An Interview with Chris Kramer of Slushy

Slushy is the enigmatic solo project of musician Chris Kramer, a Chicago-based musician who has cultivated acclamation  through both his solo work and as a member of The Lemons.  Kramer has been releasing work under Slushy since 2012, the most recent being “Chris Twist Single,” which is comprised of the tracks “A Garden Grows” and “Don’t Get Me.”

The sunny and infectious nature of “Don’t Get Me” draws the ears of listeners in the same way a plot cliffhanger on a television show draws the mind: the individual is left wanting more. The song’s cheerful, plucky guitar riff is sonically juxtaposed with a resonant bass line, and the nexus is complimentary in a way that makes the track thoroughly artistically engaging. “A Garden Grows” seamlessly bonds rock and roll and whimsy; its warm and rhythmic nature not only displays dynamic innovation, but invokes a sense of pleasantry.

The music of Slushy is notable because each and every individual track sonically stands out in its own way.  The body of work Kramer generated is unique and creative as hell-two characteristics that are essential for musical longevity and artistic distinction.

AMPLIFY had the opportunity to chat with Kramer about the creative work behind Slushy, Chicago’s artistic community, as well as his next album, “Hello, I’m Chris Twist” is set for release in cassette form on Tripp Tapes on May 19th.  Read on to learn more about one of the most unique musical acts to come to fruition in Chicago’s rock and roll renaissance.

AMPLIFY: What’s the origin story of Slushy?

CK: Slushy started after I moved to Chicago in 2009. I had a guitar and sampler and a headful of tunes and started recording songs in my kitchen and playing solo shows around town in order to make friends. I made some really good friends who encouraged me to keep going. So far no one has told me to stop going.

AMPLIFY: What moves you to create?

CK: Boredom. I’d rather be doing something and not nothing, and I’d rather be making music than most other things.

AMPLIFY: How have your artistic objectives evolved over time?

CK: I suppose when I first started I was just trying to make myself happy, then I realized my music could make other people happy. Now I am trying to do both.

AMPLIFY: Do you have a favorite memory from any of your live performances?

CK: There was one show we played in a basement of an old punk house in my home town of Omaha and there were a whole bunch of people there, including my uncle Bill, but I didn’t find out he was there until a few months later when I was talking to my mom. He lived right around the corner and snuck in and stood in the corner and didn’t say hi. That was a great time.

AMPLIFY: What aspect of your creative work are you most proud of?

CK: I like it when I have an idea for a song in my head and then I record it and it sounds just like that idea, but I really love it when it comes out ever weirder and therefore better than I’d imagined.

AMPLIFY:  In your opinion, what’s the most unique aspect of Chicago’s creative community?

CK: Chicago has a real build-each-other-up aspect to it that I don’t know really exists elsewhere. Maybe it’s just my interpretation of it, but it seems like no one is trying to tear down other bands or getting jealous or being petty. Everyone is stoked on what everyone else is doing and as a result everyone is making great art and being their truest self.

AMPLIFY: Which artists have been the most impactful to you, both as an individual and as a musician?

CK:  I saw Weezer when I was 15 and Jonathan Richman when I was 18, and first heard Nobunny when I was 26. I also spent a lot of time watching “Kids in the Hall” and “The Simpsons” in my formative years. I don’t know how to separate myself as an individual from myself as a musician.

AMPLIFY: What is your creative process like when developing new material?

CK: Usually I’ll go for a walk and start singing my thoughts out loud. “Hey that dog is really scruffy, give him a bath and I bet he’d be fluffy” for example. Then when I get back home I’ll try to put that tune to music. All of my favorite songs were written this way.

AMPLIFY: What emotions or feeling do you hope people experience when listening to Slushy?

CK: I hope people listen to Slushy with a smile on their face, but a lot of the songs are secretly kinda sad too, so maybe a teary eyed smile. I’m sure there’s a German word for it, any German readers should write in and tell us what it is!

AMPLIFY: Lastly, what’s coming up next for Slushy?

CK: I have a new album coming out on my birthday that is called “Hello, I’m Chris Twist.” It has some of my favorite songs on it. I’m about to head out on a li’l tour on the West Coast and back with my dear friend Jason Steady. Then I’ll be playing lots more shows and fighting off the boredom writing more music. I’d like to make music videos, I’ve never done that, and any readers who are good at making music videos should write in as well!

To listen to more of Slushy, click here.

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