No R&R for duo A&R

By KatherineGamby

A new group by the name of A&R is slowly but surely creeping its way into the Chicago music scene.

The band started a year ago after breaking away from another band that they were a part of for three years. Making up A&R is guitarist and producer Alex Kramer and lead singer and co-producer Rocko Walker.

Their name comprises  their first initials and they describe their sound as electric pop, mixing soulful vocals with futuristic, up-tempo pop beats.  In less than a year,  the group’s sound has changed from a trip-hop base to more mature and upbeat musical style. Their tunes are becoming more popular with packed shows and multiple gig opportunties.

Since its start, the band has played at several venues throughout Chicago, including Debonair Social Club and has an Extended Play that is downloadable from their Web site. The duo is now ready to embark on a new album that they say will be ready for release early in the new year.

A&R sat down with The Chronicle to talk about their start and sound, as well as their upcoming album and career goals.

The Chronicle: How did A&R get its start?

Alex Kramer: We were in a rock band three years prior to this and we just started playing around with the computer. I put together a beat and some music and Rocko came over and we just recorded a song to it. Sort of as a joke like, “Lets make a dance track,” and people liked it, so we started to make a couple more.

The Chronicle: When did A&R officially start?

AK: We started messing around in November 2008.

Rocko Walker: Our drummer was out of town. We didn’t have any shows, no

practices, so we were like, “Let’s just screw around.”

The Chronicle: How did you find your sound?

RW: Literally, we just listened to a lot of stuff and what we heard that we liked in those, we just kind of used it. Bands that we listened to at the time were Junior Boys, Phoenix, Cut Copy, Midnight Juggernauts and Justice. We just took elements that we liked and said, “Oh yeah, lets play around with it and see what happens.”

The Chronicle: What have your accomplishments been so far?

AK: We did our record release at Debonair Social Club. For our first show the place was packed, so that was pretty cool, and then the next biggest show we did [was at] Metro about a month or two ago.

RW: Yeah, you know the Red Eye Battle of the Bands kind of thing? They called us ahead of time to open up for the bands there … It was packed, I was wearing shades on stage and I took [them] off and I was like, “Oh my gosh!” I actually got kind of nervous because there was a lot of people out there.

The Chronicle: Are you working on an album or will it just be the EP for now?

AK: We’re currently writing an album. We’re going to start recording in about two weeks, so that should be available probably early part of 2010.

The Chronicle: What do you want from your career?

AK: We want to be able to do [music] for a career. We put a lot of time into this as [it] is, but with jobs and everything we can’t put as much time into it as we want to. If we had the ability to do this and make a living off of this, it would be ideal.

A&R  plans to release their album, which is not yet titled, in early 2010. For more information and to download A&R’s EP, visit