We caught up with the superb Belfast-based musician CHASE THE RIVER, for an in-depth interview following the release of his single ‘We Were Giants’ in July 2020.
CHASE THE RIVER
Tell us about yourself?
There is very little to tell about me. I am a fairly average human, brought up in Belfast Northern Ireland, played music most of my life, thanks to my dad.
What is your songwriting process?
In terms of structure in music (or often in life) I am a bit of a mess, I can have droughts or floods of writing; sometimes it is lyrics that land, sometimes the riff.
In terms of the EP, some of the songs were written in front of the console when I was recording them. Whereas ‘just a show’ is over ten years old, just never committed to tape.
Tell us about your latest release?
The latest release is a little bit of a nervous expedition for me as it is the first time I have both played and recorded a record from end to end. The challenge was not having the sounding board to bounce ideas off, and having that complete control was a very very scary thing as there was no reassurance that I was on the right path.
What message do you think your music conveys to your fans?
I always aim, with every record, that what I have made is just an honest reflection of where I am, I try never to make a decision that would be to the detriment of the song over a commercial aspect, and I just hope that comes across. I am always honest as to what the song means to ME, but would never try to inflect those feelings into other people if they get anything out of what I do, that is class, and kind of the point.
Who are your musical influences?
Inside music I am eclectic, I am currently listening to Joshua James, 5 Finger Death Punch, Joe Purdy, Damien Rice, Winery Dogs, Dream Theater and MGMT. I know that is a standard, generic answer, but I find weird influence across all of these artists.
Who are your non-musical influences?
Outside of music inspiration, it is a little bit harder, but I am weirdly going to say, Ricky Gervais. I know, weird choice, but I appreciate the man’s blunt honesty, which is an absolute rarity in these modern times, and I can’t think of anyone else right at this moment of writing.
What’s the best gig that you have ever played?
The best gig was probably last year getting to support Fun Lovin’ Criminals and Feeder. That was very good fun, as short a set as it was.
What is your funniest gig moment?
Funniest…. probably blanking snow patrol at an open mic I was running, not knowing who they were as they were trying to give me a compliment… you don’t come back from that easily.
What do you think are the biggest obstacles for bands/artists today?
The hardest thing is honesty. I think musicians are in a weird place at the minute. I liken it to that bit in Life of Brian where everyone is shouting ‘We’re all individuals’. And there is a very prescribed socially acceptable outlook for artists generally, and that worries me a little. You are very clearly defined in your role, and if you step out of that, you are ostracised, and ‘cancelled’ which could be very dangerous in the long run. Again, watch a Gervais interview on this, he is much more eloquent (and irreverent) on the subject matter.
What advice would you give to other bands/artists starting out?
For new bands nowadays? Simple: do what sounds good, if you like it, you will find others who do. I spent a long time trying to write for ‘an audience’, fuck that, write for you, find fans after; you are blessed to have a voice, don’t change it for anyone.
What are your hopes for the next two years?
The next two years? Who knows, I am getting married, so hopefully I won’t be divorced. Apart from that, I plan to keep making music and releasing music, beyond that, there are no dreams of fame or fortune, I plan to be as happy as I can be, because at the end of it, what the f*ck else is there?
FV Music Blog June 2020
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