Interview: Chase Atlantic on Lockdown Creativity, Emotional Relatability and TikTok

Australian alternative trio Chase Atlantic have taken the world by storm and built up a dedicated fanbase since their formation in 2011. With over 7 million monthly listeners, Mitchel Cave, Clinton Cave and Christian Anthony have returned with both a new album BEAUTY IN DEATH and their latest single OHMAMI, featuring Maggie Lindemann. Amrit Virdi caught up with the band to discuss lockdown creativity, emotional relatability, TikTok and plans for the future.

“Making the album in itself was a challenge – it was probably the biggest challenge we had to face in terms of creativity, producing and inspiration, but for what it was worth I think that was our best body of work, personally,” Mitchel admits when discussing the creation of BEAUTY IN DEATH, which was well received amongst fans as it debuted at number 29 on the American iTunes Chart. “Everyone’s personal lives were affected, not just because of the pandemic but because of the mental pressure and uncertainty it caused. All of those factors somehow helped curate this album that meant so much to us. We poured our hearts and souls into making this album and I think that was the repercussion of what was happening around us, so it was definitely a brand-new approach and something we had to dig deep and find.”

Especially within the COVID context, he further explains the concept behind the motif of ‘beauty in death’. “It’s mainly about finding the silver lining in situations. It’s so important to find a silver lining no matter how shit a situation is. No matter how fucked up everything is the silver lining can be found in literally anything. Even if it doesn’t outweigh the bad things, it’s still important to find something positive otherwise life can’t continue.” Whilst the band admit they haven’t “seen other artists who have talked about the beautifulness of death”, Christian expresses David Bowie and Young Thug as influences for the approach taken to their song-writing, aptly tying the album together with the metaphor of “a flower losing its petals, but that creates beautiful petals on the floor and in the new season it grows back and life goes on.”

Known for not being ones to shy away from tackling topics of substance abuse and mental health in their music, Christian states “we’ve always referred ourselves as similar to the show Skins as we liked it so much growing up – we’d always delve into teenage problems and high school dilemmas and stuff without dancing around how hard it is to be a teenager, and I think it’s so important to talk about these issues rather than sweeping them under the rug and pretending that everything’s all happy and good, especially in the pandemic which I think is one of the motives behind it, and finding the silver lining like Mitchell said, and finding the beauty in death!”

Yet the band still have an impeccable and spirit-raising energy, as Mitchel states “there are some fun songs in there because you have to break up the seriousness with some fun every once in a while, you have to lift the spirits and moods,” and their latest release OHMAMI featuring Maggie Lindemann is an example of the band doing one of the things they do best – bringing light-hearted fun for their fans to enjoy. When I mentioned the single, the band’s faces (via Zoom) lit up, and you could see how proud they were of the track and to have Maggie Lindemann onboard. Clinton explains, “a couple of months ago we reached out and we’ve spoken in the past as well so she wasn’t a complete stranger, but it was a surprise that’s for sure,” with Christian admitting, “I saw she said she was already a fan of the song and was excited to put her own twist on it. And she fully understood it, like I couldn’t believe how much she understood us sonically and exactly what we wanted.” And Mitchel perfectly summed up her fitting feature with “not only did she embody it, she bodied it!”

With TikTok taking the music industry by storm in recent years, Chase Atlantic are one of the most recent artists to benefit from this, with OHMAMI taking over many people’s ‘for you pages’, including my own. While the band admit they don’t use TikTok much themselves personally as they thought they were “too old” for it, Clinton expresses his gratitude for it. “For pre-existing artists, I feel like it’s a great platform for us to be seen.” Mitchell concurs, stating “I think in a positive light it’s helped us with popularity which has been a blessing because we didn’t instigate that whole situation. It just naturally occurred. It’s doing well for us and because we had a repertoire before that it’s not like we are coming off of TikTok as TikTokers and then trying to make music. It’s the fact that we are this unknown, underground artist trying to make music on TikTok. It’s nothing but good stuff.”

Yet, Clinton rightly so expresses his feelings that “it has affected more of the content being ‘now now now’. I get bored, you know like if you do an album that’s too long, I don’t want to listen. It’s like ‘next next next’ so I do think it’s detrimental in that way,” especially as he points out that TikTok fame often doesn’t translate to Instagram, streams or ticket sales. Christian shares the same thought process, expressing that “I do get a bit concerned sometimes when I see people coming from TikTok doing covers and not spending enough time on music and doing your craft and then putting it out. I do think it’s going to be hard for a lot of people from TikTok to then transition to becoming musicians. LIL HUDDY seems to be doing a good job of it, but it’s so much hype and TikTok just polarises. For it to transfer into the real world and Spotify numbers and especially concerts and stuff, that’s all something that new.” The band reassure that they won’t let TikTok and instant streaming culture affect their method of releasing full albums rather than singles. “It won’t dictate us but it’s good to have that knowledge of the younger market,” Mitchell states, as Clinton does express the band’s small creative changes that they are aiming to make. “We have been re-thinking the structure a little bit, just to change it up as well as we want to get innovative and creative – a bit of a change. We do ominous intros, like a 10, 15 second intros and now we just say, ‘lets’ do a couple off the bat’, like OHMAMI.”

"It’s like a high energy hip hop show mixed with a rock show"

When asked what their plans are for their upcoming shows, they agree it is mostly just “two years of pent-up energy.” Seeming genuinely excited, Christian reveals, “the stage design looks fantastic. The new songs I think are just going to have so much more energy live. I think the people are just so excited to get back out there and get back too. I think it’s easily going to be one of the greatest concerts and the greatest tour we’ve ever done.” Clinton surmises it with “It’s like a high energy hip hop show mixed with a rock show.” While the band admitted they needed a break over lockdown after doing 300 shows nonstop, they are back better than ever to play to their biggest crowds yet. While they had to pull out of ALT London due to COVID, Christian gleamed, “I remember last time our biggest show was in London where we did like 1750 and now that’s kind of the base – all of our shows start at there. We’re so excited to get back to the UK.” Mitchel agreed, with “the UK has sick crowds, very, very dope crowds.” Particularly excited to play OHMAMI, he has faith in fans to bring the energy, exclaiming “I won’t even have to sing the chorus, just put the mic up to the crowd!”

The future is bright for Chase Atlantic, with Christian revealing that their next release “is just sonically is one of my favourite songs, I think it will be a really chill and trippy kind of song. It will bring it down and not be like a typical Chase Atlantic.” The band aim to not be a “one trick pony,” with Mitchel stating “If we stay true to what we’ve always been doing then the progression will happen naturally. Ten years’ time, who knows, the sky’s the limit! It’s just about growing with the music and getting better and better. And hopefully the future involves private jets!”

OHMAMI featuring Maggie Lindemann is available to stream now.

Written by: Amrit Virdi

Edited by: Gemma Cockrell

Featured image and in-article images courtesy of Chase Atlantic via Facebook.