Truth or Consequences New Mexico talks recent EP release, playing Chicago gigs and balancing school with the band


Photo courtesy of Cora Pancoast

Members from Truth or Consequences New Mexico play onstage. The band recently released its EP “TCNM.”

Caryl Shepard, Reporter

Following the recent release of its EP, “TCNM”, student band Truth or Consequences New Mexico is making waves in the Chicago music scene.

The band is composed of current and former Northwestern students and another local college student: McCormick seniors Jack Parker and Cora Pancoast on guitar and vocals, Gwen Giedeman (Communication ’22) on bass and Columbia College Chicago senior Max Dolinksy on drums.

Named after a New Mexico town, TCNM began when Parker and Pancoast realized they wanted to form a college band after hosting a WNUR radio show together. 

“We’ve never been in a band in college, and that was my number one aspiration when I came to college,” says Parker, “So we decided to (form a band) together. We were then joined by our friends a couple of months later and started playing shows around Chicago in the summer.”

Parker and Pancoast began practicing in late 2021, and they recruited Giedeman two weeks before their first show last April. Dolinsky joined last summer as TCNM began playing at more venues in Chicago. 

Parker said their first show with all of the current members was at Bookclub. Their most memorable performance came later that summer at Chop Shop in Wicker Park, which remains the largest show the band has played to date ― a memorable event given the extensive coordination and planning it took to book the venue. 

“There’s something about being in that kind of room,” Pancoast said. “That was the most fun I think we’ve had at a show, because it was also the process to get (the show) to happen.” 

Dolinsky said the band has refined their style by practicing together for over two years. Members said they draw inspiration from artists from Bruce Springsteen to Carrie Brownstein and incorporate styles ranging from folk to hardcore punk. 

Given the variety of music tastes in the quartet, they attempt to balance all of their preferences to perfect their overall style, according to Pancoast. 

“I think our sound is just a culmination of the things that we like to do in the way that makes sense,” she said. “(It’s) the elements of all the things that we love that actually go together, and then fitting together with more folky things and more funky things and whatnot.”

Running the band as students presents unique challenges, Pancoast added. Booking gigs on their own while managing school can be stressful and makes finding practice time difficult. However, Pancoast said it is still entirely worth it.

The band recently recorded their first EP, comprising five songs amounting to just over seventeen minutes. While all members contributed to the music on the album, Dolinsky spent hours mixing the album. 

“We didn’t really have anyone to record us, and I just took the reins,” Dolinsky said. “Someone really just had to press record.”

Shortly after the EP’s release, the quartet played at an album release show at Cole’s Bar in Chicago with other performers, including Debbie-Marie Brown (Medill ‘20, ‘21), NU student band Sapphire Man and Chicago-based duo Happy To Be Here on Feb. 16.

Looking forward, Parker said TCNM’s aspirations for the future remain high. The band hopes to expand its local presence and continue booking gigs throughout the city. However, Parker said current students hope to finish their studies before diving headfirst into the band. 

“We want to take it as far as we can,” Parker said. “But … three of us are pursuing degrees, and we’re not ready to jump right into doing just the band anytime soon. We’re always trying to play bigger shows, play with new artists and meet more people in the Chicago (music) scene.” 

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