Chon – Homey [REVIEW]

After the drop of their debut record ‘Grow’ back in 2015, the band known as Chon have shown off how floaty, dreamy and downright technical their mostly instrumental music can get and will no doubt help their case for one of the most exciting bands of their genre. Now they have a new album upcoming titled ‘Homey’ which will no doubt show off more of their variability and skill that the band bring to the table.

Opening up with ‘Sleepy Tea’, you get a complete understanding of what the band was like if you haven’t listened to any of their music before. The clean and crisp guitars that play off each other superbly well with the quirky and upbeat speed of the drums that sound very strongly of jazz influences and start this record. The track switches up its speed towards the end and adds more to the bands variability in skill level. Moving into ‘Waterslide’, the intensity only picks up more and more with the chord changes and subtle nuances in their playing style. You slowly get to hear more and more flavours being introduced wether it be the use of some wah pedal, a little hint of bass or the moments where it sounds like they intentionally seem to play off key to help add to the dynamic of the track before the solo.

Throughout the album you get these remix elements from electronic artists placed around the record that act as a really nice showcase of different attributes. There are four tracks of this nature with the first taking the shape of ‘Berry Streets’, combining forces with GoYama to create this really dreamy, spliced number that goes all over the place with its simplicity before the electronics take the lead towards the end of the record and the tracks starts to build. The interesting uses of voices during the track make it sound like a floaty club banger in places. Moving into their next track with Lophiile, the vocals being brought to you by the other featured artist Masego and again breaks the album down again, blending elements of trap with jazz to create a really interesting fusion. Towards the second half of the album, Giraffage takes you on another flowing beauty with ‘Feel This Way’ and you get a more understanding of these style of tracks that aren’t here to overflow you with solos and technicality, but to bring something easy listening and incorporate different styles of drum patterns, electronic samples and become more of an easy listening experience. The same goes for their ROM track ‘Glitch’, which at times gives each artist a little split of personalities but they don’t overshadow each other and outdo each other to be a top priority and whilst the track might just suddenly end out of nowhere, these four tracks placed around the record add an amazing dynamic to the overall album and only heighten the intrigue.

The rest of the tracks are a sight to behold. Whether you go to the melodically charged ‘No Signal’ which uses a lot more of the harmony structure with both guitarists playing off one another to the mind-bending ‘Here And There’ which seems to go onto weird swing patterns for most of the song although there are moments where the chaos seems to seep through and take hold of you. The fact that the band don’t try and bash you over the head with low end heavy guitars or goes balls to the wall with singing string groove riffs is quite refreshing, as their tactic is more to soothe and caress your skin with much more melodic induced tracks, ‘The Space’ is another great example of this with the chord structure that do take hold for the backing part, but when the lead solos tend to shine through they don’t overflow and drown out anything else that is produced. The last track on the record ‘Wave Bounce’ is a perfect way to round out this stellar album with it feeling like a throwback to older material but always showing you where they are now in their stage of the career, going from fast paced riffs to chord structures in a matter of moments to help capture the essence of the record as well as the band.

What Chon have been able to provide for you is something unlike anything you will have heard before. The genre influences range so much from jazz to progressive to math in a way that they don’t bury you underneath and with the added electronic separations, it makes this album an amazingly paced masterpiece and one that will no doubt be a career highlight for them. They’ve set the bar extremely high for competitors and it will be a while before someone tops this.

 

[10/10]

Dan Briggs, Nova Collective – 14/3/17

Just hot off the heels of their latest album release, we got to talk to Dan Briggs of Nova Collective about taking the project on tour, what inspires him and whether he would eat food that screamed.


For those who are not familiar, how would you describe Nova Collective?

Free falling through a black hole and being shot through a tunnel that is reminiscent of the psychadelic boat scene in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. “There’s no earthly way of knowing Which direction they are going! There’s no knowing where they’re rowing, Or which way they river’s flowing!”

A lot of people are probably wondering, are you planning on taking the band out on tour?

Absolutely, the live potential of playing with the four of us is so exciting. I really think the songs are going to grow and evolve from night to night, in an impovisational sense but also what’s written on paper I think will just expand the more comfortable we become with it. We’re shipping our album around trying to land a support tour in the fall in either the states or Europe. We’ll see what clicks!

What would be your favourite stop to play and why?

I guess if we could play at one of the space stations or I don’t know.. I’m always enamored with small theaters, like taking the idea of a grand space where you’d see a symphony and shrinking it to like a 100 person capacity. I think that would serve this music well.

What other bands would you like to have support you if you were headlining the tour?

Yngwie Malmsteen is of course at the top of our list, but I can only imagine how thoroughly unimpressed he would be with our material. We’ll play anywhere with anyone at this point! We’re not in a position to be picky, we just want to play in general but also in a situation where we can stand to pick up some new listeners. I’d hope anyone who enjoys going on a bit of a musical journey would enjoy what we’re doing.

You have recently released your new album ‘The Further Side’, how has been the response so far?

It seems like it’s been very positive which is nice but not overly important. I turned a deaf ear to reviews years ago when outlets either panned things BTBAM were embraced for by our fans, or when a certain publication said there was “too much saxophone” on a Trioscapes record- where literally there are only three of us haha. I’m just glad the record is out there for everyone to take in now and that people are connecting with it, that’s very exciting and hopeful for us getting out there and doing our thing.

Who were your main inspirations for the record?

