Formed in the early part of 2012, Chicago rockers Chinatown Security have set about pursuing their musical vision from a young age. In just two years the self-proclaimed ‘desert-rockers’ have honed an original and intriguing blend of blues-infused indie, drawing comparison to the likes of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and The Raconteurs.
Please list all of your band members and their roles in the band.
- Blake Sokoloff- Vocals and Bass (Blake is the one doing this interview)
- Austin Fite- Vocals and Guitar
- Avery Millard- Guitar
- Dylan Byrne- Drums
For starters, what bands were you guys a part of prior to Chinatown Security How long has the band been around?
Chinatown Security has been around since early 2012 when Austin, Blake, and Dylan were sophomores in high school. Austin and I (Blake) had been in a few ‘bands’ in the years before that but Chinatown Security is the first band that stuck together for more than a few weeks
What’s the origin of that name and have you changed the band’s name before?
Dylan and Austin took a fieldtrip for their chinese class to Chinatown in Chicago, and when they got there, there was an empty wooden shack the size of a phone booth that just said ‘SECURITY’ across the top and the name ‘Chinatown Security’ just kinda stuck after that.
Who writes your songs? What are the main themes or topics for most of your songs and do you think these topics will change over time?
Well songs usually start when Austin or Avery come up with a riff or chord progression. Then after the song has a bit more structure, Dylan and I or any combination of the two of us sit down and write the lyrics to the songs. Right now most of our songs are just kind of about being a teenager and the choices and stories that go along with the parties and relationships and lifestyle of being a teenager.
What bands are currently inspiring the music that you’re making?
Queens of the Stone Age, Royal Blood, and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club are pretty big musical influences of the band right now. Royal Blood’s new debut is been pretty much all I’ve been listening to since it was first released, I think it’s a genius record. Our new EP that we just finished recording takes some lyrical inspiration from bands like the Vines and the Dandy Warhols. I just love the way Courtney Taylor- Taylor from the Warhols writes his lyrics and the very roundabout way he gets his point across.
Was there a particular band/artist or concert that inspired you to start a band?
When we were freshman Dylan and I saw Paul McCartney play at Wrigley Field and that show was what made me realize that making music was what I wanted to dedicate my life to, because for me seeing the way 60,000 people were so moved by this mans music was really cool for me and I just want to have that effect on as many people as I can with our music. Then later that year I discovered the Strokes and that was the first time I formed a really personal connection with a band which kind of cemented my desire to be in a serious rock band.
What do you do to prepare for a show? Any flexing, exercises, ect …
What I like to do before a show is pull up a Youtube video of one of my favorite bands playing a huge show of theirs to get myself pumped up, Arctic Monkeys headlining Glastonbury 2013 has been my recent go-to show to watch, I know Avery’s pre-show ritual is to drink a bottle of Mountain Dew and to listen to really loud music.
What has been the biggest highlight of the band’s career so far?
A few months back Chinatown Security opened a show at the Chicago House of Blues to a crowd of around 800 people which has been our biggest crowd so far as a band. Playing to that many people has definitely been the highlight for me so far.
If you could tour with any bands, past or present, who would they be and why?
Royal Blood would be amazing to tour with because again, I think their debut is absolutely genius, I’ve seen them live twice and they put on an incredible live show each time. I also think the Vaccines would be a lot of fun to tour with because I just feel like they’re all really chill guys who make amazing music.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
We’ve got an EP coming out in the next few months called ‘This Side of Paradise’. I hope you all give it a listen.
Thanks so much for the interview! It was amazing,
Blake Sokoloff and the rest of Chinatown Security