With hazy propulsions and billowing soundscapes, the new single No One’s Watching Over from the Gold Coast’s Chavez Cartel is a cool, calm and deeply collected outing, shifting tack slightly from the group’s earlier 2023 EP Man’s Best Friend, but still undeniably Chavez Cartel. Also accompanied by a new music video, complete with an imposing mansion and sharp aesthetics, No One’s Watching Over amalgamates the building blocks of Chavez Cartel’s sonic DNA while also building towards a new EP release in 2024. Unfurling as an effortless and authentically charming journey, No One’s Watching Over will also undoubtedly be a fixture on the band’s setlist at The New Colossus Festival in 2024 following their invitation to perform at the event in New York next year.
Curious to know more about Chavez Cartel, we directed a dozen questions at guitarist Jack Kelly to see what else we could find out.
1 What was the spark which lit your flame for music?
When I was 5 years old, I remember seeing Angus Young on a dvd concert my dad bought. I wanted a Gibson SG ever since. From that moment on, the spark for music was ignited.
2 What was the first music you purchased with your own money?
First music I purchased would have to be ACDC or KISS. They were the first bands I remember ever hearing as a child.
3 Are there any sentimental stories behind your instrument purchases?
Sadly no, there is no real sentimental value. Maybe as I grow old, I will feel differently.
4 What was your first band t-shirt?
First band t shirt was ACDC I think, there might be a theme here. From memory, my dad got me a shirt with the ACDC logo, other than that, I never really cared for band t shirts, I hardly wear shirts in general.
5 A record that changed your life?
A record that changed my life would be Powerage by ACDC. The raw tone of both guitars, working harmoniously together to create a wall of sound that still inspire generations to this day, just like the Rolling Stones.
6 What’s your latest recording ?
Our latest recording is our single, No Ones Watching Over from our latest EP yet to be released. The single is out now and is one of our catchiest tunes in my opinion.
7 Most fun support gig so far?
Most fun support gig was for the Reytons in Sydney, Australia. Was amazing to play to a Yorkshire crowd in Australia. Our UK tour provided us with similar quality shows as well.
8 What’s on your gear wish list?
A wall of vintage Marshall Plexis would be gear I want. To have that wall of sound from the old school records of Zepplin, ACDC and all those 60’s/70’s rock bands but with a bit of a 90’s twist.
9 What would you like your music career to look like in 5 years time?
In 5 years I want to be filling medium sized venues at the very least and maybe have released two full track albums, not EP’s.
10 What would be your dream collaboration?
Dream collaboration with ACDC, of course. I would think that would be an experience only to ever happen once in a lifetime.
11 What would you consider to be your greatest musical achievement to date?
Greatest musical achievement would be opening for Reytons in Sydney, and touring the UK. Both opportunities have giving us so much hope in terms of positive engagement and feedback from the audience.
12 What gigs are coming up in the next few months?
No gigs till next year, were focusing on video content and behind the scenes stuff, organising tours… possibly in different countries too… stay tuned to find out
MORE ABOUT CHAVEZ CARTEL AND THEIR SINGLE ‘NO ONE’S WATCHING OVER’
Amongst its woozy guitars, driving beats and creamy vocals No One’s Watching Over revels in moody aesthetics and harder-hitting moments. Like a modern jolt merged with The Velvet Underground & Nico, No One’s Watching Over’s origins quickly evolved during a well-timed jam session, with the hypnotic track seamlessly flexing the band’s trademark HBO soundtrack-worthy swoon alongside themes of feeling lost in the moment, as the band explain, “No One’s Watching Over is about feeling lost and having a fair assessment of where you’ve gone wrong in life (and right) to get you to where you currently stand. It’s about being harsh but being fair. It’s about being held accountable but accurately accountable. It’s not about getting to the answers though. That stage where we have more clarity comes after this song. This song is about the feeling of going round in circles when we don’t know what to do with ourselves. It’s the first step towards repair but we can’t even see that yet. The hazy sounds of the song really do paint the picture so well of the hazy feeling of not feeling all there. The song was written in a time of self-work after a heavy break up.”
Teaming up once again with ARIA Award-winning producer Govinda Doyle to bring No One’s Watching Over to life, Chavez Cartel also sought to actively step beyond their comfort zones when it came to creating the perfect accompanying video for their latest release, pursuing more artistic territory with Direct Entertainment’s Anthony Brown at the helm of the band’s creative vision. And fluidly balancing the old with the new, the band’s team and lack of creative barriers proved to be the pivotal spark to lead Chavez Cartel into this new chapter. “Govinda Doyle did everything that we could not,” says the band. “We worked together on our last record, and we started to feel things changing for us and we want a lot more of the same. ‘Don’t fix what isn’t broken’ as they say. We also wanted a more arty video than anything we’d done previously, relying less on performances and making it more of an artistic introduction of the band. We hired the perfect location while we were away on tour earlier in the year – a really old mansion full of art, history, books and character, and the storyboard just sort of wrote itself. Once AB, our video guy, had familiarised himself with the property, we just let him do his thing. All we did was dress accordingly and get drunk on set. He did the rest. We always try to give our collaborators as much freedom as possible so that they can get into the project as if it were their own. I mean technically it is their own, so once we’ve outlined the concept and explained our style, we really do just hand the rest over. It’s important for creatives to be authentic and have their stamp on things, otherwise what’s the point?”
Releasing two EPs in 2019, Lucky Lucky and Confidence Is All I’m Taking Home, Chavez Cartel bunkered down during the pandemic years, turning their gaze and full focus into sharpening their sound and songwriting. The end result was their 2023 EP release Man’s Best Friend, which was unveiled after the group signed with End Of The Trail Records. Following Man’s Best Friend, Chavez Cartel embarked on an extensive East Coast headline tour, with 2023 also finding the group supporting The Reytons for their What’s Rock N Roll Australian Tour, as well as their first ever UK show, ticking off headline shows in Sheffield, Barnsley and Rotherham alongside performances at The Great Escape Festival in Brighton and at the End Of The Trail Creative Showcase in London.
Gaining support from BBC Radio while across the pond earlier this year, Chavez Cartel have also recently appeared at Rockhampton River Festival, as main support for The Delta Riggs, and will trek back overseas in 2024 after being officially invited and scheduled to play at The New Colossus Festival in New York next March. And for Chavez Cartel, the prospect of another imminent international adventure is one that affirms that the sky is the limit for this talented Gold Coast collective. “It was sort of like a before and after moment in our career thus far,” shares the band. “Looking back, before that UK tour, we were half the band we are now, and we owe it all to the vital experiences that tour gave us. There’s something really boosting about getting on planes and being received well at the other side of the world for doing your thing. The top up of self-belief and surety we got from that tour was an acceleration that we’ve never felt before; or at least not at the pace we felt it. It just goes to show that there are some things you just have to do to move forward, and that first international tour was one of those for us. Playing at a showcase event too was great for us because it wasn’t just new fans that we picked up, industry personnel also bought into us which again gave us more confidence in what we are doing. It’s like if the moguls see potential then it adds to the argument that there’s a career to be had here. We picked up some New York connections which shows as the next showcase event we were invited to play at happened to be in New York. Funny how things work out, isn’t it? A band from Gold Coast playing shows around London and picking up festivals in America. What a ride!”
No One’s Watching Over is out now