“This is the beginning of a new era for us,” says front man Chase Johnson. “We’re Southern California kids that grew up surfing and skating our entire lives which inspired our desire to be creative and start playing music together. There’s a real story to tell between the four of us and I feel like we’ve finally hit on something really special.”
Having originally met in Laguna Beach, singer Chase Johnson and drummer Nick Gross found success early together, thrust into the spotlight as featured characters on the MTV hit series, Laguna Beach. This led to countless sessions with acclaimed producers, successful touring, and notable TV appearances including one of the last performances on TRL. Bassist Evan Smith joined the equation only a few years’ later, bringing countless years of touring experience with Silversun Pickups, Chromeo, and Big Data. Classically trained guitarist Alex Asch quickly completed the quartet in early 2016.
“We’ve been best friends for decades.” says drummer Nick Gross. “I remember the first time I met Chase. His mother taught the church class we would go to after school together and I remember seeing this twelve-year old kid with a beard, and thought he was the coolest kid I had ever met. When he mentioned he also happened to be a singer, I was hooked. From that moment forward we rehearsed every day in our family garage. We always talked about our musical influences and created our identities as people through the band.”
The school friends that formed a band 12 years ago have now seen a cycle reborn- but this time not through the hands of major labels and agencies that brought years of raised hopes, broken promises, and false starts.
“After we signed our major label deal to Sony/Epic we spent the next four years touring and reflecting on where we envisioned our careers and our music going.” says Nick Gross. “This entire time we’ve played together there has always been a greater vision, a completely new brand with a clear identity that would mold itself over time through our experiences. Some of these experiences have been agonizing; but they have been crucial to the evolution of the band and our new identity.”
That identity, HALF THE ANIMAL, came alive in 2016- with an epic, enlightening, and invigorating message to tell. Together with the support of fellow hit songwriters J Kash (Maroon 5, Kesha) and Ammo (Jason Derulo, Katy Perry), the group’s debut EP, ‘SHAPES’ is a bold opening statement unleashing timeless pop melodies, atmospheric guitar tones, and dance-your-face off drum grooves.
“Babylon”, the alternative pop rock act’s first single, is an emotionally charged and cinematic tale that tells Chase’s story of youth and his struggle to kick old habits. Songs like “Saturday Night” toil with reoccurring unhealthy relationships carried by an uplifting hook that reminds you of your favorite four-on-the floor secret late-night weekend obsession.
“We love the concept that everything in life is made of shapes, and that on their own a shape doesn’t necessarily stand for anything, but when you combine them you can get an amazing piece of art that has a message,” says guitarist Alex Asch. “Kind of like a band, as an individual you create sounds, but as a group you create music.”
Utilizing a non-linear approach to their songwriting and production that captivates audiences, the band embraces diversity throughout the EP. ‘SHAPES’ embodies the emotional spectrum of a storied past and introduces us to the multidimensional sound we will come to know. “We believe that no single song should or ever have to feel the same, and we want to establish that tone early on,” says bassist Evan Smith. “We hope that this first release will give listeners an understanding of what the future holds for this band.”
Perhaps the name of the EP describes just that- an idea that an alternative pop rock band can take on multiple forms and multiple shapes– leaving an intriguing anticipation for what lies next around the corner.