December 6, 2016
Since Chase and the Barons has been named the latest Pioneer Records star, the band has already seen progress in their ability to build their fan base and develop their image and sound.
“Music development wise, just playing so often has gotten us to be much tighter as musicians, our live shows have increasing energy and our personalities are definitely shining through more,” said drummer Jake Stretch.
The band includes Chase Barron on vocals, Jake Stretch on drums, Mike Saunders on guitar, Jacob Rieger on bass and Tyler Handyside on saxophone.
Saunders said their songwriting in particular has improved.
“Our music and songwriting is becoming a lot more focused and dynamic,” Saunders said. “The way we approach a song, whether we’re learning covers or writing originals, is constantly changing. We always strive to improve ourselves so that we can convey our ideas to the best of our ability.”
The band has also decided on an image to project for their fans.
“As far as looks go, we’re definitely set on paisleys, bright colors and ties,” Stretch said. “We feel like our music is a fresh take on retro ideas, so we want our brand to reflect that.”
Since being signed by Pioneer Records, reaching out to the music community has been easier for the band members.
“Working with the label has really changed the way we approach social media and how we come across there,” Stretch said. “So we’ve been reshaping that to reflect the goofy, yet serious and groovy mentality we have about the band and life.”
The band has been playing across Pittsburgh and has found a welcoming fan base. They have been playing at The Abbey on Butler Street in Lawrenceville every other Wednesday since October.
“I’d say the reaction has been great so far, we’ve gotten several new fans and it’s opening the door for future shows,” Stretch said.
Saunders agreed that the crowd has recognized their energy.
“The Abbey is always a fantastic atmosphere to play in,” Saunders said. “They have awesome food, drinks and people. You really can’t beat it. Being that we play a mix of covers and originals, it seems that the crowd digs a variety of the tunes we play.”
Though scheduling proves to be a constant struggle for the band, the members always seem to be able to make it work between school, jobs, practice, gigs and working with the label.
“It’s definitely a struggle sometimes,” Stretch said. “The band has always been a huge focus and both my jobs and fiancé know what that means when it comes to time. For the most part though, we are able to practice at least two times a week unless we’re gigging a lot. We make it all work though.”
The band has been working long hours on their new album and is looking towards its release. The date has not been set, but the members have been collaborating with Pioneer Records for a promotional plan.
“The EP we are working on now is perhaps more sophisticated, if that’s the right word for it,” Stretch said. “It’s been so far so good, the recordings are sounding tight. As for a plan, we have a really good idea of what we are going to do once we have a release date as far as promotions, press kits and shows.”
Samantha Bowes, senior sports, arts and entertainment management major and public relations apprentice for Pioneer Records, is proud of the band’s progress and is also looking forward to the release.
“The EP is coming along incredibly well,” Bowes said. “We have a very exciting marketing plan in place and will hopefully be able to start executing it soon. Chase and the Barons put a lot of hard work and effort into self-promoting and expanding, we are just here as guidance for them.”
As far as their fan base goes, it is still expanding.
“I’d say we have wide range of fans,” Stretch said. “In all honesty, we’ve only been playing seriously for about four months. Since our fan base is relatively new and growing, it’s hard to tell exactly who all we appeal to. I don’t think there’s any groups we can rule out, though, Chase and the Barons are for everyone.”
Point Park’s campus has been an encouraging environment for student musicians. Freshman mass communications major Ian Brady said it is a great opportunity to have a record label on campus.
“It really says a lot about the environment of Point Park,” Brady said. “I am a musician and vocalist as well, and it’s great to be on a campus that encourages creativity in their students.”
Brady was planning on listening to Chase and the Barons’ music on their Spotify page.
The Barons encourage other musicians to follow their dreams as long as they are willing to work for it.
“No one can be the greatest instrumentalist of all time because it’s so subjective,” Stretch said. “You can be the best at being you. Your own style makes your music great. Do that, practice a lot and then realize that if you want to make it you got to swallow your pride sometimes and make a lot of compromises.”