When the COVID-19 pandemic hit the music industry at its heart, Chase Atlantic took their enforced break from intensive touring as a nod to start work on their next masterpiece. As studios shut their doors to bands looking to pour out their pent-up feelings on track, the Aussie trio, now based in L.A., began to create their third album the old-school way—recorded and produced by themselves in the bedrooms of their shared house with built-in studios, where each could access their work at all hours and mix their songs at their own pace.
Charged with their own signature blend of hip-hop intentions and alternative grit flowing through emotive and often cryptic lyrics, the band felt the pressure to raise the bar since 2019’s conceptual PHASES. Yet, they recognized this unique opportunity to push their boundaries for a production more authentic to their own style than ever before. Introduced by lead single “OUT THE ROOF” in August last year, BEAUTY IN DEATH comes as the immersive product of an unusual time for a band of brothers and friends in quarantine under the same roof together.
How has this strange time affected your writing process for your third record?
CHRISTIAN ANTHONY: Going into 2020, we decided we were going to hunker down and come together with a record anyway, so it hasn’t been too terrible for us. Obviously, it’s been a tough year mentally, waking up every day seeing the news and going on Twitter, seeing things aren’t getting any better when you’re trying to come up with a record. We were certainly stuck for inspiration at some points, but overall, we definitely overcame those obstacles. We’ve also had time to grow out in the real world, which we were taken out of for a few years while touring. Coming back to reality has been a big adjustment, and it’s been personally amazing for all of us.
You recorded this album from your home. How has that helped your flow of creativity?
ANTHONY: Obviously, our usual studio in L.A., MDDN, shut down, where we usually would’ve done our last record, so it was like going back to our old roots of our first two EPs and a bit of our first album. Recording in our bedrooms doing it all ourselves again was like being back at college.
MITCHEL CAVE: It’s definitely been a challenging process for everyone that’s been living together in this situation. Because we’ve had such a strong relationship our whole lives and we think of each other as brothers, it’s very honest and very respectful. When things don’t go the way we planned, we recalibrate and figure them out because that’s just what you have to do. Otherwise, things get tough. It’s all about supporting one another and making sure you’re not pushing each other too much or getting on anyone’s nerves. It’s a very delicate time, and it’s important to have that good relationship we have, so we’re very fortunate.
What’s changed musically since PHASES back in 2019?
ANTHONY: We’re always getting better at production and songwriting with every step. As PHASES was a year old, we were growing, learning and overall improving on our craft and homing in on our sound a bit more. Our fusion is quite unique to Chase Atlantic and the world we’ve created for ourselves. With every record, we get a little bit more confident, and we have a little better understanding of the Chase Atlantic sound.
MITCHEL: PHASES was produced within three months at the studios at MDDN. I think what makes this new album so special is that we had the good fortune and time to really sit down and think about what music was going to best suit the next release. What happened last year made an influence on the album as well because it’s very honest, [and] it’s very real. It can get dark at some points, and it arrived through all that uncertainty. All we could do was sit down and work because you can’t go out, you can’t see anyone, quarantine is quarantine. We’re very proud of it, and we think it’s our best album yet.
The title’s BEAUTY IN DEATH. What does that phrase mean to you?
ANTHONY: In a way, it’s a reflection of the juxtaposition between beauty and death, a flower losing its petals and how it can still have that beauty to it. This past year, everybody has been faced with mortality right in front of us, the idea that we’re not bulletproof and that life can be fragile. It’s about finding the beauty in that, like the way people have been put in quarantine but come together and become closer, developing new relationships. There’s also the beauty of the outside. We have these gardens, and we’ve been watching them throughout the year, growing beautiful white flowers and watching the petals fall and seeing the beautiful flower they create on the ground. It’s about finding beauty in the death of things and the cycle of life.
MITCHEL: I think it’s important to find beauty in death because death is very confrontational. It’s very emotional, and you mourn and grieve. At the same time, I think it’s very important when you can find the beauty in someone or something and realize the life they’ve had or all the things they’ve done—that brings people together, [and] that cures bad relationships between family members. It makes people realize that life really is worth living.
Has the pressure of the third album affected your writing this time around?
ANTHONY: I think that’s one thing we were very careful about this time around. The third album is meant to be the hardest one, according to some. Artists and bands always worry about it, but this third album drives home what we’ve always intended to do in the first place more than ever. We feel very confident about it. We didn’t feel like we had to make a third album. It was something we truly wanted to do.
CLINTON: A lot of times the third album is hard because it’s so far into a band’s life, and there’s a lot of expectations. We’ve been out for around seven years as a band. It’s not for us to be egotistical, but people are only now catching onto our songs from 2017, so I’m hoping we’re finally coming through. Instead of following the trends, we’re pushing the boundaries and setting the trend instead.
MITCHEL: We wanted to make sure we stayed true to ourselves and not conform to what everyone else’s expectations were of us and this album. I think that’s what makes it beautiful in a way because it really came from our hearts. It came from a much deeper place than the others. The first album was a bunch of songs thrown together. PHASES was more conceptualized, but it was still based on music we’d previously written. This time, we put our heart and soul and all our emotions into it because we had nothing else to do. It’s like we became a full-time mom, nursing this little kid, and all three of us were doing that for 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Which lyric from this album stands out the most for you?
ANTHONY: One of the lyrics Mitchel wrote stood out for me the most: “I’m so sick and tired of being sick and tired.” It’s something we can all relate to right now. We’re in an endless cycle of losing sleep and waking up late. It’s been hard. It’s funny that Mitchel wrote that before the pandemic—that’s something that’s happened before. He’s had premonitions of the future. You go online now, and everybody feels exactly the way Mitchel was in that line. I feel like the whole way through this last year, that’s constantly been replaying in my mind.
MITCHEL: For me, it’s the line from “SLIDE” where I said, “Fuck, I think the nitrous did damage.” I developed peripheral neuropathy from doing nitrous oxide, and I had a vitamin B12 deficiency. It was quite an intense situation and really emotionally impactful, but it really helped with the music on this album because it was either sink or swim: It was making the decision to swim and stay positive and keep a good attitude about it but at least being honest in the music. The song’s cool as fuck, but it’s really quite emotional for me.
You can read the full interview in the 100 Artists You Need To Know issue featuring Chase Atlantic on the cover.