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Interview with Chase Tremaine
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
I earnestly believe I was born musical. It's hard to imagine my life and how I would function without music. But I'm also very lucky that I grew up with two parents who love music. Neither of them were into rock music, ironically enough, but my dad was a great singer and my mom was a passionate fan who could always remember all the details about songs from her youth: song titles, artist names, where she was when she heard it for the first time, etc. But in this fictional scenario, with music removed, I think I would still be a writer of some sort. Becoming a novelist was my other childhood dream alongside being a musician, and to this day, the written word satisfies my artistic drive nearly as much as crafting music.
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
My list of interests is honestly not very long: I've recently become a big fan of board games and anime, and I've always been a huge music buff and film buff. A great movie can inspire me both directly and indirectly, but I find most of my inspiration in other music. I'm constantly seeking out new music, finding new artists to love and support, listening through entire albums and even entire discographies, and learning from the other musicians making music today. Art begets art, and I am the beneficiary of thousands of albums and songs that remind me of why humans should strive toward the creation of beautiful art.
How long have you been making music?
Since childhood! My earliest songwriting was during elementary school. I had my first "band" when I was ten years old, and I still remember a few of the songs I wrote at that age.
Where are you based and how did that influence your music?
I'm currently based in the Nashville area, but I'm far more influenced by my hometown of Mansfield, Texas (in the Dallas area), where I got to participate in a growing emo/hardcore scene and wtiness artists like Terminal, Oh Sleeper, and Forever the Sickest Kids blow up right before my eyes.
Tell me about your most memorable shows, if you haven’t played live what is your vision for a live show?
My most memorable shows have been playing with other bands. I haven't been able to bring a band together yet for my solo music (partially because I record most of the instruments myself), so all of my solo performances have been acoustic-only. But I've had lovely experiences playing bass, guitar, and drums for artists called Blind Breed, Nelson Romantic, Yours Truly, and plenty of others. Even though my focus is on solo music right now, I would love to also be a member of a band again.
What is your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
I'm very fond of a Nashville dive bar called The End. Parking can be terrible, you never know how good or bad the turnout might be, and the music played in between bands is way too loud, but I have so many fantastic memories there both on-stage and off-stage, including meeting my wife while attending a Wolves at the Gate concert.
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
My dream-scenario would involve bringing a handful of my biggest influences back from their break-ups: The Receiving End of Sirens, Forever Changed, Jonezetta, and Gatsbys American Dream. I'll also throw in Cinema Staff, a Japanese band that I'm dying to see live someday; they're not broken up, I just don't think they're ever going to tour the U.S.
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into making music and some advice that you would give to your younger self?
Don't try to be impressive. The desire to impress will wreck your ability to be open and honest and fearful and weird. Also, if you ever buy into the idea that you are, in fact, "impressive," then you will develop a pompous sense of self-importance (which I've struggled with for many years) that will hinder your ability to grow as a person and as an artist.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
My very first single, "Matter," is the song that functioned as the springboard to my whole career up until now. I recorded it as part of a 3-song EP that was supposed to be a one-and-done passion project, but when people heard "Matter," they really believed in it and convinced me to keep recording more music. The passionate response to "Matter" is what resulted in me returning to the studio and recording my debut album Unfall, so that song is special and important in a lasting way.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
Coming right off the last question, "Matter" is the big fan favorite, which probably gets the most hype and sing-alongs. But people who are really in-the-know love to request a retired song titled "Place of No Return" from an older project.
What is your creative process, and what inspires you to write your music?
Generally speaking, my creative process is to set aside a few days a year, where I pump out loads of new, raw material -- as much as a dozen rough draft songs in a single day. Then that raw material will be refined over the course of years, as I adapt and rewrite and try out new ideas and show demos to people and involve other musicians. So the inspiration for those songs is usually very urgent, current, and off-the-cuff, with songs that are inspired by books I'm reading or sermons I've just heard or thoughts I can't escape or recent experiences that I want to memorialize. And as the songs sit and shift over time, they might remain as time capsules of when I originally wrote them, or they might grow and morph into something that better represents who I am and where I'm at during the season of officially recording them.
Do you have messages that you like to get across in your music? If so, please tell me about them.
There are a few overarching themes across my first three albums. I'll try to share a few of them succinctly: It is worth being scarily honest and daringly open in order to avoid isolation and to find real relationships. Everyone is worth being loved, but we have to be real about our flaws and shortcomings in order to be loved fully and deeply. But instead of living within this honest reality, we all have a tendency to create fantasies for ourselves; we abuse our imaginations by creating could've-beens and should've-beens to live inside and by forming masks to wear that keep a thick wall up between ourselves and others. These fantasies feel safe, and they'll often feel temporarily fulfilling or pleasurable, but the inward isolation will spread like a disease, poisoning whatever real relationships we had. Honesty is a powerful weapon, but the goal isn't self-actualization or self-realization; the "self" is not the answer to our problems - sometimes, it actually is our problem, and that's one of the things we need to be honest about. The goal is not fixing our eyes on ourselves but on others - loving and serving others without demanding anything in return. This is where the healthy parts of the "self" can thrive and where the unhealthy parts of the "self" can die.
Do you have any new singles, videos, or albums out that you would like to tell me and your fans about?
My third full-length studio album Accidental Days is streaming everywhere on March 10, and it will also be available to purchase for free or pay-what-you-want on Bandcamp.
I have never worked so hard or so long on one of my albums before, and I'm blissfully ready to release these songs to the world. It's a ten-song set about the intersections of family, friendship, faith, work, heartbreak, and growing older, vacillating between alt rock songs that have a punk/emo twist and softer, somber songs that feature my friends and my producer singing harmonies and playing piano.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
As I just mentioned, Accidental Days is my big thing for 2023. I might be releasing some collaborative singles later this year with up-and-coming artists like Theo MacMillan and Benjamin Daniel, but for the most part, the spotlight is wholly on Accidental Days. I'm currently toying with ideas to release different versions of the album over the course of 2023, too.
How can your fans best keep up to date with you, any socials you want people to check out?
I'm @chasetremaine on both Instagram and Twitter, but the best way to keep up would be signing up for my monthly newsletter, where I share exclusive news and previews, spotlight my favorite music recommendations, and compile news, reviews, blogs, etc.: https://chasetremaine.us7.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=86ed4db49fdf6bcb0824e04bb&id=f8ee3e7c94