Rival Maps are a two (sometimes three) piece indie rock group from Chicago, IL. The group’s core members are all siblings: Laura Ogren (keys), Andy Zagar (drums), and frontman Dave Zagar (guitars, vocals). Call it atmospheric psych rock.
Echoes (2015) marks the band’s self-released debut, but the three have been performing music together since 2011. Rival Maps, however, represents an overhaul of their sound and musical direction. The idea was to create driving indie psych-rock songs layered with several instruments. At times, remnants of the 60s and 70s come to light, with touches of prog-rock and indie pop.
The process for creating Echoes was fairly straightforward. Dave would record small improvised band jams and chord progressions, then work them into complete songs at his apartment. The final recordings were completed at Cold Wars Studios in Grand Rapids, MI. Other locations included band members apartments, the Frauenthal and Overbrook theaters in Muskegon (both of which generously lent the use of their Steinway grand pianos to the band), and engineer and co-producer Mike Counsel’s home studio.
The artwork for Echoes, designed by Dave’s now wife Joy, parallels the album’s theme, demonstrating many different parts of a colorful collage which form a single comprehensive image.
Echoes was self-released on November 20, 2015 on 180-gram vinyl, CD, and digitally. The band played their Muskegon record release show at Unruly Brewery that day, and their Chicago release show at Schubas on December 16, 2015 as part of Communion Music’s national monthly residency program.
The band is currently working on their 2nd LP.
Dave also started an instrumental side project in late 2017: "I took my Roland 707 drum machine and Juno-60 synth, and live composed a track to the solar eclipsed that occurred earlier this year. I turned it round in 24-hours as a challenge, something I've never tried before. I enjoyed that process very much, and after receiving great feedback, decided to expand it into a full EP. I then live-composed 3 additional tracks; for the sunrise, sunset, and full moon, all while up on my Chicago rooftop as they occurred in real time. I used only my 707 and hand percussion for drums, and for each track I featured one main instrument: violin for the moon, acoustic guitar for the sunrise, and electric guitar for the sunset." That album is currently being mixed, with a projected release date of early 2018.