BATAVIA – Band members Laura and John Hix come by their talent naturally.
From their musical grandparents – John and Eileen Hix – to their musician father Andrew, and uncle Carl who own Hix Bros. Music in Batavia and Aurora, the two siblings said music has been a way of life for their family.
Laura Hix was 8 years old when she received her first guitar, and she began taking lessons when she was 10. Andrew Hix started teaching his son how to play the drums when he was 6.
Andrew Hix has nine brothers and sisters, most of whom were musically inclined into their 20s and 30s.
“At every family gathering, there was always someone playing an instrument and someone singing,” John Hix said. “I felt really lucky.”
His dad played in clubs and bars from the early 1980s to the late 2000s, often six nights a week.
“He slowed down when my older sister was born,” John Hix said.
Laura and John Hix are part of the band Shadow for Sale, which just released its first album by the same name. They joined the band through the Hix Bros. Rock School, an eight-week program where musicians take classes, learn cover songs, write original music and experience playing a live performance in front of a large audience.
Laura Hix played with several groups through the school, but said Shadow for Sale “really clicked.”
For five years, the self-described “indie/alternative rock band” has played at events and venues such as Elgin Ribfest, North Aurora Days, EvenFlow Music & Spirits in Geneva, and The House Cafe in DeKalb, as well as a number of charity functions.
Released June 24, the band’s debut album sold more than 100 copies in the first month. It’s available at Hix Bros. Music stores or from band members.
The name of the band is a play on words from the lyrics of a song by one of the groups that inspired them, Young the Giant.
“I just liked the way it sounded,” Laura Hix said. “People seem to remember it and keep it in their minds.”
Laura Hix, 18, who graduated from Batavia High School, is currently a music education student at Elmhurst College. Her goal is to teach a high school or community choir.
John Hix, a senior at Batavia High School, plays in the school’s marching, jazz, pep and concert bands, as well as the orchestra for school musicals.
“I do everything in music that I can at school,” he said.
The seven songs on the album are all original and written by band members. Although Laura Hix and lead guitar player Matt Zoppa are the main writers, they all take part in the process.
Someone will start out with a guitar lick or chord progression, and send that to the others, Laura Hix explained.
“Each person adds different things, different layers and textures,” Zoppa said.
The band also shares the lead on vocals. Zoppa said they like to change it up, which brings a unique style and flavor to their music.
Zoppa, who also plays ukulele, bass and percussion, is a senior at Kaneland High School in Maple Park. In addition to his experience at Hix Bros. Music, he plays in Kaneland’s marching and jazz bands.
Katie Griswold, who plays keyboard, and Melanie Strausberger, who plays bass, graduated from West Aurora High School in 2014, and are students at Augustana College and Judson University, respectively.
The bandmates’ schedules will be busy, but they plan to continue writing music together, and to perform whenever they can.
“Playing with Shadow for Sale is super fun to do right now,” Laura Hix said. “We’re not going to stop playing.”