I recently had the chance to do some promotional photos for local musician Chase Van Dusen, aka CHASE, in advance of his upcoming EP Compulsive. Chase has just released the first single from the EP, which consists of six songs recorded with JUNO Award-winning producer Siegfried Meier (Face to Face) and was mastered by five-time Grammy-nominated engineer Chris Athens (Coldplay, MGK, Drake). Van Dusen wrote all of the songs and performed all instruments and vocals except for drums, which were performed by Melvin Murray of Texas King. The first single, “Compulsive” is now available on all platforms, and the official lyric video is on YouTube.
Chase was previously the lead singer and songwriter for the Ottawa band Benefit of a Doubt, which toured Canada from coast to coast and played notable events such as SXSW, NXNE, Canadian Music Week, and other Indie showcases.
This interview has been edited and condensed. Disclosure: I provided photography services for the Compulsive EP.
Apt613: What can you tell us about this project and the Compulsive EP?
During the summer of 2019, I reached a major milestone in my life and I decided I needed to start releasing music again. Luckily, I had set up a demoing studio in my basement, right before the pandemic hit.
During the pandemic, I was able to write and demo over 20 songs. During this time, I reached out to my friend and producer Siegfried Meier, who helped me pick six songs and agreed to produce my project.
Writing and recording were a lot of work but I couldn’t be happier with the way the project turned out. Compulsive is as honest and unfiltered as I could get and I really hope it resonates with people. There are darker elements, but I hope that the overall feeling of this project is one of optimism.
I also feel truly blessed to have gotten the opportunity to work with such an amazing group of artists during the process of making and promoting Compulsive. Melvin Murray, Siegfried Meier, Britt Bragg of Little Black Design (artwork and graphic designs), Marc Lepage (photography), and Andy Wood (videographer). Working with all of these incredible people has been the best part of the project so far.
Tell us a bit about your path from Benefit of the Doubt to where you are now with this project.
After the band broke up, I released some solo material, but I knew I wanted to work on myself before I could focus on a big project again. Since then, I lived in Taiwan, I returned, battled my demons, got my life together, met the love of my life, got married, and now here we are. All of those things have inspired and helped me create my new material.
The guys from Benefit of a Doubt have always been super supportive of my music. I love those guys.
Is there any common element to the songs on the EP? What ties it all together?
Stay hopeful, stay optimistic, and be true to yourself. Beyond that, I would like for listeners to interpret the music through their own experience. I love hearing what people thought a song was about because I like to know what the song meant to them.
Do you have any plans to perform this material live?
I would like to. I’ve been practicing an acoustic set, but I hope I get to play a full band set again soon!
Who are your influences? Where do you draw your inspiration from?
It varies but right now I’ve been listening to a lot of Third Eye Blind, Nirvana, and Bring Me The Horizon.
Where is the best place for listeners to find and support this project?
They can check out my lyric video by Andy Wood on YouTube or they can check out my song on iTunes or Spotify.
What are your favourite Ottawa spots? Where are we most likely to bump into you?
Probably a music store like Steve’s or a venue supporting a local act, like Maverick’s or Club Saw.