The Alright Maybes are a Chicago-based band who enjoy making funky tunes that get people on the dance floor. The band consists of Angela Reinhart (lead singer), Luke Ray (guitar, vocals, and percussion), Aidan Epstein (bass) and Julian Daniell (vocals, keys and percussion). They cross paths with many different genres and like to experiment with this. The rise of the “neo soul” and “neo funk” trend in the 2020s is something that the Alright Maybes take a lot of influence from. Music from previous decades still holds a powerful influence on the music of The Alright Maybes. They play at venues all around Chicago and get to establish close connections with their fans and everyone all around the city of Chicago.
Their newest EP “Blue Sky Thinking” is on all streaming platforms.
What is the story behind the name, “The Alright Maybes?”
Julian: “Alright Maybe” That’s what we all said when we asked each other if they wanted to join the band.
Angie: I had a note in my phone of “band names” and “Alright Maybes” was the top name on that list. Luke also said he wrote it in his phone somewhere.
Luke: I don’t remember, I think I just wrote it down somewhere.
Angie: We all knew each other and had mutual friends but remet at a music tavern called Moe’s. I called it a vortex, it was really cool that all of the connections we had collided and came together. For this band to happen, each one of us had to be involved somehow.
Angie: Music makes us light, so why not make other people feel light!
On your Spotify profile, you guys describe your style as “A tug of war between the U.K. 60s and U.S. 90s, standing on modern ground.” Who are some of your biggest musical influencers?
Luke: What’s cool about this band is that we all come from a very different angle. We all come from a very different angle. The Beatles gets into everything somehow. I love British music in general.
Angie: Luke was invaded! They use American songs and have a British Twist. I am a huge Beatles freak as well. We are hugely inspired by 60s and 70s rock and roll. My family did a lot of 60s rock and roll, they were in a band so I would listen to that. I love that rock and roll and blues, I take a lot from the 90s too. Gwen Stefani, Fiona Apple. Back to the Beatles, the chord changes alone and the structure of their songs is such an influence on my songs
Julian: A lot of the songs I write are structure wise and vocally wise are from a 60s soul lens, Led Zeppelin is my all time favorite soul band. Zeppelin is like the only band that has maintained that state. There is still so much that you don’t know about these guys.
Aidan: I don’t really write compositionally, I do help arrange stuff. I definitely loved 2000s indie and alt stuff. I loved the Strokes. Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist, I definitely take a lot of inspiration from them. (Angie) says that Aidan does a lot of blues and rnb gigs and plays in church as well.
Luke: Julian and Aidan do a nice job adding a swing and syncopation to the music: We put a lot of work into the arrangements.
Chicago is such a huge epicenter for all different kinds of music, including blues and rock and roll. Your style is self-described as “Chicago Rock and Roll.” What does “Chicago Rock and Roll” mean?
Julian: I’ve always thought of “Chicago Rock and Roll” as heavy. I think of bands like the Smashing Pumpkins. I think maybe thats outdated now. Chicago Rock used to be distortion and heavy drums, but I think its moving away from that nowadays.
Luke: The more objective answer would be “I don’t know.” Chicago music is kind of a mixed bag.
Aidan: A big part of our band formation was playing every Sunday night at Moe’s Tavern. If you were to be at Moe’s on a Sunday night, you would hear what Chicago rock sounds like. It was a good incubator for a Chicago rock sound.
Angie: I feel like there is this huge indie pop scene too. There is a root of rhythm and blues and surburban teenage angst.
How has the city of Chicago influenced your creative process?
Luke: There are so many subconscious influences in music. We are in the new 80s right now. Especially when we look at the calendar at Schubas, we see one or two people with a synthesizer. That’s where I think about indie pop coming into play.
Angie: I would write a lot of poetry on the way to school on the train. I would write a lot about what I saw out the window.
Luke: I think of a lot of songs and stuff when I walk to work. A lot of the musicians I know in Chicago are involved in multiple different projects. You can’t meet up all the time and you have to get stuff done in a short amount of time. A lot of musicians are busy in this town. We all live in the city limits and rent is high, we all do whatever we can to support what we do. You gotta be a warrior to live here. Everyone here just wants to play music. We just need to play. We need to express and feed our souls.
Angie: There is something about the Midwest and the grind that we do to live our dreams. There is also a sense of Midwestern Idealism. I have to work so hard in order to make my dreams a reality. This attitude makes our pursuits fun and exhilarating. There’s this realness in Chicago that sounds like no other.
What is your songwriting process and creative process like? Do you guys usually come up with the melody to a song or the lyrics first?
Luke: Its never the same. Songwriting Processes are never the same. It takes a lot of work for me at first. Its a lot of trial and error, it does take a lot of work.
Julian: I write something on the piano and the guitar and then I stop and write the lyrics.
Angie: I usually sing the first thing that comes out of my head. It takes a while to go back and think about the story, There are rare times where it all bubbles up out of me, it’s a rare bird
What’s your favorite song/best song you have recorded?
Luke: The two recordings I’m most happy with are “Hurt” and “The Man who Played the Part” We recorded them in a cabin in Wisconsin.
Julian: I really loved “Blue Sky Thinking”. The atmosphere of the song was just how we wanted it.
In your career thus far, what was the moment that the band realized they were committed to music?
Angie: Have we ever not been committed? Maybe when we all went down to Nashville. When we did that, we were driving a few hundred miles to go down there and play for nobody. If we were willing to spend 8 hours in the car with each other, I think that means we are committed.
Luke: We were investing into the product, reinventing the product and bringing the family closer
Julian: The fact that we always rehearsed from like 8 am to 1 am and not missed showed that we were committed.
You guys are a Chicago based band and have played gigs at venues all over Chicago. What is your favorite gig you have played and why?
Aidan: We love them all equally! Cubby Bear Treats their artists really well. They take care of us, they feed us, they treat us like we are an act from out of town. The reason we love a gig could be different every time. We had such a packed crowd from Kohls bar in Logan Square
What would you say to your younger selves?
Luke: I would say learn how to play other peoples music really well and then stop learning other people’s music and write your own.
Julian: I was really afraid of being bad. It’s okay to be bad at first.
Angie: Don’t try to mold yourself to other people’s opinion of popular music. If you stand out, that’s what is important. That’s what I do it for, you know, is not blending in.
Aidan: It is really important to capitalize on your fanbase and really invest in those personal relationships with your fanbase. Also, be consistent with your branding and don’t change it up too much.