For queer Chicagoans, Bottom Lounge has a New Years' treat. On New Years Eve, the bar will be kicking off 2014 with a sneak peek of "Cave Song," the first-ever video from BAATHHAUS, the Chicago art rock group fronted by Dan Foley. For Foley and his bandmates (Patrick Andrews, Jesse Young and Jesse Hozeny), the preview has been a long time coming. Dan Foley described the video as a community labor of love, put together on Kickstarter funding and favors from friends. This year, BAATHHAUS raised a little over $3,000 to make the video, and Foley described the moment as a way to give back. He said, "First and foremost, it's a big thank you to the people who donated, threw money at us and entrusted us to do something great."
For the band itself, "Cave Song" represents a crucial step forward. Written by Andrews, Foley described the song as a "stream of consciousness of musings on your past self and looking back at growing up gay." Foley said the video was conceived to be a "loose narrative of someone finding themselves and self-actualizing by feeling good in their own skin." Of course, though, that was hardly the end of the process. "That got injected with some weird arty queer stuff with crystals and glitters," Foley said. "We hope that the imagery speaks for itself and that people can latch onto something that makes sense to them." It's a way of looking back while moving forward.
This theme of self-discovery couldn't be more indicative of this moment in the band's existence, what Dan Foley called their "first exploration into the video world." Mr. Foley argued that traffic and publicity for music used to be driven by the radio, but BAATHHAUS realizes that they need to be a part of that market, the "Internet mode of business." "We live in a really interesting media time where bands like CHVRCHES and Purity Ring exist primarily on the internet," Foley said. "We're dipping our toes into the internet water here," Foley told me. "The way people know about them, a lot of that comes from video content. The real key is attaching visual content to your music.
According to Foley, the visuals for the "Cave Song" video were a collaboration between the band and director Katie Isaacson, whose previous work they connected with because of its "dark and spooky" vibe. In addition, Foley credits the contributions of Randall Hill, the Chicago-based designer who previously worked with Monica Beverly Hillz and Gia Gunn on RuPaul's Drag Race. More than anything though, the making of "Cave Song" has been a collaborative effort for the band, representing their egalitarian spirit. Sometimes that offered a creative challenge but it also got BAATHHAUS to this crucial moment. "It was a learning experience," Foley said, "and we're excited to see what's next."
You can check out BAATHHAUS at Bottom Lounge (1375 W. Lake St.) for NYE. Hosted by Jane Beachy of Salonathon, the evening's $15 price tag also gets audience members performances from bear rapper Big Dipper and burlesque artist Po' Chop. After the new year, BAATHHAUS is going to be hard at work, as the band plans to to churn out 1-2 releases each month in the form of mixtapes, videos and original tracks. Foley said, "You'll hopefully be hearing a lot from us."