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We Got Together With Ctrl-Alt-Rock Band, The Assembly

By Jocelyn Geboy in Arts & Entertainment on Feb 9, 2006 2:00PM

We've gotten happy with you at some Chicagoist happy hours. We've gone roundabout about the bucket boys, MacyFields, and where you can still get your smoke on. But now Chicagoist is going to bring you the rock.

The event is Ctrl-Alt-Rock, and it's happening Thursday, February 16th at Schubas. Three bands (May or May Not, Alphabet and The Assembly) are going to bring their musical wares for you. Click here for all the details.

We've done interviews with May or May Not and Alphabet, and now it's The Assembly's turn. David Suh from the Assembly gave us the lowdown on his band, their re-formation, recording, and their being ready to rock.

2006_02 Assemblyweb.jpg

Chicagoist: Who did you grow up listening to on the radio? What were some of your first records/cassettes/albums?
Well first of all, my brother and I were raised in a very religious household. Both of my parents taught Sunday School, and it was a very Ned Flanders environment. We weren’t allowed to listen to anything that wasn’t Christian music and we went to church 3 times a week. For my sixth grade birthday my parents bought me a “boombox”, and I would steal away to my room and listen to whatever pop music I could find on the radio. I recall being really fond of The Police…I still think Every Breath You Take is an amazing pop song. I think I recorded it off the radio like 4 times before I got it without the DJ talking at the beginning or end.

C: Who became your influences as a guitarist?
I didn’t get a guitar until high school. I borrowed the money from my dad. I remember him asking me “You’re going to play hymns with this, right?” In high school I liked The Edge and Slash…two guys with ridiculous fake names. I still think both are really cool.

Find out more about The Assembly after the jump....

C: Do you have a musical family? Are you originally from Chicago?
My younger brother and I were born and raised in Naperville. My older brother was actually born in Seoul, South Korea. My parents got married there then moved here. My grandmother on my mom’s side was the church pianist for like 30 years, so my mom would tote us over to her house every week for piano lessons. I remember not liking it…although looking back, it probably helped us learn other instruments much easier.

C: You're playing with your brother now. Did you and he play together growing up?
Nathan is much more the multi-instrumentalist…he plays piano very well, and was actually in a bunch of youth symphonies as a trombonist. Now he plays guitar and keyboards in The Assembly. We used to share bunk beds…now we share the stage. I think that’s cool.

C: Did you ever imagine doing something else besides music?
Actually I currently work as a microbiologist by day at a pharmaceutical company. True story! I quit for a while when Caviar got signed to Island/Def Jam. They used to make jokes about me working with “controlled substances.”

C: The band's biography on the website chronicles an interesting history. A band who gets local airplay on two major stations with a song off their self-titled EP. But then it says you get "called away" to play out in Sacramento.
Okay, I’m going to explain this the best I can… at the time I left for L.A. back in 2004 The Assembly was still just a side project I started while I was in Caviar. The band I joined in L.A. was called The Drama, and they were originally from Sacramento but transplanted in Los Angeles. I was introduced to the band by a friend, and convinced to join by Braden Merrick, who at the time was managing The Killers as well as The Drama. The Killers took off and The Drama was left basically treading water. The Drama was supposed to have a deal with Geffen but the ink wasn’t dry, and when the band got put on the backburner, I headed back to Chicago.

C: What happened to the band in your absence? Did they carry on? Are you all still on amicable terms?
Everyone involved with The Assembly are still on great terms. At least with me, I think.

C: The band's been reformed. That is, re-formed. You're in the studio right now?
My little brother joined the band and plays both keyboards and guitar. Our ex-guitarist and ex-keyboardist have both moved on to other opportunities.

C: Who's responsible for creating and writing the songs you play out right now?
I do all the songwriting these days. I bounce ideas off of everyone, though everyone contributes to the overall sound of the band.

C: Do you play any of the "old" Assembly songs?
We don’t play any “old” Assembly songs. I just feel like the songwriting is much more developed these days.

C: Where are you looking to see yourself in the next year? The next 5?
I think The Assembly is oozing with potential right now. I think everyone is just starting to take notice. In a way, I feel like the band is brand new, and it’s very exciting. We are jumping into the studio this month to record a new batch of “mega” hits.

C: How was California? How do the scenes compare (that is, Chicago vs. Cali)?
I like warm weather just as much as the next person…but my heart will always be in Chicago.

C: Anything else you want to tell those of us that are going to Ctrl-Alt-Rock?
I guess I’ll some it up by saying that my friend Skid from The Ladies and Gentlemen wrote a song called “Whore No More,” and it’s my current theme song. I’ve always been someone else’s guitar player until now, and it’s the best I’ve ever felt.

C: What else are you doing right now?
I DJ on Fridays at Innjoy with my friend Skid from The Ladies and Gentlemen.

Chicagoist local snapshot:

Favorite place to eat in Chicago:
I think we all agree that Chicago’s Pizza is a must at 3 in the morning.

Most underrated thing about the city:
The music. Soooo many great artists and bands.

Best place to take a tourist:
Go see a great show at the Metro with them….they won’t forget it.