Video: Kill Chicago’s ‘Take The City’

Kill Chicago have released a video for their new single ‘Take The City’ from their 2015 debut album ‘The Grey’. Directed by Don Levandier (The Motorleague) and premiering on student support organization Generation Squeeze, the video brings to light some of the terrible crippling facts about student debt in Canada, and the realities of education and career prospects across the country.

Frontman Greg Webber is a music teacher living and working back in his native Fredericton, but in 2012 he was living in Montreal during the student protests over tuition hikes. “I’m aware there are many sides to the argument of student debt, but, as a teacher, I feel I can look at it from a before and after kind of perspective. It’s a necessary evil unless your parents are loaded. I didn’t waste any money at all, just the necessity of what’s required. I have a ‘decent job’,  and I worked the entire time in my field while going to school.”

Webber explains that staying in Fredericton wasn’t an option if he was to pursue a degree in music, and so chose to move away to study at Montreal’s McGill University, and as he says: “that’s where the money comes in.” Webber moved home after graduation to make ends meet, but he’s lived in enough places across the country to know  that while New Brunswick might not be the ideal place to find a career, things are hard all over. It’s a theme that’s a staple to the music of Kill Chicago, and brings that element of blues to their rock, but stems from Webber’s punk rock/young champions of social injustices upbringing. “I grew up in a punk rock scene where saying something or fighting for a change in whatever small way you can mattered. Those people used music as a poetic or political platform to have their voices heard, voices that would otherwise be absent. I think by becoming a teacher of young people I am working within a system to try and help it, but at the same time using my ‘musician’s licence’ to criticize it from the outside also.

The band put the call out earlier this year, asking people to share their experiences with education and student debt. Those who weren’t too busy working several part-time jobs make an appearance in the video alongside their stories. Universally their situations are one of compromise.  “We wanted to show ‘the true face of debt’,” says Webber, “because I know nay-sayers are always saying things like ‘but what job are you going to get with that degree?’ and I just don’t think that’s the case for most people, and the people in the video proved that. As the video says, New Brunswick has the highest student debt of all the provinces and a UN rating similar to Slovenia.”

The promise of education used to mean the freedom and the ability to do whatever you want. In the 80s we were all told that we could be astronauts, Presidents of the United States, or maybe even both if we studied hard enough and didn’t stay out too late on weekends. Now, it looks a lot more like indentured servitude. The reality is that more people are living at home with their parents, taking jobs in unrelated fields, and working just to pay down debts.

“You only need to look at our age demographic to see its not working.”

“Our young people try to get ahead, but those jobs are either non existent due to our death rate being higher than our birth rate, or people being to broke to retire so the only option is to move or work beneath your education level. What kills me is the fact that the government makes money off of my debt, on top of the higher taxes I pay because I perform a job that requires a degree. The government claims they want educated, thoughtful contributing citizens but then they cancel all the programs that might help keep them here for a quick savings and a flashy headline.”

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