Demetri Bairaktaris, drummer of the Chicago band One-Way Charlie, put together the band through mutual connections and meeting up with people who an interest in playing mathy/progressive music. The lineup that makes up the band today seems to have scratched that itch. Demetri spoke with us about the band’s influences, the process they go through to settle on a song’s final template, and he offers advice for emerging artists on how to distribute music on online.
Before One-Way Charlie united, Demetri had a punk band but said the band just wasn’t doing it for him. Through mutual friends, Demetri met up with Kevin (guitarist) and Sam (bassist) who had just left previous groups and were looking to start up something new. After a period of time where they wrote songs and rehearsed, they played their first show.
“We didn’t have a name, so as a joke, we called ourselves ‘Cherry Springer,’” Demetri said. “After a few member changes, we finally met up with Dan (singer) and Christian (guitar). Kevin basically just asked Dan if he wanted to come check us out. No one in the band really knew him very well. We knew he was a good singer, based on his previous projects, though. He apparently liked the stuff we wrote, so he joined. Christian was a friend of Kevin. Long story short, Kevin asked him to jam and he was in the band.”
All band members have different musical influences, thought the common ones between them are The Mars Volta and The Fall of Troy. The songs the band has written share an atmosphere with American Football and This Town Needs Guns.
One-Way Charlie has released one EP titled “OWC” on April 20, 2015. It is available on their Bandcamp page. The group is currently putting together a 10 to 12 song album for the future and wants to take their time with it and not rush the final product. When the band members are together, they embrace bouncing ideas off each other and getting everyone involved.
“We like the process of taking a band member’s rough idea for a song and building off of it,” Demetri said. “The tough thing about this is that, with an almost empty song template, there are limitless possibilities of what directions the song could go in. This leads to indecision, because we know that we could take the song in this direction, that direction, and so on. We eventually let the song ‘settle,’ as we say. If we are stuck on how to implement and idea in a song, we sit on for a week or two and come back fresh. When we finally do overcome it, we get a pretty good sense of accomplishment.”
One of the band’s songs is “What’s Your Favorite Color?” It is a song that Demetri said was seamless to write.
“The instrumentation was written about two years ago,” Demetri said. “We didn’t expect to ever have a vocalist, so when Dan showed us what he had wrote over it, we were surprised how well it fit. The lyrics itself are about ‘growing up,’ as cliché as that sounds. It is about growing and realizing how awesome of a person you really are, despite what some people in your life may tell you.”
Demetri said that being patient with recording material is important because developing a band’s sounds take some time. He said it’s important for artists to emulate the music they enjoy into their music but to try to transform it into their own style. When it comes to distributing music, Demetri said if the music is good, people will listen to it.
“For actually distributing your music, sites like Bandcamp and Soundcloud are generally the sites that people go to in order to find new music,” Demetri said. “Be picky about what you put out. Ask yourself if you are okay with people judging on a recorded song. If so, release it and see what happens. Generally though, there is no substitute for just having good songs and a good live show.”