It’s been a few years since we had the pleasure of speaking to Chase City band member Tarik Stoneman. In this episode Mel and Joel reconnect with Tarik and find out what Chase City have been up to over the last five years! Their sound has changed phenomenally with the release of a new amazing electronic-flavoured track called ‘Liberty’. Tarik shares stories about iso life as a muso, and what the future looks like for him and his incredible posse!
Chase City has undergone some changes over the past few years; tell us what’s been happening?
We’ve been recording and touring as much as we can where we find the time and availability with the five of us. We’ve changed a lot since then in terms of the way sound, that’s probably the main thing that has changed! We also toured Europe, which was really good. It was pretty long too, we went there for about 10 weeks but it was heaps of fun.
What were some of the highlights from touring in Europe?
We did some cool shows! We did a festival show in Amsterdam that was amazing, at a big theatre venue there called Paradiso and we played with a pretty cool band called Portugal the Man. We also did some stuff at Okoberfest, which was really fun and some stuff at the Tomatina Festival in Spain, their famous tomato festival, which was fun but also scary, haha. I wouldn’t do that again!
Yeah I can imagine it would hurt being whacked by a tomato!? Haha
Yeah it does! Those tomatos were not soft haha.
Sounds like it’s been such an amazing journey and we’re only going to scratch the surface today! But as you say Chase City’s sound has changed a lot over the years and being one of the continual band members, can you tell us a bit more about where it all started and where it is now?
Yeah, 2014 is pretty much the year we started our first gigs. We were doing a lot more indie-rock, guitar sort of music. But for the last two years we’ve moved more towards a cybersound. I’d say it was a gradual change. It wasn’t like we suddenly ended up doing cybersound, but moved more and more towards that just ‘cos we got bored with doing the indie-rock music. It didn’t really line-up that much with our tastes. I think when we first started, we were just kind of young and listening to the radio and just trying to emulate what we heard and the type of music that was on and around us. Now we’re really doing just what we want to do.
Tell us about your new track ‘Liberty’, what is it about and how does this type of sound relate more to you now?
This was a funny one because we were going up to record this and we had a session in Melbourne where we were going to do two tracks. But a couple of nights before it, I just write this song and our producer was like, “Let’s just do this one instead!”
So it was kind of a heat of the moment sort of song that was written really quickly. It was written about being in the music industry and how that changes as you get into your mid twenties. It’s not quite the same when you’re younger, when everyone’s got heaps of free time and you don’t really care. Then as you get older things change a bit. It gets more difficult to do it in the same way.
What does life look like for you and the band members now? You mentioned how you’ve all got other jobs and other things that you’re doing aswell?
Yeah for me personally, I work in software development, so I’m able to move easily from working in the office to working at home. It’s been nice for me. Well I’m a bit over it now to be honest.
How has it been for you working from home during this Covid time?
Yeah it’s not bad, I don’t mind being able to just roll out of bed and onto my computer to start working haha, and yeah wearing my pyjamas all day. That’s good, but yeah it has gotten really boring now.
There’s been a bit happening online since Covid began, are you guys planning on doing any online or live music stuff during this time?
It depends. A lot of the live stream stuff I’ve seen people doing is pretty organic with their acoustic guitars and stuff like that. It’s not hugely feasible for us to play our songs in that format. Though I mean, we’ll see because if this goes on for a lot longer we’ll probably have to adapt and find some way. Actually just before lockdown, before we even knew anything about this happening, we went into the Moonah Arts Centre (MAC), and we did a bunch of songs live and had them filmed professionally. One of them is already out, it’s a cover of ‘Where’s your head at’. We did a bunch of those and we’ve also got that music video for the new single Liberty as you mentioned.
We were doing a clean out of our old storage area at Youth ARC the other day and we actually found one of your old CD’s from the early days and music scene at Youth ARC! Haha! Its label is from the band you guys were prior to all of this – what’s the name?
