“Abstract but narrative while slowly revealing a depth, a twist, and hopefully melody. We want our tunes to be more in line with a memorable piece of music than just being a dance track. We are interpreting house music”.
When and where were you born?
Sean: 1973, Omaha, NE (on an Air Force base)
Blake: 1979, Frankfurt, Germany (on a Military base)
Where do you currently live and work?
Sean: I live in Evanston and work in Chicago.
Blake: I live in Chicago and work in Evanston.
How long have you been practicing your craft?
Sean: I have made music in one form or another for 15+ years. I have also dabbled in the beat match arts.
Blake: Sugarcane Family “officially” formed in 2014, however I have been djing for many years before that.
What inspires you?
Sean: Architecture, painting, a good conversation…also, a Makers™ and coke works more times than not.
Blake: The feeling I get playing for a group of people that are really enjoying themselves as much as I am. I can also find inspiration by going to see live shows. It could even come from a movie or painting. Anytime I go to a show I try to take something from it. Whether it be a mood, vibe, or a certain sound or energy. Everyone’s interpretation of art is different so I take that feeling or emotion I receive and incorporate it in my music or mix. I’ve found being around certain creative people can help motivate me to raise the bar on my projects. Unlike some artists, creativity doesn’t just pour out of me and I usually try to find some form of catalyst or a muse.
How would you describe your style
Sean: Abstract but narrative while slowly revealing a depth, a twist, and hopefully melody. We want our tunes to be more in line with a memorable piece of music than just being a dance track. We are interpreting house music.
Blake: I’m going to have to quote Bruce Lee on this one. “My style is no style.” I try not to get pigeon holed into any certain genre or one particular sound. That’s only going to stifle the creativity. I’m trying to take everything I like and have learned about all varieties of music and paint an audio picture of the moment or feeling. I guess what makes the Sugarcane Family unique to me is that we do have our own sound right now. Although we are predominantly house music it is all over the board with the vibe and sound. The way I would describe it is “moody”.
What has been a defining moment in your career?
Sean: Having people I respect, admire and who have influenced me in one way or another say; “that tune of yours is pretty good. You guys seem to have your own style. Nice work.”
Blake: Sean and I started a house music night called Open House Chicago that featured a wide roster of djs, performers and artists such as live painters. When we had our 5 year anniversary I felt a sense of accomplishment. We poured our hearts and souls into that night and people responded positively within the house music community…and for that we are forever appreciative.
What are your future plans?
Sean: Make more music and to get our tunes heard by a wider audience. I’d love for one of our songs to be in a commercial or movie.
Blake: To keep playing, making good music, and more collaborations with other artists.
Can you leave us with some parting words or advice?
Sean: Do the work. If you want to be successful on any level (especially in creative fields), you have to treat it as a business: be professional, be on time, have a plan, network like a fiend, and always value the process of learning (i.e. listen more than you talk).
Blake: People will try to hold you back. Those people are not happy and misery loves company. Best advice ever given to me was do what makes you happy and keep doing what you love. Obviously not everyone can have their passion or creative outlet for a career, but at least make it a “serious” hobby.
Where can people learn more about you and purchase your work?