Chasin’ Crazy Talk Chaos of Reality Show, the Boy Band Label and Why the Music Speaks for Itself
The members of Chasin' Crazy are living up to their name, keeping up a hectic schedule around the launch of a new single and a reality television show.
Since forming in Nashville in 2012, the group have come to the attention of producers Marti Frederiksen (Aerosmith, Carrie Underwood, Daughtry) and Blake Chancey (Dixie Chicks, Montgomery Gentry, Little Big Town), who have co-produced an EP that is set for an upcoming release.
Chasin' Crazy's first single, 'That's How We Do Summertime,' was released over the summer, and they're now releasing a follow-up titled 'Smack Dab.'
Composed of Jimmy James Hunter (lead guitar/vocals), Forest Miller (bass/fiddle/mandolin/vocals), Landon Parker (acoustic guitar/vocals), Creigh Riepe (keyboards/guitar/vocals) and Travis Fincher (drums/vocals), the group work together and live together. That unique situation is the focus of a new reality show -- also called 'Chasin' Crazy' -- which premiered on Oct. 11 on GAC. The show follows the crazy antics of the group of young men, who have been called a country boy band and even compared to the Monkees, as they pursue their dreams of country music stardom.
Taste of Country caught up with the guys to discuss their new music, reality show and more in the following interview.
You've got a lot going on. Tell us how the reality show came about.
Creigh Riepe: We do, indeed. It's been really crazy. We did most of the filming earlier this summer, and they're basically just following us through the process of all of this crazy stuff that we've been doing since the beginning of our career. We did a lot of filming during CMA Fest, when we were downtown and late to a show and had cameras chasing us through this huge crowd of people. You can imagine that was chaos. And they followed us through a couple of shows, and basically captured a lot of the crazy things that we normally do on film. So we're really excited to see it.
How did they choose you to follow, as opposed to another act?
Creigh: Our very first music video that we ever filmed, we went to Kentucky and we were working with a film crew there, and one of the guys on the film crew said, 'You know, this would be a really cool concept for a TV show.' So he pitched the idea to Great American Country, and we had no idea that anything would ever come of it. But a few weeks later they got in touch with us and said, 'Hey, this would be a really cool idea to run with.'
So before we knew it, we were surrounded by cameras and having this whole thing done. It's been a really fun ride so far.
This band hasn't been together that long. Some people say that Nashville is a 10-year town. To what do you attribute the fairly rapid rise that you've had?
Forest Miller: You're right; it's only been a couple of years for us right now. But individually -- you know, we've been called a boy band, but come to our show and we're all playing our instruments, and individually we've all put in years upon years of practice. And even together, since we started it's been pretty much every day that we've gotten together and rehearsed our vocals and written our songs, and done everything we could to be as good as we can be.
Jimmy James Hunter: We've tried to rehearse so much to where we fit 10 years into the two years we've been together. [Laughs]. So you know, we all hate each other now. [Laughs.] No, it's really easy because we all live together, and we happen to be best friends and brothers.
With you working together in the band and living together, and now having the additional pressure of being filmed, how do you keep professional disagreements from turning personal and vice versa -- or can you?
Jimmy James: We have a thing called real talk, which was actually inspired by Travis. We pretty much just sit down and talk about each other, and if anybody has a problem with anybody else, we just put it out on the table. We're all really understanding, we all have each others' backs. We keep each other in check -- if anybody starts getting an ego we say, 'Hey, that's not what we're about. Stop that.' [Laughs.] It's really cool, a really supportive thing -- like a family.
We've tried to rehearse so much to where we fit 10 years into the two years we've been together.
Forest: It kinda comes with the territory. We're five different guys, and we all have very different personalities. We have learned to accept each other and love each other for who we are.
You mentioned the 'boy band' label a minute ago; do you fear that a tag like that can stick to you and maybe make people not take you as seriously as they might?
Jimmy James: No, because one show and you guys see us play ... the music does the talking for us. Our performance does the talking for us. And personally, we're fans of boy bands. We don't think that's necessarily a bad thing. If you really wanted to label somebody, you could technically put the Eagles under that category, or the Beatles under that category. Not that we're comparing ourselves to them at all, by any means, but they switched singers, too, just like we do. Just like a boy band does.
We like to get a little funky onstage and dance a little bit, but the thing is, there's never been a young vocal group in country, and we're just trying to change that and inspire the youth -- give them someone to look up to and give them the inspiration to say, 'I want to learn and master an instrument.'
They're gonna call us what they want to call us, but we're loud and proud, baby.
You're being produced by Marti Frederiksen and Blake Chancey, two big names. How did you attract those people so early on in your career?
Jimmy James: My first week in Nashville, I actually ended up at a party. It just so happened to be Marti's birthday, and so we kinda got in contact and had been writing together. I'd moved in with a producer named David Malloy, and he was friends with Scott Simon, our label exec, and they introduced us to Blake Chancey.
I really dig Marti; I kinda came from a rock and roll background, so I thought that would be really interesting. We wanted the blend of the traditional country, Blake Chancey with the Dixie Chicks, and then the more modern Faith Hill, Aerosmith thing that Marti has. It came up with a very unique sound, and we love working with them.
One show and you guys see us play ... the music does the talking for us. Our performance does the talking for us.
You've got a new single called 'Smack Dab.' What's the thinking behind that being the second one released?
Landon Parker: I wrote that with Danny Myrick. It's probably one of our best songs that we pull off live, and it's one of our favorites. It's got a lot of banjo. It's just a very energetic song. It's about being in love with somebody, being right smack dab in the middle of love.
These songs are from an upcoming EP. Tell us about that.
Landon: We're in the process of getting it mastered right now. Look for it in the beginning of 2015.
How does your writing process work inside the band? Do you try to collaborate internally, or work with outside writers?
Landon: It's a good mix. Sometimes we get songs that are pitched to us, but as writers, of course we'd all prefer to be in on the action. It's really a great feeling when we get to be in on these songs that we're playing live, and people are singing the words that we wrote in our own homes. But it's a good mix. We love outside writers, and we'll break into groups within the band, or every now and then we'll write, all five of us together. We just love to keep ourselves on our toes and mix it up.
Is there anything else you want to say about your music, the show or whatever else you have coming up?
Travis: A big thing for us is social media. We love interacting with our fans. Twitter, Instagram, Facebook our website, where you can always be the first to hear about the tour dates we've got coming up. Fan interaction is huge. Whenever we're driving back or flying back from whatever show we just played, we're already getting tweets, and pictures tagged in the show -- it's the best feeling there is. Especially with our TV show airing, people have already sent us still images, just pictures of their TVs, and them setting the DVR to record the show. It's unreal. We love it.
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