First Published April 2019
CHASING ABBEY TO HEADLINE OLYMPIA
The hardest part about writing a piece on Chasing Abbey these days is that by the time you get it into print, something else extraordinary has already happened in their continuing meteoric rise to stardom! We’ll talk more about their introduction to America via Billboard in Part 2 of our special on the band next week.
The best thing, however, about sitting down for a chat with Bee, Teddy C, and Ro – which we had the pleasure of doing again recently – is that you realise the same fire, ambition, and positive attitude that were there as That Good Thing was really kicking this whole adventure off for them, are still very much present and accounted for. They may well be everybody’s favourite band of the moment, but make no mistake about it, Chasing Abbey are still their own men, still the captains of their own ship. And in the heat of it all – as they prepare for the release of their debut EP, The Odyssey Project, and their first headlining show at the famous Olympia theatre in Dublin on April 14th – this Tullamore trio are still as cool as ice.
And, as importantly as being cool – if not more so – laughter is still as much at the heart of Chasing Abbey as is the bond shared between its members.
So, we know the band’s latest single, Hold On, will feature on the EP, but will there be more new music for fans to enjoy as well?
Teddy C: “Its going to be Hold On, plus four more brand new singles.” Bee: “We haven’t played any of the other four ‘live’ before.” Ro: “Literally no-one has heard them.”
Are they nervous about the EP’s release?
As one: “Yes.” [Laughter]
Teddy C: “We always say that before a single comes out, people are always saying to us that we must be so excited, and buzzin’ for the tune to come out, and we’re like, yeah…but we’re actually just really stressed out, to be honest!” [Laughs]. “Because you just don’t know what’s goin’ to happen, like, so you’re hopin’ that it goes well so that in six months time you’re still proud of it, and you’re still into it. It’s a strange process.”
Ro: “You work so hard at it, and for so long on it, without ever really thinkin’ it’s gonna come to a time when everyone will hear it! When we’re workin’ on it in the studio, it’s only the three of us that are hearin’ it. We’re vibin’ to it, maybe one or two of our friends are here, and they like it, too. So you’re kinda in this fantasy land where everything’s brilliant. But then a couple of days before, or I suppose a couple of week’s now, you start thinking, o.k, the plan is in place for the whole world to hear this now. And that hits home, you’re like, ‘Oh Jesus!’ [Laughs].
Teddy C: “It’s nerve-wrecking. You just have to hope that it goes alright. But then, I guess once you can listen to your music and go, yeah, that’s good enough enough for me…”
Bee: “…then you’re never gonna regret it.”
Were the songs on the EP chosen from a selection that the band had been working on over time, or were these five or six written specifically to become The Odyssey Project?
Teddy C: “So after The Rollout [the band’s first tour], we were in the studio the next day. We finished in Killarney on a Saturday night, got home at like four o’ clock in the morning. But we were right back in the studio the next morning anyway. We wrote for about three, four weeks, and maybe wrote seven songs.
Ro: “Hold On had already been written, and we’d already performed that.”
Teddy C: “Yeah, so Hold On was not in that. Then we picked four from those seven. So yeah, there are songs that are left over. But I don’t think we’ll ever use them. They were kinda like the fat on things, if that makes sense? Ya know, you’re just like, that’s just fat, we’ll get rid of that! And because we write in batches, you can’t really go back and use that. Because it’s of that same period, but it’s not as good as the other ones, so there’s just no point.”
So leaving Hold On out of the equation, as it’s already been released, are their particular tracks on the EP that each of the band are excited about fans getting to hear?
Teddy C: “For me, there’s two that I really, really want people to hear, yeah. One of them is I Remember, and the other is Phase Ten. And the reason is, I think Phase Ten is going to be like classic Chasing Abbey [to people when they hear it]. It’s a banger. So I’m looking forward to people going, ‘Classic Chasing Abbey‘, I want them to feel that way about that song. Then with I Remember, I want people to see a whole different side. With this EP, we want to show that there’s substance to us. More of an artistic vibe. To show that there’s more to us than just bangers. But at the same time, we’re always partial to a banger! [laughs].”
Ro: “Yeah, I’d say Phase Ten, for the same reasons. And I Remember, for the same reasons. But the first song on the EP, Six O’ Clock, I think that one for me, because similarly to I Remember, it shows another side to us. I also think that in that song, a lot of how we feel right now, when we were writing The Odyssey Project, is summed up really well. There’s a lot of meaning to it, so I have a strong connection to that song.”
Bee: “I think there’s something for everybody on this EP.”
Ro: “And that’s probably why those other songs we were talking about didn’t make it, we would have thought well there’s one there already like that.”
Teddy C: “From the three of us, our influences are just so vast. If you’re a solo artist, you have your main influences and that’s it. But with three of us, and because the three of us have very strong personalities, that shows in the music. We all nearly force our influences into the one song. For us, as individual artists [within the band], to fulfil our artistic needs, we each have to get a little bit of something in…everywhere![laughs]. So The Odyssey Project is like a journey both of us as people, but as sounds as well. It’s a mad journey of sounds!”
It pretty much seems like everything the band are doing these days is big news in one way or another. And right up there on that list for the coming weeks is the headliner show at the Olympia in Dublin…
Teddy C: “That’s been a real dream of ours now.” Ro: “That’s the pinnacle.”
