Feature: Chavez Cartel Give Us A Track By Track Of New EP Man’s Best Friend

Can you give us the background to the record? 

We recorded the EP during lockdown I think it was May 2021. We’d been remaining as active as we could be through the isolation period but the inconsistencies and lack of opportunities almost broke us. We were really pushing our sound at the time and we all had a lot of ideas we agreed with but a lot that we disagreed on. The stresses that came with Covid really made their way into the band while recording but in hindsight it did us a favour. So much anger and pain was put into this record. They say what doesn’t break you makes you and this record almost broke the band up but in hindsight it’s the record that got us signed and eventually got us our first international tour. It’s also the record we put to The Reytons boys when we were trying to support them on their tour. Good things don’t come easy and we really believe in this EP but fuck me it was hard to make. 

At the time I was binge watching Peaky Blinders and the soundtrack just took me in and didn’t let me go. The music on that show is practically it’s own genre. Ya gotta sound a certain way to get your tunes on that show and that’s what I aimed for. The Peaky Blinders sound. Big bad arse guitars and vocals that pack a punch. Slow burners and heavy effects. That’s what we wanted and that’s what we went for. 

The only thing that was different with how we recorded this was that we recorded it in two places. We did four songs at a local studio and then when the boarders opened up again we went and record the other two with our regular engineer (Govinda Doyle). 

Track By Track

Mans Best Friend

This was the first track to be written off the record and in many ways was the turning point. Our songs after this track show clear signs of improvement and the opportunities that presented themselves to us following this was clear that we’d stepped up as a band. It’s a song about changes in life and finding the character to adapt well. It’s about looking in the mirror and asking the right questions of yourself. “A better man must, MUST begin to wonder where he’s going”. That lyric sums up this song it’s about accountability and self development but it started from a lowly piss poor place. 

Midnight Skies

This is a breakup song. It was written while I was still in the relationship but it was clear it had done and then imminently it was. It’s about giving something your all and coming out with an empty hand. Well almost an empty hand because the lessons learned were really fuckin important. Lyrically it’s a bit of a gut wrenching song but the guitars and music are all bright so the misery is well disguised. If Nick Cave covered this song it could go as low as you could humanly imagine. A sad song with a happy feel. It sort of puts on a brave face which means it has balls. We dig that. 

Coming Around

This is the centre peace of the record for us. It’s riffy as fuck and is the epitome of what we were trying to get out of this record. It’s a bit post punk and a little bit IDLES inspired. The end is huge and a lot of anguish came out in this song. Vocally and instrumentally this was performed in almost hatred. Big angry song this. Love it! 

Writers Block

Very grungey number this and the oldest song on record. A version of this song was written about 6 years ago and it sort of always stuck around as an easy go-to option when we needed to kill a bit of time. It’s actually about writers block too. I was once struggling to write anything so I wrote about not being able to write about anything. Nothing else to write about at the time so things got desperate I guess. Groovy tune though and creepy vocal. Another dirty song. 

Don’t Sit Down…

Of course this song belongs to Arctic Monkeys but we were doing a sound check one day and this song just started being jammed and that was that. It sounded good and like us straight away so we covered it and stuck it on the record. It’s worked out quite well with us going over to UK and doing some headline shows in Yorkshire so we’ll drop it into a few of our sets over there to give them something familiar to enjoy. 

Dead Weekend

I said earlier that Peaky Blinders was our inspiration. Well this is as close as we got I think. Slow burning fight music. In terms of where the idea came from it was a mash up of two songs “In Every Dream Home A Heartache” by Roxy Music and “Colossus” by IDLES. The slow burning bangers with dark cool storey telling is exactly what this is and it’s exactly what they are too. It’s a song about being kicked around but never giving up and always moving forward. Trusting your path no matter how dark and difficult some of the turns are to take. “But I just turn my back and I walk and I pray, pray, pray it’s guna happen now”. I still feel the desperation of that lyric every time I sing it. I remember being absolutely desperate to turn a corner after doing the hard yards and self work. I remember believing I’d done enough and that the light wasn’t far away. Hoping the light was close because I didn’t know how much I had left to give. Empowering song and I’m here to tell the tail so in the end the song and the EP is a story of hard flight success. A battle won. 

Read our review of the EP here

Find out more via the bands Facebook

‘Man’s Best friend’ is out now and available to download and stream here.

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