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Choncy: "We Are at a Point Now Where We Play Through Our Set Quickly, With Little Breaks, Intentionally Shaping Our Set in a Fluid Way to Keep the Crowd Moving"

Before they hit the road throughout the East Coast and Midwest, we caught up with Cincy post-punks Choncy to talk all about hitting the slot machine jackpot on their new album 20X MULTIPLIER (Feel It Records) and how it all came together at The Bomb Shelter in Nashville.

Paperface Zine: First tell me what you guys have been up to lately since the release of your latest LP 20X MULTIPLIER. What have you been listening to, reading, or spending a lot of time doing?

Choncy: A lot has been going on for the band in recent months! We have all been hard at work preparing for a two week East Coast/Midwest tour that kicks off on April 23rd in Richmond, VA. Nathan has begun a hardcore project called Fogbank, also based in Cincinnati, and is gearing up to take on some freelance mixing and mastering work. Liam has begun work on his solo dance-punk project while keeping busy with freelance video editing gigs. Joe has been working on home recording his shoegaze/post rock band Waning, while periodically making art projects. Simon moved to Brooklyn back in August to work as a lighting designer and has been working on various musical projects in his new studio. With all of us in multiple bands and in different states, we are adjusting to some changes, but it has given us a chance to collaborate in new ways and approach songwriting from an interesting angle. We have been listening to/reading all sorts of things Mr. Paperface… 

  • Liam: The new Vampire Weekend album has been all I've listened to.

  • Simon: The Radio Dept.'s entire discography and Pisse's album Lambada are on repeat for me these days. I've been reading The Complete Persepolis on my daily subway commute.

  • Nathan: I have been listening to the newest BIB and Wet Dip albums, as well as revisiting Lithics, Pensioner, and spinning some old folk/bluegrass/country-western records.

  • Joe: Lots of folk/singer-songwriter stuff like Gene Clark, Jim Ford, and Kenny Knight. I just started the book Solenoid by Mircea Cărtărescu.

PZ: When we last spoke, you had just released your debut LP Community Chest. How do you think the band has grown musically since then? What are your thoughts looking back on your past releases?

C: Around the time Community Chest came out, we had just gotten a solid grasp on which direction we wanted our sound to head in. We were communicating ideas very effectively and bouncing ideas off each other like a goddamn pinball machine. The biggest growth for us however was the energy in our live performances. We are at a point now where we play through our set quickly, with little breaks, intentionally shaping our set in a fluid way to keep the crowd moving. Looking back to the Community Chest-era, we're very fond of the time and our first collaboration with Joe's longtime friend, Joe Tellman. The combination of the unique recording process, quick band adjustments, and of course the first handshake with our good friend Sam Richardson of Feel It Records really made for such a good time. 

PZ: Cincinnati is arguably the best city in America for primitive rock 'n' roll right now. Can you paint a picture of what exactly the scene is like there right now with labels like Feel It and Future Shock providing the goods? Also where are shows mostly happening?

C: While the scene here is flourishing with bands we are proud to call friends and inspirations alike, we have found booking shows in our own city more difficult recently. There are still great venues like MOTR and The Comet, and we are seeing more DIY spaces such as Lambda Research and DSGN CLLCTV come up to help out touring acts. We are optimistic that with an evolving scene comes evolving support and we are starting to see our small city represented amongst other popular cities as a place to see and showcase artistry. The support and growth of our Cincinnati labels truly drives the community and connects us with artists from all over and definitely influences the need for continued musical support. We are starting to see some new DIY labels come out of the woodworks and are excited to see their contributions as well!

PZ: Let's now dive into your sophomore LP. What did you want to do differently this time around compared to your debut?

C: Overall, Community Chest was not as collaborative as 20X due to members of the band leaving and joining while some of the songs were being written. 20X was instead the outcome of six months or so of songwriting with four solidified members. We all come from different musical upbringings and spent a good bit of time harnessing a sound that was equally fun for everyone in the band. With this in mind, we merged more styles and sounds into the new record while following the "gambling/lottery" theme that we established early on with the first song we wrote together, "Big Time Lotto." Our new goals for this record were for it to be pressed to vinyl and a large-ish tour to accompany it. 

PZ: What can you say about the making of the album and when/where it was recorded?

