by Chandler Christopher

January 18th, 2021

The Slaps are a beach blues trio that formed in 2017 during their freshman year at Depaul University in Lincoln Park, Chicago. They are an indie rock band based out of Chicago, comprised of members Rand Kelley (lead vocals and guitar), Ramsey Bell (bass), and Josh Resing (drums).  “We love a tightly-packed road trip, talking to strangers, and dreaming.”  The Slaps’ music can’t be placed into a single genre, combining poetic lyricism with rock ‘n’ roll and smooth ballads. Rand Kelley’s harmonic voice has subtle hints of Julian Casablancas of The Strokes, which pairs extremely well with the strong, bluesy beats on display in the band’s catalog. 

The seeds for The Slaps were planted long before their college arrangement, as long-time best friends and Lexington, Kentucky natives Rand Kelley and Ramsey Bell have been musical compadres for the better part of a decade now. The duo grew up going to the same schools, the same tennis clinic, and even played trumpet and bass clarinet in their high school band. However, it wasn’t until their senior year that they began playing in a band together– “Rand was on his singer-songwriter vibes and his first band was called ‘Safety City,’” explained Ramsey. Rand added, “Yeah, the drummer was dismissed for that band, then a new drummer was added and then we added Ramsey. We were called ‘Little Chap’. You can still find some of our songs on The Slaps’ Bandcamp.”  

As Rand and Ramsey’s journey continued onto Depaul University, they wanted to start something fresh and new. The Lexington pair decided to jump right into the action, playing a handful of free sets in Depaul’s common area to start getting their name out there. Soon thereafter, it was time for them to play a “real show,”  and they were in urgent need of a drummer. It was the first weekend of college parties there at Depaul, so Rand and Ramsey concocted a precise and well-thought-out plan to find the missing piece to their soon-to-be trio. They were to infiltrate each party they came across, asking “everyone they met,”  if they could play the drums and wanted to be a part of their band. Turns out, the plan was genius. The first person they happened to ask was Josh Resing, a serendipitous last line to their drummer-deficient musical triangle. 

The band has since put out one mixtape (Susan’s Room (2017)), two EP’s (A and B (Both 2019)), and a handful of singles. Additionally, The Slaps recently recorded an Audiotree Live album that you can find on streaming platforms. On January 11th, the first single off of the band’s upcoming, debut LP, Tomato Tree,” was released, so make sure to go check that out for a preview of what’s to come on the album. Check out The Slaps website here, and check out our Q&A below!


Q:  Tell me about Susan’s room, how did that record come about? What has y’all’s songwriting process been?

Josh:  All of Susan’s Room was recorded entirely on one mic with very DIY methods.  

All:  Since we’ve come together, everything has been pretty organic and what we each bring has been complementary to each other. We’ve just kind of done things and not thought much about it. Rand has led the charge with a lot of the songwriting, but lyricism is anyone’s game. 

Q:  How did y’all come up with The Slaps as your name? Any bands/band names before this?

Ramsey:  We texted in a group message asking for band name ideas, my friend Caroline texted and said “The Slaps.” We liked it right then and just kind of went with it and now we’re here. 

Q:  What’s y’all’s experience with the Chicago music scene?

Rand:  It’s definitely a safe place to experiment with a lot of different size venues. When we first started, we were already playing two shows a weekend. You can pretty much always find another band to play with you at any level or venue. 

Ramsey:  People in Chicago really like music and it’s one of the biggest cities in the country, so it’s a great place to play music.

Q:  What was the scene in Lexington, Kentucky like?

Rand:  In Lexington, there was a place called ‘Big Hair’ for people of any age to play shows. When I started to want to be in a band, I just wanted to play shows with people and that coincided with the opening of Big Hair, which ended up really fostering my growth. 

Q: I love your EP’s, “A” and “B”, tell me a little about the making of those/the idea behind releasing the projects as two EPs.

Josh:  They are organized chronologically. We had all these unrecorded and fully written songs we wanted on a record. A was the older of the songs and B was the newer of the songs. We just decided on a limb to release them as two separate EPs. 

Q: I have a lyric question about the song Cheers– tell me about the writing of the chorus- “Watch the dogs and the kids down the block move the snow…. With a kiss on the cheek”. 

Josh:  It’s kind of about winter, this time of year. When you find yourself looking out the window, smoking cigarettes, and watching people playing in the snow and hanging out down the street. It’s about having grown up and seeing the kids down the street and reflecting on your younger self. It’s a “cheers” to that time in our lives, kind of like an ode. 

QTell me about your song Being Around. That song gets me in my feels for sure. How’d y’all write that one? 

Josh:  This was a poem I wrote… Writing as a drummer is mainly rhythmic, so a lot of songs are just lyrics over a drum with no melody. That’s where Rand and Ramsey can come in and assist with the melodious parts. I just sort of sang-read that poem and Rand pieced together the melody.

Q:  Tell me about your upcoming album… What’s it going to be called?

All:  The plan is for the album to be out on Friday, March 25th and it’s called Tomato Tree. It’s a lyric in one of our songs, and it’s funny because tomato trees aren’t real. Josh was doing some research and he found a tree tomato, but not a tomato tree. The songs on the record are songs from all different years, too. We recorded it at Pallet Sound in Chicago with Michael Macdonald. 

Q:  What are your goals going forward for The Slaps?

All:  Our goal is to continue performing live and playing to as many people as we can. It’s really just to spread the record that we’ve worked really hard on. Right now it seems like a lot of bands are reluctant to hit the road with Covid. But, yeah, that’s our goal– keep playing music and keep playing live.

Check out some of The Slaps' tunes and support artists by following them on their socials linked below! :)