The Safes Interview

By Eric Schelkopf

For the past 10 years, Chicago band The Safes has been serving up its sweetly infectious brand of power pop. The Safes, comprised of brothers Frankie, Patrick and Michael O’Malley,, will celebrate its 10th annual Black Wednesday show at the Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western Ave., Chicago, on Nov. 27 with the release of its new EP, “Thanks To You.” The Differents, The Phenoms and Jet W. Lee are also on the bill. The show starts at 9 p.m., and tickets are $10, available at I had the chance to talk to Frankie O’Malley about the new EP.

Q – Great talking to you again. Of course, the band has a new EP, “Thanks To You.” In sitting down to make the record, what were your goals? Is there a meaning behind the EP’s name?

Not really. These three songs were recorded separately and just fall together as released organically, I guess you’d say.

The title come out of the lyrics from track one, “Live Life Like You Wanna Live,” and we just wanted to use it as the title to say thank you to anyone that came out to a show, bought a T-shirt, danced at a show, etc… ya know just a sign of gratitude to anyone who is down with The SAFES!

Q – There are some great shots of Chicago in the video for the song “Live Like Like You Wanna Live.” The fun displayed in the video matches the song’s upbeat sound. What were your goals for the video?

Thank you! Mission accomplished! Fun was the whole goal! We’re glad you like the music video! It was very fun to make and people have been responding positively toward it.

Q – The song “Change The Game” also features Morgan Nusbaum of St. Louis band Bruiser Queen. What do you think she brings to the song and how did you hook up with the band?

Yeah Morgan’s awesome. We’ve been friends with Bruiser Queen from before they were even a band, when Jason Potter was in Left Arm and Morgan was in the 75’s!

Those are two more great St Louis bands. We wanted a strong female vocal on the Ahhs… part of “Change The Game” and as fate would have it, Bruiser Queen were in town right when we were recording that track, and we emailed Morgan an mp3 to learn the part and she knocked it out in about half hour.

That was a lot of fun!

Q – Of course, you also have a new song, “All Around The World,” on the “Roadtrip Nation” soundtrack. It seems like the band is especially prolific these days.

Is the band always working on new music? Do you think the series has continued to bring more exposure to the band’s music?

That’s true another great opportunity landed in our laps with that one! Thank you “Roadtrip Nation!”

The SAFES are historically pretty prolific. I mean I live to write songs and sing! And yes, we are ALWAYS working on new music!

Yes, “Roadtrip Nation” has been awesome to and for The SAFES! Our music is reaching a lot of people that it simply would not be reaching without “Roadtrip Nation!”

They work very hard to promote the bands whose music they license and do a 30-city tour promoting not only the show but the bands they feature on the show. It’s a pretty sweet deal!

Q – How do you think The Safes’ music has evolved since forming in 2003 and where do you see the band going musically from here?

Well if you go back to our first album, 2003’s “Family Jewels,” you’ll hear little hints of directions we were planning on going. And I’m happy to say we have evolved, realizing music that in 2003 was only a thought.

Growing is cool, improved always trumps new! We’re blessed to still be here better than ever!

Q – There were 11 kids in your family. Did that make it hard to be able to stand out or find your way? What are the pros and cons of being in a band with your siblings?

No being part of our big family is simply awesome! Playing music with your brothers is a gift most brothers never get to enjoy!

Of course there is all the bull that comes with being in a band, but playing music with family is like celebrating your birthday to the max on stage playing rock ‘n’ roll! Makes you forget the fights!

Q – The Chicago music scene has certainly changed since the band formed. What are your thoughts on the Chicago music scene and how do you see The Safes fitting into it?

That’s very true! The Chicago music scene is and has always been great!

So many great bands, venues, wonderful outlets such as Total Scene willing to cover the local scene, I couldn’t sit and list all the great publications, blogs, radio shows etc… but I will give a shout out to The Razor and Die Show, from 4 to 6 p.m. Fridays on radio station WLUW.

A lot of bands started up in 2003. I’m very happy The Safes will be celebrating our 10th annual “Night Before Thanksgiving” show at the Empty Bottle this year with our friends Jet W. Lee, The Phenoms and The Differents!

The Safes are a welcome fixture in the Chicago music scene.

Q – What’s next for the band?

Figuring out how to dominate the Earth with 60s-styled pop music! Ha.

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