The Chariot Brought Some Led Zeppelin Flare to ‘Long Live’
Chaos might be the only way to describe the Chariot‘s output. The Georgia act has never leaned on hooks in choruses. Instead, they put their strength in an ADHD formula of rapid tempo switches and swirling noise. All of those elements still remain on the band’s newest effort, ‘Long Live’ — but they’ve grown into a new kind of unrest.
“We hope people get it. It’s kind of out there,” frontman Josh Scogin confessed to Noisecreep. “While we were writing, there were a whole lot of times we would be like, ‘What would the Chariot do here — and let’s do something different.’ There’s a thing that comes naturally to us. There’s a thing we could do that we could pop an album out in a couple of weeks, but we don’t want to do that.”
Scogin explained that his approach to ‘Long Live’ took form thanks in part to music he was consuming. “While we’re dead set in the season of writing, I try to listen to stuff that’s completely different than us, yet obviously you can pull some influence from,” he revealed. This time around, it was ’90s noise rock gods Jesus Lizard, the White Stripes, James Brown and indie darlings Arcade Fire. “Those were the only bands I could listen to; not anything else.”
Though not entirely obvious these, influence bleed all over ‘Long Live’ in some unexpected ways. From the pounding rhythm on ‘The Audience’ to the melodic symphony that ends ‘The City,’ they looked at all possibilities. “We defiantly wanted to explore new routes, and as a heavy band it’s just easy to just be, ‘We want to be loud. Everything loud, loud, loud!’” he said. “But for us we wanted to have dynamics, since we can’t rely on singing or whatever.”
Scogin also credited the studio progression of the Chariot to longtime friend and producer Matt Goldman. “He thinks like us. He knows our world. He’s always trying to push us.”
The album’s opener, ‘Even Perks,’ got a classic rock touch thanks to Goldman. “Obviously it’s more about emotion than it is about musicianship. It’s just a bunch of open hits. Since the guitars weren’t doing much, we wanted the drums to sound cool and vintage.”
Goldman had an idea. Known for his mic placement, he used the same set up as Led Zeppelin did on ‘Black Dog.’ “He’s nerdy on that stuff, ” Scogin laughed. “He knows where the mics were and what kind they used and what they went into.”
The results shake any speakers the song is unleashed on. “This day and age, I think every band just wants to be the loudest band,” says Scogin. “If you put in a proper Led Zeppelin record, you have to turn it up, but it’s so cool. You hear that depth. You hear that quiet snare, then the loud snare.”
Goldman’s relationship with the Chariot has always seemed puzzling, as the producer is more known for glistening indie pop. But Scogin reasoned that Goldman’s initial attraction to the band might be because of their less-technological approach.
“He loves recording our band. I think a lot of it is because we don’t rely on, ‘Hey I’m going to do a breakdown and a one liner, and we’re gonna build a song out of it.’ This is our art,” Scogin intimated. “We try to make it something we can play every single night and still be interested in and not fake it.”
Working on every Chariot release has gotten the producer a myriad of request to take on other heavy bands. “If they’re one of those bands with fake drums and the sampled bass, the drum click everything and auto-tune vocals, he’ll tell them on the phone — and he’s hilarious — ‘I’m not your guy. There are a load of people that are going to do your record better.’”