Rock music is in a weird place at the moment. Many bands these days are pulling from rock movements of the past, to varying degrees of success. But it rarely feels like any of them are trying something new with the genre.
Enter a young Sydney group named Chasing Giants. The brainchild of drummer Jake Arvonen, bassist Maurice Webb and guitarist Ben Corby, Chasing Giants have been making waves in the local scene off the back of several big singles, combined with an electrifying live show.
The trio has followed it up with their debut EP, Dangerous, which was released on February 26. Music Insight sat down with the band to talk about their EP, but also about what makes their project so different.
“It feels amazing to have it released,” says Jake.
“We wrote the songs over a year ago; so, it is cool to get them recorded and hear them back.”
While Jake, Maurice and Ben are the three core members of the band, all the tracks off their EP feature different artists and musical styles.
“We get different vocalists and musicians to perform on every track with us,” explains Maurice.
“Having a feature artist allows us to write many varied types and styles of songs. We are not restricted to a single format. We still have our own sound, but there is a bit more freedom in our songs, which is a lot more engaging for our audience.”
Not only does this method allow the band to write different tracks, but it also directs the focus of songs to particular artists. Such was the case with one of their biggest songs, ‘Bad News’, which features Sydney soul artist Ethan Conway.
Many of the tracks came together while all three members studied at JMC Academy in Sydney, which is where the project was born.
“At JMC, you always get placed in different bands and groups,” explains Ben.
“Jake and I started out in groups together, we couldn’t afford Moz at first,” he chuckles.
Maurice immediately steps in to defend himself.
“Ben was better at guitar than me, so I had to do bass. Pretty much the story of all bass players.
“Near the end of JMC we all started to play in more bands together. Then, after that finished we just decided to create a band. But we were always great friends. We always hung out together. We lived a five-minute walk away from each other. None of us originated in Sydney either, we all moved from somewhere else.”
Being in such close proximity also helped with their songwriting. Having features on their record expanded their musical palate, giving Dangerous a seamless blending of genres across it’s four tracks.
“If I were to describe Dangerous in it’s style, it would be R’n’B-Rock,” explains Jake.
“There’s two rock tracks and two R’n’B tracks, but they have elements of each in them. I think we really nailed down the genre blend.”
While tracks like ‘Bad News’ and ‘Till the Night Ends’ do wear their rock roots on their sleeve, these elements also come up in the title track and ‘Poison Berries’, riding off the back of Ben’s guitar playing and the song structure.
“Ben tends to get carried away on guitar,” Maurice chimes in quickly.
“How many solos do you have on the record?”
“Not enough,” Ben retorts.
“What is an EP without seven guitar solos?”
The hard copy release of Dangerous features four additional live versions, and each of those arrangements are vastly different to their studio counterparts.
“With the live versions, we want to have a lot of variety in our music and get great value for money for our audience,” Ben adds.
“Not many people are buying CDs now, so we wanted to make sure that if they bought one, you can see how much fun we are having putting these tracks together.”
An energetic live experience has always been the aim, and the band declared their intentions on stage at the EP launch party at Venue 505.
“We want to get people moving as well,” adds Ben.
“We want to get people keen to see us live, and if anything, bring a bit of fun back to music.”
Chasing Giants’ debut EP Dangerous is out now.
Originally Published in Music Insight, March 5th, 2018. Read Here.