Tonight at 10 p.m. on WEFT 90.1 FM, Post Historic will perform on this week’s WEFT Sessions program. The sometimes-trio, sometimes quartet will be a duo tonight for the on-air show. The band will also be appearing in its four-piece incarnation Friday night at the Illini Union Courtyard Cafe with the Minus Six as part of Illinites.
Jesse Johnson, who sings and plays guitar and harmonica for Post Historic, traded emails with me, and the resulting interview is after the jump.
Smile Politely: How long have Post Historic been together?
Post Historic: Post Historic as Jesse Johnson and Yoo Soo Kim has been together for 2 years. Our newest member, Zach Benkowski, has been with us for six months. Zach was in the band Piston Hurricane who played around Champaign-Urbana, but this is Yoo Soo and my first band since the good old high school days.
SP: Is this your first time on a tour?
PH: This summer was in fact our first tour. We all basically worked day jobs during the week and went around the Midwest playing two to three shows just about every weekend. We went as far south as Kansas City, Mo., and some of the more significant cities we played were: Chicago, Milwaukee and Des Moines, as well as other small cities/towns.
SP: Were any of you in bands beforehand?
PH: We got started as a band when Yoo Soo and I were members of the U of I musicians club Illinoise. I sent out an email to see if anyone wanted to start a band to play original music, and Yoo Soo was the only one who really responded and wasn’t a sucky musician and/or a douchebag. (The other people I played with wanted to play “Freebird” and told me to stop soloing… two strikes!) Zach actually booked us at the Courtyard Cafe last year and asked us if he could join. When our drummer quit, we called him up. We love Zach because he sings like a pre-pubescent angel and contributes and cares about the band as much as we do.
SP: What are you guys studying at U of I? Did you grow up in the same place?
PH: Yoo Soo is originally from Lincolnwood up by Chicago, Zach is from St. Joseph, Mich., and I am from Springfield, Ill. (which according to Yoo Soo and Zach is “Southern,” and I have been dubbed Southern because I know how to drive a tractor). Yoo Soo is studying Psychology, Zach just graduated in Communications, and I just graduated in Biology and am now going to grad school for the same thing.
SP: Are you still looking for a bassist? How’s that going?
PH: We are still looking for a bassist, and it’s been hard to find someone who is willing to commit the time and money to touring. Why wouldn’t someone want to throw a ton of money and time into something without a guaranteed payout? I have no idea! haha… But our friend Patrick Mangan from the rockin’ Champaign/Urbana band Robots Counterfeiting Money currently plays bass for us whenever he can. He’s playing with us at the Courtyard Cafe this Friday, Aug. 29th at Illinites.
SP: What kind of music did you like growing up? What was your favorite band/singer when you were 12?
PH: Favorite music/Influences:
Jesse – Neil Young and Crazy Horse
Yoo Soo – Radiohead
Zach – Foo Fighters
(all together we sing the Beatles and Genesis (Phil Collins) in the car when we tour. “I Can’t Dance” was the official song of the summer tour)
Favorite music as a kid:
Jesse – used to dance around the dining room table while my mom played John Mellencamp “Rain on the Scarecrow”
Yoo Soo – didn’t listen to much music until High School.
Zach – The Presidents of the United States of America, Bush, Hootie and the Blowfish.
SP: What’s the best live show you’ve ever seen?
PH: Jesse – (wants to say something other than Neil Young cause everyone knows it’s coming…) But seriously Neil Young is the best ever, and his concert with Crazy Horse on the Greendale tour in 2003 at the Rosemont Theatre in Illinois was astonishing. They played “Dangerbird” from Zuma for chrissakes!
Yoo Soo – Rage Against the Machine w/ Public Enemy and Wu Tang Clan in New York because it was such a rare combo, he was 10 feet from the stage, and it was right after Rage reunited and the crowd was absolutely crazy.
Zach – The Swell Season in St. Louis because Glen Hanson rocked harder on acoustic guitar by himself than most full electric bands ever do.
SP: How would you describe your style of music?
PH: Our style of music is folk/rock we guess… (Yoo Soo is concerned because he feels like sometimes we are just straight Rock but he eventually gives in). We like to think of it as a three way baby between Neil Young, Radiohead, and Foo Fighters where all of the sperm united to form one being… but that’s just us.
SP: What’s the significance of the band’s name?
PH: The name Post Historic means that we are definitely in an age where everything “old” or “vintage” is deemed inherently better, but we all need to accept it and move forward. It’s almost like the history books have been written on music, and there’s not much room for anything new. And maybe music was the best in the 60’s and 70’s, but great new art is out there. Sure, it may be hard to find, with the radio stations playing a lot of shit, and bands are certainly re-treading musically, but we need to keep moving forward and see where it takes us. Maybe another golden age is upon us… There’s a phrase that I like on our myspace that says, “Post Historic is committed to the idea of holding onto the past while looking forward to the future.”
SP: What are you looking forward to about the WEFT performance? How long will your set be? Will it be all originals? Do you play any covers?
PH: We are definitely looking forward to the WEFT Session. It is going to be an hour long set/interview. The set will be mostly acoustic for intimacy’s sake… and because Zach cannot make it, ha ha. The set will be all originals, some songs that I wrote, some that Yoo Soo wrote, and some that we wrote together. Even the ones we wrote individually end up undergoing some structure changes in the band format, though. We do play a few covers from time to time (M.I.A.’s “Paper Planes” folk version is one we like to do but are trying to figure out a way to make the gunshots because Zach feels it doesnt do justice without them… I’m thinking cap guns!)