by Linda Garnett | 5.5.2023
Alt-Rock band Chaser Eight has been evolving for the past 10 years and has created an impressive catalog of music during that time. They’ve released 6 EPs, 5 standalone singles, and two full-length albums. The Connecticut-based band celebrated their 10-year anniversary together with the release of their seventh EP, Wide Awake, on April 14, 2023.
Wide Awake was started in 2020 when the pandemic shut down live shows for the unforeseeable future. Although the band found it hard not doing gigs, it also gave them so much time to write, practice, and work on new songs. They also had a lot of fun doing live streams.
Chaser Eight is comprised of founding members *AUDRA* (vocals/guitar) and Pat Walsh (guitar), with Brennan DiLernia (bass) and Ben Kubie (drums). Good friends *AUDRA* and Pat have a friendship that started when they were toddlers at the same day care. They began working on music together in middle school which led them to form their first band, Audra and Blackwater, and then later, Chaser Eight.
The band has been voted twice in The Deli magazine’s year-end poll as New England’s Best Al-Rock band. They’ve opened for Panic! at the Disco, The Dollyrots, and Badfish.
For the past decade, they’ve been building a network of grassroots fans while attracting audiences with what is described as a dark, hard rock sound. *AUDRA* says the depth is in their songwriting. She says if you take a closer look at their lyrics, you’ll see this is where they put a lot of thought and heart.
Chaser Eight has plans to play shows locally as well as releasing more music videos to accompany Wide Awake.
I recently interviewed *AUDRA* (vocals/guitar) of Chaser Eight about the new album, production and songwriting process processes, career challenges, how the band has stayed together for 10 years, and much more.
Congratulations, *AUDRA* on the release of your band’s new EP, Wide Awake. Tell us more about the album’s title, theme, artwork, and songs.
Thank you so much. The album’s title is from a lyric in the song “Say Whatever”. We’ve done this many times in the past where we pick titles for our works through lyrics in our songs and we think it’s very cool. It’s like a little Easter egg for people to find and figure out while they’re listening. The theme, artwork, and songs are all connected to this feeling of wanting and longing and calling – this desperation of some sort. The artwork is intentionally telling you something different from the name of the EP. The name of the EP being Wide Awake and then you have an artwork with the person closing one eye and an intentionally putting a hand over their other eye. So, there’s this sense of angst and intentional shutting out and I think the songs really highlight that.
What would you like for listeners of the album to take away from it?
I hope they take away the fact that we keep growing lyrically and musically as a band. I feel like we’ve gotten more mature with each release, and I think that that is obvious on this release. Also, I would love for them to love the songs. It’d be great if people can connect with them.
Explain your production process.
First, Pat and I write the first versions of the songs. We get them to a point where we want to present them to the band. After that
we play them for a while and really dissect them and get them to a point where we think we can play them live, we do. And then once we think we have a pretty good song on our hands we’ll put it on the list for our potential next release.
Once we decide to enter the studio, we work with our producer Phil Mann at Silk City Music Factory in Manchester. With that process we record all the instruments first, then the vocals, then go through multiple rounds of mixing, and then send it off for mastering.
You say that Chaser Eight “are deeper than just a rock band that likes to have fun.”Can you expound on that?
I think on the surface when you meet us as people, and you experience our live show you can see that we like to have a lot of fun. But the depth is in our songwriting. I think if you take a closer look at the lyrics, you’ll see that we put a lot of thought and a lot of heart into them.
Describe the uniquely creative environment you and the band found yourself in during the pandemic.
We just had a lot of time to play and nowhere to go. It was hard not gigging but we were writing so much that it didn’t really seem to matter. We were doing some live streaming and that was a lot of fun. But really, we had a lot of time just to practice and work on new songs and not work on set lists.
Take us through your songwriting process from inspiration through to completion.
Pat and I both write so I can only walk you through my process. I come up with a chorus and melody first. Then I pick up my guitar and work out the chords. And after that I try to come up with the verses and the verse chords. I can usually get a song out in 20 minutes start to finish.
What challenges have you faced in your music career and how did you over come them?
I think there was always a challenge to break out of the local scene and be taken seriously in this business. And we think the only way to do that is to put out a better and better product each time you release.
It’s not easy being a rock band in 2023, but we seem to find our home.
You and Chaser Eight are celebrating 10 years together with this new album. What do you attribute for being able to stay together so long and continually produce new music?
Pat and I just love to write. So, I think we’ll be making new music for the rest of our lives. I don’t see the writing going away anytime soon. As far as being a band for 10 years, it takes a lot of endurance, devotion, commitment, and really just love of music.
How have you personally evolved as a songwriter, musician, and performer beginning when you and your friend and bandmate Pat started working on music together in grade school through to today?
Our music has definitely matured. Lyrically it’s matured and musically it’s matured. I don’t even think we knew we were evolving when we were evolving, but listening back to our original recordings to now you can hear how far we’ve come. I think there is more attention to detail lyrically and musically all around then when we first started.
Your mother raised you on a “steady diet” of the iconic Allman Brothers Band, theBeatles, and Pink Floyd. In what specific ways did this (or continues to) influence your music?
I like to think that my songwriting style is my own, so I don’t think those bands had a direct impact on the style I write, but they inspired me to write. It was listening to how powerful some of their songs are and how they could move me, made me want to write something that could move people as well.
How can women in the indie music industry be better supported?
Just giving us a try. I think a lot of people like to disregard female-fronted bands, but they’d be wrong. Just give us a listen and I’m sure you’ll love us.
What does it mean to you personally to be an indie music woman?
I tend not to think of it too much, but
I know that I have inspired other young women to pick up the guitar and sing and write and play and that is the greatest gift ever.
What is your favorite microphone/instrument for recording and/or performing and why?
I only use one microphone when playing live, my Shure Beta SM58A. It’s a wireless microphone. I have a whole stage set up with my microphone and mic stand. It’s a whole thing you’d have to see. And then for recording, I’ll sing through whatever Phil wants! He’s the boss there and I trust him. For guitars, I keep switching. Right now, I am playing my Fender Strat and I love it. But I’ve also been known to play my Gibson SG or Les Paul or my Fender Tele.
What other projects do you and Chaser Eight have planned this year?
We will be playing shows around the area, and we will be releasing more music videos to accompany the EP. And we plan to have a lot of fun with these music videos.
Check out their website at https://www.chasereight.com/