Melodic Skatepunk, my weapon of choice as a teenage skateboarder back in the mid 90’s. When punk broke in 1994 , moments after Nirvana paved the way to mainstream succes, tons of undergound skatepunk bands rose up and left their marks on kids all over the globe. In 2019 Southern Californians Chaser are set on a mission to keep that style of punk alive and kicking. A quest that led them to Jera On Air to play the Buzzard stage on Saturday. Time to chase vocalist Mike LeDonne around the festival and find out all about Chaser’s mission.
Welcome to Jera On Air, How’s it been?
It’s been amazing! Really, really happy to be here. The show couldn’t have been better. We had a lot of people come and see us. The tent was packed, the stage was packed, just a lot of energy. It was fun, it was great.
Last year you’ve released Sound The Sirens and a few days ago your label Effervescence Records is already doing a repress of the vinyl for the US market (available worldwide). Excited about the collaboration with the label?
Absolutely, it’s a repress which is awesome. That means the first edition was sold out. Which is great. This new color variant, it’s beautiful, it’s red and orange swirl. We just saw it for the first time yesterday actually, it’s really nice. Effervescence Records big shoutout to you guys, Fab thank you very much. We handle the US shipping and Fabien handles the international shipping.
With the artwork of the album and some songs there’s a feeling of revolution hanging in the air, what are some things to inspired you for this call to arms?
An uprising. A collection of people that have the same mindset that want to make a change for the better. It’s also kind of an hommage to 90’s punkrock. That kind is what Chaser is all about, keeping that 90’s style of melodic skatepunk alive. There’s a lot of crazy things going on in the world but there is hope in the end. I think the main point of it all, even with all that chaos depicted on the cover there still is like an united end goal. That we can all achieve if we all just come together. That’s kind of the whole point of the band, one of the biggest things we kind of try to portray is positive mental attitude, PMA. Just stay to try positive, looking out after one an other. Just enjoy your life.
Chaser hails from Orange County, what is it with California and melodic punkrock that so many bands have spawned there?
I think it comes along with the Southern Californian lifestyle. The surf, skate, snowboard culture. Melodic punkrock kind of went hand in hand with that lifestyle. Motorcross, especially like in the 90’s and the 2000’s, all the Crusty Demons videos for motorcross, all the snowboard videos, Tony Hawk Pro Skater… it all featured skatepunk. A very good tactic and it kind of sparked a whole new wave of this genre of punrock. A subgenre actually that really inspired our lives and our music.
One of your songs, The Show sums up a list of punk fests, will Jera On Air be added to the list soon?
You know what’s funny, we are actually talking about doing a ‘Show’ 2.0; like Volume 2. When we wrote that it was before we got to play a lot of festivals that we’ve been doing. Now we had the opportunity to play all these new festivals and meet all these new people. Like i do a lot of name dropping in that song, those are people we’ve met back in the time. But now we’ve met so many new people that we’ve been talking about doing a ‘Show’ 2.0 on the next record.
You’re currently on a two part European tour, first leg started in April and led you to Groezrock. This part has Jera On Air and some UK dates, what’s next after the tour?
Second show of the tour, we did London last night. At the New Cross Inn, it was an awesome show. Chaser and Darko co headlined, we’re actually on tour with Darko right now. We want to give a shout out to those guys. This is the second part so far, we got the offer to play this festival first so we booked the tour around it. A little short run. We didn’t come out for just one show. We go to Ostend tomorrow. And then some UK dates.
There’s a Chaser shirt that says Make Punk Skate Again, given your all avid skaters, who’s your favorite skateboarder and why?
We skate, again that is kind of that Southern California culture. It just ties in with what we are going for, that 90’s style melodic skatepunk. That’s the music we are trying to keep alive. We’re trying to keep it going. It’s the music that influenced our life, growing up. We’re just doing what we can to keep that subgenre of punkrock alive. That’s our motto, keep skatepunk alive.
My favorite skateboarder would be like the 90’s Bucky Lasek, the Birdhouse crew, the Tappas brothers from Australia. Chad Muska, he’s a punkrocker. Basically everyone on the Tony Hawk Pro Skater series.
There has been regular posting of rehearsal videos on Facebook, a great way to communicate with your fans in a way. Learned anything from the conversations?
Yeah, we’re like a very interactive band. We are a very personal band, everytime we play we will be the first one back at the merchandise table. To meet everybody, take pictures, sign autographs, it’s really important to us. There would be no reason we would be doing this if it wasn’t for us to meet our fans. So when we’re not on tour to kind of let them know what we are up to. If you don’t you become irrelevant. If you don’t stay connected. So the videos we take of our rehearsals or shows and we post them is basically our way of saying what we are up to. Sometimes it’s just a little clip, it’s just a way of keeping connected with everyone. It’s the life we live now, being connected.
Any last words you’d like to share?
The ball is rolling man, we have a plan to spend the rest of the year writing our new album. We want to put out a new record in the summer of 2020. Which is two years from when Sound The Sirens came out, we want to try and be on a two year program.Just keep momentum. Stay relevant. Keep the ball rolling. Look for big things next year, brandnew album, more tours next year. We will definitely be coming back here, hoping to hit Japan and we will be touring Canada. I want to tell the readers to keep in touch via social media. That way you’ll know when we’ll be coming to your area and you’ll get all the information on the new record.