Last month local indie rockers Impulsive Hearts dropped a new four song EP as a benefit project for Resilience Chicago, a 45 year old organization dedicated to assisting survivors of sexual violence. Titled metoo: a benefit for Resilience the powerful tunes are a reflection of the long needed changing attitudes toward victims and survivors. Impulsive Hearts’ Danielle Sines was kind enough to take time to answer a few of our questions ahead of their Free Monday Empty Bottle Show coming up on April 22nd! Get there, buy the EP cassette and visit them on bandcamp to support Resilience and these local musicians trying to give back!
DS: Danielle Sines
Can you give us a bit of backstory on Impulsive Hearts? How did the name come about and how is the working relationship shaped with you being the primary songwriter?
DS: Impulsive Hearts started in 2012. I was performing music with another project, and began writing songs that were a bit more pop-driven and didn't fit into that bands' aesthetic. (RIP SBOTPNW). A group of friends and I were playing trivia at the California Clipper, and our group won a book called, "The Impulsive Heart." Our band was looking for a name, and it fit with how the songs were sounding, and my general outlook on life.
I am the primary songwriter for the band, but one of the things that I pride myself on is being collaborative & working with others. I love to have band members' input on the songs, for them to each have their own creative input on the music, and to see where the band takes the directions of the songs.
All the proceeds from your new EP metoo: a benefit for resilience are going to Resilience Chicago, how did that relationship begin?
DS: I am a volunteer with another great organization in the city, Girls Rock! Chicago. One of the gazillions of reasons to volunteer with them is to meet other cool, interesting, like minded people. Through GRC, I met a few friends who also volunteer through Resilience. I was immediately impressed with the organizations' dedication to supporting survivors of sexual assault throughout the entire process - volunteers complete a rigorous training process and are on call 24/7 for crisis intervention, the organization provides medical and legal advocacy, as well as trauma therapy, individual therapy and family therapy services. They are an independent, non-profit rape crisis center that is dedicated to helping survivors throughout Chicago at no cost. April is National Sexual Assault Awareness Month, so there are a lot of upcoming events to participate in, and show your support.
As we were recording this album, we dealt daily with a President that openly brags about sexual assault, the #metoo movement was in full swing in Hollywood, and we heard the powerful testimony of Dr. Christine Blasey-Ford. After I watched her testimony, I thought about my own power and influence as an artist, and wanted to give back specifically to survivors of sexual assault. I am a survivor of sexual assault, and I wanted to use my music as a way to reclaim power as well. The music industry in Chicago (and elsewhere) is not always a safe space for female, trans, and non-binary members and I hope to call attention to this as well with this EP.
What draws you to the reverb filled garage surf style vibe that your recordings exude?
DS: I love girl groups of the 60s, I grew up near Motor City, and I feel like the radio had a huge influence on my style and how I create melodies. When I play guitar, I tend to love a dirtier, muddier guitar tone that drives the song along and makes it feel more powerful, but I also love the breezier, uplifting melodies to complement that raw sound - there's got to be a push-pull between that dark and light. I'm also a huge fan of the simplistic, catchy chord progressions of The Ramones - which certainly influence my style. I want songs to be accessible, friendly and fun. When I play live, I'm looking for a cathartic experience, I want to feel something on-stage, turn it up and drown it out. However, when recording, I want to create each song as its own symphony - with multiple layered vocals, guitars, synths, and saxophones - a wall of sound.
Could you speak to the collaborative process and how it shapes the tunes once the whole band has input?
DS: I tend to write songs as a way to process my own emotions and feelings - for me, I feel a certain sort of desire for seclusion as I write. I like to take time to process and edit my thoughts before I share the song with the band. Oftentimes, I am writing out of emotion, and need the time with the song to see where it goes in my own writing process. After I feel comfortable, I send the demo to the band to get their thoughts and edits, and then we meet all together to rehearse it. I am a shy person, and feel most comfortable with other people on stage with me to support me, even though it might not look like it while I am performing. My band is my favorite reason to play out in Chicago - without them, I would most definitely be releasing electronic tracks under another moniker, like I used to as "Danielle & Her Drum Machine," but I hated that - it felt like karaoke, and there was no room for improvisation, no place for the sound to grow and change live.
Chicago is full of great bands. What are some overlooked acts out there right now?
DS: I think Chicago is generally pretty fucking over-looked in the music scene. NYC and LA seem to get majority of press. I'd like for more of Chicago's diverse music scene to be represented globally - I am forever in love with SuperKnova, Glitter Moneyyy, FURY, & Noiseland to name a few!