Tom Schraeder and His Ego

This was our first shoot at this fabulous Logan Square rooftop.  Tom and Dan performed four riveting songs, and as the night progressed, a small crowd of local bar hoppers came up to join us in the fun. Two other people who make cameo in this video are our friend  Jonathan from Good Evening Chicago (guy carrying the PBR) and Jim ( hanging on top of the edge of the roof, wearing an orange shirt; he is the guy thanks to whom we were able to shoot this video… special thanks to Jim!).


About Tom Schraeder and His Ego

Tom Schraeder is not a singer/songwriter. In fact, that’s the last thing he’d prefer you to think of him as. Tom Schraeder is a prolific artist pushed by his own urgent sense to constantly express and create without the need to explain. Why shouldn’t he have to explain? Because his tireless musical approach is always held together on a cohesive level by the songs themselves. They could be strummed, electronic, ambient or maybe even hip hop. The genre is not the necessity, but instead to create genuine music without pretense. This is Tom Schraeder. The artist.
On March 10th 1984, in the maternity ward at Illinois Masonic Hospital, a force was set into motion. The name of that force was, and still is, Tom Schraeder. Twenty-six years later, the Chicago born and loyal songcrafter is barreling towards greatness, with maniacal brilliance not seen since the last time Halley’s Comet tore past the planet earth.

It was clear early on Schraeder’s velocity was untraditional and unstoppable. At the age of nine, he was rejected from grade school choir, which led him to start a band of his own instead. In high school, he formed a songwriter’s club. The group received so much attention at Tom’s school that a teacher organized a guitar sponsorship, allowing Tom and his classmates to perform a recital at the House of Blues in downtown Chicago. That was Schraeder’s first show at a major venue, and he has been entrenched in the world of music ever since.

It was this same tenacity that, though suffering from a heart condition which requires corrective surgery every eight years, led to the rumour he bested famed Bulls point guard B.J. Armstrong in a one on one pick up game at Independence Park. Proof of his victory has yet to surface but the fact is Schraeder possesses the inexhaustible spirit of a crusader.

That spirit has grown in scope and resolve over time on accord of Schraeder’s tireless work ethic and sprawling vision. His first collection of demos, “The Door, The Gutter, and The Grave”, was self-released in 2007. Jim DeRogatis of the Chicago Sun-Times wrote of Schraeder’s ability to, “[recall] varied influences without resorting to mere imitation, thanks to the sophisticated melodies and arrangements and the surprisingly insightful and world-weary lyrics.” Schraeder played a set a Lollapalooza before “The Door…” was released, and was named “Show of the Weekend” by the Chicago Sun Times. The early recognition fueled Schraeder to commit every breath he could to bringing his Chicago nasal congestion to any stage that would have him. The thunder was heard, and his diligent pursuit led to playing CMJ twice, once garnering “CMJ Track of the Day” for the cut “Which Excludes You”.

Even though his home city gave breath to Schraeder like a taxicab heartbeat, he knew it was time for a bigger canvas. Fleeing the Midwest in search of sunsets and new fire found Schraeder journeying up and down as well as across the lower 48, breaking laws and hearts along the way. In the meantime, he continued to develop his musical language and add to his catalogue of work. However, it was a meeting and conversation with Eddie Vedder in 2009 that set Tom’s vision clear and he went on to record and release for free four lo-fi records (“Death of St. Thomas”, “Dear Brooklyn I’m Sorry…”, “Panic”, and “92 Tales”) as well as a cassette tape single of the song “Patbaby”. That single ended up on his latest effort “Once Lace Now Cotton”, released by Austin label Township Records in 2010, of which entertainment website Metromix Chicago wrote, “Spare and quietly intense, this Chicago singer-songwriter’s latest feels personal, like a secret shared between people who’ve known each other their whole lives,” and prompted the music magazine The Deli to award it album of the month and decorate Schraeder as artist of the month.

Schraeder continues to press forward though, with his untiring vision like a banshee locomotive screaming across tracks of desire. For the past two years he’s organized the longest running event at SXSW, “AM to AM,” presenting a sixteen-hour marathon of music. He is set to release an album with his full band, Tom Schraeder and His Ego, this fall. He’s also been working with the Brooklyn-based electronic outfit Pretty Good Dance Moves in Austin to release the album “Egoiste,” where he uses his machete of curiosity to hack convention and expectation to pieces. If that weren’t enough, among the traveling, recording, heart, and law-breaking, Schraeder is collaborating with respected Chicago hip-hop group Natureal on an untitled project exploring the history and current state of segregation in their city. The album is expected to drop this summer. So if you hear that whistle blowing, Tom Schraeder will be wailing by.

More About Tom Schraeder & His Ego “Schraeder writes like Ryan Adams woke up one day and forgot to tell everyone how big of screw-up he is; as a result, finally got his shit together and wrote a song with the orchestral grandeur of The Beatles.” – Minneapolis fucking rocks  (Jonathan Graef)