House of Whales Talk Influences, Collabs, and Upcoming Shows!

Chicago-based trio House of Whales (formerly Treehouse) will be stopping by Bourbon & Branch on June 26th for a show with The out of Water Experience and J Pope & Funk Friday. House of Whales released their first, full-length self-titled album, which was recently nominated for an Independent Music Award. We caught up with the band (Rico Sisney, Mike Ruby, and Aunnoy Badruzzaman) to chat about their upcoming show, their self-titled album, and musical influences.

Rock On Philly: Are you guys pumped for your show in Philly on June 26th at Bourbon & Branch?
House of Whales: Of course we’re pumped! It’s always an adventure playing a new city, and it’s particularly exciting debuting our live show in a prominent music town like Philly.
ROP: How did House of Whales form?
 HoW: Aunnoy (drummer) had collaborated with both Mike (bass) and Rico (MC) in college. After working on various projects Aunnoy and Rico began to put together a spoken word trio. After jamming with a couple of musicians, Aunnoy suggested auditioning Mike. The three of us got together one afternoon at Aunnoy’s apartment and wrote what would later be our third single. We became intrigued by our newly-created, collective sound. So we kept doing it.
ROP: How is your new, self-titled album different compared to the Tell No One EP?
 HoW: We take more risks on this new album. Stylistically and thematically, we reached farther in every direction. The high-energy songs hit harder, the ballads are more emotive, and the intentions behind each song vary greatly from one another. Everyone involved wore more hats this time around; we all played additional instruments and were more involved in the production/arrangement. Additionally, our producers, Noam Wallenberg and Zak Fox, helped define the album’s sound with all of their work and creative input. Overall, House Of Whales LP is a more polished product that provides an awesome challenge for us in creating our live show.
ROP: There’s a lot of both Hip Hop and Rock infused and intertwined in your music. What are some of the major influences behind the band’s sound?
 HoW: Between the three of us, we have too many influences to list; but to name a few: Outkast, St. Vincent, Robert Glasper, Sly, J Dilla, Mos Def, Radiohead, N.W.A., The Beatles, Bonobo, Jurassic 5, The Mars Volta, Chance The Rapper, Miles Davis, Living Legends, Erykah Badu, Disclosure, Hieroglyphics, Kendrick Lamar, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Talib Kweli, AK1200, Lauryn Hill, Al Green, Timbaland, Immortal Technique, Avishai Cohen, Rage Against The Machine.
Erikah Badu, Photo Credit: Patrik Hamberg
ROP: With all the momentum your band has been building, where do you guys see yourselves in 5-10 years?
HoW: It’s impossible for us to predict our own future. As we grow older, we realize this more and more. So in the meantime, we’re just goingtotry and create as much music as possible.ROP: How do you guys think Hip Hop has changed over the last ten years?
HoW: Hip Hop is now an enormous word. It approaches “jazz” with its myriad of definitions and sub-genres. An applicable allegory is that of the boat dismantled piece by piece and replaced with new pieces, but somehow remaining the same boat. When two things that seem completely dissimilar carry the same banner, it gives a clue into the enormity of the banner. The banner of “hip-hop” is huge. The hip-hop we listen to tends to be lyrically dense and musically diverse. 2014 Forest Hills Drive, To Pimp a Butterfly, B4da$$ and Surf all came out this year. They’re all very different, very good and still only represent a small sliver of the direction that hip-hop is going. This is possibly one of the most exciting times for the genre since the nineties.

Snag tickets to see House of Whales live this upcoming Friday here!

For more info on House of Whales, visit

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