The best presents come from places you never expected. Like when my friend text me telling me she got someone to look at my website. Of course, it was just one person, but I was happy enough. With that said, my reaction when she said he was in a band and wanted me to review them were incredibly insane. Then I saw the message, and it was true! This band was called Chasing Bear, and I had the ultimate pleasure of interviewing them through email.
First, I’d like to tell you that yes; they do make music you need to hear. Their influences are very easy to hear, and if you listen, you’ll also find influences that even they don’t realize they have. Chances are that you will do the same thing I did, and try to put your finger on who they sound like. Don’t. It will not help. Quite simply, they sound like Chasing Bear.
Go like them on facebook, and look at their website http://onesheet.com/chasingbearmusic/. You will not regret it. All of their music is good, but my favorite is Side A because of the great intro. That song really takes it’s time, but in a sweet beautiful way, not a painful way.
And now for you to see their answers to my questions.
1. Q: First off, what are your names, and what do you guys play?
A: Our names are Tom Bruck, Kevin Russo (That’s me!), Casey Jones, and Mark Boos (pronounced like Boze). Tom is our bass player, I’m the singer and guitarist, Casey plays keyboards, and Mark is the drummer.
2. Q: How was Chasing Bear formed?
A: Chasing Bear has a pretty long backstory. Casey and I met sometime in 2005, and soon after, Casey joined the band I was in at the time. Tom and Mark have known each other their entire lives, and they’ve always played music together growing up. But to get back to how we were formed, Casey and I were planning on getting a band together for a few years, after I was done with college. Finally, the we were both back in/around New Jersey, and since I had been recording some home demos, I figured I’d ask Casey to record some keyboard parts. Then we just decided they would form that band we had been planning on forming. That’s where the original Chasing Bear EP (with fake drums) came from.
After a while, Casey and I decided it was time to get an actual band together, so I approached my friend Tommy about possibly joining. It took a while for us to actually get together and jam, but when we finally did, we knew immediately that it was going to work. We had asked an old friend to drum for us, but things weren’t working out. Luckily, Tom knew Mark and with one quick phone call, Tommy and I had plans to go jam with him. He was amazing and the decision to take him on as our drummer was the easiest decision we’ve ever had to make. Once we had all of the original EP songs down, I recorded Mark and Tom’s parts over the old guitars, vocals and keyboards. Thats where The Chasing Bear EP (Revisited) came from.
3. Q: Why the name, and why not plural bears?
A: The name Chasing Bear, with no “s” comes from the nickname Kevin’s sisters had for him most of his life: “Bear.” The name actually means something else though. Its about chasing after something bigger than yourself, trying to be more. I guess it kind of describes life…at least, an ambitious life.
4. Q: What are some of the craziest things you guys have done as a band?
A: The craziest thing we’ve ever done as a band…hmmm. I think we’ll need to do some touring to come up with some crazy stories, hah! Plus we’re still a pretty young band, we haven’t even been together for a year yet! But we did get almost 200 people to come to our first show, which I think is pretty crazy. Oh and we off-roaded with golf carts once, that got a little crazy.
5. Q: What bands do you draw influence from?
A: Influences…this is surprisingly a tough one. We all listen to a TON of music if you took all of our music libraries and mashed them together. But when we work on songs, we don’t really think about who or what we want to sound like. We just sort of try different ideas until we like what we’re playing/hearing. We do have a lot of common ground in musical taste though, and I think that’s why its easy for us to be on the same page. Here are just SOME of the bands we all like or most likely have an influence on our music: The Beatles, Pink Floyd, Grizzly Bear, Radiohead, Coldplay, Incubus, Young the Giant, Fleetwood Mac, The Strokes…and there are plenty more, believe me!
6. Q: What venue have you most enjoyed playing?
A: Our favorite venue so far… The venue with the best sound system so far has definitely been the Mexicali Live in Teaneck, NJ. Plus we didn’t bring any friends/fans to that show (other than my parents!) because they all came to our Webster Hall show the night before, so we got a better idea of how strangers felt about our music. Turns out its not just our friends who like us, haha.. But we definitely loved that place.
7. Q: Who’s the songwriter? And how do you (songwriter) come up with ideas?
A: Casey and I are the writers for the band. I’ve written a lot on my own, but Casey and I write together as well. Not to mention he’s written songs on his own that we have yet to work out as a band. As for the ideas for songs, its weird. Sometimes a song just comes to you, sometimes it takes days, weeks, or even months to finish something. Sometimes Casey and I will be talking on and on about whatever, and one of us will say something that really hits both of us. It’ll be a couple or a few words, and immediately we’ll be like, that’s a song name. Then we’ll write that song. We have a few songs that happened like that, which aren’t totally finished. And we have an even longer list of songs waiting to be written, hah!
8. Q: What are some of your off-band time hobbies?
A: We have some interesting hobbies, and they all pretty much involve sports. Casey loves basketball, whether its playing, watching, or running a fantasy league team. And he’s got a sick hook shot by the way. Tommy and I love playing baseball with our friends. I was actually an extremely serious baseball player (pitcher) until I was thirteen. That’s when I got my first guitar.. Mark’s been a go cart racer for a long time. You should see how many trophies he has, its insane. We’re all open to doing whatever comes our way though!
9. Q: Who would you consider the manager of the band? Who keeps everyone in check and everything running smoothly?
A: We don’t really have a manager right now. Casey’s been working with the contacts we’ve made in the industry because he lives in NYC. We pretty much just motivate each other to stay alert and focused on what we need to get done.
10. Q: And out of personal curiosity, I would love to know, where did you get your mixer?
A: To answer your question about the mixer, its a Mackie Onyx 1640i, and I got it through sweetwater.com. They’re a pretty great online company to buy from. They have an awesome selection of recording equipment and they can tell you everything you need to know about any of it. I definitely recommend them!
So there you go, Chasing Bear. They are amazing, you need to hear them!
XoXo Radium Rollercoaster