This is a band with energy. Their high, strong vocals and driving drums are sure to make you wiggle. I can imagine this band at most any C-U bar or outdoor event. Of course, right off the bat, I had to ask…
Smile Politely: Where did the band name come from?
Ben Spotora: Workout Music? Yeah, we get this question a lot. This band actually started as a joke. We were going to mess around and make dance beats with a computer and put a mustache on the front of the laptop… just some stupid stuff to pass the time with. Well, we were joking about this “fake” band and our friend Jacob said, “Let’s call it Workout Music!” and we all shared a good laugh. So when Chris and I started talking about making a legit band, we thought that Workout Music was actually appropriate. It is [tough] to come up with a good band name and we find that this one sticks out. People either love it or hate it, but they always remember it.
SP: Catchy, funny, and memorable. Good enough for me!
Who is Workout Music? Where’s the creative meat?
Ben Spotora: Everybody has an equal part in Workout Music, but I would say most of the song writing stems from Tim Muldoon (vocals), Billy Kirby (drums, vocals) and me (guitar, percussion). Me and Bill are very good with coming up with hooks, musically, as well as song structure. Tim is the lyric master, the soul man. Scott’s synth parts tend to add that flare that we crave, as well as a lot of the hooks. Chris’s bass helps accent Bill’s Kick drum to give us that driving dance beat. Don’t get me wrong, Scott and Chris write their share of tunes, too.
SP: What is your writing process like?
Spotora: Our writing process is a bit different than most groups. We tend to write as a unit rather than one individual writing something and then instructing the rest of the group. We will write a verse, chorus, and some sort of musical hook. After that is established, we start to work on song structure and that is when our producer, Marc McClusky, comes in. Having a producer involved is sort of a new thing for us but we are very happy with the way it is going. We are really working towards a Soul, dance and pop-rock sound and so far we feel like we are on the right track.
SP: What’s the main difference in working with a producer and what you used to do?
Spotora: We don’t have that indecision anymore. Now we have something to say “yes” or “no” without us doubting our decisions. It just really helps having an outside perspective from somebody who has had that much experience and has recorded/produced so many great songs. it’s basically like getting the “okay” from your boss.
Smile Politely: That must take a lot of pressure off. How did you all meet and get started creating together?
Spotora: We have a lot of history together. Chis and Ben have been best friends since they were two years old. Ben, Tim, and Scott met in 5th Grade and they knew each other from [playing] baseball. In 8th grade, Tim, Scott, Ben, and Chris had a pop punk band called The Bluerock Targets, which lasted through junior year of High School. Bill and Chris went to high school together and we all knew bill from a rival band. Tim and Chris went to college in Arizona and played in a band called White Collar Religion. Scott and Ben had a band in Chicago called Wednesday Adams. After a while, Scott quit WA and Billy joined [us] as the lead singer.
After all of these failed attempts, we finally all came together on the Workout Music train which has been the most successful band we have all been in. It just took years of sifting through members, bad shows, different genres, and even different instruments, for us to finally find the right combo.
SP: Does it make things awkward, being friends who also need to collaborate and sometimes disagree, or does that add to the process?
Spotora: No, I think it actually makes it easier. It is know that whatever happens in rehearsal does not translate to our friendships. We really never have all out, blow-out fights, we tend to just be honest and work through things.
SP: That’s really best in the long run. What inspires you?
Spotora: Our entire purpose is to make songs that people want to move to. We wanted to be fun and have some soul so people can forget about their nine to fives for night — come out, drink, and have a good time. Lyrically, we try to flow with old Motown influence and sexually charged lyrics. Sex sells, that will never change.
SP: Truth. What are some favorite places you’ve played? What makes them stand out?
Spotora: I think our top three places in Chicago would be Double Door, House of Blues, and Metro. They are all very professional and great sounding venues. We love the staff and our fans love to see us at these places. Now, this is not discarding any of the other venues in Chicago. We have a great report with Cubby Bear, Elbo Room, Reggies, and Lincoln Hall as well. They have all been “home” to us.
If you want to experience Workout Music live, check them out at MIke ‘N Molly’s on Saturday night with locals Decadents.