Published on February 9th, 2017 | by Matt Jamison0
Chrome Lakes are Sonic Chameleons on The Cost | Interview and Review
The debut full length from Seattle’s Chrome Lakes is a bridge builder for rock appreciators of all sorts. When describing music by genre it is difficult to simply be limited to rock or metal. Due to the mind-numbing number of sub-genres, a writer hesitates before throwing them around. The inevitable “well actually, that is post-metal punk art noise” comments that come along with doing that are infuriating.
Chrome Lakes’ sound has a sonic chameleon-like trait.
As a result The Cost is equally appealing for your noise rock purist friend or your sibling that swears by traditional indie. For the majority of the album the feeling is urgent, aggressive, and direct. That sense is delivered in a multitude of ways. The album starts off with “Revolutionaires”. This track is sure to bring comparisons to post-rock heroes along the lines of At The Drive-In. Chrome Lakes shifts pace with a bluesy little number “Water” or the standout “Gold And The Bronze” that fellow Pacific Northwest legends Minus The Bear would be proud of. “Running For No One” is surf rock for 2017!
The perfect soundtrack for a Nazi-punching surfer navigating shark infested waters.
The members of Chrome Lakes are excellent musicians. The band is comprised of Chad Fox (vocals), Phil Sells (guitar), Ryan Bak (bass), Jay Beaman (drums), and Bryan Barrows (keys) and they have been working on this album since 2013 when Chrome Lakes was formed. As a result their chemistry is a thing of beauty and the album’s sound is crisp and clear throughout.
Furthermore, The Cost was mastered by Chris Common, engineered and mixed by Derek Moree and produced by Derek Moree and Chrome Lakes themselves. The range of the vocals is one of my favorite aspects of the album. They can go from maniacal yells similar to Joel Cuplin (Constant Lovers) to the stadium rock level chops of Josh Holland (Wild Throne). Therefore, Fox is one hell of an intriguing vocalist.
With songs like “Sanctimony Us” and “Plight For Sore Eyes” it is apparent they’re socially aware and politically conscious. As a result a great deal of concern and urgency seep out of the lyrics. Seems like this is linked to the state of our political environment and concern of the health of our planet. Especially relevant with new evidence every day that the movie, Idiocracy was less entertainment and more omen. It would seem creating this album was a cathartic exercise for these dudes.
As hopeless and scary as stuff seems I appreciate the song “Walls”. Towards the end of the song Fox belts out:
“The walls are closing in and the floor is rising up and the roof is coming down on us but… BUT WE MADE IT OUT, WE MADE IT OUT ALIVE!”
The artwork for The Cost was done by Austin Sellers (who collaborates with John from Portugal. The Man on their artwork). The photographs of the band were done by Kellie Seldon. Keep up with the band on their Facebook . Email them if you are interested in copping a vinyl copy of The Cost.
Interview with Chrome Lakes
Chrome Lakes was nice enough to answer some questions that I had for them. We discussed their local music scene, the origin of their name, and playing Donald Drumpf’s inauguration.
BGM: When speaking to people that aren’t from Seattle about the city they usually have a perception of what it is all about. Catching fish, grunge music, rain, and annoying football fans. How long have you guys been in Seattle and what would you tell others about the city you call home.
Chrome Lakes: We formed the band at the tail end of 2013. I’ve played shows with Chad (vocalist) for a number of years prior and his band Keaton Collective. At the time, they were based in Bellingham and it was one of those show nights that we did the drunk guy thing and were like “hey, we should start a band.” Some time passed and I had forgotten about the conversation we had, but a few weeks later I received a call from Chad to let me know that KC was relocating to Seattle and we were going to get the ball rolling.
I think people generally have the right idea about Seattle, but when you really dive in to what this city has to offer, your mind will be blown. Whether it be eating, drinking, going to shows, being in the rain or staying out of it, there’s a million things to do in every direction. You never feel limited with your days and can be as active or lazy as you want.
BGM: A few things I always tell friends from out of town about Seattle is that it is crammed full of amazing breweries and rad bands. Every time I visit there are a handful of new breweries to check out that I didn’t even know about. It is similar with bands. It is hard to keep up with how much great music is coming out. Does it feel like there is a level of oversaturation when it comes to putting out music and booking live shows?
Chrome Lakes: I think it’s easy to be overlooked as a band due to the overwhelming amount of content we take in on a daily basis. But if you put in the work and know the right avenues to go down, there’s some really cool stuff to be discovered. To an extent, saturation is good in the music world. It allows the bands the ability to network with one another, bookers to have an endless options for the lineups they create, venue staffing (sound engineers, bartenders, security, cooks, in house operations etc.) If there wasn’t the amount of music happening in this city, there’d be a lot of really great spots closing down. Instead, we’ve seen new places opening up and others receiving much needed improvements and renovations.
BGM: My family is involved with the brewing industry. The oversaturation feeling is real but the industry is built on cooperation. For example, Fremont Brewing coordinated shipping entries to the Great American Beer Festival in Colorado for tons of Washington breweries. Instead of a combative competition it is more of a help your neighbor vibe for the most part. How has your experience been with interacting with the numerous hungry bands trying to make a name for themselves in such a booming market?
Chrome Lakes: Seattle has a great music scene and we’ve been fortunate to have played with so many amazing bands. I’ve personally developed a lot great friendships over the years from playing music and maintain the same group of friends to this day. Most of these guys out there are really good about showing their support and working together to get shit done.
BGM: Is Chrome Lakes a real place?
Chrome Lakes: As far as I know, I don’t believe it is. The name came from being too stoned and looking out at Lake Washington. The water was like glass and had a shimmer to the surface. I thought to myself “the lake looks like…..aluminum, no, chrome.” It was some potent herb.
BGM: I like your description on bandcamp: “…approaches their music through the lens of post-hardcore in the year of post-truth America. Their sound, shaped from the influences of Seattle’s community and America’s emo and post-hardcore landscapes, offers an aggressive, yet melodic entry into the schism of indie rock, moving past the last decade’s worth of Seattle folk…”.
Can you talk about some of the bands that helped craft that post-hardcore lens as well as the influences that Seattle’s community has had on creating The Cost?
Chrome Lakes: Seattle has been very lucky to see some incredible bands come out of the area. Bands like The Murder City Devils, Green River, These Arms Are Snakes, Botch, Himsa, Harkonen continue to influence countless musicians and the sounds they create. These are the typical go to bands in my opinion, but they are for a good fucking reason. Nirvana were pretty good too.
BGM: Do you have any plans on touring in 2017?
Chrome Lakes: We hope so. If we’re able to work it out, it might just be a short run down the coast.
BGM: If Chrome Lakes were offered money to play Donald Drumpf’s inauguration what would you have done and how would you have handled your decision?