FEATURE // THE RIGHT NOW @ MOTR 3/30

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pictured: the right now

Into some good pop/soul music? Like bands that are fronted by an incredible female singer? If you’re nodding your head yes, then The Right Now is the band you should be listening to right now. This pop/soul band from Chicago is fronted by the lovely Stefanie Berecz and is powered by six talented musicians, Brendan O’Connell (keys/guitar), Chris Corsale (guitar), Greg Nergaard (bass), Lucas Gillan (drums), Caleb Mitchell (trumpet) and Jim Schram (tenor sax).

They are currently on tour in support of their new album ‘Starlight’ that came out last month, Feburary 24th. They will be performing tonight at Motr Pub!

This awesome band was so kind to answer some of our questions. Check out the interview below:

First off, tell us about The Right Now. How did it all get started?

We’re a pop/soul band from Chicago. Stef and I met in 2006 and have been happily making music together ever since. I’ll never forget the day we met. I was playing in a bar and she was there eating dinner with her family. The owners knew Stef and told me that she was a great singer, so I invited her up to the stage for a few Aretha tunes. I was immediately floored and knew she was a one-of-a-kind talent. The rest of the band members have signed on at various moments as we’ve evolved over the years.

Can you tell us a bit about your sound? With the new album ‘Starlight’, I kept getting a pop / r&b soul sound, which I was loving by the way.

You are definitely on the right track. I think we’ve always tended to put ourselves in the “soul” category, but this new album is firmly in the pop world. It was a natural progression for the band and I love where we ended up. Stef is an incredible singer and I think she shines when melodies are really strong and hooks are big (which is what pop music is all about). We made a conscious decision on this album to do everything we could to put her voice, the lyrics, and the hooks front and center. Since we have a traditional soul rhythm section along with a horn section I think it still trends toward the soul/pop genre.

Mentioning ‘Starlight’ earlier, it’s your third album that came out last month, can you tell us a bit about this album? What’s the idea and concept behind it? Also, what makes it different from the last two albums? 

The idea behind the title was multi-faceted. We thought a lot about the night sky as a unifying element in a often divided and fractured world. Stars are also an ancient system of navigation and provide a kind of “leadership” (something we are sorely in need of at this moment in time). As I mentioned the musical goal was to push Stef and the strong hooks to the center of the stage. We ended up recording this album three separate times: once with Chicago producer Neil Strauch (Iron & Wine, Andrew Bird); once on our own in our rehearsal studio; and finally with Chicago producer Vijay Tellis-Nayak. Vijay did our first album (2010’s Carry Me Home) so it was a comfortable and warm homecoming of sorts to do this album together. The arrangements were painstakingly crafted by the band and Vijay’s guidance was instrumental to honing the sound.

What’s your favorite single off this album? 

Personally I love ‘Up All Night’. Although there are tunes with deeper lyrical meaning on this album, ‘Up All Night’ is probably the most dance, disco thing we’ve ever put out. The snare sound alone makes me so happy every time I hear it (Lucas put a wallet, tape, and cell phone on his snare during the recording session to give it that thuddy, deep tone). The coda after Chris’ guitar breakdown was something the band agonized over for months. We finally agreed on the chord changes and vibe of the section and I just love it.

What can one expect from going to The Right Now show?

Deep satisfaction on all levels. Seriously. We look good (suits for the guys, sparkly dress or something of the sort for Stef), sound good (the band is firing on all cylinders on tour), and bring a joyful exuberance to the stage. I think there’s something for everyone to latch on to: big hooks and sing-a-long moments, up-tempo dance tunes, meaningful lyrics, and a keen sense of arrangement and harmony. That last bit is important. We’re trying to bring back the pop music of the 70s and 80s, when you could have an awesome chorus and catchy parts with more than the same 3 or 4 chords that every other song has (think Quincy Jones, Michael Jackson, etc). We’re not trying to play jazz by any means but we aren’t afraid of jazz chords. 

If you could play / open / headline a show with anyone who would that be? Can be living or dead.

This is seriously a great question and I’m sure the entire band would have fun giving answers. Here are a few folks:

BRO: one of my first musical obsessions was Jeff Buckley. I was so captivated by his story (early death like his dad), his talent, and his songs. It would be incredible to do a bill together.

Chris: for experience, Prince. Although I would get my ass kicked (as in Prince would be so damn amazing–so Prince–that it would be embarrassing to be on the same stage).

Along with seeing their performance tonight at Motr, you can check out The Right Now at their website and check out their single ‘Up All Night’ below.