A rock-cycle built for two
Nick Kraska and Rachel Shindelman wanted to be the sole creative forces in a band—but first they had to tie the knot.
"We started talking about this band in theory while we were planning our wedding," Shindelman remembers. "We decided we would start it as soon as the wedding was over."
With that story in mind, it's easy to understand where Post Honeymoon gets its name. Describing the gothic, new wave, stripped-down sound Kraska and Shindelman bring into bloom is trickier. There is no guitar. Bass, drums and keyboards are the only toys allowed. Post Honeymoon embraces silence, letting it act as a fourth instrument juxtaposed against highly rhythmic, electric pulses.
Shindelman's voice is vaguely haunting and her delivery causes full-body chills. She works hard to make sure her style stays authentic. "There are a lot of phenomenal female vocalists and I try not to listen to them too much so that I don't accidentally steal anything from them," Shindelman explains.
"There are a lot of phenomenal female vocalists and I try not to listen to them too much so that I don't accidentally steal anything from them."
Both Kraska and Shindelman spent time in Chicago-based bands Bang! Bang! and New Black. They wanted to find out if their combined ingenuity could propel a project. "A lot of times when you have a band, you present an idea to the group and everybody kind of puts their imprint on it," Kraska says. "We wanted to have an opportunity to just kind of do our own thing with no outside people to temper the ideas."
Post Honeymoon makes sure there's meat on the bones of each track. Usually the bass or the keyboard takes up most of the space. Kraska says trying to achieve robustness by adding more band members and piling on parts doesn't work. "If everything is loud, nothing seems loud anymore," Kraska asserts. "The way to make things seem loud is to have quiet in relationship to loud."
Post Honeymoon casts off excess and captures a song's essence. "The most important parts are what we want to keep," Shindelman says. "We want to cut away the fat and see what's left."
The band rebounds from unusual angles when choosing each song's trajectory. A rumbling, almost tribal beat gets sliced by a squawking keyboard interlude or a vicious bass line. It sounds like Kraska and Shindelman are closing their eyes and plunging into whatever their collective subconscious decides to pursue. It seems effortless, but the duo toils diligently before everything takes shape. "It's not like we're in the basement and 15 minutes later we've got an entire song," Kraska says. "We're not that good. We have to take a little time."
Kraska and Shindelman played drums and keyboards, respectively, in their earlier projects. Post Honeymoon marks Shindelman's first foray into the frontwoman role, while Kraska is finding out what it's like to play bass in a band. "It was terrifying for us the first time we played bass or sang at a show," Kraska recalls. "To be at the front of the stage with the mic, I was like, Oh my God, what am I doing?" Kraska, meanwhile, admits he couldn't sing his way out of a paper bag. He does contribute some well-placed shouts every now and then.
Though they enjoy the freedom working as a twosome affords them, Kraska and Shindelman say the creative pressure can be taxing. "All of our other bands were really equal creatively," Shindelman says. "Now, there is no one else to bring in an idea other than ourselves. It's harder, but it's more rewarding."