Following on from his recent single "Losin' End" and the announcement of his sophomore album, Changes Happen To Everyone, Everywhere (out October 27th), enigmatic Sydney multi-instrumentalist Chet Sounds delivers the second taste to his upcoming album with "Open Your Eyes," an emotive art-pop ballad delivered with scrappy purism. Alongside the premiere of the single's wonderful home-style music video, we caught up with Tucker, who was joined by his dog Brownie, to talk all about the origins of Chet Sounds, how the new album came together on his family's property in Kurnell, NSW, and incorporating complex layers of '60s-styled baroque pop.
Living between his family home in South Sydney and the Northern Territory over the past few years, Chet Tucker has been busy making his latest body of work Changes Happen To Everyone, Everywhere, which will be out October 27th on Third Eye Stimuli Records (Hot Apple Band, Sunfruits, The Laurels). After his many contributions to Sydney's adored psych-folk outfit The Uplifting Bell End, Tucker launched his solo project as Chet Sounds in 2021, producing his own timeless songs that hark back to '60s psych-pop with a soft heart and wildly experimental intelligence. "I try to go outside of my comfort zone and expand my musical ideas and knowledge. I take influence from a wide variety of styles and genres and have a crack at incorporating certain elements within my music," Tucker wrote us when we interviewed him back in 2021.
On this new single, "Open Your Eyes," the keyboard and drums waltz together in a smooth groove, and the vibraphone and Amber Newell's violin parts create a beautiful atmosphere, while Chet embellishes the song with his signature lead guitar that noodles along perfectly. Tucker cites Burt Bacharach's 1967 album Reach Out as a sonic reference and says the new single is about trying to look at things with a sense of optimism and making the best of a bad situation. As Chet sings in the chorus — "You've been walking with your eyes wide shut, things could be worse." The new single is also paired with another wonderful home-style music video created by Tucker and his brother Sunny Tucker. This time Tucker is found escaping to unknown beaches along the east coast on a road trip. There's a sense of nostalgia and the classic '90s TV show Round The Twist somehow comes to mind as we see Tucker frolicking on the beach, fishing and strumming his nylon guitar as the waves crash.
Chet Sounds' forthcoming second album, Changes Happen To Everyone, Everywhere was recorded during 2021 in a shipping container that lives on Tucker's family's property in Kurnell, NSW. Aside from the two tracks Newell plays violin on, Tucker wrote, performed, recorded and mixed everything himself using vintage colored recording equipment. The 12-track record is somewhat of a continuation of the musical styles heard on the self-titled debut, but features a wide array of orchestral arrangements, giving the record a real playful baroque pop feel that's in the same vein as fellow contemporaries Tex Crick and Zak Olsen's Traffik Island along with throwbacks to Kevin Ayers, Harry Nilsson, Todd Rundgren, and the Monkees. Alongside the premiere, we caught up with Tucker, who was joined by his dog Brownie, to talk all about the origins of Chet Sounds, how the new album came together on his family's property in Kurnell, NSW, and incorporating complex layers of '60s-styled baroque pop.
Paperface Zine: Last we spoke, it was just a couple months after your debut LP in 2021. Now you got a new album coming out in October called Changes Happen to Everyone, Everywhere. Talk to me about how excited you are to get this new one out in the world.
Chet Tucker: It's exciting! I recorded these songs two years ago and I feel like I've changed my musical direction since then so it's good to get it out there and move towards doing other things.
PZ: Where does the album title originate from?
CT: I kind of had songs recorded and everything and I was making that collage with my brother to create the cover art and I found this childhood picture book I would ready and there's one photo of a kid taking photos with "Changes Happen to Everyone, Everywhere" written above.
PZ: We're premiering the album's second single "Open Your Eyes" today. Tell me a bit about it along with its accompanying visual.
CT: "Open Your Eyes" would of been recorded in early 2021 and it was my attempt at creating a Burt Bacharach meets James Taylor ballad. Amber played some nice violin parts that intertwined well with the guitar and vibraphone. The video is a tongue in cheek attempt at a cheesy yacht rock-era film clip.
PZ: What are the origins of Chet Sounds and what was its initial vision?
CT: Chet Sounds originated when I was in high school and I bought a Tascam 4 track. Overdubbing myself on different instruments was a creative outlet that I spent hours mucking around with. It's always been a hobby of mine and I just liked the idea of collecting some of the tunes I had recorded and putting them together to create an album.
PZ: After your contributions to The Uplifting Bell End on albums Super Giant III and IV, you launched his solo project as Chet Sounds in 2021. What made you want to pursue this solo venture and when exactly did you start it?
CT: I didn't have much to lose at all. Josh [White] and Rick [Snowden] from Third Eye were hyped on the recordings so I thought why not let other people hear what id been creating. All the songs had already been recorded before I had any intention of releasing them. A lot of the tunes on the album were quite old and some date back to late 2018. I would record whenever I had spare time in-between work, college, other bands, and stuff like that.
PZ: What's it like constructing songs for this freewheeling project in comparison to Uplifting Bell Ends?
CT: So far this project has just been me creating what I like to hear. Working with the Bell Ends the act of collaboration helps to shape the music, bringing out ideas that I normally wouldn’t think of if it was just myself.
PZ: Looking back to that first record, where did you record it and how did it come together?
CT: The majority of it was recorded in an old caravan which I was living in at the time. Some tunes were recorded on a 4-track and some were done on my computer. I didn't know what I was doing and I didn't use much equipment at all, but I think I got my ideas across. I mixed the majority of it and Rick Snowden from Third Eye sprinkled a few touches here and there. In hindsight I wish I spent more time on the mixing process, I think I could have polished a few things up a lot nicer.
PZ: You list Todd Rundgren as an influence on your Bandcamp page, which I can definitely see given his eccentric and eclectic DIY pop style especially on albums like Runt and A Wizard, a True Star. Given how wildly experimental this project is, would you say there's an infinite nature to Chet Sounds?
CT: I would like to think so, yes. I try to go outside of my comfort zone and expand my musical ideas and knowledge. I take influence from a wide variety of styles and genres and have a crack at incorporating certain elements within my music.
Changes Happen To Everyone, Everywhere is out October 27th on Third Eye Stimuli Records. Pre-order the wax below.