Chain Gang of 1974's Kam Mohager on how surfing changed his sound and his life
Does it still fall in a dance vein, or is this record farther out?
It's dance-y, but it's not, "I'm putting out a dance record." It's really loud and really bass-driven. Not dance-y basslines. Not like "Hold On." But you can't not move to it. It's dance-y, but it's not LCD Soundsystem.
Do you have a tentative release date?
I talked about it with my team a couple days ago. There's no release date yet. We still have a lot to take care of. We really want to do this right. We want everything set up. At the earliest, it'll be late spring -- end of May, maybe early summer.
How did you and Isom first connect?
When I first started Chain Gang, the scene in Colorado Springs really adopted me. There was a church basement venue called The Element that had a really cool community for a little bit, maybe a year. Things were going off over there. It would be packed when I played. Isom's mom and stepdad were running that church. One day, he was there and we met. He was in a band that I was listening to and loved. We just become buddies.
One day, I hit him up when he was home from school, and we did a record in six days, and that record ended up getting the Chain Gang signed. Ever since then, it's just, "Let's make music together." It's fun. It's really easy. A lot of people want to say it's really hard to make an album -- and I may sound like a complete asshole for saying this -- but I think it's easy. It's like last month, I don't even remember writing these songs. It just happened so fast. That's something special when you're working with someone -- especially artistically -- if you're having so much fun with it that goes by really fast, then you're doing something right.
After all the praise for Wayward Fire, does it get harder or easier to do the follow-up?
I think it's easy. I'm really proud of that record. There was a short moment when I was cursing it, and after being on tour for a year-and-a-half, playing those songs and dealing with personal things in my life, there was a lot that I did wrong on that album. I recently went back and listened to it, and I'm proud of it. It sold a very small amount. It was successful in a lot of other departments: We played great festivals and tours.
The main thing with the new album was just to get away from the old one. I changed a lot in my life over the last year. I got healthy, I quit smoking, I started exercising and I took up surfing. Surfing is my new love. I've surfed every day for the last seven months. When you're on a wave -- this sounds cliché -- you get picked up by this wave to go on a ride and you're carving a line. There's not a cooler feeling. Once you experience that, your mind is never the same, at least not for me. Surfing was a huge influence on this record. California was a big influence. I took what I was feeling and put it on the record instead of looking back and saying I have to do this or that differently.
That record is what it is. It'll never be recreated. We can never outdo it. We can never do a song like that again. Let's move on and let's just write. Whatever comes out, comes out. There's nothing you can do about it. You can't force it. A month later we had a ten-song record and it was really cool.