Chicago Underground Venues
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  1. #1
    Tech Wizard
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    Default Chicago Underground Venues

    Hey guys,

    Im looking for places in Chicago that I could play at. I would love for it to be somewhere underground where I could build a following with listeners.

    Any suggestions on where to turn to?

  2. #2
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    a few years ago, when i was a competitive cyclist that trained 20+ hours a week, i would often find myself staring outside my window when it was pouring rain. the question always was asked "should i go out to today, even though its 10 C and raining sideways"?

    my coach would always tell me "the only way for you to know if its bad weather to go out and train, is if you kit up, get on your bike, ride for 4 hours, and come home".

    followed by "its only after you've completed your ride that you'll know if the weather was too bad to train".

    i think the same pathology could apply here. take some risks, go out and talk to people, become part of the scene. if it doesn't work out, then that is when you know that you have to move on and try another angle
    Technics 1210 / Pioneer plx 1000 / Xone 42 / Adam a3x / UA apollo twin / Maschine mikro / Ableton live 9 / Maschine 2 / MBP Retina, 15-inch, Mid 2015

  3. #3
    Tech Wizard
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    I see what you mean here. I like that look on it. What would be the best way to get into the scene? i was thinking about getting a job somewhere like that to begin with.

  4. #4
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    tbh, im not sure. i think everyones path is unique. but that would be a logical place to start.

    In my own experience, i got a small taste of the underground scene here in the bay area and found out that its not really what i thought it would be. So instead I'm putting most of my effort into production with my goal to try to make the highest quality music that i am capable of doing.
    Technics 1210 / Pioneer plx 1000 / Xone 42 / Adam a3x / UA apollo twin / Maschine mikro / Ableton live 9 / Maschine 2 / MBP Retina, 15-inch, Mid 2015

  5. #5
    Tech Guru Kwal's Avatar
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    go out and talk to people. go to spybar, go to estate, go to primary, go to la social, etc

    you cant go into these places with the mentality that they should be lucky to have you in there and they need to approach you and ask you about music. you're a casual customer until they see you out every week supporting their parties.. and then you can let them know what you do as they start to notice you and talk to you more. this city isnt easy, you need to meet people, and be introduced to more people and that is a very lengthy process.. and if you decide you arent into that and become a dick then you'll surely be shunned from the scene by those who are "big" in the fantasy world that is "industry"

  6. #6
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    I see that I have to earn my place in this city. I fully agree with that. From what i have learned, the underground scene really is underground haha. I didn't know what I got myself into at first but I still want to give it my all to push into the scene.

    What day would be the best to go? I would like to go on a day thats not packed, so I get noticed and could talk with people and connect with them personally.

  7. #7
    Tech Guru guiltyblade's Avatar
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    I moved to Chicago in about 2008 and stayed for about 1.5-2 years in that time I was able to play at spybar, what was vision/castle/i don't know anymore, soundbar, and smartbar etc.

    When I first got there I knew absolutely nobody. Literally no one. I did meetup.com groups to meet people, it sucked, there were a lot of weird people, but from that I did meet people in the same boat, and people who were really cool (still very good friends today with them). Got to know people and started the basic play at house parties to get to know people. This worked well as I got my name passed around. I got a break playing at Lokal in wicker park once a month Thursday (funky house) and created a following. From there I handed out business cards, invited people out, connecting and playing here and there. I never really played for "free" other then maybe the initial first play. When I played that first gig I texted, called, whatever to get as many people out as I could to show I had a following. That landed me regular gigs. I ended up with a residency at ohm in wicker park opening with house music to warm up for top 40 and hip hop at night Friday and Saturday. It wasn't ideal but it opened all the door to play much better gigs and the music I wanted. So I hate to say you have to sell your soul a little but I did. I didn't play completely outside of what I played but I took gigs that weren't exactly what I wanted to start, I took some gigs that totally sucked and some that were awesome. Eventually I got to play what I wanted after creating a following and a sound. I unfortunately left Chicago for a job in San Francisco but I created the same network here too.

    The main thing with Chicago though is get ready to say yes to go out and party all the time. The connected people are out all friday and Saturday. Its gonna cost you paying to get into lots of clubs, and paying for drinks for people. Just the name of the game.

  8. #8
    Tech Guru 3heads's Avatar
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    I think becoming a part of the scene is essential everywhere. Go out a lot, meet people. Maybe consider working at a club you like?
    13,3" MacBookPro (Mid 2012) # 2x Technics 1210 # NI Audio 8 DJ # Ecler Nuo 2.0 # NI Traktor Kontrol X1 # Sennheiser HD-25
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  9. #9
    Tech Guru Kwal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by guiltyblade View Post
    I moved to Chicago in about 2008 and stayed for about 1.5-2 years in that time I was able to play at spybar, what was vision/castle/i don't know anymore, soundbar, and smartbar etc.

    When I first got there I knew absolutely nobody. Literally no one. I did meetup.com groups to meet people, it sucked, there were a lot of weird people, but from that I did meet people in the same boat, and people who were really cool (still very good friends today with them). Got to know people and started the basic play at house parties to get to know people. This worked well as I got my name passed around. I got a break playing at Lokal in wicker park once a month Thursday (funky house) and created a following. From there I handed out business cards, invited people out, connecting and playing here and there. I never really played for "free" other then maybe the initial first play. When I played that first gig I texted, called, whatever to get as many people out as I could to show I had a following. That landed me regular gigs. I ended up with a residency at ohm in wicker park opening with house music to warm up for top 40 and hip hop at night Friday and Saturday. It wasn't ideal but it opened all the door to play much better gigs and the music I wanted. So I hate to say you have to sell your soul a little but I did. I didn't play completely outside of what I played but I took gigs that weren't exactly what I wanted to start, I took some gigs that totally sucked and some that were awesome. Eventually I got to play what I wanted after creating a following and a sound. I unfortunately left Chicago for a job in San Francisco but I created the same network here too.

    The main thing with Chicago though is get ready to say yes to go out and party all the time. The connected people are out all friday and Saturday. Its gonna cost you paying to get into lots of clubs, and paying for drinks for people. Just the name of the game.
    perfect advice

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