Your Best Nights Begin Here
Tour Chicago, IL with Bass Player Erik Hunter
The Best Nights section will take you on a local’s tour and journey through the eyes and personal experiences of artists, photographers, bloggers, musicians, etc., showcased in a different city every month. The month of May brings us to Chicago, IL, where we meet bass player Erik Hunter and tour the best nights of this beautiful city.
Please scroll down for a tour with Erik.
A Bass Player's Tour of Chicago
Erik, thank you for joining us for the Chicago edition of Behind the Shot. Chicago is famous for its music scene. Can you tell us how you got your start in music?
Hey Mathias! Thank you for having me. It is an honor. So, I got started in music at a very late age. I’ve always had a passion/ love for music since I was a kid. My sister's room used to be right next to mine. All kinds of music were coming through those walls. So many different genres. I’m forever grateful to this day. I started playing drums in 8th grade. I didn’t really take it that seriously until I got to high school. I was in a chapel band throughout my high school period. The drums were cool, I thought I sucked at playing them. I was 17 when I fell in love with the bass guitar. I attended Chicago’s annual Gospel Fest downtown. My life changed after that. I just knew I had to purchase a bass. I was 18 years old when I started playing bass.
How did you transition to a full-time musician?
It honestly was when I started getting calls to go out of town for more than three weeks. What was crazy about this was that I was still in school, trying to finish up; not to mention I had a part-time job working downtown.
Chicago has a rich history n music, most notably blues, gospel, house, and hip-hop. How would you describe the Chicago music scene today?
Chicago has such a versatile range of creatives and talent. There are so many dope artists who come out of this beautiful city. The music scene here is a bit aggressive and a bit challenging at times (That I won’t lie about). When you look at it from a different angle, you realized that Chicago sets you up for greatness. It is a city that lets you realize nothing comes easy. You will always have to put in work and dedication.
What are your favorite venues to play and watch live music?
Some pretty dope venues to check would be “The Giant Penny Whistle Tavern” which is located in the historic “Pilsen” neighborhood, "The California Clipper", "The Lazy Bird", and "The Basement" just to name a few. You could never go wrong at any of these locations, especially on weekends.
With such a rich music history, what are some great landmarks or museums showcasing the Chicago music scene and history?
When it comes to Chicago music history, a lot of its history is usually in the venues. From autographs on the walls to pictures in the green rooms, you’re bound to get some information. Buddy Guys’ venue "Legend" I would say, has the most iconic history you could find in Chicago. There is also the Hideout, The Green Mill Cocktail Lounge, Jazz Showcase, and Thalia Hall.
Jägermeister and live music have always been a perfect match; what is your favorite Jägermeister drink?
The best drink I’ve had with Jägermeister was with Red Bull. They call it a “Jäger Bomb.”
If a visitor had one day to explore Chicago, what would be your ideal day out? Where and what to eat or drink, and do some sightseeing? Any hidden gems only a local would know?
My ideal day in Chicago would first start with a dope breakfast at "Batters and Berries", which is in the Lincoln Park area. Then we would go downtown to visit the "Willis Tower". We would go all the way to the "Sky Deck" and view the entire city. Next, we would travel down to the “Magnificent Mile/ Water Tower,” located on Michigan ave. In that area, there are tons of stores to shop and eat. Once we’re done with all that walking and exploring, I’m sure it will be time for a late lunch. It wouldn’t be right if we didn’t get an Italian Beef with sweet peppers and cheese dipped in gravy. "Portillo’s" is a top Chicago staple. Right up the street from the UIC area (the University of Illinois at Chicago) is the new and upcoming area, “Fulton Market” this is where all the cool nightlife is taken place. We would go to this bar/arcade called “Emporium.” They have every retro game you can think of. From Pac-Man to Paper Boy, they have what you need. The Grand finale, which would obviously be to listen to some live music. We would head over to the "Hoxton Hotel". In the basement of their hotel, they have a Venue called “The Lazy Bird.” A few rounds of their signature “Raspberry Long Island’ would make the night complete.
Erik's full name is Erik “Matthew” Hunter, and Matthew Skillz is his artist name. He was born and raised in Chicago, IL. He has been playing bass guitar since 2009. Erik has traveled the world playing for dope artists such as Tank and the Bangas, Smino, Ravyen Lanae, Jamilla Woods, and many others. In 2020 after coming off tour going straight into the “pandemic,” he formed a production hub with my good brothers ThatdoodNate and RoyaDesign called “Club Crib ent.” The company focuses on different avenues such as creating super dope music, mixing and mastering music, studio sessions, web design, video content, photoshoots, cover artwork, and live shows.