Chase Atlantic takes the Porsche Taycan Turbo for a spin and intimate listening experience of their record Beauty and Death.
PHOTOGRAPHY by DANIEL ROJAS
An Australian band from Cairns gets stranded in LA during a global pandemic. Sounds like a fledgling Christopher Guest plotline but it’s just what happened to the alternative r&b trio Chase Atlantic. Band mates Christian Anthony and brothers Mitchel and Clinton Cave spent two years in lockdown working on songs from their bedroom recording studios. It was a real blessing for a band that had been touring virtually without a break in previous years. In 2018, they played a grueling schedule of 155 live shows. It basically seems to have taken a global event for them to give themselves a break. Naturally, the guys used the “down” time to get right back to work, recording their most recent album 2021’s BEAUTY IN DEATH. Comprising twelve tracks, the record was produced and recorded entirely by them in a house they shared in Studio City. “We only had each other, us three, just causing chaos. I think it definitely brought us closer. You know, we were kind of scared but we put on a bit of a strong face, not really knowing when touring was gonna happen again. Having to finish an album in a time when you can’t leave the house is pretty uninspiring, pretty chaotic. We played probably a thousand hours of Call of Duty,” recalls Christian. Their suddenly-DIY reality ended up being a creative boon rather than a setback with the band producing, writing, engineering and mastering the record together. “When we go out on tour, I’m just the lead singer,” Mitchel laughs. “I just gotta kind of jump around and sing. But in the studio, we’re all producing and writing at the same time. Bouncing ideas off of each other. It’s a good process… just kind of diving into the deep end and making music that feels good.”
Mitchel’s been making music since he was twelve when his brother Clinton won audio software in a local raffle. He’d hoped his parents could get him the Mac necessary to run Logic Pro. (They couldn’t.) But he figured it out, and by the time he was in high school, he had a SoundCloud account that eventually boasted a viral hit. “I did an Adele remix and got like a million plays in a night, and then the copyright infringement came in, and then they took it down. And I was like, ‘all right, well I’m done with this, I just wanna make music.’”
At around the same time, Christian began coming around. “It used to be just us in the bedroom in Brisbane when I first met Mitchel and Clinton together… so it started in Logic with like guitars and it was very bandy with like, real drums. And then Mitchel kind of figured out his own wave with songs like “Into It” and “Swim” from 2017. The teen musicians were producing their music independently and developing their own approaches but by the time they graduated from high school, they’d coalesced into the collective we hear today. Our Sound & Driven team asked the band about the journey of…being a band, while driving around LA in a Porsche Taycan Turbo. Clinton begins at the beginning.
“It started from a long process of figuring out who we were and what we wanted to do in life as musicians and music.” They all started as teenage producers with social channels that connected them with other artists. “It eventually led to a couple of different projects, mainly with Mitchel and Christian and a couple of other friends. Then, eventually we wanted to take ourselves more seriously. We were still very young and a bit naive and not sure what we wanted but we started to come up with our own sound and people picked up on it and it kind of started growing and growing. We’ve just been pushing it ever since.”
Only two of them share a last name but it’s clear that Clinton is a mindful big brother of the trio. “I’m not that much older but you know watching them grow has been beautiful. We have a lot of turmoil, a lot of fights. You know, Mitchel and I are direct brothers, so it’s always like butting heads. But we’ve made it this far and I know a lot of families don’t even get that experience. I wouldn’t ever change it.”
The motoring conversation turns inevitably to the car test experience. Like musicians in this series before them, the intimate acoustics of a Porsche Taycan interior, always reveal insights to bands mid-production. “When you’re honed into producing your own music and doing your own vocal recordings, it’s important to hear it in a few different arenas. I get quite inspired, driving and listening to instrumentals that we’ve made. And there’s something to the visual aspect of it, something more than just staring at a screen,” notes Mitchel. Studio playbacks can come at the end of a stagnant day, and there’s only so much atmosphere your headphones can deliver. “But nothing beats the car test,” Mitchel continues. “You got the visuals, you can turn it as loud as you want, you know what I mean? I think that’s the passion for music. The car test is as critical as it gets, pretty much the final stage of musicmaking. Especially if you drive a nice little Porsche. Joe Madden lent me his for a week and the sound system was phenomenal!”
As if to punctuate the thought, stark instrumentation permeates the Taycan cabin on cue. Mitchel explains his fondness for the atmospheric track. “I really like the whole essence of “Empty”, [it] starts out with one simple instrument. Red pill help me get my words out/Blue pill, won’t you help me calm down? The essence of emptiness is within the track itself, but also with the lyrics being like, very testimonial. I think that’s what kind of captured the audience is that, as an artist, it’s weird…you feel like you have this void inside of you. There’s something missing in your stomach and you don’t know how to feel it.”
Beyond this existential void, was also the real-life event of isolation being experience the world over. As Christian explains, “2018 would’ve been the first year that we had spent a long period away from Australia, kind of officially in America. My verse in the song, Old friends turning into strangers/New friends, they’re becoming dangerous was about the life that we were living. Like completely polar opposite countries, polar opposite lifestyles. And everyone was saying, oh, how’s LA… how great is it? New country, you know? We made it to America but we still kind of felt the same, if not worse because we’d kind of done everything we’d always wanted and we still felt the same…like when does it start to make you happy, I guess.”
History has taught us about the side of LA that is a wasteland of dreams uncome true. But the Aussie trio is keeping the focus on the honest hard work of being a group creating music with conviction. “Like, if you’re not around the right people, it can be pretty daunting. Like kind of terrible. But there are some good people here. You find the good people and you get a good circle. And we’ve always had each other luckily.”