Better Mornings

The Method: Chris Hainey

The Method: Chris Hainey Featured
Drummer. Furniture Maker. Night Owl. Find your groove with Chris Hainey at his Noble Square brownstone.

“I’m a late-night person. Getting up in the morning is sort of a new thing for me.”

Clad in an “I Dig Coal” T-shirt and cutoff sweats, Chris Hainey greets us not thirty seconds after we’ve rung the bell of his Noble Square brownstone. The apartment, which he shares with his girlfriend, Leslie (a musician, model, and molecular biologist at the University of Chicago), is charmingly outfitted with Wes Anderson levels of character: an old scooter, books in French, a giant clock turned into a coffee table, and an old party game that consists of blocks with risqué sayings on them. This morning, they’re arranged to say: You can be persuaded tonight. “Everything I own is older than me,” he says with a grin. “Next time I buy a car, I’m afraid I’ll go straight for ‘60s muscle.”

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Hainey is the drummer for Maps & Atlases, an indie rock group whose songs have shown up on NBC’s Parenthood and Up All Night. Given his percussive inclinations, it makes sense that Hainey’s method begins with music. He puts on Expressway To Your Skull, a Buddy Miles record, and the apartment fills with the album’s upbeat riffs piping through a pair of 1970s flat-panel speakers he mounted on the wall. “I really like funk and soul,” he says.

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“I’m going to put on some pants,” he says, pausing the conversation as he disappears into the bedroom. Trousered and grooving to the R&B soundtrack, Hainey whisks us into the kitchen, where he’s brewing some Dark Matter coffee. He explains that his brief and practical morning routine is more than a little informed by his night-owl tendencies.

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“Usually I stay up and work on furniture or edit photos from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m.,” he says, pointing to a 6-foot section of an old bowling alley lane that’s propped up in the corner. He plans to turn it into a table. Then there’s the replica he made of a midcentury George Nelson bed that serves as a crash pad to repay debts to all those that have hosted him during tours with the band. “I’m a late-night person. Getting up in the morning is sort of a new thing for me.”

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With music and coffee out of the way, it’s off to Havas Worldwide, a renegade ad agency where Hainey secured an internship based on his creativity and Instagram following (57,000 and counting). He turned the internship into a full-time position, and as he mounts his bike to head to into work, only one thing is left: a donut at one of the many shops he frequents. “I go to Doughnut Vault or Firecakes or Glazed & Infused, but my favorite is a double-chocolate or carrot cake from Do-Rite.”

“Everything I own is older than me.”

If the light’s particularly good, as it is this morning, Hainey will take a moment to snap a quick photo on his iPhone to share with his followers. He reviews his take with satisfaction, slides his phone back into his pocket, and rolls off down the street, ready to take on the day.

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