Interview – Chasing Jane

By: Jordyn Meade-Baxter

Chasing Jane is a “blues, funk, and hip hop” band from Stouffville, Ontario. The members of Chasing Jane are Ryan Hargrave, Roy Bartell, Adam McNeill, and Adrian Andres. Chasing Jane will be releasing their debut EP “Nice to Meet Ya” on May 6th. Chasing Jane will also be performing inside Velvet Underground for Canadian Music Week tonight at 10pm!

How did you form as a band?

CJ: After some rotating membership on bass and guitars, Roy hired Adam to lay down some keyboards for a commercial piece through his company Rival5. Ryan liked what he heard, and Roy mentioned that I also played bass and sang. Ryan connected with me, and we began to rehearse on with our then-producer, Matthew Von Wagner, on guitars.

After the album was finished, Wagner had to pursue other commitments so I brought in Adrian Andres to fulfill guitar duties. Since then he’s been sharing his invaluable experience as producer and composer in order to take the band’s sound in a slicker, funkier, direction.

Where did the name come from? Who is Jane?

CJ: Jane is a girl who makes you crazy. Not a specific girl… But a specific KIND of girl who inspires you to do crazier, more terrible, more beautiful things than you ever thought you were capable.

What inspires you to combine so many genres into your sound? 

CJ: Many incorporated genres stems from many influences. We have each been in VERY different kinds of bands ranging from rock, folk, blues, funk, hip hop, punk rock, progressive, and even metal. But really all these things are just different faces of pop (or popular music). We feel that musical styles all share far more in common than they do differences, and we try to celebrate that. Simply, we are not interested in too narrowly defining the band’s sound… In this way, people can interpret our music for themselves and can give it their own meaning.

Is it hard sometimes to bring elements from one genre to another? What do you do to overcome such challenges?

CJ: Actually, we think we all find it very easy to combine styles. Once you dispense with convention, you can do whatever you want. And if a sound comes naturally, then it doesn’t sound forced. It just sounds different. And hopefully in that way, each song manages to surprise listeners in a few ways.

What can you tell us about making an EP that fans may not know about?

CJ: Making an EP is the science of less-is-more. The very name of the album is an introduction, so we wanted to keep things condensed so that it would be easy for labels, booking agents, and radio stations to quickly get a sense of the band’s sound. This very approach just landed us as one of the 25 finalists in Rock 97.7’s RockSearch contest!

Who usually writes the songs, or is it more of a collaboration? 

CJ: Most of the songs were originally written and arranged by Ryan and Roy before everyone else joined the band. That said, Adam instantly began arranging bridges, writing new parts, and styling dynamics, breaks, and nuances in the rhythms. Adrian is now bringing his professional experience as a producer and composer to the table and is already half way done on a remix of the entire album, bringing in deeper reggae and dub vibes, along with slick pop and dance sensibilities.

The four of us have already written new material on a completely collaborative basis. We realise that when we create this way, the band truly becomes greater than the sum of its parts.

How would you describe “Nice to Meet Ya”?

CJ: ‘Nice To Meet Ya’ is like when you’re in a really nice pub and they allow you to try a beer that you’ve never had before in a small tasting glass so that you can see if you like it before you order a pint. It offers the songs up in a mainstream format but also hints at what the band’s live sound might be like (ie. leaving just a little bit of mystery). We believe that these are great songs we’ve crafted, and we can play most of them in various styles.

Do you have any tricks up your sleeve for your Canadian Music Week performance?

CJ: For Canadian Music Week we will be joined on stage by Matthew Von Wagner, producer of the album and also creative thinker behind the successful launch of other great bands like USS and Most Non-Heinous! Matthew is going to briefly resume his original guitar duties while Adrian is away.

It’s really great to watch how the band can seamlessly roll with challenges like this… Adrian is a masterful player due to his on stage experience playing with Cirque du Soleil. Matthew’s style is grungier, and more distorted. But it is this level of flexibility that allows us to play these songs in different styles and through various arrangement evolutions.

We like to ask some fun questions for the fans to get to know fans better…

What are some of your favourite Canadian bands?

CJ: I think we’re all big fans of what border-benders found in Toronto, like God Made Me Funky, and Down With Webster. But we also have to give props to the DIYers like Holy Fuck, Moses Mayes, and Ubiquitous Synergy Seeker (whom we communicate with and rely on for industry guidance).

It’s really tough to nail down, especially when influences stem from southern classic rock, to reggae, to folk, to motown. They really don’t adhere well to national boundaries.

Do you have any pre show rituals?

CJ: Our only pre-show rituals would include a cheers in which we all look each other in the eyes as we clink, glasses, hit them on the table (for our homies), and drink to the band’s health. The other ritual is “tips-in!”… A bizarre four-handed handshake with thumbs on top. Don’t ask.

Describe each member of the band in one word.

CJ: Ryan – Stuntman

Roy – Guru

Adam – Nerd

Adrian – Ninja

Is there anything else you would like to add?

CJ: Yes! We would like to add that we have mobile apps available through which you can stream the album for free! We’re still waiting on approval for iOS, but the Android app through which you can stream the album is available in the Google Play store… Yes, all free!

In addition to our album being FREE on mobile, it will also allow them free exclusive access to our remix album (nearly completed), in addition to promotions, rewards points, and exclusive content from behind the scenes with the band!

What would you like to say to your fans?

CJ: We love you and we’d love to see more of you at our upcoming gigs this summer!

 

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