Interviews

Brother StarRace at Schubas: Praying for meaning

Photo: Meghan Saul

Photo: Megan Saul

Brother StarRace hopes to convey its compassion for music and friendship to you at Schubas in Chicago Wednesday. In fact, banter, laughter and lighthearted friendship was oozing through the conversation I had with Brother StarRace Drummer Scott Paloian, Frontman Richard Juarez and Guitarist Danny Kulasik at West Town bar The Beetle.

Although my relationship with and fandom for the band goes back to college, I felt lucky to get to witness the deliberation between the three before we walked from their retro, ‘70s vibe practice space in West Town, to the bar.

Paloian has a civil engineering job, currently working hours that involve frequent overnight shifts. Juarez has a wife and two babies, and a lot of laundry in his car. Kulasik has jobs at a restaurant and gym. Alongside them are Vocalist Emily Woods, Rhythm Guitarist Justin Doebert and Bassist Anne Debre.

I listened to them coordinate a time to write a new song, and Paloian laughed when they realized that his one free night wouldn’t match up with Juarez’s – because he had outstanding laundry.

So, although Brother StarRace is preparing for Wednesday’s show, the band is excited to keep cracking out new tracks. But when I asked them what they think will make this performance unique, all three agreed that they were most exuberant to be accompanying Jakubi, a soulful band who’s a perfect match for themselves.

“It’s serendipitous to be going into this show, having built a rapport with [Jakubi] the band,” said Kulasik. Jakubi once needed a place to stay, and Kulasik was one of the lucky fraternity brothers the band consulted for exactly that. The extent of that friendship since has been on Facebook, but the guys hope that Jakubi remembers that encounter as the show approaches.

Meanwhile, Passion Prayers has brought the band a sound that moves, said Juarez. They’ve transitioned away from writing more heartfelt, heavy songs, to music that their audience can dance to, and perhaps mosh, Paloian laughed.

However, the title of the album comes from a heartfelt, deep place. Juarez said, “It’s the point in life where you can’t really recite words that can intelligibly describe what you want to say. It can be rage, weeping or joy. That’s the inspiration for our music.”

Former Bassist Becca Brown left the band to pursue comedy, while Juarez’s brother, Raul, left to pursue film. Now, the band is comprised of a group of people who all share a collective passion for music and live performance, hence the EP’s title.

Wednesday’s show is a record label showcase, and it also follows Brother StarRace’s new Spotify presence for its Passion Prayers EP. In the last year and a half the band has developed its sound with new members, Woods, Kulasik and Debre.

“The musical idea and the limit to where we can push ourselves to create that idea has gotten better by pushing each other in a positive sense,” Paloian said of the writing process.

Paloian’s message to aspiring musical artists is, “If you’re going to do it, do it right.” If you notice a song moving exceptionally fast during the concert, Paloian says that’s probably because he really needs to use the restroom.

Check out this fresh band at Schubas on Wednesday, the 20th, alongside Jakubi, AyOH and CYN for just $12!

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