Chase Atlantic on the honesty and brotherhood that birthed BEAUTY IN DEATH

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit the music industry at its heart, Chase Atlantic took their enforced break from intensive touring as a nod to start work on their next masterpiece. As studios shut their doors to bands looking to pour out their pent-up feelings on track, the Aussie trio, now based in L.A., began to create their third album the old-school way—recorded and produced by themselves in the bedrooms of their shared house with built-in studios, where each could access their work at all hours and mix their songs at their own pace. 

Charged with their own signature blend of hip-hop intentions and alternative grit flowing through emotive and often cryptic lyrics, the band felt the pressure of a third album to raise the bar since 2019’s conceptual PHASES. Yet, they recognized this unique opportunity to push their boundaries for a production more authentic to their own style than ever before. Introduced by its lead single “OUT THE ROOF” in August last year, BEAUTY IN DEATH comes as the immersive product of an unusual time for a band of brothers and friends in quarantine under the same roof together—what could possibly go wrong?

How has this strange time affected your writing process for your third record?

CHRISTIAN ANTHONY: Going into 2020, we decided we were going to hunker down and come together with a record anyway, so it hasn’t been too terrible for us. Obviously, it’s been a tough year mentally, waking up every day seeing the news and going on Twitter, seeing things aren’t getting any better when you’re trying to come up with a record. We were certainly stuck for inspiration at some points, but overall, we definitely overcame those obstacles. We’ve also had time to grow out in the real world, which we were taken out of for a few years while touring. Coming back to reality has been a big adjustment, and it’s been personally amazing for all of us.


[Photo By Jordan Knight]

You recorded this album from your home. How has that helped your flow of creativity?

ANTHONY: Obviously, our usual studio in L.A., MDDN, shut down where we usually would’ve done our last record, so it was like going back to our old roots of our first two EPs and a bit of our first album. Recording in our bedrooms doing it all ourselves again was like being back at college!

MITCHEL CAVE: It’s definitely been a challenging process for everyone that’s been living together in this situation, but because we’ve had such a strong relationship our whole lives and we think of each other as brothers, it’s very honest and very respectful. When things don’t go the way we planned, we recalibrate and figure them out because that’s just what you have to do. Otherwise, things get tough. It’s all about supporting one another and making sure you’re not pushing each other too much or getting on anyone’s nerves. It’s a very delicate time, and it’s important to have that good relationship we have, so we’re very fortunate.

What’s changed musically since PHASES back in 2019?

ANTHONY: We’re always getting better at production and songwriting with every step. As PHASES was a year old, we were growing, learning and overall improving on our craft and homing in on our sound a bit more. Our fusion is quite unique to Chase Atlantic and the world we’ve created for ourselves, so with every record, we get a little bit more confident, and we have a little better understanding of the Chase Atlantic sound.

MITCHEL: PHASES was produced within three months at the studios at MDDN, and I think what makes this new album so special is that we had the good fortune and time to really sit down and think about what music was going to best suit the next release. What happened last year made an influence on the album as well because it’s very honest, [and] it’s very real. It can get dark at some points, and it arrived through all that uncertainty. All we could do was sit down and work because you can’t go out, you can’t see anyone, quarantine is quarantine. We’re very proud of it, and we think it’s our best album yet.


[Photo By Jordan Knight]

Does this album finally end the misconception that you all take way too many drugs?

ANTHONY: This one definitely doesn’t end that. The quest continues to find the real answer! We use a lot of metaphors, so people can choose whatever they want from it. They can take these references realistically if they want, but one thing we’ll never do is promote other people to take drugs. We’re just telling our story. People can have whatever conception they want, but the quest continues.

MITCHEL: All the songs on this album can have at least two meanings, sometimes three. Something we’ve tried to do is have that double meaning or at least a triple or even a quad. We do pay attention when we write lyrics that we can have multiple meanings so it’s not strictly limited to one perception. I feel like it’s important to keep people interested by having those multiple meanings so people can have moments where they go, “Ahh!”

