Chief State - Sound In The Signals Interview

I recently had the opportunity to interview Fraser of Chief State. We discussed how the pandemic impacted their previous release, the writing and recording process for upcoming album, ‘Waiting For Your Colours’, songwriting, the meaning behind the album title, how new song, “Team Wiped” sets the tone for the rest of the album, filming the music video for it, favorite moments from the album, and more. Check it out below.


First, thanks for the interview.

Of course, thanks for having us!

You recently announced your album ‘Waiting For Your Colours’. I know you’ve had the album finished for a while. Can you tell me about the recording process and rollout for it?

Yeah, it's an odd situation. Our last EP came out in March 2020 and I'm sure that month brings to mind certain other memories for everyone! We had spent so long writing, recording, preparing that project for it all to come crashing down with the onset of covid. All of our plans were essentially thrown up in the air. We're massively proud of that EP and its reception, but we always think about what could have been had we been able to tour. So when we were finishing up recording Waiting For Your Colours we made the very difficult decision to sit on it and wait until things had loosened up. The album has been ready to go since last Summer, we cannot wait to finally share it with everyone in a few months!


What do you think changed, or stayed the same, with your songwriting on this album?

We wrote this album much like we have our previous releases, usually myself (Fraser) or Nik will write the bones/structure of a song with or without lyrics first and then we bring it to everyone else to embellish and improve. I usually have an idea about what I want to write about lyrically once I've listened through an idea a couple of times. Chris will then replace our crappy placeholder drums with some real interesting stuff, Joe and Nik will work through bass parts and Justin will come up with a couple of lead ideas. We then head to the studio to work with our producer Tim Creviston and he will fine tune everything and slot it all into place! It's always worked for us to do things this way, it will be interesting to see if we switch it up a little the next time we're writing songs!

Can you tell me about the meaning behind the album title?

Yes, the album as a whole has a few different meanings lyrically but the underlying theme is about coming to find your place in the world. Personally reaching the end of my twenties there has been a lot of reflection about who I am, who I want to be, where my place is in the world and what I want to put my energy towards moving forward. Waiting For Your Colours is a lyric in the final song of the album, within that song itself the meaning is waiting for the person you love to reciprocate. We liked that it could also have a double meaning for the main theme of the album as well. Trying to figure out who you are as a person, for myself at least, I've been waiting for my true colours to show themselves.

Along with the announcement, you released “Team Wiped”. Can you tell me about writing this song specifically and why you chose it as the first single?

We think this song is a little different to anything we've released before, we were really excited about the new direction and so it seemed right to lead with this one. It sets the tone for the rest of the album too. We always saw it as the first single as soon as we heard Nik's first demo, so it was a no brainer to drop it first! Nik started off with the riff and had been playing about with phasers, kind of got hooked on the idea and pretty quickly put the whole song together. A lot of thought went into the bass of this song, there's a lot of movement and I know that drove Nik when writing this one. He wanted the bass to be the star and we think it really is! With the song being quite different to anything we have done before, I found it a little difficult lyrically. But we kept reworking it until it gave justice to the instrumentation of the song. In the end I got so frustrated with the others knocking back my ideas that I just started writing about that frustration! The first verse starts "Another day in this broken (Chief) State"... 


You released a video for the song and it’s very well done. Do you have a favorite moment or scene from the video?

It was an awesome experience working with Miguel and his team on this shoot! We had no idea how it was going to turn out, everything on the day looked a lot different! We trusted Miguel's ideas and went with it and couldn't have been happier with how it turned out! Unlost Films did an incredible job with the animation, it really gives you the feel of being lost in your head! Srini Madhavan did the final colouring, which really blew us away and morphed Team Wiped into the beast you see. Also s/o to the geese in verse 2, great performance for the cameras. 

I read that this album has a lot to do with growing up and being towards the end of your 20s. What are some of the lyrical themes of the album and what headspace were you in when writing the lyrics?

We touched on it before, I've been very retrospective the past year or so trying to work out what the hell is going on! I've made some big life decisions to date, I left the UK at the age of 22, moved to Asia and traveled for a couple of years and then on a whim decided to move to Vancouver and start a band. Before I knew it my twenties were closing out and I have no idea where I am and why I'm here. I have a lot of guilt about not being around family and don't really have enough answers as to why. I found myself writing more and more about these feelings. I feel like we're all just trying to find out where we stand, what we like and what joys we want to pursue moving forward.

Do you have a favorite lyric or musical moment from the album?

The bridge in Team Wiped where everything drops out except the bass has us all giddy as kids, Personally, I love the breakdown in the second verse of Drown, the vocal harmony on the line "I wish that I could feel something so I tear me limb from limb" in Out For Me and the outro of KTLHTF.

Thanks for taking the time to answer the questions. Do you have anything else that you would like to add?

Thank you for having us, really appreciate the questions! Whether you're new to us or if you have known about us for a while, we'd really appreciate the support on social media. Give us a follow and keep up to date with everything we have going on because there's going to be some big announcements every month for the next few. Please share the music video or the song on Spotify with a couple of friends and help us keep growing! ...Oh and also, the song is called Team Wiped but I'd like to go on record and say that all of us are shit at Warzone - especially Nik, which is ironic as he named the song.

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