We recently sat down with Chambers to see how they’re doing in light of their forthcoming music releases, band member shuffling and a killer new video project from the likes of SMTHFMLY.
Below is our conversation with Alex Lucas, Piper Johnson, Chase Johnson and Judson Valdez of Chambers. Dalton Kane couldn’t make it for the interview, but don’t worry, we still found out all of his nicknames.
WDDI: All of you have experience playing in different local bands. Some of those projects seem to be ongoing and some have long since dissolved – so what bands did you hail from?
J: I was in Baruch the Scribe for a very long time. That band ended this summer. I was working on solo stuff from there- ‘Becoming,’ and then I started playing back up for Sam and Chase and that’s sort of what the original idea for Chambers came from.
C: I was in a band called Darcy. I joined that band back in 2007 and was in the band for a really long time. I moved into a house with the Seryn guys and met Sam through Seryn. Started playing with Sam. Met Judson. Started playing with Judson in ‘Becoming’ and then we were both playing with Sam and then decided to – you know, compile everything and make it into Chambers.
Who takes what roles in Chambers?
J: Well I’m really big on roles; roles and responsibilities. We want to be really specific and intentional about everybody using their strengths – you know – and understanding that we’re not all good at everything. So my role is kind of a leadership role, because that’s just sort of naturally who I am. As far as the music goes, I do a lot of the writing. A lot of the songs that were written before the girls came into the band, pretty much all of the songs were solo songs or were Chambers’ songs. But we’re in a huge transition now – so we’re kind of trying to figure out what comes next. You know we have this whole new group of people.
C: I’m the biggest and the burliest out of everybody so I always end up carrying all the heavy stuff. I’ve taken on a kind of creative role. I studied music at UNT- voice is my concentration, so I take the songs that Judson has written and suggest different harmonies and sections and rhythms and things like that.
A: I am in charge of scheduling rehearsal times. And photography – I’m supposed to be the one who talks to photographers and gets the pictures. I play the violin and sing. Oh – and I’m learning the sampler. It looks so cool – so I want to do it, and I’m learning to do it, but it’s hard right now. So, we’ll see.
Does notoriety factor into the equation when you’re creating together?
J: Yeah. I had a creative writing professor in college tell me once that you can do any thing you want creatively, and it’s 100% your own and no one has the right to say anything about it until you show it to people. After that you have to accept anything positive or negative that people say about it. You can play the best song in the world in your room, and no one is allowed to say anything about it. If you’re giving it out then you’re saying it’s good enough for people to hear. I think that’s the big part for me about writing -- understanding that we are a band that wants to play to as many people as possible. We want people to hear our music and love it. We want it to be a certain quality that’s enjoyable.
C: The eventual goal is that we all quit our jobs and play music and that’s it. Just go on tour, and write, and record and have a blast.
When you write, are you doing these things to tell a story, or are you writing and creating just for the fun of it?
J: I have a certain type of content in mind always when I write. It’s very serious and close to the bone for me. Generally the lyrics are about God – specifically the struggle with God – the lack of God – kind of everything surrounding that to me. I’m not really big on writing about girls, or fun places to go, or I guess whatever people write about. My favorite songs are the ones that I listen to when I really want to connect to something --or I feel like I can’t connect to anything else around me. Most of what I write is trying to say ‘here’s the very real experience that I’ve gone through or am going through with God or with the people around me’ and hopefully people can find their own way to connect to that.
How is the new album shaping up?
J: It’s getting there. We have a whole lot of recording scheduled and a lot of writing to go.
You did a little bit of recording on the square with Glen Farris (Spune, Doug Burr, etc…). How was that?
C: It was awesome. His neighbors were super cool. They gave us a bunch of baked goods. They were just sitting there drinking wine – and they were like “Hey, how’s it going? Have some of these delicious baked goods!” It was awesome. So we became best friends with them.
J: We took a lot of smoke breaks between records so pretty much while one of us was recording everybody else was downstairs talking to Jeff and Claire and Annie. It was fun.
Who came up with the new video concept?
J: When it was a song I was doing by myself I just used loop pedals. I always wanted to transform that into a video of everyone doing it instead of recording it. SMTH FMLY took the idea and just made it ten times better.
You filmed this in Little Chapel in the Woods. I hear you have a history with this chapel.
J: I love that place. Actually the first WDDI video was Baruch the Scribe at Little Chapel in the Woods. I want to get up there more. It’s just so beautiful and the sound is amazing there. Sometimes places like that help me focus and feel inspired.
Judson what can you tell us about your guitar pedal collection?
J: Honestly I don’t do as much of the effects stuff as I used to - when I was kind of obsessed with it. I still use a lot of effects. In Chambers I only use 6 or 7 pedals. In Baruch the Scribe I used 15 or 16. In my old band I was not as confident in my guitar playing so I would put a lot of pedals on it to make it sound like it was cool. I’ve since grown in confidence about my guitar skills – I don’t feel like I need to hide as much. I am really into texture though – so I use a lot of delay. Now I can accentuate what I’m doing, not cover up what I’m doing.
It seems like ya’ll are all over social media. Tell me about that – do you have a strategy?
J: Social media is pretty much the most important thing other than the music itself. You hear these stories all the time of these people just overnight blowing up. So many of our culture’s favorite bands were huge because of the internet-before they were ever on the radio. I just think it’s monumentally important to be current. We all have a lot of personality. So we just let that shine out online.
Nicknames. Apparently you have secret band nicknames. Have they all been decided?
A: My nickname is ‘Kid A’.
A: Judson is Son-Ju. It’s his name backwards without the ‘d’.
C: Apparently my nickname is Tongan. Its like a tribe over by Samoa. And Dalton’s nickname is Kerm – or Kermit - after Kermit the frog.
J: Sometimes when he talks or sings its kinda like Kermit. He doesn’t like it.
C: But we also call him Big D. Or DK or Donkey Kong. Dalt. Daltanion.