What is your name and role within Chutney?
Cal Hughes, lead guitarist of Chutney.
Where are you currently based?
I live in Burleigh Heads in our hometown of the Gold Coast, QLD.
How did you first start playing music and how did Chutney form?
I began playing music from a very young age, playing cello, trumpet and bass guitar within the different classical and jazz bands in primary/ high school – I began teaching myself guitar when I was twelve so I could start making music that better reflected my personal tastes, and formed Chutney with Matt & Pat in mid-2019 after playing in a variety of different bands throughout our early twenties. Matt and I were playing in another local GC band Hot Coffee when Matt began writing a collection of rock songs that didn’t quite fit the electronic/hip-hop sound that Hot Coffee was known for, and I was very keen to form a new group that featured myself on guitar and matched the guitar-driven indie rock that the two of us primarily listened to – we quickly recruited Pat into the mix and began to write Matt’s songs into full band arrangements when we realised we had something special brewing. Andy was added as the final piece of the puzzle on drums and it’s been full speed ahead since then.
What’s been happening recently?
Working hard on new releases! As consumers of music ourselves we understand how hungry the public is for new music and we have been focussing on finding the line between quality over quantity – providing artistically consistent music while still keeping the momentum rolling from release to release. With this in mind, we are planning for two further releases by the end of the year, as well as maintaining our live performance output with a number of significant headline and support slots over the coming months.
Your latest single ‘Talk’ is out now, what influenced the sound and songwriting?
The sound of this track is what we consider the quintessential “Chutney” sound – riffy, bass-driven verses transitioning into a layered guitar-led breakdown, and culminating with a euphoric and atmospheric chorus with soaring, singalong vocals. In terms of the vocal approach, Matt opted for hip-hop laced verses to match the high energy feel, before kicking into the harmony-laden melodies of the pre-chorus and choruses.
In terms of the lyrical content, Talk is about looking out for your mates when they’re having a hard time – about how everyone has struggles from time to time, and how you are so much more important than you may ever realise. It is a song about mental health and the importance of leaning on those close to you in times of need. We wanted to create an uplifting, euphoric song that tackles sensitive subject matters while providing a positive ending – your mates will always be there for you, and having that talk is the first step to making a positive change.
How did you go about writing Talk?
The song began with Pat writing the bass riff that is featured heavily throughout the song, and Matt writing out the chordal arrangement and vocal melodies on his acoustic guitar with this riff in mind. The track then fell into my lap to build out the song in terms of forming a fully-fledged band arrangement, and I added a number of guitar elements which took the song from the hip-hoppy Gorillaz feel that the original demo takes on into more of that guitar-driven Chutney sound. Andy then provided the rhythmic energy that makes the track so dynamic, adding in a diverse drum part with multiple feel changes that gives the song its motor.
Where and when did you record/produce/master and who with?
The track was recorded at Lovestreet Studios on the Gold Coast and produced by our longtime collaborator Scotty French, whom we view as such a valuable contributor to our sound and output to date. Mastering was handled by Matt Bartlem who did an unbelievable job at making the track sound exactly as we wanted it, giving it a huge and raw sound while still maintaining the polish.
How did you approach the recording process?
The recording process for this track was quite seamless, which was surprising as we had only written the song about a month prior to recording – generally with our previous recordings we’ve had the song in the tank for months and months before getting into the studio and laying it down, but with Talk we knew from the moment we wrote it that it was going to be the next single. I have been guilty in the past of entering the studio with guitar solos and lead lines not yet written and improvising my parts while the recording tape is running, but for Talk we ensured that all of our parts were written prior to entering the studio, and it made a drastic difference in terms of efficiency and ultimately, quality.
What or who inspired the concept for the music video?
The concept for the music video was championed by Andy who took on the role of co-director as well as writer for the clip. The story of Matt waking in an unfamiliar location after a big night out and navigating his way throughout the day is not dissimilar to some of the situations that all four of us in the band have found ourselves in following our many wild nights together, and we wanted to represent our hometown of the Gold Coast with the locations used throughout the clip.
The clip opens with Matt waking up on the beach at sunrise after a big night out, and continues to follow him as he navigates the day without a cent to his name and one goal: get to the gig. Showing that even with a rough start, you can still make a day your own with the right attitude.
Where and when did you film?
The video was filmed over the course of one day in May and featured a number of locally-loved GC locations such as Alfred’s Apartment and Seven & One Studios in Mermaid Beach, and Mo’s Desert Clubhouse in Burleigh Heads.
What did you find most challenging and rewarding during the creation of the video?
The clip was filmed, directed and edited by Nick Stevens of Fastback Studios and he was incredible in terms of his creativity, professionalism and ease to work with. The bulk of the performing within the clip was placed upon Matt, and as he is naturally very comfortable in front of the camera everything moved along smoothly. We also recruited the services of a number of our friends to take part in the video as extras, and they were all so helpful and generous with their time – we are forever grateful to everyone who contributes their time and energy whenever required.
Please tell us about any upcoming live shows.
We just played a headline sold out capacity crowd at Burleigh Bazaar for our single launch last Saturday which was amazing, and have a number of exciting support slots upcoming, including:
- Sat 24th July: Nightquarter (Sunshine Coast) supporting Kingswood
- Thurs 5th August: Wooly Mammoth (Brisbane) supporting Vanilla Gorilla
We are also booked for two very exciting festivals; firstly, we are headlining the Brisbane Indie Winter Project at The Zoo on 13th August, and later in the year we are very excited to be playing as a part of the Gold Coast’s Springtime Festival alongside heavy hitters such as Ball Park Music, Ruel, Hermitude and Sycco in September.
Who are you listening to at the moment?
I personally have been listening at length to Puma Blue’s ‘A Late Night Special’ live album, Arlo Parks and Big Red Machine’s new releases, and local Aussie’s Eliza & The Delusionals and Eluera.
What do you like to do away from music?
I love to watch and play sport with my mates, drink beers and enjoy the Gold Coast sunshine.
What’s planned for the remainder of 2021?
We will be playing a number of exciting support shows as previously mentioned, as well as getting our first taste of big festival slots and putting together a few more big headline shows to compliment our upcoming two releases which we’ve scheduled to drop before the end of the year.
Favourite food and place to hangout?
I’m a sucker for a steak sandwich and schooner at my local Burleigh Hotel or Nobby’s Beach Surf Club, and the yakitori and ramen at Iku in Burleigh is unbeatable.