From inside the ‘beehives’

By Trevor Ballanger

Creativity can reveal itself when least expected, and the clashing interests and tastes of three musicians sometimes come together to make beautiful folk music with a playful twist.

In, flew ants is the Chicago-based musical machine run by band members Scot Stewart, vocals and guitar; Richard Shell, drums; and Eric Dillon, bass. The three have known each other for years—Stewart and Dillon are cousins, and Shell has been their friend since their teens.

The group came together after playing in different bands to experiment with their own unique sound, and a trifecta of artistic views sparked the development most recently heard on their third album, “beehives.”

Stewart chatted with The Chronicle about the struggle of writing lyrics, creative processes, friendship and the importance of

instrumental differences.

The Chronicle: What bands inspire your music, and were you able to learn from their dynamics to work better together?

Scot Stewart: All three of us have pretty similar tastes in music. We really like Radiohead, but I feel like everyone in the world does. And then I really like The Beatles. I wouldn’t say we sound anything like either one of them, but they’re both such diverse bands. You take a lot of things out of listening to either one of those bands because every record from [them] is different.

You say these groups inspire you to play music, but you come up with an entirely different sound. How do you think

that happens?

We all have our [inspirations] that come from somewhere, but we never wanted to be a super pop-rock band or anything like that, playing something [that] would [belong] on a pop radio station. I feel like the sound of our music comes more from our personalities than our musical influences. We’re all kind of weird people, I guess. Maybe that comes across in the

music somehow.

Your sound is a combination of folk and country, and it has a fun, cartoonish quality. What was it like creating such a unique representation of

your work?

This new record, “beehives,” is way different than our last two. It’s a very different sounding thing, at least to us. We want it to sound basically like a documentation of our live show.

Regardless of what happens live, let’s just make a cool sounding record. We just had a different mindset about it this time.

What are you trying to convey when you write lyrics?

If you end up writing a whole page full of stuff when you only have four lines for a song, it’s kind of picking and choosing. Sometimes the music is first, and I’ll end up placing vocals in there, and other times I’ll have an idea for a melody or something I want to say, and I form the music around it. It’s a pretty

random process.

Do you think you’ve perfected your sound and are able to say things on this album that you weren’t able to say on

the others?

I wouldn’t say we have ever perfected anything. I feel like we’re always striving to be better. That was one of the main things we went at going for this [album]. We really wanted to challenge ourselves. I think that’s part of the reason this one is a lot different from the last two. The goal from the start was we all wanted to try something different on our individual instruments that we’ve never done before. At first, when these songs were written, we couldn’t even play them. We had ideas we wanted to happen, but we were all pushing ourselves in a way that we had never done before to create something that sounds even crazier. Everything’s a lot faster and upbeat. Everyone has different ideas. No three people are going to create the same music.

For more information, go to The band’s latest album, “beehives” can be heard in its entirety at InFlewAnts.