Chase Tremaine takes on the A-Z Challenge

Our A-Z challenge is a fun way to get to know the many bands and artists out there. Here it’s the turn of Chase Tremaine to tell us all about himself!

A song that made you want to make music?

Chase: “Uptown Girl” by Billy Joel. As a child, this song was one of the pinnacles of memorable, catchy pop music. As a teenager, I learned how to play the song, only to realize how sneakily complex and dynamic the song is. I immediately wrote a song called “Saturday AM” (the opening track from my second album and my earliest composition that heavily utilizes key changes, inspired directly by “Uptown Girl”), and this set me on a trajectory that I’m still on, of carefully crafting pop music that’s catchy and appealing on the surface but complex and meticulous beneath the surface.

Best rider you have had?

C: I’ve never personally made a rider or had any requests/demands from venues where I’ve performed, but I’ll never forget this now-defunct venue in the Dallas area called The Max, which had the absolute nicest, boujee-est green rooms I’ve ever seen.

Craziest moment you’ve experienced in music?

C: I’ll share two connected stories here. First, while attending a Wolves at the Gate concert in November 2019 (just one month after releasing my debut single “Matter”), I met a fellow Wolves at the Gate fan named Paige. A year and a half later, Paige and I were getting married, and one of the guests requested that we play my song “Matter” during the reception. When the song came on, Paige and I danced together while dozens of our friends and family circled around us, singing along to the lyrics. It was euphoric.

Deepest lyric one of your songs features?

C: I think the closing track to my new album, a song called “New Creation Gray,” has the most layered lyrics of my career to date. It has some dual meaning one-liners I’m very proud of (“Acting young is growing insincere”), and the bridge of the song is a gigantic, essay-worthy thesis that I managed to squish down into four lines.

Easiest song you wrote?

C: There have been plenty of times where I’ve sat down to write a song and the first draft came out very quickly – examples include “Saturday AM,” “Heart Reset,” and “Settled in the Unsettled” — but most of the time, those rough drafts are followed by painstaking processes of editing and arranging and figuring out the perfect drum parts, guitar riffs, etc. I think I’ve only ever made one song where the entire full band vision came out perfectly and quickly, with a vision so tightly wound that the process of recording the official album version was primarily about re-creating the demo: “Programming the Soul” from Unfall.

Favourite song in your set?

C: As far as performing live goes, it’s “Matter.” It was my first single and it’s still a fan favorite. It’s the song where the audience is the most likely to sing along, plus it has some really fun guitar parts to play.

Guest you’d most like to feature on your record?

C: Casey Crescenzo of The Dear Hunter (formerly of The Receiving End of Sirens). Having his massive voice on a track, or even getting him to provide a guitar solo, would be unreal. Better yet if he could produce a future album of mine! But honestly anyone from The Receiving End of Sirens would be a dream come true. (Brendan Brown, if you’re reading this…)

Hardest thing about being a musician?

C: I’ve been doing the one-man-band thing for my whole career thus far, writing and playing all my own parts across guitar, bass, drums, and sometimes the keys. But it’s really difficult to stay proficient on all of the instruments and to remember all of my parts for every song. I consistently have to re-learn how to play my songs, and every time I’m getting ready to record a new album, it feels like I’m a beginner on the drums once again, with huge hurdles to overcome to get back up to speed.

Interesting fact about you?

C: I have a “shrine” in my house dedicated to The Last Jedi that’s filled with memorabilia and merchandise for the movie, including a bunch of posters, some Etsy creations, every official book and comic released alongside the movie, and nearly every single Funko Pop.

Jokes you like to tell?

C: I’m all about puns and word-association humor. I love taking phrases out of context or intentionally interpreting people’s statements differently than they intended them.

Key to writing a song?

C: Be consistent within sections of a song while being dynamic from section to section. Your verses should have consistent melodies, rhyme patterns, syllabic structures, etc., but your chorus doesn’t need to have any of the same rhyme schemes, chord progressions, melodic range, etc. In fact, it helps for your choruses (or any other song section) to deviate heavily from what came before it. Even when you’re repeating sections, like a second verse or a third chorus, you can make a song dynamic and interesting by doing something new to set apart your repetition from the thing the listener just heard. The only issue here is that it can be difficult to make a song feel totally cohesive if the sections of the songs are too different from one another. A cool trick I have for this is to write guitar riffs that can fit in the different sections; if you have a verse and a chorus with totally different vibes and guitar progressions, yet the same guitar riff works within both, then you’ll have internal consistency that will translate to the listener.

Longest distance you’ve travelled to play a show?

