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Fresh off the release of their debut single, we chat to Chavez Cartel

Last week, when Gold Coast outfit Chavez Cartel released their debut single Bipolar Express, we were immediately on board. The band belt out a hard hitting concoction of grunge-laden rock music that makes no apologies.

So fresh off the new track’s release, we caught up with the band to chat the song, influences, and broken legs.

Fresh off the release of their hard-hitting debut single Bipolar Express, we caught up with Gold Coast outfit Chavez Express for a chat.

HAPPY: Hey guys, how’s it going? What have you been up to lately?

BEN: How’s it going. Yeah man we’re all good. Well, sort of… Jack’s seen better days…

JACK: Hey! I’m good but could be better. I broke my leg at work but nothing is holding me back. I’m still playing guitar in the hospital bed.

BEN: But yeah, apart from that life’s good. We’re forever writing and playing and talking shit so yeah we’ve just been doing plenty more of that really. Great to finally get our first single out there too. Feels hard earned that’s for sure. Even without the leg break.

HAPPY: We’re loving the new single!

Ben: Cheers!

HAPPY: How are you feeling about it now that it’s out?

TOM: Yeah feeling pretty great about it! We’ve all worked hard to get it to where it is and it’s been a bit of a mental and emotional rollercoaster ride to get here but it was all worth it.

BEN: Yeah we are enjoying the buzz and the attention it’s been getting. The last few shows we played we’d noticed some people in the crowd sort of singing along to it so that’s pretty flattering considering I barely know the lyrics myself haha but no it all feels great man. We definitely feel like we’ve accomplished something this week now that it’s been let out into the wild.

HAPPY: Bipolar Express is a pretty bold title for a debut track… could you tell us a little about the song?

TOM: Yeah Ben’s a bit of a lyrical genius if you ask me. We’ll just let him answer this one…

BEN: Haha smooth bastard… I’ve actually done something I don’t like here. A pet hate of mine is when the singer starts the first line of a song with the name of the song. I don’t know why it bothers me, I’ve never been able to quite put my finger on it but it does and I’m a hypocrite… Actually I don’t mind it when Liam Gallagher gets into Slide Away or when Jim Morrison gets into Riders On The Storm, but yeah, as a rule it shouldn’t happen in my book. Anyway, no you’re right it stands out for sure.

Lyrically the song is about a man looking his problems straight in the eye and confronting his mental state with some serious attitude. He isn’t hiding from it nor should he. I think that theme bleeds right through the song all the way through to the title. It’s a bit “in ya face” and edgy which isn’t a bad thing for a song, I don’t think. There’s so many songs at your fingertips these days it can’t hurt to have song title that’s a bit eye catching, surely? I couldn’t imagine it ever being called anything else. I think it flaunts a bit of fearlessness too – I dig it.

HAPPY: You’ve got a really hard-hitting sound… are there any particular artists that you take inspiration from?

BEN: Oh here we go…. how long have you got? Apart from our mutual love for Nirvana none of us like the same bands. There’s a bit of everything in there. Cancel lunch mate this part might go on a bit.

TOM: It’s funny because we all have different inspirations and grew up on different music – therefore we all bring a different sound into Chavez. My inspirations come from bands like Chilli Peppers, Tame Impala, Sticky Fingers – that sorta vibe. I do have a grungy side too though.

JACK: For me AC/DC, KISS, INXS, Led Zeppelin, Cat Stevens, Bob Dylan… loads more older artists too.

BEN: I mentioned Nirvana, Oasis and The Doors just before… they’re all massive inspirations for me. Rob and Pete from Black Rebel Motorcycle Club too are just phenomenal front men, singers and musicians. I got into them when I was still at school and they changed the way I looked at music; they’re a really big deal to me. I love and look up to a lot of bands but they’re the one band that made me want to be in a band.

HAPPY: Your music deals with some pretty heavy topics… how important do you think it is to discuss important issues through music?

BEN: I thinks it’s important to discuss serious issues full stop whether that be via music or not. As I’ve gotten a bit older, I have become more of an open book which is good. It’s good to speak up rather than letting things fester. For me, writing music is a very important outlet for when my head starts to feel a bit fucked and I do at times rely heavily on that but it’s not the only reason I write. We plan on sticking around for a while and we’ve got a lot of songs (for a new band anyway) and not all the topics are heavy.

I would hate to think that every song I heard from now on was addressing something serious. There’s lots of bad in the world but there’s lots of good too. To answer your question, I think that by addressing the “sensitive” topics such as, in this instance, mental health in men you’re becoming a voice not only to yourself but also to the people who otherwise may feel as though they don’t have one. And you can’t put a price on the importance of doing that. I know it’s cliche to say but music is a very powerful thing and every soul on earth listens, connects and relates to it in some way. I can’t think of any other thing that does that. So yeah it’s not a bad place to start.

JACK: I think it is very important to have songs with little to no meaning but also have songs with very strong meaning. Music is the best way to covet those messages because music transcends all generations and ages. Everyone has an ear, everyone can listen and hopefully take in what we have to say.

TOM: I think it’s quite important – I also think it’s somewhat important to leave that space for people to relate to your music.

BEN: I’ll be the first to say I think we all answered that question pretty fuckin well. Proud of us.

HAPPY: It feels like we don’t see too many rock bands coming from the Gold Coast… are there any other Goldy bands that we should be keeping an eye on?

JACK : Yeah there’s a really good band you should keep an eye on.. Chavez Cartel haha.

BEN: Haha I’m sure there are loads of good bands on GC but one to look out for in the future who we are fans of is a heavy blues band from Sunshine Coast/Brisbane called Stray Dog Saviours. They’re like our little brother band they’re super duper young but they’re all such good players. Great little band. The last time they opened up for us I remember their rider was $150 worth of coke (the drink). As I say they’re a young band but one for the future we hope. Good guys too.

HAPPY: I imagine that you guys would put on a pretty wild live show… what can someone expect heading along to a Chavez Cartel show?

JACK: Someone coming to our show should expect a very high energy, good ol’ fashioned rock n’ roll show.

BEN: Haha well, given that this interview is taking place beside a hospital bed during visiting hours it’s safe to say our live shows aren’t quite what they were last week before Jack broke his femur clean in half. He didn’t do it at one of our shows though… that would’ve been pretty wild! But yeah expect loud as fuck guitars and a fair bit of drinking. A lot of sweating too. As he says rock n’ roll man.

HAPPY: Do you guys have any other exciting plans in the works? Any new music coming soon?

BEN: As I said earlier man, we’ve really enjoyed the buzz and the attention of Bipolar Express. It’s been good for us so we’re gonna release a second single in November to try get a bit more hype then drop the 5 track EP around January/February.

JACK: We have heaps of new material we are working on as well as focusing on recording our 1st album which is very exciting!

BEN: We’ll be back playing some shows again too as soon as Jack’s made a valiant recovery, which is always exciting. We do have almost all of our follow up record already written which I guess would make it our debut LP but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. For now we are just going to keep working hard and keep on enjoying what we’re doing. We hope you enjoy too.

HAPPY: Cheers for the chat!

JACK: No worries! Our pleasure!

TOM: Cheers

BEN: Yeah man thanks for having us we appreciate it. Love and peace.

Bipolar Express is available now.

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October 3, 2018

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