A collective of disco lovers gives up party rocking to focus on the
music they love best.
by Joshua P. Ferguson
Originally published in Time Out Chicago Magazine | 06.29.10
Only Children calls its home base Castle Albany—emphasis on home.The second-floor Logan Square apartment is where Dino Balocchi and Chris Baronner lay their heads at night, and group member Jesse Hozeny spends a lot of time here. It’s the epicenter of their family gatherings—with Baronner’s dog Ramona always close at hand. Framed LPs, a Simon & Garfunkel poster and fast-food decals cover the walls, records are neatly shelved, and the turntables are always spinning; this is where Only Children live and work.
It’s also where I meet them to talk about “Don’t Stop,” Only Children’s debut song. Prior to this, they’ve been primarily known for edits and remixes. Away from the dance-music world, Balocchi and Hozeny have been in the band Apteka since 2006. Baronner, on the other hand, has been deejaying for more than a decade as Bald E. “Some of the first exposure to the dance-music scene in Chicago was going to parties [Baronner] was doing,” Balocchi says. In 2008, the three teamed up to explore what they could do together in the world of 4/4 beats. (Friend and studio technician McRae Reed is considered a silent partner and fourth member.)
Only Children’s edits of dance-floor staples like Prince and remixes of synth pop acts like Hey Champ caught ears just as club sounds were making inroads into the indie world (or was it the other way around?), and their blend of the two had just enough punk bass and disco sheen to send dance floors and the blogosphere into a frenzy. Gigs at South by Southwest and Lollapalooza followed in 2009. Then, as Balocchi puts it, the sugar high wore off. “We were up there with our computers playing remixes of Michael Jackson,” he says. “It was super fun. But when that ended we were like, oh man, I have a headache.”
“The funny thing is, we still didn’t know what we were,” says Baronner during our living room chat.
“I think we had a teeny little front- row seat on what is possible in the new media environment,” Hozeny adds. “A kind of hypey thing happened and then there’s this ripple of people that are thinking that you’re this thing. Are you this thing? How do you respond to that?”
Since June these cats have been on the steady come up, releasing their debut 12", "Don't Stop" and as a great additional resume bullet point, they opened up for Cut Copy two nights ago.
Baronner has also released a new mix, which I'll include below.
2. Sugar | Helpless
3. Pixies | Planet Of Sound
4. fIREHOSE | Slack Motherfucker
5. The Lemonheads | It's A Shame About Ray
6. Jane's Addiction | No One's Leaving
7. Nirvana | School
8. Dead Kennedys | Night Of The Living Rednecks
9. The Jesus Lizard | (Fly) On (The Wall)
10. Fugazi | Stage Banter
11. Drive Like Jehu | Bullet Train To Vegas
12. Simon & Garfunkel | A Poem On The Underground Wall
13. Dinosaur Jr. | Thumb
14. Stan Getz & João Gilberto | Tonight I Shall Sleep With A Smile On My Face