Starting off, it is fantastic to be writing again. After a month-long hiatus, interviewing Poor Calvin for an album release and show is exactly what the music doctor ordered. Before we get into the interview with the guys, let us have an introduction to the four-piece band.
Poor Calvin consists of old soul singer-songwriter, Brian Doherty (vocals, rhythm guitar); modern indie rock mastero Evan Optiz (guitar), Kevin McMahon (bass), and Jimmy Kowalczyk (percussion). Ironically enough, Doherty's abilities span beyond the stage with a mic and guitar in hand as he is also the pitcher on our softball team in the Irving Park neighborhood of the city. The guys were kind enough to take some time to answer a few questions about the album release, their roots, and what they have their eyes on in the next year. Here is what they had to say.
What does it feel like to finally have this release under your belts and ready for everyone?
"We are feeling great about this release. It is a big milestone for us. It is our first, and we were lucky enough to pull some talented engineers and friends on the record. We decided early this year that we would focus on putting out a solid album that people would enjoy and want to get behind. The feedback we received from the singles was far more than we anticipated. It makes us feel like the effort was well worth it!"
Where did you draw your inspirations from for the album? Is there a central theme?
"It is hard to place where the inspiration roots itself. At least from a lyrical perspective, the theme combinations of [Brian's] perspectives, hopes, and fears over the last four years is a substantial foundation. Musically we all have influences that bleed out from different tracks. 'Faith,' for example, is from listening to a ton of Julien Baker. Jimmy's drumming influenced the upbeat feel of 'Sleepless Lullaby' and 'What for?' I [Brian] specifically remember Evan and I [Brian] laughing about how we turned 'I Think I'm Fine' into a Thin Lizzy track. These are just some examples of where we draw our inspirations. However, our influences are all over the place from indie rock to jazz."
Poor Calvin... what's the story behind the name?
"Jimmy and I [Brian] use to work at a music shop together in Lombard, Illinois. The week I [Brian] started, there was a younger guy named Calvin. He was put in the guitar section, which he knew very little about - period. One day he kept breaking strings and having to restring guitars. So he walked over to the manager, and quit on the spot. Calvin if your reading this for some reason, we are so sorry."
What's the plan for the next year with the band? Do you have any short or long-term milestones you hope to achieve?
"Most of our goals are a bit data-based, specifically with hitting the marks we set for ourselves on streaming sites. We want to keep building our following, and it would be awesome to have our first small tour and spot in a local festival by next summer."
And there you have it, they are named Poor Calvin. Their album release goes live on Spotify, Friday, and showtime at 365viii starts at 7 PM! Make sure to follow them on their Facebook, Bandcamp, and Instagram pages to know what the guys are up to next!