Mind Over Matter: Chicago’s Newest Rock Band MIND is “Dirty, Youthful and Free”
MIND is on the verge of releasing their debut EP that’s inspired by their artistic influences growing up. We had the chance to sit down with the band to talk about the band’s origins, influences behind their debut self-titled EP and the fun-filled introspective of their songwriting processes.
MIND is Chicago’s latest hard rock band to come out of the city’s underground scene that gets audiences blood pumping at live shows. The band conveys nothing short of a unification of 90s aesthetics, scruffy guitars and lovesick, grunge vocals.
The band met through going to local house shows and bonding over their favorite artists. MIND is made up of John Schultz (bass), Nicky Blake (drums), Brandon Todosijevic (vocals and rhythm guitar) and Jake Ingram Barnard (lead guitar).
MIND is reframing the way underground hard rock and live shows are played throughout the city.
“I feel like there's a lot of stuff in the rock world coming out right now and I just want to bring like a thorough fuckin set of songs. Get some blood pumping. Also a lot of ambiguity between love and the government and oneself,” Schultz said.
[COSY]: How did you first start in the music industry? Can you give our readers a general background of your breakthrough? How did the band come together?
[BRANDON]: The beginning of 2021, Jake and I moved in together and initially planned on jamming on some acoustics and he had a solo project out already. Then it turned into something a bit more than we expected, a bit quicker, and that’s how we met John and Blake.
[JAKE]: I’ve known John through university and we jammed in the past together. Then we started playing with Brandon and it was moving along and we were creating songs. We just needed a bassist and drummer to complete the band. We met Blake through pure chance and we just instantly fucking connected. Our first breakthrough was when we decided to host our own gigs and house shows.
[BRANDON]: I met Blake and asked him who he liked or listened to and he said Dave Grohl and that did it for me, ever since then, fucking history.
[COSY]: How did you come up with your stage name? How does it fit as your overall identity as a band?
[JAKE]: I’ve been sitting on the name for a while. It was our Tenacious D moment and the logo just looked sick. The reason we called ourselves MIND was because of our mantras, and we think this has the highest power.
[COSY]: Where did your love of music come from? Do you have any artists that inspire your music either lyrically or instrumentally?
[BLAKE]: I started playing drums when I was six because of the movie School of Rock. I was just watching the School of Rock as a little kid and I was like, damn, Freddie Jones is a little badass. I also listened to a bunch of my dad's rock bands in his car like Incubus, Foo Fighters, so on and so forth.
[JOHN]: I started playing bass before I got a passion in the songwriting process and was doing it for fun. I had no interest in any bands or anything at the time. And then eventually became interested in music because I was playing a lot of funk music, and then just mostly jamming as much as I could.
[JAKE]: My parents were a big part of it. My dad was showing me Slayer when I was like a day old and he plays guitar. I just got obsessed with watching it. I've played pretty much since I was about five years old on and off. Artists that inspire me would be Metallica, they've always been in my heart.
[BRANDON]: My mom and dad are the reason I gave a musical fuck about anything. Mom and Dad loved Tool and Incubus, so that was in my ear growing up and then got into Alice In Chains. Another pillar for me was the School of Rock, and I would watch that movie all the time. Probably just as much as him [Blake] thinking the same feelings and thoughts. Jack Black, huge for me. People that inspire me personally or influence me personally, I would say Soundgarden is huge and Alice In Chains is also huge.
[JAKE]: What mainly influenced my guitar playing is Mark Knopfler from Dire Straits.
[COSY]: What does the songwriting process usually look like for you guys?
[BLAKE]: Me and Jake usually start the writing process of most songs and develop the good bones for it, then bring it into the practice sessions and jam out.
[BRANDON]: Jake likes to create scenes and themes
[COSY]: If you could describe your music in three words to people who haven't listened to you guys before, which comes to mind?
[BLAKE]: Youthful, free and dirty.
[COSY]: Can you talk about your new EP?
[BLAKE]: We’ve been jamming and practicing for a long time, maybe a little under a year. The EP contains three songs that haven’t been released yet that are the best from our repertoire. At the moment, we’re working on vocals and mixing.
[COSY]: Does the EP have a name yet?
[COSY]: What’s your favorite song off the EP?
[ALL]: “Mind Over Matter”
[BRANDON]: “Mind Over Matter'' is our Bohemian Rhapsody.
[COSY]: What is the message you hope to convey to listeners from this EP?
[JAKE]: I feel like there's a lot of stuff in the rock world coming out right now and I just want to bring like a thorough fuckin set of songs. Get some blood pumping. Also a lot of ambiguity between love and the government, oneself, all that kind of stuff throughout the song, so just to make people think about stuff in more detail.
[COSY]: After you guys release your EP, what can we look out for from you in the next year? What else are you guys planning on releasing?
[BRANDON]: I'd say we already have the merch completed and Jake created the artwork.
[BLAKE]: All of our merch is handpicked and thrifted tee’s because we care about environmental sustainability, we’re not wasting resources.
[COSY]: What's your wildest dream as an artist? If you can have one thing happen to you or a milestone or a dream collaboration? What would that look like for each of you guys?
[BRANDON]: Let's say every shape and size at our show. To bring a togetherness and that kind of youthful energy to our shows because we’re connected to our music and live shows. To play shows and go deeper or past the surface level between humans and music, that can chain everybody together and where everybody is sharing that same energy of embodying positive, positive things.
[JAKE]: My biggest dream is just to play in front of metaphorically a million people. I want to make people think about problems and have a voice as well as shit that I think is wrong with this world.
[JOHN]: It’d be pretty cool to see our songs in a movie, show or on the radio.
[BLAKE]: I just wanted to play music and hang out with my homies as a career. Be on the lookout for MIND’s upcoming EP and follow the band’s Instagram for music releases, live shows and upcoming merch drops. Stream the band’s latest live show for “Vagrant Child” here.