With the internet offering easy access to music from every era and genre, today’s musicians are being influenced by an unprecedentedly broad range of sounds. That point isn’t lost on local singer/multi-instrumentalist/songwriter Henry Chadwick, whose new Guest At Home EP showcases an indie pop/alternative rock sound that’s informed by the music of such diverse acts as The Kinks, The Beatles, Bowie, T. Rex, Nirvana, Green Day, The Strokes and The Vines.
“I guess I got excited about recording [the EP], because it felt like we’re in a time where that’s rewarded, finally: to be between genres a little bit,” the 25-year-old musician offers. “There’s a lot of bands that are almost an indie band, but they’re almost a punk band and almost a Beach Boys-esque surf band and almost a rock band. I think that’s what’s more interesting to me now. I didn’t want to try too hard to be one thing or another—just find a blend of all the different stuff I liked.”
Along with playing most of the instruments on Guest At Home, Chadwick engineered and mixed the songs at a Ben Lomond studio owned by his father, a former Hollywood recording engineer. He then used the money he’d saved on recording costs to hire a publicist. That investment paid off: Guest At Home has been getting positive attention from the likes of Rolling Stone, Paste, The Huffington Post, No Depression and TIME, the last of which recently named Guest At Home’s title track as one of the best songs of 2016 so far.
While it’s hard to argue with TIME’s description of the “Ba-da-ba-bop-bop” chant in “Guest At Home” as “peppy,” the song’s upbeat sound overshadows some fairly bleak lyrical content. Chadwick feels that this juxtaposition of happy music with sad lyrics helped give the song an air of authenticity. “I think there’s something uplifting about it, and something a little more truthful if it’s well-rounded,” he muses. “I don’t know—life’s not all bad, but it’s a little bad!”
“Alright,” a wistful alt-rock tune with Beck-ish leanings, has a similarly bittersweet feel. Henry says he wrote the song in an attempt to capture “the feel of being in your early 20s and striking a balance between work, dreams, relationships and fun—the trials and triumphs of young adulthood. I think it’s one of the [songs] with more of a cynical outlook, but if you were just listening to it on the surface, it’s kind of got a happy sound.”
Graphic design for Guest At Home came courtesy of Henry’s older brother George, with whom the former launched the pop-punk band My Stupid Brother in 2003. As the younger Chadwick notes, that band had a niche sound, whereas the parameters for his solo project are far looser.
“One thing that I felt with My Stupid Brother a little bit is that it’s a little bit harder to change up the sound, or maybe you feel obligated to stick to what the band is sometimes,” he explains. “[With a solo project], it’s exciting to think, ‘Yeah, I can do something totally different.’”
The Two of Us
Henry’s not-so-stupid brother, who now holds a master’s degree and works for Apple in New York, also shot a video for the song “The Two of Us.” Element Productions, the media production company behind the last couple of My Stupid Brother videos, created videos for two more songs from the EP, “Overtime” and “Alright.”
In between promoting Guest At Home, gigging with his band Battlesnake, playing drums for the Ben Lomond-based rock band The Coffis Brothers and working for Universal Audio, Henry is already preparing his next solo offering. “I’ve got a couple songs that are leaning more towards the ‘Alright’ end of production, a couple that are a little more on the garage rock side of things and then a couple more that have some ’60s vibes,” he reveals.
Well, so much for sticking to just one genre.
Guest At Home on iTunes: itunes.apple.com/…/al…/guest-at-home-ep/id1120775483
Guest At Home on Spotify: open.spotify.com/album/1yk29t5aUu1U7YGekUd5DI