Every Hangout light is handmade by our team. Ready to meet one of our makers?
Atticus joined Hangout in September of 2016 after spotting a job posting on Craigslist. He works as a Wood Specialist and in Specialty Production.
He’s also a bassist who composes and builds stringed instruments. Come learn a bit a about how his work does (and doesn’t!) influence his creative ventures and vice versa.
Let’s Start with Lighting
Why do you like working at Hangout?
Hangout is a great place to work! My schedule is really flexible, so I can be out late playing a show or leave early to make it to a soundcheck. The community is awesome: everyone is funny, cool, weird (like me), and ready to get stuff done.Everyone's voice is heard, and everyone's input is valued.
Have you done work like designing and building lights before?
My previous jobs had been either music-related or in food service. As a musician and composer outside of my time at Hangout, however, I've spent a lot of time writing music and organizing bands and ensembles to perform said music, which, as a creative process, is at least tangentially related to designing and building light fixtures. My time working in kitchens also prepared me for the ticket-based production workflow we use at Hangout.
And, onto the Music!
How’d you get involved in music?
I started taking piano lessons when I was four years old. I don't have memories of telling my parents I wanted to learn to play the piano, but I do recall being obsessed with the idea of playing the trombone. I still wish I had taken trombone lessons, but the piano has been central to my musical life ever since, so I'm happy with how things turned out.
I also started learning the saxophone in middle school, and then started teaching myself electric bass in high school. I played drums and percussion in college, too, but since moving to Chicago, bass has been my focus. I played in concert band in middle school and high school, and also played in jazz band in high school. I attended a jazz-focused music camp during the summer every year through high school, and that was what really cemented my desire to play improvisational music and be in bands.
Tell us a bit about the Atticus Lazenby Group.
The Atticus Lazenby Group is a jazz fusion band that I formed shortly after I moved to Chicago in 2014. I play bass in the ALGroup, write all the music, book our shows, organize rehearsals around all of our crazy schedules, and generally hold everything together.
All of the members are professional musicians who went to school for music, and we frequently bring in new musicians to fill in when someone can't make a gig. The core of the band is bass, drums, two keyboard players, and a guitarist. When schedules allow, we also incorporate horn players.
The music I write for the ALGroup combines jazz improvisation with elements of funk, rock, hip hop, and world music. It's currently all instrumental music, but I'm working on material with lyrics for future shows. We released a self-titled album (our first) in 2016, and are currently working on recording a second album.
So, what’s lutherie, exactly??
Lutherie is the practice of building stringed instruments, and a person who does that is called a luthier. I'm left-handed, and when I became interested in playing bass, I quickly realized that the range of left-handed basses on the market was seriously limited, and that it would be difficult to find a used left-handed bass to start learning on.
I took to the internet to learn about how basses are constructed, and became obsessed with the world of bass design. My frustration at the fact that all of the designs I was learning about were right-handed fueled a desire to one day learn how to build a bass that was perfect for me.
In 2017, I started to fulfill that dream under the wing of Jake Serek, a local bass guitar builder. I now work for his company, Serek Basses, in addition to working at Hangout, and am currently finalizing a design for my second bass build.
In what ways do you find your outside-of-work creativity fuels your work or vice versa?
I try to keep my investments of creative energy separate from one another, which is relatively easy at this point, as my work at Hangout, my work at Serek Basses, and my music require creativity in different ways.
At Hangout, I do a lot of problem solving and improvisation, which requires a certain level of investment depending on what's happening day-to-day.
At Serek Basses, much of my work is procedural and repetitive since I'm still learning. And in music, depending on how much time I have every week and what projects I'm doing, sometimes I'm just rehearsing and playing shows, and sometimes I'm learning music and composing.
The physical, materials-based work I do at Hangout and Serek is easy to separate from my music because the processes are so different. If I had a day job where I was sitting in front of a computer writing all day, I don't think I would have the mental space I need to work on my music, but something about working with my hands all day isn't as mentally exhausting.
When do you fit your creative venture in? Nights? Weekends?
Music happens on weeknights, weekends, and occasionally on days when I would normally be at Hangout, if I have a really good gig or am on tour.
What else do you enjoy beyond music?
Outside of music, my other passions and enthusiasms include, in alphabetical order: anime, bicycling, Chicago summers, cooking, manga, nature, and spending time with my partner and my cat.