Q: Hi there; so happy to be speaking with you! I love the vibe of “Give It Away”: the dreamy instrumental, compelling, silky-smooth vocals, and catchy chorus. What was your favorite part of creating this track?
CHASING FELIX: Hey guys! Give it Away was a long, long time in the making. As many of you will know, we suffered a huge loss in 2018 when my car was smashed up in Dublin after a festival. We lost €5000 worth of equipment, and Felix was literally thrown to its knees. It was around this time I started making Give it Away, and we had it planned for our next release.
Two weeks after the robbery, I was heading to Brazil to meet with some of my Brazilian friends who had lived in Dublin. I traveled the country alone, still reeling from our loss, listening to the tune and getting random shots from around Brazil for the video, even though I wasn’t sure if we could ever perform again. I drove from Sao Paulo to Porto Alegre in the south of Brazil. I ended up roping a Dublin friend Carol Panigas in to dance her face off for the video whilst drinking from a big blue bottle of vodka, orange, and a local kool-aid powder called Tang. The shots and the video ended up being a creative lynchpin for the song as a release.
Anyway, look, it’s weird to say it, but my favourite part of creating the whole track was releasing it. After such a loss, the feeling of being able to release this tune to the world and to be back on the road stronger than ever, performing it live for the first time… it’s just the greatest feeling!
Q: Can you walk me a little through the creative & production process of “Give It Away”? Did you come up with the instrumental first?
CHASING FELIX: It all started with the synthesiser sample you hear at the start. It was the original hook. Then after that came the beat, the ticky-tocky hihats kick and snare. Next, then, would you believe, came the video. I find editing videos a much quicker, chop and change type process, in comparison with the months (or, in this case years!) we put into making sure a song is totally perfect, but I find them a great way of getting the lads in the band hooked and energised about the vibe of the song.
The words for Give it Away just seemed to flow out. I have this thing with 90% of my songs that the verses have to align up and rhyme with each other. This is a hard one to put to words, but most of the words in each line of each verse have to rhyme and usually match the rhythms of the words on the corresponding lines.. of the other verses.. for them to sit right in my head! Now, I know that made absolutely no fecking sense, but, for example, you have “Come on come over, I told her,” then in the next verse “You shouldn’t have drove her, were you sober” then in the next verse “Even though her, night’s over”. ‘Satyrical,’ ‘Lyrical,’ and ‘Miracle’ are used in the three verses for similar effect.
Q: I’m always interested in an artist’s musical journey; did you (all) grow up with a musical family/do you remember what or who first made you fall in love with it?
CHASING FELIX: Yea, actually, all of the lads do have music and musicians in their families. For me, my father Seán was always ‘just’ a great singer, up until he retired when I gifted him with a ukulele. Although it took him years to realise it, he was always a musician at heart and a gifted song-writer. He has a big local following online and on stage back in Cavan, where I’m from.
Whilst I was growing up, my uncle Des was the first musician I knew in my life, and when I was a teen, he was the one person who I aspired to be like. He is a well-known blues guitarist and has spent the best part of 30 years or more playing the cover band circuit as well as holding a monthly Blues Jam in Monaghan that missed a month in nearly two decades (Covid times aside!).
I used magazines and the internet to help me learn guitar, but Des got me over a barrier or three in helping me understand tablature, how to multi-track a tune, and he was always on hand to help fix instruments and amps when I started gigging the cover band circuit at the age of 15. He wired my Signature Dandycaster guitar, which I actually put together with Des and my father.
For the other lads in the band, Pete, Dan, Gav, and Matt, it seems they were all on similar tracks when they were that age, performing in bands with lads from school, busking on the streets, and just putting the graft in. They’re such talented fecks, and I know their talent is in their blood.. nature over nurture!
Q: I love the nostalgic yet modern feel of “Give It Away! I can totally see you lined up with other dream pop/alt-rock groups like Tame Impala and DIIV, yet you have an entirely unique sound and bring a fresh new take on the genre. In your own words, how would you describe the music that you typically create?
