If you love energetic, catchy, riff-heavy indie infused rock then Phoenix quartet New Chums will tick all your boxes. The quartet have honed a sound that exudes the sunny California vibes, which comes across in bundles on debut EP See It For Myself.
They started life when California native Seth Boyack (lead vocals and guitar) moved to Arizona. Keen to get back to playing music, he figured the best place to start in a city where he didn’t know a single musician was to check out the local musician wanted ads on Craigslist and duly found a bunch of fellow newbies.
Drummer Ben Hedlund had just moved from Boston, lead guitarist Matt Lloyd had just moved back to the city from Nashville, while bassist Cassandra Clark had moved from Los Angeles via Michigan a few years prior. As Seth tells us: “We’re all transplants to the city of Phoenix, we’re all looking to be in a band and continue to make good music, something we’ve always done.”
The band has just released its first EP with the new line-up in place, on which Matt told us: “This new EP is really establishing our new sound to the public. We also upped our production value quite a bit going with local legend, Bob Hoag, to produce and mix the EP. He was phenomenal to work with and really brought out the best in these songs. We feel the five songs on the EP all have unique qualities to make each one stand out, but overall give a nice energy for people being introduced to our band.”
The feel-good nature of their music is epitomised by the EP’s second track Cave In. It opens up with a floaty opening guitar lick and light drums, then a catchy, winding opening verse. The floaty guitar comes back in at the end of the verse then flies into a catchy chorus of “I don’t, I don’t, I don’t, I don’t wanna lose control, I won’t, I won’t, I won’t, I won’t cave in through your pool no more” followed by a return of the guitar lick. A second verse and chorus are followed by a really cool winding guitar solo then flies into another chorus. You think that’s it, but there’s a brief pause then a big energetic outro with floaty high-pitched guitars supporting fast-based vocals.
Then the next track Come On, Come On exudes California coolness. It opens up with the fun, delayed vocals “G-g-g-Going downtown” then the next phrase begins “F-f-f-Figure it out” and leads into a fun singalong chorus “Come on, come on, come on we don’t wanna stay this way, Come on, come on, come on we don’t wanna be the same” supported by darting high-pitched guitar and driving drums.
They’ve also just released their first music video, on which Matt adds: “Thankfully, it’s gotten great response so far. We kept the video pretty simple production wise. We just wanted a mix of us performing and hanging out. We are pleased with the way it turned out and hope it helps more new people discover our music. So if you haven’t seen our Come On, Come On video yet, go check it out!” And you can, below:
The band’s influences of The Strokes, Jimmy Eat World, Catfish & the Bottlemen, The Beach Boys and Weezer are apparent in their music but in terms of what inspires their music, Seth tells us: “For me, it comes down to what headspace I’m in when writing a song. Whether that’s getting over a relationship, grieving a loss of a loved one, telling a story, or talking about new love; it all hits me differently and I don’t fully get over things until there’s a song to act as the final chapter to close out whatever I’m writing about. I guess you can say the key themes would be whatever I’m living through and feel like putting pen to paper.”
The band recently took part in a rock music workshop for students towards the end of last year, which looked pretty intriguing. Matt explained: “That was a very cool experience. It’s rare in a group setting that you get to talk about the aspects of being in a band, building a set-list and our songwriting process. The students were very interactive and asked a lot of great questions. So hopefully we gave them some helpful insight and advice back.”
New Chums are the first band we’ve met from Arizona, let alone Phoenix, so we asked them to give us some insight into the local music scene. Matt said: “The music scene in Phoenix is very diverse. There are so many bands sonically doing so many different things that it’s hard not to get inspired and push yourself as a band to put out the best songs you can on every release. We knew we had to make this EP great if we wanted the music to do anything locally or nationally and we feel we’ve done just that.”
See It For Myself is out now and available on Spotify and iTunes, so give it a listen. And, as Matt states: “As an indie band, word of mouth and with friends and sharing things virally on social media is huge to our longevity.”