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Bootleg Contraband - I/O

New electronica outfit Bootleg Contraband deliver their impactful 9-track debut album, ‘I/O’

Bootleg Contraband is the joint production moniker of Cason Trager and Lou Sceelo. The two met by sheer coincidence in the spring of 2019 when they struck up a friendship around music at a Guitar Center in Chicago. Trager later helped Sceelo set up his studio, shortly thereafter they began collaborating on sessions and Bootleg Contraband was born in the fall of that year. As they’ve come to develop their signature sound over the past 2-3 years, with influences that draw on Kraftwerk and Ron Hardy, they’ve been steadily releasing single after single worthy of critical praise.

Exploring the boundaries and dissolution of these boundaries between time and culture, digital and analog, and the real and virtual, electronic duo Bootleg Contraband has now released their debut studio album, I/O. With its stylistic roots deeply seeded in house music, the nine-track LP offering branches out into techno, electro, Latin, and minimal. The duo took inspiration from their collective pasts, delving into their heritage, life experiences, and feelings towards contemporary society. 

The duetted outfit describes the writing and recording process as very collaborative: “We both meddle with every aspect of what we do,” explains one-half of Bootleg Contraband Sceelo. Speaking into the sometimes complex nature of the LP’s records, Trager said “the main goal of each song was not exactly to make it a ‘song,’ but to explore the depth of an idea to the end of the rabbit hole.” Capturing feelings of nostalgia that are both retrospective, and yet bundled with optimism and curiosity for the future,  I/O delivers a uniquely confident sound. “We wanted to capture both a sense of nostalgia for our experiences but also a feeling of curiosity & hope for what is next to come, Trager continues in a press statement.

“We were working feverishly on the record for a solid 18 months, all during Covid, and I felt as if we were firing on all cylinders. I felt sparks of electric energy while working on this in the studio. The idea that we were releasing pent up energy through music is probably the portrayal the record emits.”

– Sceelo

Bootleg Contraband released their first single “What Is This?!” at the close of 2019 on Section Eight Music.  Then COVID hit with a left hook and the world stood still. During this downtime, the duo released a string of singles, including some remixes by the likes of R34L, Josh Fina, and Mark Pistel. In November of 2021 the band released “The Singles,” a compilation of all 13 singles. Hot on the heels of that compilation is the band’s proper full-length debut, which is out now on Section Eight Music. Stream the nine-track journey in full below!

Bootleg Contraband – I/O

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