Before I interrupted them with my call, the guys from All Chiefs were in the midst of a rehearsal, probably perfecting their well-crafted, genre-defying indie-rock songs for their upcoming performance at the Westword Music Showcase this Saturday, June 24. They'll be opening up the festival from the Coors Light Stage and treating Showcase-goers to dance-heavy tunes with memorable, sing-along choruses.
The central theme for All Chiefs is just that: Everyone is a leader, and no member of the band is simply following along with the rest of the band. Musicians each contribute to the band with their own distinct voice. This creed shines through in their music, made apparent by the genre-stretching that can be found in each song. Sometimes All Chiefs will make you dance. Other times they'll make you bang your head, and other times they'll bring a tear to your eye with their uncanny ability to honestly convey the emotions that went into the making of a song.
This stylistic diversity is also represented in the band's influences: All Chiefs cite artists as disparate as LCD Soundsystem, Billy Joel and Childish Gambino as inspiration for their craft. The band even recently played a Weezer tribute show, in which it covered The Blue Album in its entirety. "We try to find the most effective part of something we like and capitalize on it and make it our own," says guitarist Justen Howard. Frontman Mic Carroll expands on this idea, as well as the genuine love of music the bandmembers share: "It's easier to like [a song] than to find something to hate about it."
Howard adds that being hard to pin down stylistically has helped the act find success: "We're just different enough where it's hard to find bands that sound like us, but we still find a lot of bands that we connect to."
Since connecting through a Craigslist ad in 2013, All Chiefs has made a home for itself in Denver and has come to love the local music scene.
Carroll says that when he first got here, "it seemed like [the local music scene] hadn't quite blown up yet," which meant that there was "room for everybody." This has helped foster a scene where artists are genuinely committed to helping each other succeed. Howard sums up this sentiment by describing the musicians here as "immune to egos."
Last year, the band released the first EP produced with its current lineup, an electric, five-track rocker called Fashion Forward. The EP covers a lot of bases in five songs, with the band portraying straight-up rock and roll as well as indie songs that flirt with dance music. In all cases, All Chiefs pumps out songs that listeners can relate to and subsequently get lost in.
Fashion Forward is bolstered by the single "Pusher," which takes the listener on an auditory journey through uptempo choruses and nostalgic breakdowns.
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Next on the horizon for All Chiefs: making waves at the Westword Music Showcase this Saturday. The band hopes to keep its momentum going and make the most of the opportunity it has in sharing the stage with national acts like Shakey Graves and Cut Copy.
The band wants to surprise people and raise expectations for local bands. Ultimately, though, All Chiefs just wants its music to resonate with audience members.
Concludes Carroll: "We want people to connect with our music on the level that we enjoy other people's music."
Be sure to catch All Chiefs this Saturday at the Westword Music Showcase, at 12:35 p.m. on the Coors Light stage. Purchase tickets for Showcase here.