Interview: Chasm – Smoking Aces EP

The second EP from Chasm’s 2013 EP series is Smoking Aces and features rising star Monchichi who has enjoyed considerable airplay on triple j’s Unearthed of late. Chasm once again delivers another air tight release to add to his ever-increasing musical catalog.

chasm smoking aces

You are currently working on an EP series. The first EP released in this series was titled Diamond Cuts and featured MC Skryptcha and Rachel Berry. Tell us a bit about this EP and the concept behind Diamond Cuts?
I produced a bunch of tracks for Rachel a few years back, but nothing came of them unfortunately. When we were in the studio with Skryptcha one day late last year, we were playing him the demos of these older songs and he was really feeling them and had the idea to revamp them and add some raps to the songs, make it a collaborative thing. So that was where the initial idea began and then the title was based on the idea of rediscovering these old joints, picking the best ones and polishing them up.

You’ve worked with MC Skryptcha on numerous occasions now, including his debut Food For Thought EP. What is it about this relationship that seems to be so conducive in making great music?
I think we have similar taste in music and production, so from the beginning there was always common ground . He is reliable and has a solid work ethic, which I have too, so the combo just seems to work well.

You are in an interesting position as an artist in Australia, having ties with 3 different labels (Elefant Traks, Obese Records & Central Station). Did you ever envisage yourself in this position and how do you find it working with these varying labels?
Yeah it’s interesting to see how all the different labels operate and to see which ways work best. I like working with all of them, as long as everything is in place before a release and everything goes to plan, it’s all good.

2012 was a big year for yourself, working a number of projects but none more revered than your LP, This Is How We Never Die. The LP featured some huge names both locally and internationally. How did you go about developing this album in terms of features and direction?

I put together a wish list at the beginning of the project of who id like to work with and then myself and my manager went through it and just tried to make the features happen where possible. Then Id think about which collaborators would work well and which beats would suit who. As far as production, some beats were a few years old and some were new. Overall I wanted to use mainly slower, moodier kinda joints.

With the various styles of beats and artists you worked with, what part of the production process do you receive the most enjoyment or personal reward from?
Just making beats, that’s the best bit! Being in the studio with my MPC, some records, some new drums, a blank canvas, man that’s the best feeling, just creating new music that’s what I love doing. After that the hard work begins haha.

You’ve just dropped the second EP in the series and it’s titled Smoking Aces. With this EP you’ve worked with a local up and comer called Monchichi. Tell us about Chi and how you two came together?
I met him through my manager. He is down with a few friends of mine too but our paths had never really crossed. I saw him perform last year and was feeling his style , was just refreshing to hear someone doing something different and it was dope! So I decided it’d be cool to do an EP with him and I got in touch.
We vibed in the studio a few times, it was really easy actually, he mainly wrote on the spot in the studio and then we would record straight away and come back and fix things up or redo where necessary at a later date. Definitely keep an eye on this guy, he’s busy releasing dope music.

When working on a project with someone who you’ve just met or might not be as familiar with, how do you go about navigating the creative process and then in the case of Smoking Aces drop an EP together?
I think you generally just find out how each person likes to work and feels most comfortable working and then you can kinda give each other space to do your things. Once you can give the project a definite direction that makes it easier too, like Monchichi already had the concept for the EP before he came to the studio the first time , so that was cool coz it setup the whole thing and gave us a point to start from.

Tell us a bit about the overall series of EP’s and what we can expect from the next couple of releases?
The next one is going to be something really different from the usual Chas. I’m just doing some stuff I’ve been wanting to try out for a while but haven’t had the opportunity. The last in the series is my EP with UK rapper, Blaktwang. That’s coming together nicely, he was out here earlier in the year recording for it and we got some heavy tunes together so I’m looking forward to that.

What do you think about the quality of producer found in Australia at the moment and where they rank in an international market?
I think there are a bunch of really great producers here that are at an international standard without a doubt.

Where can people pick up the new EP and keep up to date with the series?
Go to iTunes to cop the EP and visit to keep posted on the upcoming releases in the series, next one dropping in Sept!

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