Sam Prekop doesn't have a new album to promote for his band, The Sea and Cake. And he doesn't have a big tour he's in the midst of, either. The Chicago band is keeping October pretty low-key, making just a few stops in the area, ending here Saturday with a show at The Hi-Fi.
So it was pretty low-key when NUVO caught up with him via phone, too. Without a new album to dissect, we found time mostly to chat about family and art, and the intersections thereof. Readers, prepare yourselves for an adorable story about his kid now:
"Francis [one of Prekop's twins] at some point imitated me singing, and it was freakishly accurate in a weird way," Prekop said. "It was the craziest thing that I've ever experienced. I mean, he looks like me quite a bit, and his actual voice and inflection are like mine as well, which I was unaware of. He was like, "You know how you sing?" and he did a little example, and it completely threw me to the floor. It was so weird and crazy."
I ask him about his kids' music taste, if he's ever surprised by what they like.
"They have their preferences," he answered. "I play stuff in the car with them all the time, and they'll get into some surprising stuff. I really don't filter what I play. Definitely no what would be termed 'little kids music,' that I play in the car, really. Although there is one '60s British kids show soundtrack that I really like, The Clangers. That's actually not their favorite thing."
Prekop notes he grew up surrounded by music and art. His father is photographer Martin Prekop; his brothers work in various creative fields as well. Beyond music, Prekop works in variety of mediums; he released a book of his photography in 2007 and exhibits paintings on occasion. And although he says there was never any "pressure" to become an artist in his very artistic family, "I think there's no escaping how you were raised, in a sense. So I grew up being exposed to all of that stuff, and actually it sort of ingrained in me how important art is, and music," he said. "I think there is an innate, perhaps, aesthetic set or a sensibility in general that is passed on through the genes, I imagine somehow."
He said he thinks interest in art just seeps in, osmosis-like.
"Over the years, I've come to really appreciate how important it is to be exposed and to be able to appreciate that kind of stuff," he says. "It can't really be taught, it has to be around you, I think. And that's how I act with my kids as well. I don't put them down and make them make art or practice music."
As for his band family, Prekop is not sure when another Sea and Cake release will come, but that's not unusual. Their last was 2012's Runner, their 10th as a band. They've achieved another big, round whole number, too – 2014 marks their 20th year together as a band.
"To be honest, I have no idea," Prekop said, when I ask him what the next 10 years will bring. "But that's how we've always operated. ... I haven't written any new songs lately, but I hope to get started soon. ... I don't feel like we're finished yet."