Oh geesus! My Girlfriend’s Sister. Yep, that’s a throwback! Haha.
We had some adventures back then at Youth ARC! Tell us what it was like back at then at those all ages gigs?
It was different wasn’t it. There’s definitely not many all ages gigs anymore that I’m aware of anyway haha. I’m just too old to know about them now! But yeah, the music scene was definitely a bit different back then. A lot of indie stuff and gigs going on back then. I feel like there were probably more gigs going on back then, or maybe it’s that there were more bands doing well? When I say well, I guess I mean the actual overall success of the scene is better now than it was then. But it feels like there are less shows? Or less bands now in Hobart. I don’t think that’s the case on a national level, but definitely in Hobart. Less bands but definitely some more established ones.
You mentioned earlier that there are challenges to keeping it all going. What sorts of challenges do you think you’re facing and what are you doing to overcome them?
I think a lot of bands face financial struggle, but that’s never been a huge thing for us because we also work outside of the band too. We always use an analogy in the band of it being another thing that we kind of have as a hobby. Like if you were into snowboarding for example, and you want to go snowboarding every year so you put in your $2,000 or whatever it is. It’s like you invest in that hobby and we kind of view music like that. Where it’s a hobby that we get a lot out of doing so were happy to invest in it. One of the first things that we did as a band after our first album, because it was expensive, was build our own recording studio. Me and the guitarist also invested a lot of money in it, upwards of $50,000 but that’s enabled us to track ourselves and saves on costs.
It also all takes quite a bit of time. Me and Michael are at uni too, so that makes things a bit harder with touring and stuff like that. I’m studying software development and Michael is studying teaching. With the other guys, we’ve also got a builder, an electrician and technician. So we’ve all got jobs.
When we were 20 years old we did lots more shows. We would just get out there a do whatever, crash on a couch haha. We used to just do a lot more, whereas now although we might do less shows, they tend to be better.
What are the future plans for Chase City? Will we see more touring?
Yeah probably! We were going to do a lot this year actually because the last two years we’ve been a bit quiet. We’ve only made three songs in the last two years, after coming back from Europe. I guess we all got busy with uni and got cruisy about things. This year the plan was to step it back up to where we are in 2016 or so. We planned to do a lot more shows and were organizing to tour Europe again in August, but obviously that’s all gone pear shaped and we can’t do that now. I think once some form of normalcy returns after all this, we’ll probably do a lot more in terms of touring.
Who else are you listening to at the moment in Tasmania and in world music in general?
It’s always changing! Umm, I was listening to a lot of 90s UK dance sort of music recently. Which is what kind of influenced our new song. From bands like Underworld, Chemical Brothers, and The Prodigy. I just kind of got back into that style. I used to listen to a lot of that sort of stuff when I was about 13 or 14yrs old. In Tasmania, I have the studio which is cool ‘cos I see a lot of bands in Tassie that I do recording for. I did an EP for a cool Hobart band recently called Tinderboxes, who sounds a bit like what we used to sound like in 2014. I did a single with another band recently too called Little Island, which is quite different to their other stuff, a bit more funky, like a band called Parcels. I also did a single with the Art School Bullies who have really cool new song coming out. I also just haven’t been listening to a lot of music since this lockdown, which is funny! I used to listen to a lot of music when I was driving or driving around. Whereas now I guess I’m not getting in the car or anything like that! Just binging on stooped stuff! Haha.
Do you have any advice for young people who want to get into the music industry? What would you tell your younger self back when you started?!
Haha I’d tell him a lot! I’d have a lot to say to that chump. I think if I could go back, I’d set more goals and be more organized. We weren’t very organized back then, we just kind of ‘winged’ everything, haha. I guess we didn’t make the best of certain opportunities because we didn’t really organize ourselves or have clear pathways and goals. Those are the types of things that are probably important at that stage – but maybe not too early on!
You can find Chase City is on Spotify, Facebook, Instagram!
For more info visit: https://www.triplejunearthed.com/artist/chase-city