We had the good fortune of connecting with Chase Waller and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Chase, why did you pursue a creative career?
For a long time, writing music for me was an act of emulating. In middle school, I listened to music, identified songs I particularly enjoyed, learned how to play them, and then eventually tried to write my own version of them. None of the songs were very good, and obviously none of them were very authentic. However, I contribute my love of songwriting to this very explicit form of emulation because making music for me even now is still an act of mimicry. All that to say, I chose to pursue music because songs are my favorite form of storytelling. My love of listening inspired a desire to create. Good songs and good artists continually reinspire and redirect my desire to tell stories through music. So, I think the reason I chose to pursue art is that I want to create that process for myself. I want to prove to myself that I am a good storyteller too. And, hopefully, the further I chase that goal, the more authentic and refined that process will be.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Music is hard because, as I mentioned earlier, it’s difficult to feel like more than just a copycat. That said, I think that trying to surround myself with good music and good musicians (like Sammie), added to the limitations of equipment, time, and money that I have, forces me think creatively about how to make a song. I want everything to sound intentional and beautiful, and oftentimes it feels like a puzzle trying to fit in different instruments and melodies. I think on top of that, lyricism is always a tough part of songwriting. Writing good, poetic lyrics feels like such a fool’s errand sometimes. I have tried to take a more surrealist approach to that; I lean towards disjointed images and specific feelings to create an atmosphere and, hopefully, a meaning. At the end of the day, making as much music as possible eventually overcomes the hurdles of orchestration and lyricism. The more music you make, and the more you try incorporating cool things you hear, the more your music will blossom. And, of course, the more you write for yourself– the things you are feeling and thinking– as opposed to writing for what you think other people want to hear, will propel you forward.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Obviously, right now, there are a lot of limitations on where all you can go, and what you can see. If I was going to show someone the best time ever in Atlanta, I would definitely hit the aquarium. Maybe that would actually be the whole day, now that I think about it. Aquariums are the coolest places in the world. I could sit and stare at pretty much any tank in an aquarium for hours, so the Georgia Aquarium would be the number one spot to go. Maybe we would hit up the Botanical Garden one day and check out the Alice in Wonderland stuff. Flowers are cool too. And then we would have to go to an Atlanta United game. Nothing really beats European soccer, but Atlanta United games are as close as it gets. If the person didn’t even like soccer, they would probably get their money’s worth just staring at how insane the stadium is. Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My wife Sammie pretty much deserves all the credit. The first thing we did when we became friends in college was write a song together. I remember watching her perform in a battle of the bands and thinking to myself that she had the single most amazing voice I had ever heard. So I asked her to write a song to me, which she did and has kept doing since then. She is a much better musician than I am, so she constantly pushes me out of my comfort zone with my songwriting. She even organized my first recording session as a surprise gift. I made a new years resolution a few years back to finally record a song, and she set the whole session up for me so I could accomplish my goal. So, she pretty much single handedly catalyzed my music career, and pushed my songwriting in new and creative ways. I wouldn’t be making music without her.
Carl Simakoff Levi Matthan Michael Fuller Mary Kate Vanderhart