, front to back before the album had even been announced.
What’s something about your hometown you’d encourage travelers, whether or not they’re in a touring band, to take advantage of?
I’m from Hinsdale, IL, which is a suburb of Chicago. I don’t have much to say about Hinsdale, but if you’re in Chicago and you eat pizza I’d recommend getting Pequod’s.
Take this moment to tell the people of Tuned Up about what your project has coming up that most excites you.
New Qajaq album in August 2018 called “A Canopy Above Our Endless Sky.” I’ve been working on this one for a bit, and I’m so happy to get it out there.