Alt-Rockers Chaser Eight Talks 10 Years As A Band, New EP ‘Wide Awake, & Much More

There are certain milestones in life that when achieved are a cause for celebration.

And when you’re in a band, making it one or two or three years can be a feat in and of itself. So when New Haven alt-rockers Chaser Eight hit the decade long mark as a unit, they celebrated with a brand new EP, Wide Awake.

A regional “secret” of Connecticut, Chaser Eight has twice been voted New England’s Best Alt-Rock band in The Deli magazine’s year-end poll, and opened for the likes of Panic! at the Disco, The Dollyrots, and Badfish to name a few. Fans of Foo Fighters, Biffy Clyro, and Dead Rituals find themselves drawn to Chaser Eight for their dark edgey lyricism and unique soundscape.

The often evolving crew– which consists of founding members *AUDRA* (vocals/guitar), and Pat Walsh (guitar), is rounded out by Brennan DiLernia (bass), Ben Kubie (drums), and Jess Wolfer (backing vocals). The duo of *AUDRA* and Walsh began as they worked on music together in grade school, recording on 4-track tape recorders, and MiniDiscs. From this, they would form their first band, Audra and Blackwater, before founding Chaser Eight.

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The band has since released six EPs, five standalone singles, and two full-length albums.

The band’s music – in particular Wide Awake – is fueled by personal and hard hitting story lines and particularly crafted aestheticism. The new album lends itself to the band’s more raw and live sound as opposed to previous albums.

We got to chat with Walsh and *AUDRA* to learn more about them, the new EP, and much more.

So how has the year treated y’all so far? 

Pat Walsh: Better than the last two!

*AUDRA*:  Yes! Definitely better than the last two years. However, it’s been a crazy year as well, because release years are always crazy. There’s so much to do and so much prep leading up to the release, but it’s all fun and we’re very excited about this. First release since 2019!

Congrats on what I see is the band’s 10 year anniversary. What are some highs and lows you’ve experienced as a band, and what insight might you have on how to make a decade-long musical relationship last? 

Walsh: The death of our manager was certainly a difficult time. In general, making music is always interesting and inspiring, so as long as you find that to be true, it isn’t that hard to keep it going. Some rock musicians can be fickle, and Audra and I know fellow musicians that jump around from project to project. We’ve never been like that, and it would be wise for other musicians to try not to start any major projects with anyone that are known to be flaky. 

*AUDRA*: Thank you so much! We think it’s a pretty impressive accomplishment. Yeah, losing our manager was definitely very hard. I was very close to him. We also seem to have a Spinal Tap situation with our drummers and that has proved to be challenging. I have to say that our new drummer Ben has been a blessing, and we’re very happy he’s a part of this iteration of Chaser Eight. I second what Pat says, make sure you find musicians that are in it for the whole long haul.

“This Masquerade”

I see your new EP – Wide Awake –  premiered April 14th, and coincided with the band’s milestone. How do you feel your music has evolved from your genesis to now?

Walsh: This album is really straight ahead, and doesn’t have as many overdubs as some of our prior work. Some of our past work has a bit more studio production than this record. If you like what we sound like live, there is a very good chance you will like Wide Awake.

*AUDRA*: I think we have honed our sound more into a true alternative rock band. We still like to venture out and try different things, but I think we’ve really settled on the idea of Chaser Eight. I say that now, but then that could totally change by the next album. Haha. 

Did you aim to do anything stylistically, instrumentally, or lyrically different on this album versus previous releases?

*AUDRA*: I don’t think we ever aim to do anything when we go into writing new material. I think Pat pretty much nailed it with the fact that it’s really straight ahead and sounds a lot like our live show. The only thing I can say is I think as Pat and I continue to mature as songwriters, the lyrics mature with us and I think that’s a really cool thing.

I’ve really enjoyed the lead single, “This Masquerade.” Can you talk about the backstory behind this song, and what made you choose it as the lead single versus the other tracks? 

Walsh: The song is a sequel to a previous acoustic song we released called “Annabelle.” That one came out in 2017. “This Masquerade” is heavier and has distorted, chugging guitars whereas the original does not. The arrangement reflects a darker, more tumultuous time in the lives of the characters that feature in these works. I would recommend listening to both tracks as a pair. It is a good single because it has a catchy chorus and offers a nice, succinct offering of our qualities as a band.

*AUDRA*: One of the best things about being in this band is that there are two songwriters. So, I did not write this song, but I love singing it and I think it’s an awesome sequel, and I’m very proud of the way it came out and the fact that it’s our first single. 

Wide Awake

Was there a song on this EP that was particularly challenging to write/record for one reason or another, or perhaps means the most to you personally?

*AUDRA*: I think if you look at “Before I Go,” you’ll find that that song had the most work because it felt only half complete for a long time until we added a second part/ending, which really rounded it out and gave it the finale it needed. As far as personal meaning, I think all the songs have some personal meaning to us, but we try not to attach ourselves took one song more than another. This way when the critics say they hate it we aren’t completely crushed. Haha!

As a group, what are some elements of your music or style that you feel set you apart from other alt-rock groups?

Walsh: I think that we bring diverse musical interests to our songwriting. Audra and I both have the classic rock background, but from there our interests diverge. I listen to a lot of indie rock, Indian music and jazz (in addition to rock music) and some of those influences show up (a little) in my songwriting. Audra has a different style entirely, and I think those different types of songwriting serve as an asset for the band. I think we have more variety than most alt-rock bands.

*AUDRA*: I agree with Pat. We definitely share the rock roots, but we also like very different styles. We both grew up on 90s rock, but I do like pop. I do like rap. I do like country. I’ve been listening to a lot of Beethoven and Mozart recently. And I think that our diverse backgrounds are a cool element to our sound. 

“Leave My Shadow”

If you could tour with any band/artist who would it be and why?

Walsh: Van Halen 1984 would be fun, assuming we survive it.

*AUDRA*: Hands down, Freddie Mercury and Queen. Freddie is my absolute favorite, and he just seemed like a dude that knew he had a ton of talent, but was cool about it. 

Since you’ve all been working in the music industry for a decade+, what advice do you wish you had been given when you were just starting your careers?

Walsh: Before you start spending a lot of time and money on marketing your act, it’s better to really devote yourself to perfecting your craft. It’s way easier to market something that is artistically special. It’s simple, but important advice. 

*AUDRA*: Yes, I would say save your money to get to a great studio, find a great producer, but before all of that, write great songs. A great song is undeniable. Then spend the money to get it out to the world. But it starts and stops with the song. 

Any fun release/celebration plans for your big 10-year anniversary album release? A tour to follow?

*AUDRA*: Yes! We are throwing a huge party on May 12th at the Beeracks in East Haven, CT. We are going to have local artists, food, beer, tattoos, haircuts, you name it we’ll have it. A celebration of everything local including local bands The Inside Out and The Possm. It’s just going to be a really big celebration. We felt like we deserved it after these last couple years. And then after that we will definitely be playing dates all around the tri-state area.

Thank you for this interview! We really appreciate the interest!

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