Profile: Chariot Fade (2019)

When Chariot Fade formed earlier this year, it was contained mostly to three musicians and two rooms of home-recording equipment. Listening to the pristine and ethereal psych-pop of its two-song sampler on Bandcamp, self-released in September, you’d never know the trio’s story was so home-spun.

“For the last eight months, it’s been us, locked away, working on new ideas, working on some mixes – we’ve isolated ourselves,” says band member Jesse Ley.

Not for long. Chariot Fade will make its live debut Wednesday, Oct. 2 at Spirit in Lawrenceville.

“It was like, ‘Oh we have a show coming up – we have to learn how to play these songs,’” laughs Ley. “Transitioning from a studio-focus band to a performance-focused band has been really fun.”

Chariot Fade – which features multi-instrumentalists Ley, Jonathan Chamberlain and Stephen Gallo – formed out of the trio’s roles in the more guitar-driven Delicious Pastries. That band played its final show in February at Howler’s.

“We were working on songs that didn’t have names attached to them; some of them started in the previous band and just didn’t fit,” says Chamberlain. “When [Yip Deceiver] said, ‘We’re coming through Pittsburgh. Do you have a band ready?’ we laughed and said, ‘We can get a band ready.’”

Chariot Fade is an interesting meeting point of sample-heavy, groove-based indie rock like Stereolab or Of Montreal and the nuanced psychedelics of ’60s-era French pop. But what does a band that existed almost entirely in recordings made in Ley’s living room and Gallo’s bedroom do when it’s got a gig coming?

“We’re learning about how to play live,” Chamberlain says. “It’s an interesting thing. ‘How are we going to do this live? Who’s going to play what?’”

On Oct. 2, Chamberlain will (mostly) take on front-man duties, singing and playing guitar and keyboards. Ley will handle keyboards and work on triggering samples. Gallo will play guitar. But Chariot Fade will be a five-piece at Spirit; Dane Adelman, of the recently disbanded trio The Lampshades, will play bass live and Rave Ami drummer Evan Meindl will sit behind the set.

Ley has been here before. He toured aggressively after joining Black Tie Revue in 2004. Though he cut his milk-teeth playing drums in the Natrona Heights area, he has developed quite the role as a jack of all trades.

“There’s a luxury in being able to do a lot of things a little bit,” Ley laughs. “In Black Tie Revue, it was keyboards. In Delicious Pastries, it was drums. My role [in Chariot Fade] is to try to do all things. There are things that need to get done and I’m happy to let that happen.”

“I’m reluctant to use a label,” he adds. “And it’s turning out really well.” – Justin Vellucci, Pittsburgh Current, Oct. 1, 2019


About the author

Justin Vellucci is a staff writer for PopMatters, Spectrum Culture, and MusicTAP, a contributor to Pittsburgh Current, and a former staffer for Popdose, Punk Planet and Delusions of Adequacy. His music writing has appeared in national magazines such as American Songwriter, alt-pubs like The Brooklyn Rail, Pittsburgh CityPaper and San Diego CityBeat, blogs Swordfish, Punksburgh and Linoleum, and the Gannett magazine Jetty. He lives in Pittsburgh.

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