by Jeremy Ohmes
Everyone in Chicago seems to know Andy Slater (BFA 2013). He's that guy with the burly, red muttonchops who has been a staple in the city's music scene for almost 20 years. Also known as Velcro Lewis, the SAIC alum has graced the stage of just about every club, gallery, rooftop, basement, and backyard in Chicago. He's fronted bands as varied as the noise metal group Behold! The Living Corpse to the Southern rock powerhouse The 100 Proof Band and his current psychedelic-soul outfit The Velcro Lewis Group. He's collaborated with local sound, video, and visual artists of all stripes; he runs Frogg Mountain recording studio in the West Loop right next to the "L"; and he is the man, the myth, and the legend behind The Dad Show on Free Radio SAIC.
He also set up shop in SAIC's Sound department for two separate, extended tenures: as a Student-at-Large from 1995–2000 and a BFA student from 2010–13, experimenting with soundscapes, honing his music production skills, and graduating this past spring with a concentration in Synthesis and Composition (finances, fatherhood, and a full-time job account for his ten-year hiatus). For his final BFA thesis project, he presented side one of The Velcro Lewis Group's newest album, Open the Sky.
The legally blind musician, sound artist, and man about town spoke to us about his relationship with sound, seeing colors, and the production of his new album.
Listen to the interview [MP3]
Sinewaves, "Extra Vehicular Mobility Unit"
Andy Slater, "Agency Resonator"
The Velcro Lewis Group, "No Dream"
The Velcro Lewis Group, "Eagle Momma"