When it comes to their influences, Chicago rock duo the Wiitala Brothers dig a little deeper than the surface.
"If I'm listening to something and I hear a simple drum part that I like, I'll remember it and say 'OK. Next time we write a song, let's have the drum part be real sparse,'" said Chris Wiitala.
"It's not like we're going to listen to something like Interpol and just write a song that sounds just like Interpol.
"We're trying to dissect music more and hear how people are mixing things up instead of trying to sound just like something we like." Scheduled to perform at the Blue Room Café in Highland, Wiitala, who beat his brother Trevor to this mortal coil by a mere minute 26 years ago, began making music with his twin when they were in grade school and played together in several bands throughout high school. In the late '90s, the duo lent their talents to the Blamed, a Windy-City based hard rock outfit that already had a small handful of discs under their belt when the brothers came on board. The Blamed released several discs, including 2000's "Germany" and 2001's "Isolated Incident," and toured the states extensively. On the side, the Wiitalas, who live on Chicago's North Side, wrote compositions that veered more towards straightforward rock 'n' roll than the Blamed's post-hardcore efforts. About a year and a half ago, the Blamed had called it a day and the brothers began focusing primarily on their joint efforts. "We like that kind of (hardcore) music," Chris Wiitala said, "but we'd much rather play what we're playing right now, which you could categorize, I guess, as straight-ahead rock with no screaming." In that time, the brothers, who also cite artists such as U2 and Cat Stevens and Sufjan as influences, have recorded a handful of demos with hopes of attracting record labels. Onstage, they still perform as a duo, with Chris playing guitar and Trevor on drums and augmented by rhythm, keyboard and guitar tracks on a computer rather than supporting musicians. "We were a little worried, at first, what people would think because we were playing with a computer," Wiitala said. "But after playing a few shows, people seemed to like it. They didn't care that we weren't up there dancing around and that we're kind of up there letting the songs speak for themselves." The brothers have spent 2006 writing and recording what they hope will become their first proper release. They have about 10 songs under their belt already, and are contemplating how to bring their music to the masses. "We're thinking about releasing something ourselves, and we've been talking to some labels, but there's nothing (planned) yet," Wiitala said. "I always said last year that hopefully everything will be fine by this time this year, but that's already passed. Hopefully, we can be patient and wait for something to come along." The Wiitala Brothers are also scheduled to perform a 21-and-over show Oct. 8 at Memories, 4358 N. Cicero Ave., Chicago. onStage The Wiitala Brothers When: 8 p.m. today Where: The Blue Room Café, 2641 Highway Ave., Highland Cost: $7 FYI: (219) 838-5538 or www.theblueroomcafe.com
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