I mean these dudes are all so inspiring to play with, every small thing someone came in with seemed to produce so much from everyone else. For everyone involved I think it was exactly what we needed, a group of composers in their own right looking for a new challenge and to hear things that made them think and write differently. I wouldn’t take on a new project unless I thought it really was pushing me somewhere new I hadn’t been before and I’m so thankful to have been able to start a group with these gnarly musicians.

How was the whole recording/production process of the record as a whole?

It was a great bonding experience for us because it was the only time the 4 of us have all been together, as we’re a half American half British group. Seeing that we clicked so well in person and working creatively together was huge and super exciting. Every day we were picking out and sharing choice music to and from the studio, which was about a 15/20 minute ride, and we exposed each other to a lot of new stuff during that time. The Brits were exposed to kombucha for the first time and that was a big part of fueling our sessions, as well as Nintendo 64 of course…and youtubing Yngwie interviews and Sun Ra videos back at the hotel.

What are your favourite tracks on the new record?

I love them all for different reasons, but maybe “Cascades” at the moment. We captured a really driving feel with the song without it ever getting overly distorted or heavy, but the song has the energy and dynamic excitement still. I really enjoy how that arrangement worked out.

What got you into wanting to be in a band?

90s Alt Rock! I feel fortuanate to have grown up during probably what will be the last era of solid rock radio. Hearing Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Sponge, Candlebox…I mean every day, that made me so excited to play. I would draw flyers for bands I wasn’t even in yet, stage plots.. I was in my first band when I was 12 and 20 years later it hasn’t stopped and I just keep taking on more and more.

What moment when writing this record did you feel that you had something amazing?

I think we felt like we had something new and interesting in terms of our repotoire and what we’ve done with our other groups, we had something we couldn’t quite descibe easily in a few words which is always exciting to me, and even from song to song on the record it’s pretty different while retaining the same general idea throughout. It was an exciting writing session and I’m looking forward to more in the future!

What’s the biggest change you’ve seen in yourself as a human growing in the band and personally?

I like to think I’m constantly growing as a musician and over time it became more important growing as an arranger than you know, the technical prowess. I grew up running my scales and shredding and that becomes emobdied in you, but it’s not defining. I think we were excited to make a record that was well rounded and had those exciting moments but also exciting moments sonically and at lower dynamics, just in a lot of different ways than just ripping non stop for 40 minutes.

What advice would you give to upcoming bands?

Listen to everything! Music theory is a language and sort of analysis of what you’re doing, so maybe it’s good to have an understanding of why things are happening and why they’re working, but it’s not the be all end all. It helps in conversing about music for sure. I don’t know, just get on allmusic.com<http://allmusic.com> , search for a record you like and start reading through the credits, who worked on it and what else they worked on, what those artists did after and before that. I’m obsessed with doing that, I could spend hours and hours just digging around and it’s what makes the journey as a musician so exciting, whether I’m on my computer or phone or at a record store.

Has there been any other bands on your radar you think people should check out?

Led Bib are an exciting band out of the UK writing some really cool freaky new jazz stuff.. Free Salamander Exhibit is the new Sleepy Time Gorilla Museum group and their debut album lives up to all the expectations and then some.

What has been playing on your iPod/MP3 player recently?

Ambrosia “Somewhere I’ve Never Travelled”, David Torn “Cloud About Mercury”, Marc Ducret “Tower Bridge”, Laurie Anderson “Mister Heartbreak”, Gin Blossoms “New Miserable Experience”.

Is there any projects you would like to work on as well as Nova Collective musically?

I have a record I’ve been working on very gradually over the last 5 years that I may actually be able to start recording this year. It’s the closest thing to a solo record I’ve done so far, but it’s going to be a huge undertaking so I need to start planning it out as it’ll have to be recorded in a few different locations. Of course I can’t do anything easily haha.

What would be a dream tour for your band?

If we could be Yngwie’s backing band, I think we could take him to some pretty demented heights. Hit us up man!

What items would you associate with your genre?

Synth brass, octobans, gongs, double neck guitars, headless basses, capes, moon boots. Didn’t ELP do a show on ice, or Rick Wakeman or someone?

If each band member was a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, who would you associate with who?

Matt could live on pizza, so maybe he’d be Michaelangelo. Rich would be Shredder because he loves kung fu movies and is the ultimate ripper. Pete would be Splinter because he’s the zen master and a PhD physicist. I’ll be April O’Neil because she’s got that bad ass yellow jump suit.

Would you take $1,000,000 but every time you ate food, it screamed as you were eating it?

No, that’s weird and scary.

What are your plans for the rest of 2017?

I’m going to watch a lot of basketball and then a lot of baseball, I’m going to go on hikes and swim in the ocean with my girlfriend, I’m going to chase our dog all over the place, hopefully I’ll get some great records and have some inpsiring writing sessions and shoot I need to buy a grill and get ready for grilling season. Also we need to buy some more indoor plants for our house and get ready to set up our garden, I think we have a plot figured out. I don’t know, we’ll see how it goes. Also I’m seeing Anthony Braxton for free in a couple of days and that’s pretty amazing and I’m sure will be very inspiring. There’s going to be a new Alien movie soon that hopefully won’t suck, and I know Stranger Things season 2 will probably be awesome and oh year Twin Peaks is coming back soon. I have a lot on my schedule!

Any final words to your fans?

Many thanks for checking out the album! Look for us live in 2017, either in America or Europe, and hopefully everywhere in the next year or so!