Feb 11, 2022 - Things to Do

Friko plays songs to get you through

Three band members

Friko is Luke Stamos (left) Niko Kapetan and Bailey Minzenberger. Courtesy of Friko

Friko frontman Niko Kapetan is just 22 years old, but his songs of heartbreak and weariness suggest an older soul, one who's been down and is ready for better times.

The backstory: Kapetan met bandmates Luke Stamos (bassist) and Bailey Minzenberger (drummer) when they all attended Evanston Township High School.

  • The teens compiled enough songs to produce a debut album, Burnout Beautiful, before graduation.

The sound: Sparse arrangements of aching folk and urgent indie rock that grew out of Kapetan's affection for the Velvet Underground, Elliot Smith and Leonard Cohen.

  • "I also grew up on a lot of the '70s soft rock from my parents," Kapetan tells Axios. "So I love the effortless pop of groups like Fleetwood Mac and ELO."
  • While "In and Out" explodes with breathy pop energy, "One to One" channels the breezy melancholy of Nick Drake.

Fun fact: As a teen, Kapetan worked with children as a babysitter and after-school counselor for kindergartners.

  • "I love working with kids because they have some of that same spirit I feel when I'm playing music," he says.

Local dish: Kapetan does a lot of eating in Rogers Park.

  • "My faves are BopNGrill and the Crazy Greek on Sheridan. I literally eat from one of those places almost every night."

What's next: Friko plays an all-ages concert this Monday, Feb. 14, at the Beat Kitchen to celebrate their new single "In and Out."

  • "I hope anyone who comes feels a sense of joy and relief in spite of the rough Chicago winter," Kapetan says. "These songs have helped me a lot the past couple of months so I hope they can help others as well."

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