Featured image courtesy of the artist
Chestnut Grove’s latest music video “Neighbors for Now” is becoming incredibly successful with over 6,000 hits within the first week of its release. Rock on Philly! has been watching this band closely over the past year or so, and we are so stoked to see them making strides, from small town basement jam band, to a rising talent that is broadening its fan base beyond Philly and our surrounding suburbs. We caught up with James Daniels of Chestnut Grove for a light-hearted interview to get the scoop on all things “Grove”.
ROP: First off, let me say that we love the new video! It’s got that whole vintage, down home vibe that is so identifiable to Chestnut Grove’s appeal. It’s just one of those tracks you would put on a playlist for a long drive and are able to listen to it at any point in time. Wrznasty did a stellar job directing the video, so send him some kudos from us here at Rock on Philly! Can you break down what the premise of the song is about or the inspiration behind the lyrics?
James Daniels: I wrote the guitar riff in High School, 5 years ago. I am sure it has changed a lot it was just something I sat on for a long time. The lyrics are about being judged. We tend to judge our neighbors or fear of being judged by our neighbors and our peers. I hope that makes some sense.
ROP: No, I totally get it. That’s an interesting very relatable topic to hone in on and write a song about. That riff seems to have been your brain child for some time, so it’s awesome it finally has a place to call home within this track. This is the first Chestnut Grove music video of its kind, what was the process like?
JD: The production process was simple. We just recorded a live take in the band’s practice space while Wrznasty took video of the band’s performance. We were very impressed with how well this all worked since it was our first time we did a video like this. I can’t wait to do it again.
ROP: It’s great to see you (James) step forward and take the reigns on vocals during this track, you have a very earthy sound to your voice. Personally, I love when Dee joins in on backup vocals during the last chorus; it really ties the track together. What is it like to be in a group where many of the band mates are able to wear different hats?
JD: One day we wanted to explore each of us trying to sing and play as many instruments as we could. If Dee, Myself, Gary, John or Zach makes a riff or has some lyrics and a melody, we just simply do our best to build around the songwriter. It’s about complementing one another and being clear on the overall vision of the song. With “Neighbors [for Now]” I felt it was just simple and honest, and the band did a great job of showcasing the emotion of the lyrics with all of their individual parts.
ROP: The video appears to be doing great, can you elaborate on its success and what that means for the band?
JD: The success of the video was the most pleasant surprise ever. We worked [really] hard on the video, came up with a simple release plan with our team, and hoped for a great response. But, you just never know how well a release will actually do.
ROP: Last time we touched base, you were in the beginning process of new management. Explain what it’s been like to be a local band from Perkiomenville, PA and being part of that transformation.
JD: It’s been surprisingly natural. We are just continuing to try and be better musicians, songwriters, and live entertainers. Working with our new team on the management side has been great, as well. Starting to build out a team with them is super exciting because it creates more opportunities for everyone involved.
ROP: That sounds great! It’s always good to see artists collaborate with the mutual intention of bettering all the creatives involved. You just toured through West Virginia, right? What’s it like being in a van with everyone for such long trips?
JD: We are all best friends from High School. So basically it’s kind of like carpooling with your friends to school for the AM wake and bake. However, school is 7 hours away now.
ROP: West Virginia is a long way from Philly. What’s the scene for Chestnut Grove out there? What fueled your desire to remain loyal?
JD: We are simply trying to provide the fans we touch with a memorable experience that’s honest and (hopefully) entertaining. As an independent group we’re slowly, but consistently reaching new people outside of our hometown and it’s exciting. We’re so grateful to get in front of new crowds and new fans. The scene in West Virginia is great-nothing but good times and good vibes all around.
ROP: Last question I just have to ask, who is the cuttle lil pup in the video?
JD: Snickers is my family dog. She is pretty much deaf ‘cause of how much she loves band practice. I assume Wrznasty kept his shots with her in it ‘cause it’s real. We practice at my parent’s barn and Snickers is there everyday.