Aktar Aktar is four young men from Chicago who are exploring the boundaries of danceable rock music. They first released a self-titled album which pushed them out of the dingy dive bars where they found their original following. With a core group of high energy fans they had the privilege to play some of the greatest venues Chicago has to offer. Touring all throughout the Midwest at a feverish pace, recently headlining Chicago's legendary Metro last November, Aktar Aktar now brings their unique sound and high-energy stage show to Reggie’s Rock Club this Friday night, January 28th as the band battles for a spot in SXSW. In the meantime, they are also working on their next EP with high hopes of grabbing the attention of a manager/booking agent that will push their careers into deeper waters.
Having recently enjoyed the band’s music for the first time, I contacted bassist, Bradley Haptas, to find out more about the band.
Buzz - What genre of music do you consider your work to be? Who are your major influences?
Bradley - I would say indie rock, but it’s really hard to try to categorize the music with one name. Every one of our songs has a life of its own and sometimes that means moving outside one genre and into another. We all have our own “loves” when it comes to influences; I would say right now that Motown is quickly stealing my heart.
Buzz - What can fans take home with them from your live show?
Bradley - Hopefully they buy a CD! You can really see our personalities come through in our live performance so people will get to know us a little better. You might wake up sore from all the dancing that goes on at our shows. We just want everyone to have a good time. We really enjoy bringing people together.
Buzz - When did you form your band? What inspired you to make music together?
Bradley - Aktar Aktar started about 3 years ago as a 2 piece with Jake Swearson and Jake hoefnagel. They were playing a lot of house parties and smaller bars when they started getting larger and larger crowds every show. I remember Swearson saying he wanted to have a fuller sound, that’s when Tim and I joined. We recently we got a new drummer, Mr. Wes Kosakowski, after Jake H’s departure. We all had the same idea of what we wanted to do musically and the more we did together and the better we became as musicians it just felt right. Now there’s no turning back.
Buzz - Where have you performed? What are your favorite and least favorite venues? Do you have any upcoming shows?
Bradley - We have played all over in Chicago from the Metro to Elbo Room. We did Summerfest in Milwaukee last summer, which was one hell of a time. I don’t know if I have a favorite or least favorite venue. They are just buildings with stages inside to me, what makes the show is the people and magic that happens inside. We are playing at Reggies Rock Club on Jan 28th, it’s a battle of the bands to get into SXSW. After that all we have lined up is time in the studio and hopefully we will be heading to Austin in March.
Buzz - Who writes your songs? What are the main themes or topics for most of your songs? Do you think these topics will change over time?
Bradley - Jake and Wes have been building chord progressions and the basic outline of songs and then we all get together to finish them. I would say, if anything, freedom. Its so open ended we can really develop ideas from it. I’m sure it will change over time.
Buzz - How has your music evolved since you first began playing music together?
Bradley - We are coming up with better concepts and ideas for our songs. When you have really good ideas you can really push yourself to see what’s behind all the doors. Every door you hit is a challenge you need to overcome, and by confronting these challenges, you evolve as musicians.
Buzz - How can fans-to-be gain access to your music?
Bradley - We have a Myspace, a Facebook, and our older music is on ITunes.
Buzz - Is there anyone you'd like to acknowledge for offering financial or emotional support?
Bradley - We would love some financial support! We would thank the shit out of 'em. All our families rule. They are always at our shows doing whatever they can to help. It’s really nice to have people around you that know your dream and will do anything it takes to achieve that dream.
Buzz - Do you have a record label? Are you a member of any music organizations?
Bradley - We do not have a record label or any musical affiliations. We have had companies offer us some things but nothing that we felt would be beneficial at the time. We are going to be pushing to build a team once we finish this new record.
The band is:
Jacob Swearson – guitar/vocals
Timmy Maguire – lead guitar/vocals
Bradley Haptas – bass
Jake Hoefnagel – drums
To find out more about Aktar Aktar visit www.myspace.com/aktaraktar or look for them on Facebook.