Another Tuesday night, another Production Night Session — The Phoenix’s new live-stream series featuring Chicago artists performing and answering questions from reporters.
The guest for May 19 was Zoe Garcia, a recent high school graduate and singer of Sunday Cruise — a band from Elgin, Northwest suburb of Chicago.
During the stream, Garcia spoke about Spotify statistics of the group’s album as well as the Elgin battle of the Bands — and the importance of local venues — between her performances of Sunday Cruise songs.
Sunday Cruise’s debut album “Am I Pretty?” recently passed the 100,000 stream mark on Spotify after being out for about two months. Their song “Philophobia,” and Garcia’s final song of the live-stream, had nearly 43,000 streams on its own when the album hit the benchmark.
Garcia said this was partially due to the group successfully marketing themselves on the social media app TikTok. One of their videos — which uses the first song Garcia performed, “Friday Night,” — gained over one hundred thousand views on its own.
“I’ve been using TikTok to promote a lot of our music and it’s working,” Garcia, 17, said. “I roller skate so sometimes I’ll post videos of me roller skating and put one of our songs in the background. … Anytime anything gets posted it gets at least a few thousand views.”
In March, Garcia spoke with The Phoenix about Sunday Cruise’s history in the local music scene, particularly its 2018 win of the Elgin Battle of the Bands.
The event marked Garcia’s first time performing in front of an audience and the band’s live debut. Side Street Studio Arts, a small venue in Elgin and the host of the Elgin Battle of the Bands, recently announced the event would take place online this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It’s kind of sad, I feel like the whole experience is different when it’s in person,” Garcia said. “It was my first show, it was the first Sunday Cruise show too, the first show we played in front of people.”
Side Street Studio Arts has been a large part of the group’s development as a band, with the group having returned several times since. Garcia said small venues are imperative for the growth and development of bands like her own.
“Smaller venues are really what matters,” Garcia said. “Every band comes from a smaller venue. … We started playing smaller venues and we kept getting connections and then we were able to play places like [Subterranean].”
The benefit of local venues doesn’t just stop with smaller bands though — she said they also stand to benefit younger music audiences in the areas surrounding the venue.
Garcia first got involved in the local music scene at age 14 when she saw a Beach Bunny and Mt. Pocono show at Side Street Studio Arts.
She said some of the bigger venues in the city have age restrictions on their shows, which hinder young people from attending shows and getting involved in music. However, she said local venues tend not to have such limitations.
“A lot of the local venues in Elgin and Naperville don’t have that age restriction,” Garcia said. “Which is good because it gets younger people more involved with going to shows. When younger kids go to shows they get inspired to make bands, that’s what I did.”
The next Production Night Session will be May 26 at 6 p.m. CST on the Loyola Phoenix Instagram page @loyolaphoenix.