Chicago’s HOMME duo gets home-y


Courtesy HOMME

Local music duo HOMME is sparkling in the Chicago music scene with its self-titled debut album released Nov. 13 2015. The band has upcoming shows that show off its melodic harmonies.


Chicago-based HOMME is slithering its way through the city’s music scene with its self-titled debut album, released Nov. 13. Friends Sima Cunningham and Macie Stewart, who both sing and play instruments, played together informally before uniting under the HOMME moniker in 2014.

Currently recording their second album, the musicians describe their sound as folky and “chaotically harmonic.” The duo is richly present in Chicago’s music scene as Stewart plays with Chicago band Marrow, as Cunningham has done in the past. Cunningham also does solo material.

The Chronicle spoke with Cunningham and Stewart about the meaning of the band’s name—the French word for “man”—their music writing process and its formation. 

THE CHRONICLE: What is the story behind your name?

SIMA CUNNINGHAM: We really liked the sound and look of it. It was hard to find a band name, and that was one just stuck and felt right. We spell it and pronounce it like the French do, although it is a rounder “homme” than the French pronounce it—a big round American “O” in it. 

MACIE STEWART: There are a lot of band names relating to female anatomy so we were like, we can name a band called “man.” It is not as big of a social commentary as some might think, but it’s our little thing.


What instruments do you play?

MS:When we play live shows, we both play electric guitar and sing. That’s what the whole live show is—no drums or bass—but on the record we played everything pretty equally. I played violin on a couple of the tracks. We are trying to incorporate violin into our live shows; whenever we do acoustic performances, I usually bring the violin and Sima plays guitar.

How did you come together? 

MS: Harmony comes pretty intuitively to us. We are good at singing harmony with each other and figuring out where the other one is going to go. We also wanted an excuse to play really loud guitar. 

What musical elements do you fuse to create your sound, especially in “Fingerprints” on your debut album?

SC: For “Fingerprints” in particular, that line is called hocketing—that “ah-ah-ah” sound. It is a cool technique and fun too because you can create fluid lines that are almost like a guitar hook, but you can create them. The hocket creates almost a separate instrument in the song. I think everyone in the musical world has fallen in love with the freeze pedal—it’s awesome. What we did was record those harmony vocals, and we would capture one second, and the freeze pedal freezes that one sound in time. That is a cool element in studio production that we did on that song.

MS: For drums too, we set up one drum set—double high hats and double snares—we sat across each other and played drums. Individually, we are not good drummers but together we are a great drummer. That was something fun we did on this record.

What process do you have for writing your music?

MS: For the last record, we wrote them individually and brought them in, but more and more we are trying to see what happens when we write songs together. We have a few songs on this next record where we actually sat down and wrote the melodies together. All of the arrangements are both of us combined.

HOMME will play March 8 at the The Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western Ave and May 21 at The Hideout, 1354 W. Wabansia Ave.