ION INDIE MAGAZINE October 2014, Volume 5 - Page 36

“I feel like the songwriting is cohesive; it’s our creative voice,” says Ross. “The way we executed the two EP’s was very different. The first EP was heavily electronic–there’s not a single acoustic drum on it. On the second EP, we were introduced to GABE (MARSHALL, Chameleon drummer), and it has a more organic, acoustic feel.” “I just feel like on the first EP, we didn’t know what we were doing in the studio,” Lowery adds. “It was trial and error; some of it worked, some didn’t. On the second EP, we incorporated more people, and relied on my and Andrew’s instinct to get us through. It felt like we had a better understanding of what we wanted to do, production-wise. We brought in some people that really helped our sound grow—GEROGIOS PESIOS was our mixer; he’s a phenomenal talent (other newer musical assistance includes TSO violinist CAITLIN MOE, JUSTIN SURDYN on trumpet, and saxophonist LENA LIEN). It was really an evolution from the first EP to the second.” With two EP’s worth of vital, heartfelt material that exudes such passion and musical dare, one wonders just what Chameleon has to offer on the live stage. Those familiar with the pomp and circumstance of a Trans-Siberian Orchestra show, and the Lowery/Ross involvement with that organization, will find something completely different in the Chameleon live presentation. “Sorry we couldn’t fit some fireworks in there,” jokes Lowery, self-deprecatingly about Chameleon’s show. “We actually do two different types of shows, mainly depending on the types of venues. We have electronic elements, and tracks playing underneath these live drums and live horns, a live violinist when Caitlin Moe comes out or Asha. Then we have guitars–Aurelien Budynek, and Andrew plays guitar and bass; it’s a loud show. We do full-on productions of what you hear on the record–that’s what you hear live.” Things play out slightly different for a more intimate venue. “We take out all the electronics,” says Lowery of the smaller stage confines. “We scale it down to a more acoustic vibe. Like here in New York, we have ROCKWOOD MUSIC HALL--it’s made for more coffee shop-type, easy-listening acoustic acts. But even toning things down, we’re still pretty loud.” The stark contrast between arena shows with TSO and the club-level gigs with Chameleon is not lost on the band. Lowery and Ross cherish both opportunities to showcase their talents, and have their sights set to take Chameleon to that next level that Trans-Siberian Orchestra enjoys. “In TSO, we’re treated like kings and queens; everything is taken care of for us,” Lowery begins. “With Chameleon, we’re trekking all the instruments and being the manager, the roadie, the stage hand–everything all in one. To go from luxury land to sort-of struggling, it’s very humbling. I love both–I’m really grateful for the TSO fans that are now Chameleon fans.” “I’m more nervous performing in the smaller venues with Chameleon for 30-40 people than I am in huge arenas,” Ross reveals. “I think it’s because it’s my own material, and I’m out there to be judged. Everyone knows and loves TSO; with us, it’s something new we’re presenting. I get a little more in my head about ‘will they like it?’” At press time, currently gearing up for another Trans-Siberian Orchestra winter tour, the prospect of new music and new shows looms on the 2015 horizon for Chameleon. The band’s plans were diverted a bit in 2014 due to some family illness. “We were supposed to start a tour,” Lowery says. “We had dates lined up this summer to promote the ‘Monster’ EP, and we had to cancel all that to be with family–obviously that was the right thing to do. We used that time to write a new record, which we hadn’t even planned on doing until next year. It’s going to be a double album, with two very different sides. You’re going to see a lot of us next year.” Leaving us with that taste of anticipation, Lowery and Ross wrap up what it’s like in their world, and hammer home the point that they certainly bring out the best in each other. “JOHN LENNON and PUAL MCCARTNEY made each other better because of friendly competition,” Ross says, recalling an article he’d recently read on the Beatle architects of songwriting. “That’s kind of what’s going on with us.” “There is a lot of that,” Lowery concurs, “but it’s really how Andrew completes my sentences. I’ll have a melody, or a lyric or concept–Andrew will know how to finish it. That’s why we work so well together.” Lowery prides herself on the fact that Chameleon is a figurative self-sustaining entity, doing everything under the most exemplary of DIY circumstances.