Catch up with Joshua Tree-based synth/indie pop band Chelan and listen to new single, "Won't Break", off the band's forthcoming fifth album, Vultures, to be released August 26th.
What brought you all together?
Justin: We met in Olympia, Washington a few years back. Jen and I first met at a party while we were in high school. Couple years later we hooked up with Chad after seeing his band play on a mutual tour.
Which musicians have you been influenced by, individually or as a group?
Chad: Just to quickly name three: Mum, Carpenters, Innocence Mission
How would you describe your sound to someone who had never heard your music?
Justin: At its structural core it's basically pop music. Then throw in some melancholy indie elements and a whole lotta synths. It's always our hope that we are making something original and authentic.
What were your inspirations behind your latest single, "Won't Break"?
Jen: Well, I was a couple of months into my pregnancy when writing this song and I had been experiencing some scary health related issues during that time. I decided to channel my fear into this song and create a positive outlook for an uncertain future. I tend to usually go dark with nervous energy, so this was a shift in my emotional reaction and gave me power over my fear by writing this song or ode. My health has fortunately improved since that time and it signified a turning point for me during recording to how I wanted to approach singing on this record.
Are "Beams" and "Won't Break" indicative of what we can expect to hear on your upcoming album and could you tell us more about Vultures?
Jen: I would say that they are indicative of the record and what I enjoy most about this record is that there is a lot of balance in lightness with darkness. Vultures tapped into that intimate side of darkness that you can experience with an idea, obsession or see in a person that you wish you could let go of. That haunting feeling that it is taking over the better sides of you and has an unstable influence. Like you are being hunted by it.
Is there a track off the record you're most excited to share with fans?
Chad: I'm really proud of how track 4, "Nervous", turned out. I think it embodies the work particular to this record perfectly. Building tracks piece by piece into big soundscapes and then peeling and paring those elements back down into a sharp and efficient song. But honestly, I'm really excited for people to hear this whole record, as an album.
Jen: I can honestly say that I do not have a favorite, which I think is great, because I always gravitate towards just one song on an album. There are many that I am really into this go around and I am pleased with the balance with how we all contributed in creating this record. It's my favorite Chelan record to date.
What do you hope listeners are able to take away from your music?
Chad: When I really like a record, I don't hear the individual songs so much as the individual moments that surprise and stick a feeling to you. A lot of the sounds on this album, and so much of Jen's vocals in particular, do that for me. I really hope this is that kind of record for someone else. And they find themselves returning to listen again and again.
Justin: I hope that people take away that we put everything we had into this album. A lot of thought went into every element of Vultures. It's easy to rush these days and we did everything we could to avoid that.
Is there anything you want to add?
Black lives matter.