Logan Square musician Sean Green grew up in Wilbur, Indiana—and yes, he had a pig named Wilbur, like in “Charlotte’s Web.” He was living the country lifestyle but wanted to expand his horizons and experience a bigger city.
He went to Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana and studied history and unionism. He originally wanted to be a politician but then veered to focusing on unionism and wanting to be a union representative. Then he lived in what he called a “failed commune” for a year with his friends after college and bought his first computer.
Having played the piano when he was younger and the saxophone since he was 8 years old, music was always a part of Green’s life but it became more prominent in the last years of college. He started playing guitar and then slowly bass and drums. He decided to pick it up more seriously and to do that, he needed to move to a bigger city—even though he initially thought Bloomington was like New York, he admitted with a laugh.
“I recorded for a year straight and then was deciding between China, New York, Indianapolis or Chicago,” Green said.
He decided to move to Chicago because his old college roommates had an empty walk-in closet for $200 a month in Humboldt Park. After a couple of years there and working at a sushi bar downtown, he moved to Logan Square with a strong belt wrapped around the local DIY scene that is like one big family.
The indie, “millennial jazz” multi-instrumentalist—who was named by the Chicago Tribune as one of 10 Chicago performers to see this summer—has embedded himself in the music community since being on the West Side, and his versatile skills have come in handy when playing for different groups. Green has worked with Logan acts Paul Cherry, Girl K, Pledge Drive, Flush Drive, Bunny, J. Fernandez, wavy i.d. and more. Throughout all these collaborations, Green has been working on a second EP called “Perfume Hill,” which drops Sept. 28 with a celebration show at Virgin Hotels with DePaul band The Slaps.
Being the obsessive, multi-instrumentalist Green has grown to be, he said he recorded and played all the parts on his new project, partially recording them in his apartment and some at Decade Music Studios and at Palette Studios in Nashville. Finding the right guitar riffs and writing out all the parts was time-consuming, he said, but the packaged six-song EP features new character writing styles and more provoking songs that express familial hardships, heart-triggering lyrics and cathartic sentiments from past experiences. Its heavy jazz sound features wavy interludes layered with Green’s melodic voice that whips the beat back and forth.
“Finding the voices and the riffs I like is a very long process; most of these [songs] I have been working on for up to four years,” he said.
He plans to embark on a two-week tour in August to support the EP, and will play at some favorite cities and experience new ones like Boston and a special private show in Dumbo, New York City.
But in its anticipation, Green is releasing a new single off the project called “Thinkin’ Bout U,” July 28 at The Whistler with another band, Late Night Laundry. This single release show is particularly exciting because Green called “Thinkin Bout U” his best song so far.
“It has a lot of growth in the song; there are a lot of tunes that are special to me,” he said. “It’s a very consistent song [but] it came at a time of crisis. It’s the first song I wrote in Chicago.”
That crisis was the breakup of a relationship and the possibility of visitation after—but all of that was captured by a car accident Green had after dropping off his partner at a train station in Jersey; the initial step of the breakup. It was a wild and emotional moment, he said, and it fueled the beginnings of the song.
“Getting hit by the car knocked all of the emotion out of me,” Green said. “As soon as I calmed down after the accident, I was not over the breakup but I did not have any tears left for it. It felt like somebody hit me hard.”
It was a hit that represented his own relationship growth, which can be heard in the soulful lyrics coupled with harmonic guitar riffs, smooth drum beats and jazz synth sounds. You can catch the song live this weekend at the Whistler for free, and more of Green’s music, like the new single “Driver,” which his band released in June at Cole’s.
If you go: Sean Green, Late Night Laundry / Sunday, July 28 / 9 p.m. / The Whistler / FREE
Featured photo: Henry Smith