Singer discusses her new project, where her inspiration comes from, and where she hopes to be a year from now
Chase Cohl is an artist cut from her own cloth. Her new single, “Love Is A Prison”, is drenched in the history of Laurel Canyon – where she currently resides. Already an established fashion designer, Cohl is gearing up to release her first full-length album in 2018, which she recorded at Valentine Studios in Los Angeles.
“Love Is A Prison” begins with a folky harmonica and continues along with that flowy country-twang that made Southern California such a memorable place in the late 1960s. The song discusses of feeling powerless to love, and what we are willing to sacrifice to keep that emotion in our lives.
ARTISTdirect caught up with Chase Cohl to discuss her new project, where her inspiration comes from, and where she hopes to be a year from now.
Hello – Please introduce yourself.
Hi! I’m Chase.
Where are you right now?
At home in Laurel Canyon, making a fire.
Tell us about your new project: Who did you work with? Where was it recorded? What’s it about? Is there candy?
The record was written by me & produced by Loren Humphrey (Guards, The Last Shadow Puppets), who is one of my best mates as well as a wonderful drummer//producer. My guitar player, Marlon Rabenreither (Gold Star) was my main collaborator, but also features Zach Dawes & Tyler Parkford (Mini Mansions, the last shadow puppets), James Richardson (mgmt), Rodrigo Amarante, Benjamin Booker, Barry Goldberg & Kane Ritchotte (Portugal the man). So many friends jumped on.
It was recorded at Valentine in the Valley, which is my favourite studio. It’s about love and loss and heartache and sarcasm and books and generally growing the fuck up.
Sadly, the record only features songs about natures candy, fruit, which is a weird big inspiration for me. Being recorded in Los Angeles, naturally no refined sugars were harmed in the process. Go figure.
How do you describe your music to new friends?
I hate to describe it and rather people simply take the time to listen, but I think of it as story telling music. It’s sort of classic inspired folk with more modern tendencies. Truthful, honest songwriting.
Other than Chase Cohl, what should your hometown be known for?
My hometown is Toronto, Canada, which should definitely be known for its green belt, its dive bars and its Chinese food. However I split my time between LA & New York. LA should certainly be known for its Mexican street fruit carts, and New York for its general absolute goddamn poetry (too much to list).
Please look around you right now and please describe the first item or person you see that’s significant to you (and that your relationship with it/them). Can we see a photo?
I’m looking at a photo of Neil Young in his barn in 1971, by Henry Diltz, that hangs above my fireplace. It was the first piece of art I ever bought when I made a little money with my business ten years ago. It’s significance has only further grown as Henry has now become a dear friend to me and actually shot a lot of the visuals for my record.
What first inspired you to pursue music? If it was a musician or a specific piece of music, please tell us all about why you find it so inspirational…
I spent my entire childhood on tour and surrounded by musicians so the inspiration to pursue music was sort of engrained in me from a young age. It would’ve probably been more strange if I hadn’t turned out to work in music in some capacity. When I began writing and pursuing my own style though, I’d say Karen Dalton’s “in the evening” was pretty big for me. I remember first hearing that around 16, and realizing there was so much more room to being a female singer than what was being played on the radio, so I begun to hone my own style.
What’s the best advice anyone has given you about pursuing a life in music?
Just not to give up. Being an artist in any form is a tricky life path to choose and involves a lot of rejection and self doubt. You have to be your own champion because more often than not, you’ll end up being the only one. I believe art makes the universe a much more interesting place and it’s wildly important work, so it’s worth every second.
Not including your current crew, who (alive or dead) would you love to have in your van for an all day drive from gig to gig?
Rick Danko & Levon Helm, every damn time. I would probably end up making viciously uncomfortable romantic advances at them though.
What song best sums up your life right now?
Probably, Joni Mitchell “cactus tree” or “blonde in the bleachers”
What is the best reaction to your music you have experienced so far?
Tears of joy & emotion. I am a pretty big cryer so it means something to me when people are moved or relate that deeply.
Take a moment to dream – Where do hope to be a year from now?
Finished with another record or on the road, spreading the good word, playing to bigger crowds, making honest art, drinking good liquor & tea.
What’s your next step towards that dream?
Just to continue writing, playing, putting out as much music and art as humanly possible sending it to all the right ears I can.