The Falconer

An Interview with CHRLMGNE

Courtesy of Kinsey Hines

Courtesy of Kinsey Hines

Courtesy of Kinsey Hines

Samantha Collings, Staff Writer

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Indie rock group CHRLMGNE recently released their first EP “The City” in August of 2016. The group of young musicians have been playing together for over five years, and have been friends for even longer. With a unique sound and unwavering passion for making music, the band hopes that the EP will be the first of many musical endeavors. The Falconer recently caught up with members of CHRLMGNE to discuss the formation and future of the band.

Interviewer: Who are your current musical inspirations, and who were your influences while writing the EP?

Harrison De Wolfe (lead singer, piano): While I was writing the music for ‘The City’ I was listening to a lot of Death Cab for Cutie, as well as Frank Ocean, Walk The Moon and Said The Whale. I wouldn’t say they were direct influences, but they sort of sculpted some of the melodies that I did. Oh, and also the Wombats. I was listening to a lot of Wombats at the time.

Sam Whetzel (guitar): I come from a mainly blues and rock background as far as listening to music at home. But once I started playing music, I started listening to guys like Jimmy Page and Jimi Hendrix and immediately fell in love. I listen to and enjoy everything now, but rock and blues are where my roots are.

Cole Mergler (bass): The Grateful Dead for sure. And the Smiths. Also Frank Ocean. And of course Rush, because they are the greatest band to have ever existed.

Dane Viar (guitar): My influences are The Killers, Death Cab for Cutie, Phil Collins, and Michael Jackson.

Samantha Collings (drums): My music taste varies a lot and is really constantly changing, but as of right now, I’d have to say my biggest influences and overall favorite artists are Vulfpeck, Tame Impala, The Avett Brothers and Bon Iver. But as far as strictly drumming inspiration goes, my all time favorite drummer is John Bonham (of Led Zeppelin), as well as George Daniel (of The 1975).

What was the process of writing and recording songs like for you guys?

Harrison De Wolfe: Well when I wrote the melodies to “Bodies” and “Turning Test,” they were written at a piano. But the melodies for “The Painter,” “Her,” and “Mr. Mister,” I would say those three were all written off the top of my head, just kind of singing along to what Dane was playing. We would just practice and run through chords and such, and I would mumble into the microphone over and over again, trying to develop a melody before we had any sort of lyrics written. I found that the songs I ended up being most proud of, the catchy ones that just felt right, ended up being the ones that I really sat down and worked at a lot to perfect. I still feel like “Turning Test” and “Bodies” have more interesting and appealing melodies. But that’s just my melodies/lyrical process. It’s definitely different from, say, Dane writing a guitar part, or a bass or drum part, or all of us working on something together. Usually things just come together in pieces.

Sam Whetzel: It was definitely a cool experience. This was my first time diving into recording and that whole process, so it was new to me. It was stressful, but a majority of the time it was just fun. It was just a really cool experience overall, and I had a great time writing and recording with everyone.

Dane Viar: It was definitely more work than I expected. We initially planned on recording for only a month, but it ended up taking over a year. Also, we started with only four songs and ended up with five songs and an instrumental interlude.
What is it like being in a band with your best friends?

Harrison De Wolfe: It’s great. We are all really, really comfortable with each other, which obviously has it’s pros, but also some hidden cons. I think the biggest con is the fact that sometimes we are so comfortable that we get lazy, but it’s rare that that happens. We sometimes tend to be more casual than professional, but I wouldn’t say that’s a bad thing. Overall it’s incredible. I wouldn’t want to play with anyone else, even with some of the setbacks.

Sam Whetzel: I think the best part is being able to communicate so freely with each other; you know, because we are all so comfortable with each other. I think that allows us to speak more freely and be more creative than some other bands I’d imagine. I don’t know, I think it’s really important for your band to be your friends first. And we’re each other’s best friends, so it works out well.

Dane Viar: It’s amazing. We already have really good chemistry, so it’s easy for us to groove along with each other. It’s also just a fun activity we can all do together. The only down side is at times we can get a little frustrated with each other.

Cole Mergler: I think the best part about being in a band with my best friends is just being in a band with my best friends…. I don’t really know how to answer other than that.

So if you’re looking for some good music, go check out CHRLMGNE’s EP “The City”, available on Spotify, Itunes, and Apple Music; and keep an eye out for upcoming shows, such as the one at Jammin Java in Vienna Virginia, with Boston based band Harry J. Smith and the Bling on December 22.

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