Out of tragedy, Brooklyn based Chappo deliver their third studio album “DO IT” on Votiv Music.
On the heels of their second album, after a period of touring, the band—singer Alex Chappo, guitarist David Feddock, and keyboardist Chris Olson—returned home. That record, Future Former Self, was a dense concept album, and between the labor of its creation and the stress of an extensive tour, the band had been thoroughly exhausted.
Their holiday was short-lived, however. A series of tumultuous events occurred in succession: the band parted ways with their drummer, Alex’s best friend committed suicide, a record was begun and abandoned, and Dave and his wife lost their young son, Winter. In the wake of this period, the remaining three members of the band scattered. The future of CHAPPO seemed bleak.“I think we all realized how delicate and fragile the life of the band was at that time,” Alex tells me. “We were acutely aware that at any moment the whole thing could unravel or fall apart.”
Ultimately though, the band began to play together again, taking solace in the process of writing and processing through their music. “Almost immediately after losing our son I had a moment of clarity,” says Dave. “It was like, more than ever, all the life and love that was missing needed to come out through the songs we were working on.”
The resultant album, DO IT, is a lithe, spangled tumble of a record. Rather than creating a memorial, the band decided to strike nearer to the wild heart of things by paring their sound down to its most primal and joyful components.
From the smoldering “White Noise,” to the kaleidoscopic, synth-tinged world of “Live My Life,” DO IT manages to refine CHAPPO’s psych-rock proclivities into something deeply essential. It’s a record that transmogrifies pain, and sadness, and boredom, and all the less-than-great parts of being a human being into a throbbing, galactic party. “It felt amazing to find a fresh creative process and catch a new flow with just the three of us. We felt like Winter’s spirit was ushering us into a sense of rebirth,” says Alex
The departure of their drummer, who also produced their first two albums, led the band to John Vanderslice, who invited them to record at his analogue studio Tiny Telephone in San Francisco. Recording to tape--being forced to make decisions quickly and decisively--melded nicely with their stripped-down approach.
John also encouraged them to approach the songs they’d written with a sense of spontaneity, forcing them to record quickly and embrace the process of discovery. “On the last two records, we were were obsessed with listening to each take,” Alex tells me, “We’d finish a take and would expect to be able to listen back and see if we nailed it. But John wouldn’t let us. He’d say ‘Either you got it or you think you can do better and we burn that take. You don’t get to listen back and psychoanalyze everything to death.’ He fought us on correcting mistakes and urged us to lean into whatever happened as it happened”
In the end, the creation of DO IT was an exercise in letting go. The members of CHAPPO, in the midst of personal tragedies and tumult, surrendered control in order to create their most fun, joyful work. Maybe, as the making of DO IT suggests, the way out of sorrow is surrender.