C: These questions are genuinely testing the limits of just how poor my long-term memory is. I haven’t travelled out of town for a performance since before the pandemic, but I’m not sure that I’ve ever travelled further than two or three states away.

Most inspiring musician you’ve experienced?

C: House of Heroes. They capture just about everything I think a rock band should be while putting on a stellar show every time they play. Huge songs, huge guitars, huge harmonies, carried by a vocalist with one of the best, most capable voices in the game.

New band/artist you’d recommend?

C: All the Nothing I Know by Nick Webber!

Opening for this band/artist would be ideal?

C: Cinema Staff, which would be ideal for two reasons: 1, because they’re my biggest musical obsession of the past two years, and 2, because opening for them would likely entail me visiting Japan.

Place you’d most like to tour?

C: From my previous answer, it seems like my answer should be Japan, but I’m going to say the Northwest, since there’s such a wild history of bands that I love from the Seattle and Portland areas. And then I’d travel down the coast to play shows for my family members in California.

Quote that you’d like to pass on to our readers?

C: This is lengthy, but here’s a quote from a recent interview I did for another outlet. In response to a question asking if I had a recurring message or theme across my music, I said: “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.”

Reason for the title of your forthcoming release?

C: My new album was originally going to be titled “Accidental Detours” because it was intended to be a stylistic and lyrical detour from the mathy, emo pop-rock that I’d made on my first two albums. It was supposed to be an acoustic-pop album with some CCM leanings. However, during pre-production, I took a shot at turning all of these acoustic songs into big rock songs like my usual, preferential genre, and it worked beautifully; in fact, it resulted in big improvements to a bunch of the songs. So this album was no longer a detour from the usual but rather the next logical step in my trajectory – so it needed a new title, and I landed on Accidental Days. The replacement of “Detours” with “Days” came from the album’s theme of normal, day-to-day life, and while I was reworking the lyrics of a song titled “One Day,” it worked out perfectly for me to fit the phrase “accidental days” into the revised verse lyrics.

See me live at?

C: House shows and writers rounds in the Nashville area. Keep up with me on social media or my mailing list for more information (you can sign up for my monthly newsletter here)!

The old days of music were better than the current, do you agree?

C: Not at all — they old days were only better in the regard that it was more likely (in the pre-internet, pre-home studio days) for the best artists to rise to the surface of the music industry. In our modern age, there’s still absolutely amazing music being made, probably more than ever before, but you have to go digging for it. Hopefully, you’re reading this interview because you’re the type of person who loves to dig for new underground music; if so, thank you! We need more people like you.

Unusual merchandise?

C: I occasionally sell personalized songs, written about whatever you want in whatever style you want. Very rarely do I end up releasing these songs in any public manner, so for the most part, you get to have an exclusive Chase Tremaine song that’s yours alone.

Variations you’d like to do on one of your songs?

C: I’m currently working on writing “sequels” to a handful of tracks from my debut, Unfall. I don’t love the idea of performing acoustic versions of songs that were very intentionally made for a full band, so I decided I would create continuations of songs from the album that carry on certain musical themes and lyrical ideas, but within compositions that are specifically designed for an acoustic-guitar-only context.

What do your fans mean to you?

C: My fans represent the community that I want to build around my music — the type of community that naturally forms around art. In my opinion, the more that the line between fan and friend can blur, the better. I wrote a longer essay about this topic on the Bandcamp page on my new album, where I’m offering it for free download.

X-rays or any treatments needed for performance-related injuries?

C: It’s not performance-related, originally, but I have a bad knee from a bicycling incident, which regularly flares up and puts on me on cane or crutches. It has flared up during the recording sessions of a few of my albums, so I have been forced to record drums while pushing through the pain of a swollen knee.

You’re late for a show, whose fault is it?

C: I blame Kentucky. The only time that I can remember being seriously late for a show was in 2016, while playing with a band called Blind Breed. It was going to be our first time playing up in the Louisville area, but someone from our band was running late to join our carpool. We were about to hit the road when one of us suddenly remembered that Louisville was in a different time zone; so we weren’t over an hour late – we were over two hours late. We had just called up the venue to let them know we were behind schedule, and we shamefully had to call them back to cancel our performance.

Zoo animal that best describes your personality?

C: Otter, hands down. Back in high school, I was in a three piece band where each of us had an animal stand-in. The frontman was an eagle, the drummer was a bear, and I was an otter. It felt small and undignified compared to the other two, but somehow, it was perfect. I’ve been an otter ever since.

AltCorner Staff

March 24, 2023

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