Chasing Lions to make its live-performance debut at Riffs
July 3, 2012
Singer and songwriters Gillian Chase and Rob Leo met at Riffs Acoustic Music last year and began playing music together.
Leo originally backed Chase’s singing on acoustic guitar.
"We were playing originals and one day I asked what she listened to and she said Ghostland Observatory and Sound Tribe Sector 9, all these electronica groups and I was like, ‘That’s my thing. I haven’t missed a Sound Tribe show in six years.,’" Leo said. "We clearly have a good musical chemistry, so let’s make music that we like to listen to."
That’s how Chasing Lions, a reference to the two musicians’ last names, was formed, and the two will play again at Riffs for its second annual outdoor concert on Wednesday, July 7. The headliner will be the Sideshow Ramblers.
In the past year, the Leo and Chase wrote and programmed songs and made a game plan for Chasing Lions.
"We had some definite goals," Chase said. "Part of the planning was regarding the technology. We’re using Ableton software for our live shows and Rob does most of that and it’s really difficult to get a grasp on."
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Although Leo had been dabbling with that software since he was a freshman in college, he was just using it to produce hip-hop beats and never thought of using it live.
"It’s an intimidating genre to get into," he said. "This is my first foray into it. I’ve actively listened to it and thought I could do it because I could feel it really well, but there is a lot to learn.
The reason is because a lot of people who do it tend to be "computer nerds," said Leo who works a day job at Skullcandy.
"Unfortunately, I am not one, so, I basically had a second job going home to study how to do it," he said.
The duo’s songs sometimes begin as Chase’s acoustic-guitar compositions, which are develop into an electronic version.
"We write songs in two ways," Leo said. "The first way is to take the structure of her songs and instead of using acoustic guitar, use a cool synth and drum beat."
The second way starts with Leo.
"I’ll come up with something in the program and ask her to write something to it," Leo said. "That’s actually worked out well."
Both Leo and Chase love electronic music for different reasons.
"I like it because it draws other people to it," said Leo. "I’ve played in a other bands in Colorado and the ones I enjoy the most are when people are up dancing and grooving. I feed of that. So, that made me want to make something that has an infectious beat and gets people going."
"I just love electronic music," Chase said. "Lately I’ve been getting into the heavier and deeper sound of dub step, which a lot of people don’t have a taste for it. I like the contrast of dub and the lightness of electronica."
Chasing Lions music isn’t full-on electronica, however, Leo said. It’s a mix of electronic and organic elements.
"For a live show, I have 64 buttons to cue up, but I plan on playing some guitar, too," he said. "I’ll be playing guitar as much as I’ll be touching buttons and we’ll even have places where we can improvise. I’ll have loops going where were can jam for awhile."
The Riff’s show will be the first time Chasing Lions will perform its electronica set live.
"We’re excited because we’ve been working at this project for a year," Chase said.
Riffs Acoustic Music, 1205 Iron Horse Dr., will present its second annual outdoor concert on Saturday, July 7, from 7 p.m. until 10 p.m. Artists include the electronica duo Chasing Lions and the classic-rock grooves of the Sideshow Ramblers. The evening will include opportunity drawings for Taylor and Godin guitars, Kala ukeleles, Real Salt Lake tickets and more. The BYOB event is a benefit Kids Play International, an organization that uses sports to educate children in Africa. For more information, visit http://www.riffspc.com .