In the past seven years, CHON have gone from playing local shows in their hometown of San Diego to a spot on the Billboard 200 and tours with Animals As Leaders and Circa Survive. The easiest category to put CHON in would be “instrumental,” but that doesn’t do the band justice. On their debut full-length Grow, CHON incorporate prog rock and jazz with lightning quick picking, staccato drumming and buoyant melodies, creating a sound that’s fresh, exciting and wholly their own. (They even add vocals to a couple songs, “Can’t Wait” and “Echo.”) There are intricacies to the songs on Grow, but the band’s approach to writing music is simple and organic. “We have fun writing this kind of music,” says guitarist Mario Camarena. “We don’t take it too seriously; it’s just music we naturally write. I hope people who enjoy our stuff have fun listening to it.”
From their growing fanbase and positive reviews, to tours with scene heavy hitters, it’s safe to say people are indeed enjoying CHON’s music. The San Diego band, which also includes guitarist Erick Hansel, bassist Drew Pelisek and drummer Nathan Camarena (Mario’s younger brother), began in early 2008 when friends Erick and Mario began writing what would become CHON songs. Soon they were ready to start playing shows, but they needed a drummer. So they taught Nathan how to play drums and had their first show that summer. It wasn’t long before they were playing every show they could.
In 2010 the band took an extended break, but by 2012 they had decided to pursue CHON full-time and were back to touring and writing music. “We’ve always had it in the back of our minds that we wanted to make [music] a career,” Mario says. “For some reason this project just turned out to be the one. It’s the music we started writing when we came into our own style and had our own original sound.” They released their first EP, Newborn Sun in 2013 and followed it up in 2014 with the Woohoo! EP. That record put CHON on the map, earning them a spot Billboard 200.
Much like the title of their debut album suggests, CHON have evolved greatly since forming in 2008. There’s no telling where they will go next, musically–but more people are sure to be listening.
ABOUT TERA MELOS–
The history of Tera Melos, like the life of Dostoevsky, treads between transcendence and complete breakdown. In the early quartet years, live performances were as much about gymnastics and daredevilry as they were about actual performance. Bursts of hyper-musicianship sprouted between larger expanses of equipment-trashing, mid-measure cartwheeling, and death-defying rafter-swinging. The evolution from a four-piece to a trio saw the visual chaos reigned in and the aural chaos blossom. Destruction is no longer measured in terms of kicked over amps, bloody fingers, and broken bones. Instead, the deconstructive edge is embodied in Dada-ist pop appropriations, pedal wankery, noise squalls, and frenetic tempos.
Mutation is key. Tera Melos now is not Tera Melos four years ago. Or six months ago. A song isn’t played in a dingy club the same way it was played in the recording studio. Nor is it played the same way it was the night before. Things evolve. Wrong is right. The glitches, improvisations, and general tomfuckery are part of the art and charm. You want clarity? Perfection? Easy hooks? You’ll have to work a little harder than that. This is not casual listening.
A new phase of Tera Melos is born with the addition of John Clardy to the drum throne. Flanked by the cumulative ten strings of Nathan Latona and Nick Reinhart, one can only wonder what new amalgam of sonic confusion, modernist anxiety, and cosmic celebration is brewing in those hills outside of Sacramento.
San Jose, CA based Yvette Young lives an eclectic life as a touring musician, music teacher and freelance artist. Her band Covet plays a unique style of “math rock”: a rhythmically complex, guitar-based style of experimental rock. It is characterized by complex rhythms, angular melodies, and dissonant chords. Their self released EP entitled “Currents” lends a lush and emotional feel to the genre.
ABOUT LITTLE TYBEE–
Little Tybee is an experimental, progressive folk-rock band based out of Atlanta, GA. Since their beginnings in 2008, the band has released 3 full length albums and conducted several tours. Stylistically, the band fuses together elements from folk, psychedelic rock, indie music, jazz, and other diverse influences. While the whole band contributes ideas to the composition process, vocalist Brock Scott has been described by band mate Josh Martin as “typically the primary songwriter.”