Erin Elders, a founding member of experimental Chicago band Maps & Atlases, known for their complex rhythms and structure, is now breaking out on his own with Wedding Dress. This lo-fi, ethereal alt-pop band focuses more on melody and songwriting than the grandiose musicianship of Maps & Atlases. Recorded in the kitchen of band member Mike Russell (also of the band Suns), their debut album, Desperate Glow (due out 11/18), features members of Joan of Arc, Love of Everything and Gypsyblood—effectively, they’ve created a Chicago indie supergroup.
Before checking out Elmore’s exclusive stream of Desperate Glow below (or looking for the band on tour), let Elders take you behind the scenes.
Elmore: Coming from your background with math rock and post-hardcore, this is a different sound, not what many might expect. How did you come upon the sound?
Erin Elders: I think part is of it is the long evolution from technicality, growing up a metal kid. With Maps & Atlases, there was a slow evolution towards melody and songwriting. As I’ve gone on writing and playing music, I’ve gone more towards the idea of writing songs and putting together an album of songs. With the Wedding Dress stuff, I wanted that to be the focus. Coming from Maps, where a lot of it is loud and rhythmic and [focused on] musical relationships in the way that sound and rhythm are tied together, I wanted this project to be almost just about song craft and being able to perform the song with a voice and an acoustic guitar if I had to.
EM: There are country, soul, new wave and chamber pop influences on the album. What kind of records were you guys listening to while making it?
EE: It’s sort of a weird thing, I feel like I’m constantly being pulled in two directions, like every time I sit down to write, I really want to write something like a Leonard Cohen-esque dirge, y’know like, slow songs, but then I just want to write a Cure album. So I feel like that is the weird, sonic landscape the record is in. There are songs that sort of start as these country dirges, but I can’t help writing Cure-esque keyboard lines over them.
EM: How did you end up with this group, which is basically a supergroup?
EE: I had known Mike from Suns for a long time, so he was one of the first ones I showed these songs to and his enthusiasm was almost immediate. For a while, it was just him and I working on stuff that was gonna be a lot more stripped down. I then approached Bobby from Love of Everything and Joan of Arc because he has such an interesting perspective on the way he plays bass. It came together really organically. At first it was songs I’d already kind of figured out and then we all got together and figured out how to play them as a band and now everyone’s giving their input on the songs a lot earlier in the process.
– Jamie Frey