Ever since the Christian pop-rock band Jars of Clay hit it big in the mid-1990s, all eyes have been on their alma mater of Greenville College in southern Illinois.
It gave any student with musical skills a shot at thinking he also could hit the big time, Naph Marshall said, even though Jars of Clay’s heyday was past by the time he and the other members of Photoside Cafe formed six years ago.
“By the time we got there, there was definitely a mind-set like that was old news and nobody listened to them anymore. Everybody wanted to make their own name with their own music,” Marshall, the band’s lead singer, said in a telephone interview from Chicago, where he works for a Web design firm located in the Tribune Tower.
“Honestly, you can’t get around the fact that most of the people who have heard of Greenville and went there was based on Jars,” he added. “People get there and have that mentality of ‘Forget them.’ ”
Photoside Cafe members began playing together in the first semester of their freshman year for three of them, said Marshall, a Chilean native who moved to the United States to go to college.
“We basically just started jamming,” he said. “We didn’t really have a goal in mind, but ended up being a lot more structured than we thought we were going to become. We’ve been playing since then.”
The band’s first EP was very similar to the Dave Matthews Band, he said, with newer work having more of a “jam band, happy, have-a-good-time feel.
“Our new stuff has evolved even more. As you keep listening, you keep getting influenced by things. We don’t want to be stuck with the same sound over and over again.”
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Photoside Cafe received most of its exposure thanks to Christian music festivals in the Midwest. It’s playing Saturday night at Rock the Grove, a concert and family gathering at Long Grove Christian Church in Scott County.
The band is working on its second album, but is only at the writing stage, Marshall said. There have been long discussions about the delivery methods.
“With the industry having changed so much, it’s kind of a game to figure out what’s going to work out best in terms of marketing, what listeners want and how accessible do they want it,” he said. “Are they willing to pay for it or do they want it just given to them?”