C: We all took another trip down to Nashville to crank all the recordings out with our dear homies Joe and Jack Tellman. Originally we were going to do everything at Joe T's studio, but Jack was able to squeeze us into the B-room of The Bomb Shelter as a favor. We took the live tracking route rather than individual tracks since we only had two days to get the whole thing recorded. Each day we got up bright and early at 8:00 a.m. and recorded until 11:00 p.m. consuming inhumane amounts of caffeine and nicotine. The days were stressful, but the most involved we had ever been together. We made it through with "Big Time Lotto" taking us the most amount of time to get that "perfect take." Our homies Nick and Peyton let us crash with them and together we caught a Snooper, Prison Affair, and Sick Thoughts show at Soft Junk, and Simon speedran Bloodborne in that short time too. I love Dino's.

PZ: How did the songs progress from their initial demos? Were there any that turned out entirely different than you had expected while experimenting with ideas? 

C: Some of the songs went through drastic change as we gradually worked on them for over a year. While recording lead guitar for Community Chest, Simon came up with a weird riff that evolved into "Opportunity Cost," while "Cover Letter" was just a song where we wanted the song structure to be ACAB over and over. On the other hand, we actually wrote and finished a few of the songs when we were recording the album. The ending to "Karambit" was unresolved until the day of recording it and we wrote "Default" and "Parked In" 1-2 weeks before recording.

PZ: The first piece of the album we got was "Default" which came out last September. How did this song come together?

C: "Default" is a song that evolved from an idea Joe brought us right before we headed out of town to record. It came together swiftly with Joe leading the rest of the band on his vision for the song. Although he can only play the ideas at slow tempos while fretting out half the time, Simon helped figure out the perfect notes while Joe gave him the strumming pattern for the chorus. Once instrumentals were tracked, Liam quickly picked up the vocal patterns Joe had jotted down on his notes app. Inspired to write this song as the 2023 debt-ceiling crisis unfolded in congress. In his words, "without a complete lyric breakdown, the main idea is in the name of the song. Inspired by news headlines predicting the U.S. would have to default on their loans, I took it and tried to include some of my personal revelations. Sonically, I wanted a simple punk/garage rock anthem with a unique 'eggy' rhythm pattern sliced in-between."

PZ: What were the inspirations behind "Dead Meat" and its music video?

C: I (Nathan) was pretty angry about how our bodies, illnesses, and healthcare have been exploited and industrialized. Around the time of writing the song, I was dealing with some annoying nuances with my health insurance. And since I am subjected to the unfair price gouging of medicine on a daily because I'm a diabetic, I felt obliged to make a gritty, angry song about how living within the bounds of an exploited healthcare system is a financially and emotionally nuisance. You know, just to sit and watch the same group of money-mongering corpos driving a Lexus. As for the name, I thought "Dead Meat" sounded better than "I hate my dysfunctional pancreas and all the burdens that accompany it," [haha]. The music video was difficult to really find a good idea, but for some reason, the Hard Rock Café was on my mind a lot at the time. So I guess I ran with that. 

PZ: The brutal and catchy "Moderator" is my favorite song from the album. What can you tell me about this one?

C: Thank you! Liam was thinking a lot about moderators in online forums, chats, and places like that and the dynamic they play on the internet, so we agreed it would just be a funny thing to sing about for one of our more hardcore-leaning songs. It was one of our easier songs to write and finish out with Joe listening to a lot of Hüsker Dü at the time and Simon bringing the already developed lead guitar riff into practice. For the longest time, this song had a five-second metal ending that we ultimately decided was a little too out of place. Maybe we'll bring it back for tour?

PZ: What else is on the horizon for Choncy? It was great seeing you last September at Feel It's after-party at Gonerfest. Can fans expect you guys to do a tour or play at Gonerfest or one of its after-parties this year? 

C: While we are touring the Midwest/East Coast this spring, we would love to tour down to Memphis for Gonerfest and hit some new cities along the way. We will definitely try to get on a Gonerfest aftershow. We are planning on recording a fresh batch of songs in the early fall to include on an EP or a split release. A lot is still up in the air, but we're churning out tunes as we speak.  More importantly, 3/4 of the band will be quite busy June 21st-onward with the Elden ring DLC so we gotta make sure everything is written by then.

PZ: Any last words or thoughts you'd like to share with our readers?

C: Catch us on tour, buy a record, swaus. We <3 Paperface.

20X Multiplier is out now on Feel It Records. East Coast / Midwest tour dates below.


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