CLINTON CAVE:MOLLY is deep, but there are even deeper tracks on the record, too. Mitchel and Christian have developed really well as songwriters, and they’re growing up as men, so they’re only talking about drugs when it’s an important issue. We live in a hip-hop world, which is constantly flexing all about money and doing all this cool stuff, but there are always two meanings, so you can have a second layer that’s more emotional than the first.

“MOLLY” joins your list of tracks named after women with “Roxanne,” “Angeline” and “Cassie.” Are these the four women of the apocalypse? Or are these real people you’ve crossed paths with in life?

CLINTON: These are real people, so we’ve got what’s coming to us, so we’re getting a couple of lawsuits from these people! There’s always something beautiful about using girls’ names throughout the record, and that’s to show the juxtaposition between relationships with people and relationships with drugs. The rest of them might be about people and may not be about people…

Chase Atlantic are always known for your sharp honesty, telling things straight even if it’s hard to hear. Has that remained on this third incarnation?

MITCHEL: That brutal honesty is definitely still with us, and it’s very much still there. Music is our outlet. It’s all we know, and it’s what we live, breathe and our whole world revolves around it every day, so I think in a way, it’s good for us to be honest and upfront because it makes it more realistic. We’re not just making songs for the sake of making songs. When we write, we write with purpose. There’s no beating around the bush. This album is more honest than ever.


[Photo By Jordan Knight]

The title’s BEAUTY IN DEATH. What does that phrase mean to you?

ANTHONY: In a way, it’s a reflection of the juxtaposition between beauty and death, a flower losing its petals and how it can still have that beauty to it. This last year, everybody has been faced with mortality right in front of us, the idea that we’re not bulletproof and that life can be fragile. It’s about finding the beauty in that, like the way people have been put in quarantine but come together and become closer, developing new relationships. There’s also the beauty of the outside. We have these gardens, and we’ve been watching them throughout the year, growing beautiful white flowers and watching the petals fall and seeing the beautiful flower they create on the ground. It’s about finding beauty in the death of things and the cycle of life.

MITCHEL: I think it’s important to find beauty in death because death is very confrontational. It’s very emotional, and you mourn and grieve. At the same time, I think it’s very important when you can find the beauty in someone or something and realize the life they’ve had or all the things they’ve done—that brings people together, [and] that cures bad relationships between family members. It makes people realize that life really is worth living. 

Has the pressure of the third album affected your writing this time around?

ANTHONY: I think that’s one thing we were very careful about this time around. The third album is meant to be the hardest one, according to some. Artists and bands always worry about it, but this third album drives home what we’ve always intended to do in the first place more than ever. We feel very confident about it. We didn’t feel like we had to make a third album. It was something we truly wanted to do.

CLINTON: A lot of times the third album is hard because it’s so far into a band’s life, and there’s a lot of expectations. We’ve been out for around seven years as a band. It’s not for us to be egotistical, but people are only now catching onto our songs from 2017, so I’m hoping we’re finally coming through. Instead of following the trends, we’re pushing the boundaries and setting the trend instead.

MITCHEL: We wanted to make sure we stayed true to ourselves and not conform to what everyone else’s expectations were of us and this album. I think that’s what makes it beautiful in a way because it really came from our hearts. It came from a much deeper place than the others. The first album was a bunch of songs thrown together. PHASES was more conceptualized, but it was still based on music we’d previously written. This time, we put our heart and soul and all our emotions into it because we had nothing else to do. It’s like we became a full-time mom, nursing this little kid, and all three of us were doing that for 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Which lyric from this album stands out the most for you?

ANTHONY: One of the lyrics Mitchel wrote stood out for me the most, “I’m so sick and tired of being sick and tired.” It’s something we can all relate to right now. We’re in an endless cycle of losing sleep and waking up late. It’s been hard. It’s funny that Mitchel wrote that before the pandemic—that’s something that’s happened before. He’s had premonitions of the future. You go online now and everybody feels exactly the way Mitchel was in that line, and I feel like the whole way through this last year, that’s constantly been replaying in my mind.

