How did you all meet & what made you decide to create the band?
I met Matt back in 2014 I joined the touch football club back at uni, which was essentially just an excuse to party five nights a week and play touch once or twice a week. Upon getting to know each other better we both noticed each other’s musical talents and began playing acoustic covers gigs at weddings, bars and venues around Brissy and the Gold Coast - this further extended to working on original music, in particular being asked to play bass in Matt’s band Hot Coffee, which we are still actively working on to this date. I’ve known Pat for close to ten years now through mutual school friends and we always had plans to form a band together, which we eventually did as housemates in 2017 with AUGUSTA, our rock band formed with my brother Joey on lead vocals. Through working in both bands and gaining experience with the process of being in a band, we all realised somewhat of a gap in our musical creativity, as a large portion of the music we listen to and classify as our musical inspirations were not being represented in the electronic hip-hop of Hot Coffee and the 70s inspired classic rock of AUGUSTA. Chutney was formed out of our shared love of rock bands like Sticky Fingers, Arctic Monkeys and The Strokes, which combine tight rhythm sections and atmospheric and intricate guitar lines with lyrical songwriting. The final piece of the puzzle was finding Andy to play drums, whom Pat and I had met through AUGUSTA playing some shows with his other band Stingin’ Rogers, and his shared inspirations and desire to be in a band like Chutney provided the perfect combination and timing for this little ‘supergroup’ of GC bands to be formed.
What inspires you when creating new music?
From my experience the thing that sparks inspiration when writing is when I’m fooling around on the guitar and hear a new progression or guitar line that I’ve not come across before. Normally I just aimlessly play around on the
guitar or piano and something will stand out and pique my interest and from there I’ll really bury down into that idea into I’ve got something concrete and original that sounds great. Another way that inspiration strikes is from hearing a tune or guitar line or vocal melody from one of my inspirations and wanting to emulate them, essentially giving myself the challenge of “writing a Catfish & The Bottlemen” type song, which we can then mould and shape into something that doesn’t sound unoriginal and is more like the Chutney sound that represents us.
How does the song writing process work for the band?
The majority of the songwriting begins with Matt - he is the engine room of this group and is able to churn out demo after demo of new songs, and our shared Soundcloud is filled with skeletons of tracks that he has recorded at home every time inspiration strikes.
The tracks will usually just start in this way with Matt’s vocal and the acoustic chords underneath and then the rest of the band writes out the remainder of the track in terms of lead guitar and bass lines and may reorganise the structure of the tune or add sections in etc if we all feel like it should go a certain way once played within the band setting. There are a few tracks, however (namely “Gone On Time” & soon to be released “Lick A Little”), that have started from guitar parts that myself and Pat have written and then brought to Matt to write melody lines over, which gives a nice bit of variety to the process and allows for different but still distinctive songs to result.
What’s something powerful you believe?
I believe in being truly genuine in whatever you do, whether it’s music, personality or the way you lead your life. I am constantly striving for our music to not sound contrived or derivative which is so difficult because everything under the sun has already been done.
The goal is to just keep it real and enjoy each step of the process and trust that as long as you dig what you’re putting out people will resonate with that.
is there anything that scares you when creating or releasing new music?
There is always the fear that it will be poorly received when a new song or project is released, but that isn’t really a concern - I’m not too worried about what the public perception is of a track. I suppose the biggest fear is that it becomes something that we ourselves don’t like, or something that isn’t representative of what the initial pursuit was. I would hate to have a vision for a song and for it to not accurately depict what that vision was at the time we had completed the recording process. Another aspect of releasing music that I find quite difficult is when something does not have the impact that you thought it would in terms of that reach and impact it has on listeners - considering the amount of time and effort that goes into writing, recording and promoting a release, it can be extremely disheartening when the track doesn’t receive the response that you expected it to.
What is something you wish people knew about the band?
The amount of work that goes into being in a band that doesn’t involve music is astounding. Marketing, promotion, presentation, networking - all of these things take up so much time in the behind the scenes of running a band. All of the bands who have made it have their own teams of publicists and managers, yet when you’re starting out you’re doing it all yourself, PLUS trying to write the music and present the image of yourself that is going to allow yourself to “make it” in the first place. It’s a chicken-and-the-egg situation where nowadays you can’t make it in this industry without having a good business sense, yet you need the content that you are creating to be of the highest quality in order to stand out from the other thousands of bands that are exactly in our situation. We have to view the business side of the band as if we are consumers and figure out what catches people’s eyes and makes them want to click onto our Spotify profile and listen to our stuff, and when we are dumb musos with not an ounce of marketing education or business knowledge at our disposals it can be quite a struggle to make that side of things count.
What goals have you set for the future?
Continuing to write, record and release high quality music is the number one goal, but my personal aim for this band is for us to become
one of the most sought after live bands in the country. Every band that I look at as an inspiration has worked their asses off to become an A+ live band every single night of the week, and if you can’t back up the quality of your work on the live stage you don’t deserve to be up on that stage in the first place. The greatest way to connect to fans is to play shows, and speaking from experience as a fan of many bands there is nothing quite like seeing a group in full flight, doing what they do best at the highest level. Being able to play shows to even twenty people is so much fun, and I can’t wait until we have the opportunity to amplify our audiences to far larger numbers further down the track.