Teddy C: “The Academy is up there, we always thought that was cool and it would be savage to play there. Then we did that. But the Olympia is different. It just is. We’ve seen people who we look up to, actually playing there, ya know. Big artists from America. And we’ve gone and watched them and been like, ‘F*&k, this is mad!”
Ro: “It’s the whole history of the Olympia, the respect as a venue that it has. I think to go and perform in it, actually during the show will be very special, surreal. It’s such a special room. It’s not just a grey space out there, and you bring in a load of lights! It’s the crowd there, the building itself, everything is part of the show. It’s going to be completely different to going and playing…even the likes of the 3Arena. There’s so much musical heritage involved with the Olympia.”
To look at Chasing Abbey and to hear their music, the very last term to to come to mind for most people would be culchies! And yet, that’s what they’ve called their upcoming tour!
Teddy C: “That’s kinda why we used it. We had found from our experiences of going to, say Dublin, any cities, if you’re from Tullamore – even if you live bang in the middle of the town – you’re a culchie to them! So we’ve been called that, and it’s all fun, it’s all good, it doesn’t matter. When you come from here, that’s what you’re known as: a culchie. And it’s kind of seen as a negative thing or whatever. But then we were like, ah, ya know, we actually are culchies! [laughs]. And we’re gonna embrace this! So we just turned a negative into a positive.”
Ro: “It’s a little bit tongue-in-cheek, too. But we’re completely standing by who we are. One thing about us, is that we’ve never hidden where we come from. We’ve always been very loud about that. So I think the Culchie Kid Tour was just another way of being loud about who we are, and where we come from. And about us being as real as we can be.”
It’s not that long ago that Chasing Abbey‘s first tour, The Rollout, came to an end. So is the reason they’re about to hit the road again so soon at least in part at least because they enjoyed The Rollout so much? And didn’t want to waste too much time before getting to experience moments like those again?
Teddy C: “Yeah, kinda that, and obviously we knew we had the EP coming up, so we wanted to get some ‘live’ shows in before festival season. So we could build a little bit of a base with the new songs. When you’re on tour, it’s your own gigs, and the people at those shows are your own fans. Your proper fans. We wanted to give a little bit to them so that when they see us at the festivals, they know what’s comin’.”
Ro: “We didn’t want the festivals to be the first time we perform The Odyssey Project. The fans deserve the opportunity to come and see us ‘live’ ourselves performing it first, I think.”
Teddy C: “We’ve had a similar ‘live’ show for maybe a year now. And what we’ve noticed is that people who keep coming back, they like the things they know we’re going to do. Like at the end, we have a call-and-response song. When we start that, we can see people in the crowd who have done it before, telling their friends how it’s gonna go. It’s nearly like a ritual kinda thing! So another reason for the Culchie Kid Tour is to put these new kinda things in place, so that we can use them in the festivals, and then again after that on different tours.”
Bee: “Yeah, and we’ll learn a lot about performing the songs, as well. So it’s a win-win situation for both the fans and ourselves.”
Chasing Abbey were also the surprise winners of the Hot Press Best Rap/Hip-Hop Act Award. A surprise, probably, to no-one except the band themselves
Teddy C: “That was a surprise! We had no idea until we got the email!”
Bee: “It was Thursday morning, I think two weeks ago. It was mad.”
Teddy C: “Out of nowhere, Best Rap/Hip-Hop Act.”
Ro: “And one of the things they mentioned about us when they announced it, was our ‘live’ performances over the past year. The ‘live’ shows are our favourite thing to do.”
Teddy C: “You can’t beat it. Like, you’re in the studio for so long, you make the music. You put the music out. You do all the marketing, the P.R., all the interviews, all of that blah, blah, blah [laughs]. But when it actually gets down to it, and you get to go on stage, and PERFORM the music, you get to reach highs that we have never in our life experienced. With thousands of people. You just can’t beat that. It’s THE best feeling. The stage is where we come to life.”
With so many great things happening for the band right now, I wondered if there were any negatives that they’d been experiencing through it all? Especially in an age where so many people are so keen to make their opinions heard…from the safe distance of cyber-space, of course!
Teddy C: “Ah no, we definitely get our fair share of hate! [laughter from all]. Yeah, yeah, yeah. It’s all good, though. I kind of enjoy it a little bit.”
Ro: “Some of it is funny! You’ll be like, right, I’m actually giving that one to him! [laughs].”
Bee: “And we turn that into a positive, too, because the more hate you get, the bigger you’re getting, ya know.”
Teddy C: “We kind of see it as a good thing.”
Ro: “And also, it motivates you. If you hear something about yourself and it makes you think, well THAT’S wrong, then you want to go and prove that person wrong, or whatever.”
Teddy C: “And at the same time, look, everybody’s entitled to their own opinion. There’s loads of things that I don’t like, too. It’s fair enough.”
Do they find they have to be careful not to get drawn into some kind of Twitter war sometimes?
Bee: “Sometimes! [laughs]. We’ve replied to a few! Well, ones that are kinda soft enough, really. Where it actually can be just a laugh, just a bit of craic.”
Teddy C: “Yeah, the ones we’ve replied to, we’ve had a bit of craic with. So to be honest, we really wouldn’t worry about that too much. It’s all part and parcel of it really, isn’t it.”