Logan Square has a long-standing reputation for fostering artists and the arts, and in the digital age of DIY, attainable home-based production equipment opens up creative outlets to music-makers. In other words, the next time you can hear your neighbor’s music, ask them to turn it up, it might be a hit in progress!
Sam Gjokaj and Bridget O’Callaghan are living proof that music brings people together.
Gjokaj has lived in Logan Square since ’99, and he moved here to be near the arts scene in Wicker Park. By that time he was already seasoned in Chicago music, playing and recording with several bands, as well as promoting open mic nights throughout Chicago.
Around the same time, O’Callaghan, a classically trained musician, was recording solo albums and performing at open mics around the city. Based on her desire to have more control over the entire creative process, she began to learn mixing and other post-production skills that would serve as a foundation for future projects.
Despite their proximity within the music community, it wasn’t until 2003 that they happened to meet. At an open mic, Gjokaj was compelled to approach O’Callaghan after hearing her perform. They exchanged information and some music. “What really impressed me were mixes,” says Gjokaj about the music O’Callaghan gave him that night.
There was a mutual desire to collaborate, and perhaps the most prominent product of their joint efforts was a band called Onwe (a phonetic play on the French word ennui, meaning artistic boredom.) “I was in sort of an emo phase,” offers O’Callaghan concerning the name choice.
By 2012, Onwe had experienced success, and enough success to cause the pair to consider how it might look to divide the growing spotlight and profits fairly among the band members. In what they call an “immediate, elastic reaction to Onwe,” the couple, who married in 2014, resolved to create a music project that could rest very much on their own musical backgrounds and abilities.
Enter Baby Cuts, the latest of Gjokaj and O’Callaghan’s collaborations. They describe Baby Cuts as “a marriage of organic and electronic music.” Gjokaj and O’Callaghan often record with session musicians, but do a lot of the recording and production independently in their own home studio. Their loft, located in a former warehouse building, houses their recording and production tools, as well a collection of musical curiosities and delights. “Do you know anyone that wants a sitar?” interjects Gjokaj.
Featuring lead vocals by O’Callaghan, Baby Cuts is a groove-laden blend of organic and electronic sounds. Check out Baby Cuts here, and stay tuned for more SOS, where we’ll be featuring fresh music from your neighbors!
Want to be featured in a future edition? We’d love to hear from you! Email [email protected] and include a brief description of your music.