Welcome to Round 2 of the Artist Spotlight, a place where I sneak you behind the scenes to chat to some of the best bands kicking around the country. Brisbane gents Osaka Punch kicked us off in style last month, and this time round the fire just keeps on coming - hold onto your hats, you're about to meet the Callum Chynoweth Band.
CALLUM CHYNOWETH BAND
If you're wondering what the love-child of Incubus, The Tea Party and Jeff Buckley might sound like (because let's face it, who hasn't?) - well look no further and say hi to the Callum Chynoweth Band, a charming Sydney trio who seamlessly fuse pop and a tinge of art into their signature blend of Indie rock - and the result is pretty damn special.
The name of the game here is 'Misery and Romance' (the title of their double EP) - and while the side-A release has a distinct bittersweet flair, it's impossible not to get hooked by the smooth textures and lilting guitars. The EP shows off the band's softer side with hints of folk and stripped-back instrumentals - but versatility is their collective middle name, and their live performances inject some heavier tones and some seriously cranking beats.
Frontman and namesake Callum Chynoweth is equally at home either soaring across tunes with a whisper of Thom Yorke and a dash of mid-Silverchair-era Daniel Johns, or shredding with bassist Brock and drummer Tom through some instrumental epics. And with triumphs including winning the Australian round of the Emergenza Festival (which sees them jetting off to Germany in August to compete in the International Final), these boys make two things crystal clear - songwriting is not dead, and there is a lot to look forward to from these Indie-kings.
Wanna know more?
You're in luck my friend! Sit back, relax and spend some time getting to know this tasty trio:
NAME: Callum Chynoweth Band
MEMBERS: Callum (Vocals + Guitars), Brock (Bass + Synth), Tom (Drums + Percussion)
HOW DID YOU GUYS GET STARTED? Initially, Callum and Brock formed a band with a few other guys they'd met while studying together. Tom joined towards the end of that project. Callum then started up a solo-type project, which Brock fell into pretty much straight away, and Tom eventually became the full-time drummer after filling in casually for a few gigs.
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN PLAYING? We have been playing together for around three years now.
INFLUENCES? The music we create together is heavily influenced by the likes of Incubus, The Tea Party and Jeff Buckley, but we each have our unique tastes that play a big part in building our sound: CALLUM: I'm a big fan of guys like Jeff Buckley and Jimmy Gnecco. Jeff Martin and Robert Smith are huge influences on my guitar style. BROCK: Pearl Jam and Silverchair are my biggest influences music-wise. Geddy Lee (Rush) is my main bass-playing influence. TOM: Drummers like Zach Saginaw (Shigeto), Matt Gartska (Animals as Leaders) and Gavin Harrison (Porcupine Tree) are the kind of guys that inspire me most, but I tend to draw influence from across the musical spectrum: jazz, metal ,'world', hip-hop, drum and bass, etc.
DESCRIBE YOUR BAND IN THREE WORDS: Misery and Romance
WHAT’S YOUR MOST MEMORABLE GIG? Probably our most memorable gig to date was the national final of the Australian edition of the Emergenza band competition at The Metro Theatre (in Sydney). We took out first place, and as such we'll be heading to Germany in August to play at the Taubertal Festival alongside the competition winners from many other countries.
FAVOURITE CALLUM CHYNOWETH BAND SONG? BROCK: 'Misery and Romance'. It's quite a simple song for the rhythm section, but it still took us a long time to get it sounding right in the studio. Turned out well, though. It has a good bounce to it, which makes it a lot of fun to play live. CALLUM: My favourite is 'Sweet Beloved'. It's quite a personal song for me, and through the process of writing and recording it turned out to be the song that comes closest to how I hear things in my head. TOM: The songs I enjoy the most actually haven't been released yet! There's also an instrumental track that's sort of exclusively a 'live' thing that's really great to play: plenty of space for improvisation. But if we're talking recordings... then probably 'Open Sea', mainly because of the build-up throughout the track. It's epic.
WHAT ARE YOU GUYS CURRENTLY WORKING ON? ANYTHING NEW ON THE HORIZON? We're currently mixing the next side of the 'Misery and Romance' Double EP (you can check out 'Side A' on Spotify/iTunes/Apple Music/etc.), and we're starting to think about pre-production for our next recording. Plenty of new material on the horizon.
IF YOU WEREN'T PLAYING MUSIC, WHAT ELSE WOULD YOU BE DOING? CALLUM: I've got no idea... it's never really been an option for me. Whatever Brock says. BROCK: ...Instagram model. TOM: Something in international politics - I'd love to work in Japan or South Korea.
IF THE CALLUM CHYNOWETH BAND HAD TO BE STRANDED ON A DESERT ISLAND WITH ONE OTHER ARTIST, WHO WOULD IT BE? CALLUM: Daft Punk. Those robots seem to have it all worked out. BROCK: T. Swift. I think that together we could shake off the shackles of city living and really learn to live off the land together... like some kind of love story. TOM: Bill Baily. He's hilarious, an amazing musician, and he just knows so many things about the world. Great brain to have in a tricky situation.
PINEAPPLE ON A PIZZA, YES OR NO? CALLUM AND BROCK: Never... TOM: Guys, we need to talk.
CATS OR DOGS? Dogs - they make for the ultimate companion.
WOULD THE CALLUM CHYNOWETH BAND SURVIVE A ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE? CALLUM: I probably wouldn't. I'm not really a fan of running, I'd probably just give up. BROCK: I would follow the rules of 'Zombieland' to ensure my survival. TOM: No sweat; I'm up to date with 'The Walking Dead'
AND FINALLY, WHAT'S THE GREATEST SONG OF ALL TIME? ALL: 'Lavender Town Theme' from Pokemon Blue
Keep your eyes and ears out for the second helping of their Double EP - but in the meantime you can stalk them on social media and/or check out Side-A of 'Misery and Romance' below.
SIDE A OF 'MISERY & ROMANCE' EP AVAILABLE NOW ON SPOTIFY, APPLE MUSIC AND iTUNES
BY TIANA SPETER