INTERVIEW: Chase Atlantic chat ahead of their upcoming Boston gig (July 22nd)
Editor’s note: Alternative pop trio Chase Atlantic are on a meteoric rise. The Australian outfit have just released their sophomore album, titled PHASES, and are currently on their most extensive North American headline tour to date. Their story is not one of those overnight success stories where a band puts out one EP and then has a sold-out headline tour, Chase Atlantic have worked their way up. Their debut EP Dalliance came out in 2014, and the band has been chasing success ever since. After dropping their debut album in 2017, they caught on in the US due in large part to time spent on the 2018 VANS Warped Tour.
Now in 2019, they’re on the edge of something big. PHASES has landed, and the fans are coming out, the sold-out shows are here and lifetime connections with fans are developing. They’ll be swinging through New England next week and stopping at Paradise Rock Club in Boston for one of the last few dates of their US Tour. Colleen Johnson recently spoke with lead singer Mitchel Cave about the band’s new album and US tour among other things, you can read through their conversation now.
So, you released the new music video recently for “Heaven and Back” it’s a full-fledged short film –
Yeah, absolutely. Thank you for reminding me about it. I haven’t even looked at the internet yet. What did you think about it?
I like it. It made me want to look at a lot of the other videos. I watched “Triggered” and “Church” a couple of older videos too, but considering Erik J. Rojas made that one too, how was it to work with Erik again? How did this video concept kind of come about for you guys?
“Triggered” was one we made a few years ago and we have wanted to make a video since then. Especially because we’re friends, but it was great working with each other again. We kind of conceptualized the idea in a coffee shop in L.A. when we were over there, and the team just came together. We basically got the idea from an episode of Black Mirror – ‘San Junipero’ – that was based in the eighties. And the song sounds very eighties and we kind of wanted to do our take on that with our internal message of a girl being addicted to heroin. We wanted to accurately represent how it would feel to go to heaven and back. I mean in heaven, obviously, she was living in paradise, having fun and being at this party.
Just from looking at it, I can tell you put a lot of effort into each music video that Chase Atlantic puts out. How important for you is it to have that visual representation?
I think it’s very important for us because if you’re going to have this much material, this much control over everything you do, how everything looks and if you self-produce, then you should have a huge influence on how you’re going to look, when you’re performing your self-produced songs. You really must give it 110%. We must have control over everything we do. We can’t let someone have the wheel unless it’s someone you trust.
I want to talk a little bit about MDDN, your management, run by Benji and Joel Madden. They’ve spent a lot of time working their way up. How has it been to have those two in your corner?
It’s very important to have people that respect you, that inspire you; people who are going to mentor you and not just tell you what to write and what to do. Even though the guys support us as managers as well, we can text them any time to ask them a question, and they always will give you an insight to your life and things they’ve been through, things that have worked, that kind of stuff. Not only are they mentors, I think they’re beautiful people. We couldn’t be luckier.
Getting into your live show, I know this is the biggest US headline tour you’ve done so far, you’re about halfway through it. How have these shows been going? You’ve had sold-out shows; I know the Boston show is close to being sold out.
The tour’s been amazing, honestly. We didn’t expect these shows to be full. We looked at the rooms, and we were like, okay, these are a little bigger than we projected. We’ve been saying that even if they’re half full, we’ll be happy, but I think that in the back of our heads we have high expectations of how things could go. But it’s been what we hoped; it’s been great. All the shows have been amazing, every show I’m on stage thinking that this one’s the best yet. It’s been insane, every show.
Your new album, PHASES only came out two weeks ago. Your fans have had some of these songs for a while as singles but are there any songs you feel fans are gripping on to or maybe one that’s surprising you? What songs have you seen as the big ones so far?
I mean, it depends. I think “Heaven and Back” is really making a push. With records and full-length albums, what you expect to be the bigger songs from the album half the time only really push forward once you’ve listened to the album a couple of times and think you know which one your favorite is. If it’s a good enough album, your favorite songs on the album will change. The record we want to make is when you listen to an album, every other month you get a new favorite song. It will become the ones you never thought it would be. Which I think is very important. You want it to be like a reliable, good piece of music too.
Me personally, right now, before this tour, it was “Even Though I’m Depressed.” That was a very fun song to make. That was a very important one for me to have made the album. I wanted to bring some perspective there. People listen to it and tell me it sounds like a pop record. It’s just how I write my music. That’s what this is for.
Now you also released an EP (DON’T TRY THIS) earlier this year, but none of those songs were on the LP. Were all of these songs written in the same sessions, or were they written in separately?
We made the EP before we were starting to do the album songs. Then we decided to make the album and started from square one, just started from scratch. We started the album, and it was just like, well that was it, and that was that.
It’s been said that your LP was a bit of a departure for Chase Atlantic. What was something new you tried when writing this record, but something you still think screams Chase Atlantic to past fans?
It’s impossible for us to lose our sound because it’s just something that unfolds. You can’t really lose your sound; it’s like losing your voice. It’s kind of difficult to lose that because it’s entrenched in who you are as musicians. But I think, for this record, being on the road and touring so much and pulling from that energy. I think it can all change your perspective on a lot of things in every aspect of your life. So, for this second record, it changed in the way that it became more genuine and more inspired. And that kind of gives it more of that style and vulnerability that wasn’t really there before the first record which had a lot of content, because these album shows have been really good.
Yeah, and now that you’ve kind of figured out what you want the sound of Chase Atlantic to be, or what it’s becoming, now that you’ve experienced it.
We’re really starting to grow and know what we’re capable of. Like say, for the next record, say we wanted to make it darker, then we could do that. I think we just want to make each record have it’s own stand out interim and that just be it. If we made this record just like the first record, that would be boring. Every time we release a record, it must be different, in a new kind of way.
Perfect! Then to kind of end it off, like I said before, you’re about halfway through this tour, you just released this album. You were in the US really recently before this, headlining as well, you did the last Warped Tour. What are some hopes or focuses for these next few months for Chase Atlantic once you finish this tour?
When we finish playing these amazing shows, hopefully, that energy in us will carry over into Europe for a continuation of the tour. I think we’re going to take a month off. Every bit of free time we can find, we are always creating new instrumentals. I mean we’re not always writing and recording as often because it’s a changing environment so we can’t really have a full studio. But every single day, we’re working on instrumentals for us. I guess when it comes to what’s coming next, we just love to make music, create artwork. If I’m not on stage performing or setting up for it, I’m free-forming and making music. Eventually, there will be something.