A conversation with Brian Chase

 

    We spoke with Brian Chase about the continuum of generations, his constant redefinition of New York City, being absorbed in Coltrane as a youth, understanding musical styles as languages and finding undiscovered corners in culture and art.

    Those musicians led lives that were punker than punk, and their groove is as deep as it gets, and their polyphony is a pinnacle of counterpoint sophistication.

    1

    Morgan Enos

    In my jazz listening, I’ve mostly stuck pretty close to 1960s Blue Note stuff. But last year, I made it out to the Louis Armstrong festival in Queens, which kind of opened a door in my listening to the way-earlier “hot jazz.” It’s more of an educational experience to try to tune my ears to the emotion and drama in a genre most would consider quaint. What messages do you take from the earliest days of jazz?

    Brian Chase

    Those musicians led lives that were punker than punk, and their groove is as deep as it gets, and their polyphony is a pinnacle of counterpoint sophistication.

    2

    Did you have a flashpoint moment with jazz yourself?

    I can’t remember a first moment, but an early moment was when I was in high school and listening to John Coltrane’s A Love Supreme and being completely absorbed by the music and its feeling.

    3

    When I observe some friends of mine who are parents, the act of rearing a young child seems like a gargantuan ordeal. Some handle it more breezily. What have you learned so far from having one of your own?

    The generations are one giant continuum.

    4

    I moved to New York basically on a whim when I turned 24 without ever having visited the city before. It was one of the better decisions I ever made — and also the culmination of NYC being this kind of mysterious, faraway place in my brain when I was a kid. How has your personal New York changed over the years?

    When I was a kid, I knew my familial heritage in terms of its New York roots. Now, having lived in the city on my own for 17 years, I’ve been redefining it for myself. I continues to keep giving back and reveal undiscovered corners.

    The concept and feeling of “love” is conveyed through almost as many words for “love” as there are languages.

    5

    You’ve toured all over the world. What’s the balance of light or darkness you’ve seen in the planet at large?

    Good and bad qualities are the same regardless of place and time — selflessness, compassion, kindness versus selfishness, greed, arrogance.

    6

    How do you tend to map music in your brain? Do jazz, classical and rock & roll take different architectural forms in your consciousness?

    Understanding different music styles for me is like understanding different languages. After a while, you come to understand that they are all saying the same thing, just in a different way. The concept and feeling of “love” is conveyed through almost as many words for “love” as there are languages.

    7

    Finally, what is your plan for the immediate future? How about the rest of your life?

    I’m starting my own record label called Chaikin Records. Chaikin is my last name before it was Chase. My dad’s father changed it in the early ’50s, as he was in showbiz and wanted a more neutral last name after encountering antisemitism, among other reasons.

    Thank you.

    Data


    Conversation: 171
    Curated by: Morgan Enos
    Conducted by: Email
    Published: April 18, 2018
    Total questions: 7
    Word count: 475
    Reading time: Two minutes
    Hyperlinks: 1

    Metadata


    Polyphony: ∞
    Discovery: ∞
    Definition: ∞
    Continuum: ∞
    Groove: ∞
    Corner: Accessed

    Relation


    About the subject


    Brian Chase is a drummer and composer best known as a member of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. He resides in Brooklyn, New York.

    About the curator


    Morgan Enos is a songwriter and journalist originally from California. His curatorial work for North of the Internet aims to strike a deeper place in his conversation subjects — the dreamy subtext to the linear everyday. Morgan also frequently writes power pop records as Other Houses about joy, outer space, frustration, chess and spiritual light. He resides in New York, where he continues to creatively fire on all cylinders.


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