MITCHEL: For me, it’s the line from “SLIDE” where I said, “Fuck, I think the nitrous did damage.” I developed peripheral neuropathy from doing nitrous oxide, and I had a vitamin B12 deficiency. It was quite an intense situation and really emotionally impactful, but it really helped with the music on this album because it was either sink or swim: It was making the decision to swim and stay positive and keep a good attitude about it but at least being honest in the music. The song’s cool as fuck, but it’s really quite emotional for me.

ANTHONY: This album is literally a “don’t try this” sign—don’t do nitrous, kids!


[Photo By Jordan Knight]

You’ve always crossed the borders between alternative and hip-hop by creating your own fusion of them. Which scene do you feel like you belong to? How would you describe your presence in them?

ANTHONY: I wouldn’t say we were necessarily part of any scene, but obviously we were put into that world when Benji Madden dragged us out on the road with Warped Tour. It was a good learning experience because it really kicked our asses and hardened us up for what was coming. It was like a boot camp that made every other tour we’ve done super easy. Benji was showing us how tough it gets. We were going to quit our own scene and our own pathway because this was what we were getting into, but he was testing us to see if we were ready. Our presence is that we keep to ourselves. We’ve got a couple of other bands that we’re friends with, but our collaborations really have to be a natural process. We’re not out here trying to jump on people’s bandwagons.

MITCHEL: By nature, I feel like we do everything by ourselves: We produce, we write, we mix vocals and instruments [and] we engineer, so it’s hard to have a presence. Artists are expected to have a big presence and shine, but we’re not intentionally isolated. It happened quite naturally because we’ve been so busy all the time. We haven’t really had the time to party and hang out with other artists. Most of the time, we’re straight working.

So this album is how your 2021 has started. How’s the rest of the year looking for you?

MITCHEL: 2021 has been off to an incredible start because we’ve been working pretty much every night so far. It’s been very productive, and the response to the first few singles has been really good, so we’ll be working on that and establishing more of a social media presence because we naturally don’t go online a lot. It’s nice to interact with fans, but we usually like to save that for when we’re on tour.

CLINTON: The last two weeks have been the biggest time for us in the last two years. I’d love to be recording again, but we all have to take care of organizing these music videos last minute and making them COVID-friendly, hitting a three-day turnaround and getting all our socials ready. All the back-end stuff you’d usually just assume goes to someone else. Unfortunately, we’re stupid enough to take all that into our own hands. In the end, that’s our downfall because we’re doing all the work ourselves. We do the whole business! I haven’t slept for two days, which is usually fine, but as I get older, it hurts a lot.

How’s quarantine treating you? What’s kept you going through this last year?

ANTHONY: Our love for each other and Call Of Duty: Warzone.

What’s been your proudest moment together as Chase Atlantic?

ANTHONY: There’s definitely been a proud moment in just surviving this last year. I’ve seen a lot of people and bands come out of 2020 in a worse shape, and it really showed which bands are willing to put the work in and get through it. I feel like we came out a lot stronger than we were going into it. Taking the time to reflect on that is something I’ve really thought about going into 2021: If we can make an album and make all the music videos in a time like this, we’ve done the hardest year of our lives, and we made the best album out of it—I feel like everything from now on is going to be a piece of cake. 

MITCHEL: My proudest moment is every day I wake up, I look at Clinton and Christian and I think, “Wow, look at all the stuff we’ve overcome together.” Every day they just continue to amaze me. We’re brothers, so obviously we fall out and have quarrels, but the funniest thing is we never fall out over music. If we fight, it’s only over stupid things like, “Hey, what did you just say about my gun in Call Of Duty?” It’s never about the music. We trust each other, and we’re very in sync. If someone comes in and asks what we think about the song, we all go, “Yeah, great job!”