CHASING FELIX: Yea, it’s funny, we could be described as an indie-electronic/ dream-pop/ modern-psychedelia outfit, yet we’re playing vintage instruments and wearing second-hand clothes! We write modern electronic-heavy music, but we record on tape! We’re future-focused, but we can’t turn our backs on our foundations.
I’m delighted you gave Tame Impala and DIIV a mention, actually as they’ve been part of the playlist of my life over the last 6/8 years. Tame Impala sucked me into a festival tent back in 2015 at Electric Picnic, and the show was so well choreographed and technically organised it just blew me away. A feast for the eyes and mind.
Mixing audio and visuals at a live performance adds another dimension to a live show. I took great inspiration from seeing TYCHO perform at Forbidden Fruit in Dublin and later that year, on the day I turned 30 again in Dublin’s now chain-hotel covered Tivoli Theatre, and I really feel like what they’re doing and what they do to a crowd is so inspiring. We’re a five piece live band and have expanded our live rig to control our lighting show via Ableton, but I would love to return to where we were in 2018 (pre-robbery) of running visuals as we play. My old, robbed system was to run videos through Ableton plugins, which was laggy but had a learning curve. Getting a proper live visuals rig together will take much investment, but it’s definitely a goal for 2023. Making music for people who are off their nut, you stun them with the sound, but then also massage their eyes and minds with something memorable to watch too! Links back to Tame Impala ‘15, I guess! haha
Q: If you could collaborate with any artist, dead or alive, who would it be?
CHASING FELIX: When I was a teenager, I read a Van Morrison interview in Hot Press Magazine where he said that new music doesn’t excite him anymore as it’s all been done. But as mentioned before, modern music and the way music tech is moving excites me! And moreover, the criteria for choosing one artist or band, dead or alive, would just be too wild, FFS! Choosing whether Jimi or Tom Misch is on guitar, Bonham or Donald Johnson Jr. on drums.. It’s just impossible! So feck it, I’m gonna go all out and say the Beatles here. Sgt. Pepper Beatles, sure. I mean, you just can’t get much better!
Q: What’s the music scene like in Dublin? Do you have any advice to give to other up-and-coming artists trying to get their music out there?
CHASING FELIX: Ah lads.. The entire musical landscape has changed. When Covid struck, so many people who were working full time in music had to change careers, and many have gotten comfortable and have stayed there. That said, new beginnings bring new beginnings. The scene is hopping, and there are always places for you to play and bands for you to play with. When we first got things going, we started a monthly night in the Gypsy Rose (now R.I.O.T.), which ran for over a year. We called it ‘Felix Fridays’ and used it as a platform for ourselves to perform and to connect with other artists on the scene. We made some great connections and played with some top class well, known bands, FIELDS, Munky, and The Last Vinci, to name a few.
Also, aside from the music, if you can park the ‘getting the music out there’ thing… always be making content! Content is king in today’s anti-social social world. One of our good friends, Rod Allan, was around since the ‘Felix Friday’ days and offered himself as a photographer to boost his portfolio, so we were always having our gigs documented in the early days, and we always had content to post. So go forth and find your Rod Allans!
Q: Thanks so much for talking with me! Tell everyone what’s coming next for Chasing Felix! Any exciting shows or projects in the works?
CHASING FELIX: Our New Year’s Resolution for 2023 is to trust our own ears when finishing releases. We’re changing up how we release songs, so hopefully, we’ll be bringing you more tunes more often. I produce everything in my home studio, but then I always feel like mixing engineers need to be involved to finalise the tracks. Don’t get me wrong, the end product of our two singles from this year have been amazing, but we want to be at a stage where we’re releasing songs every 2 months, and having too many externs involved slows down the whole process. So yea, more of the same, but more often! Anyway, feck it… we’re in the great position of sitting on three finished singles that we’ll be drip feeding over the next year, and if you liked Give it Away, I hope you can follow our journey. Thanks so much guys
Photo credits: Damien Fegan
Interviewed by Melissa Cusano
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