As much as you think it might be an easy task, it’s not always that simple to showcase new, up-and-coming artists. We mean, usually when it comes to these things if you aren’t familiar with the artist’s name, what’s going to make you click on our story versus The Top 10 Fat Loss Hacks Your Favorite Artists Use Everyday? Yeah, not always that simple.
However, putting all doubts aside, we’re going to do our best to start highlighting emerging bands we believe in. Bands that stand out against the tiring monotony of our music scene. You know, bands like Northeast power-pop trio Thrillchaser.
Putting together a synth-laced sound that rivals both PVRIS and Dreamers, Thrillchaser (formerly known as American Wolves) takes that alt-rock radio sound and bends it in a way that feels, well, natural. You know, not like those songs written by 40-somethings hoping to attract “hip” teens or a T-Mobile commercial. Thrillchaser instead writes from the heart and it shows on their stunning debut single “Emptiness.”
Now, doing our best to get to know Thrillchaser and discover what it is that got them started, we reached out to guitarist Nikki Zell and bassist/synths Rob Lundy. What we discovered is exactly what we thought, The 1975 and Bleachers are certainly a major influence on the band but members still have roots in pop-punk acts like Goldfinger, New Found Glory, and Blink-182.
To check out our chat and fall for the infectious pop-laced charm of Thrillchaser, see below. Afterwards, make sure to pre-order the band’s debut Taylor Larson-produced LP A Lot Like Love here.
Where did you grow up? And was there a music scene where you grew up?
NIkki: I proudly hail from outside of Philadelphia, PA. The Philly area has a vibrant, highly underrated music scene. There is an overwhelming amount of talent in the community, not to mention camaraderie. Artistry and opportunity abound - there are always fellow musicians to jam with, venues to play, songwriting sessions to attend, studios to record at and so much more. I wouldn’t be the artist I am today without my area’s music scene.
What were you and/or your bandmates doing before your band formed? Jobs? School?
Rob: Myself & Rod (lead vocals) have been playing in bands together since the time we first met at a 4th of July party when we were both 18. Thrillchaser is actually our third band together. For the first few years of our musical endeavors, we both made ends meet working long hours at various local coffee shops and grocery stores in Rhode Island. During that time period, Nikki had been earning herself a bit of a reputation in the Philadelphia music scene performing covers and original music anywhere she could to make a living - from festivals to theaters, wineries, and even more obscure venues, she always seemed to be performing somewhere. Rod and myself were first introduced to Nikki in July of 2015, during the time him and I were forming American Wolves and seeking members online. She drove over 6 hours from her parents’ house in the middle of Amish Country to my house in Rhode Island to rehearse with us and the rest is history.
Who or what influenced you to start playing music?
Nikki: Music has been a constant in my life since before I can remember. I grew up in a musical family, surrounded by my dad and aunts who played in bands together since the seventies as professional musicians. So my family was my first main influence.
How do you feel about the digital age? Do you feel it’s helped or hurt musicians?
Rob: I feel the impact the internet has had on the music industry is a double-edged sword. On one hand, the internet provides you with multiple platforms to get your music heard by thousands of potential listeners. You can gain a following without ever even having to set foot on stage. On the other hand, there are just so many artists promoting and advertising themselves all across these same platforms that it’s become much harder to stay relevant in a sea of endless digital content. In my opinion though, streaming services such as Spotify have saved our business from being completely ruined by piracy.
If you could collaborate with any artist of your choice who would it be?
Nikki: This is the easiest answer ever. Jack Antonoff.
What’s the best live performance you’ve seen?
Rob: The best concert I’ve ever been to was also my first concert ever. The year was 2001, I was eight years old and my dad took me to go see Goldfinger and New Found Glory play an outdoor show in the middle of Providence. I was so small back then so he had to hoist me up onto his shoulders for most of the show so I could see. The best memory I have was when Goldfinger’s drummer dropped his pants on stage, had a twinkie partially inserted into his ass and some guy from the audience ran onto the stage, grabbed it and ate it mid-stage dive. Definitely left a lasting impression on me.
What have you learned since being in the music industry?
Rob: I’ve learned that you gotta have thick skin, nerves of steel and a little bit of naive optimism or this business will destroy you. You can’t let yourself get too jaded.
Are there any recent releases or performances that have inspired you?
Nikki: Bleachers, Lorde, and Carly Rae Jepsen recently performed a live song together. For me, that is the epitome of dying and going to heaven.
If you could have one of your songs be on a TV show or movie of your choice what would it be?
Rob: Jersey Shore. I know that I’m like seven years late to the party but that show is so terrible yet hilarious. Plus I’m from the same town in Rhode Island as Pauly D!
What would you like to be remembered for? Musically or not.
Rob: I think that I speak not only for myself but for my bandmates when I say that we just want to be remembered for being genuine people who made honest music and actually gave a shit about the fans.
Best piece of advice anyone has given you?
Rob: My mom once told me quite simply; “Life isn’t fair and people don’t act right.”
If you could be a fly on the wall for any artist during their writing sessions who would it be?
Rob: I’d have to say Dave Grohl just based on the fact that he has an insane amount of creative energy. He’s always pushing himself to work harder and gives 110% of a shit even down to the smallest most obscure details. I’d recommend to any musician that they watch Foo Fighters’ 2011 documentary Back and Forth, it’s super inspiring.
Three bands or artists that would be your dream to tour with?
Rob: John Mayer, The 1975 or Blink-182. Touring with any of them would be so fucking sweet.
The best thing currently on YouTube is?
Rob: DragonBall Z Abridged, that will ALWAYS be the best thing on Youtube.