“Support local music.” While this phrase may seem tiresome for any music snob who proclaims to be up on the latest trends, the fact is that the future of the form is dependent on the support of local bands looking to cut their own slice of the music industry pie. We are currently in the threshold of the music renaissance, where local indie bands are permeating the market and establishing a landmark for obnoxiously beautiful music.
Exemplifying this motif is the Hartford, Conn. based band, Cheem. Featuring Sean Thomas ‘17 on the skins, as well as vocalist Sam Nazaretian, guitarist and vocalist Skye Holden, guitarist Gabe Weitzman and bassist RJ Briggs, Cheem brings together the light-hearted goodness of indie rock with the instrumental complexity of emo rock to create a form that blends into a variety of unexpected genres including math rock and power pop.
However, during the week of March 5, Cheem will break new ground as they release their latest single, “Spiral,” a follow-up to 2016’s split EP with Budris, as well as a music video for the latest release.
“With all our new material, we’re trying to blend accessible grooves and melodies with more technical elements,” said Thomas. “Overall, we all love emulating the energy of 90s alternative rock, combining it with melody and a bit of mathey-ness to create our own sound.”
Though “Spiral” diverges from their typical iteration of emo pop, Cheem manages to permeate through to a new market of listeners who constantly are craving the ever-popular indie pop madness.
Reaching new audiences has been the central mission of Cheem since their start at the University of Hartford and that mission still rings true today. This is evident as the band recently hosted a boisterous gig on campus at Thomas’ townhouse last semester, an event that somehow pushed the envelope of exactly how far Cheem is willing to take their music.
“I was inspired by popular DIY shows that Cheem frequently plays, where we’ll pack 50 plus energetic people into a basement, all there for the love of music,” Thomas said emphatically. “I want people on campus to experience that, it’s so different from the norm here at Fairfield.”
With that norm being busted, Thomas stressed that he hopes to host another townhouse show with Cheem, further embracing a wider audience that may be drawn to the pounding rhythms and popping bass lines coming from an unsuspecting townhouse.
“We’ve got another one coming with Cheem and a few other amazing local acts, so here’s hoping the enthusiasm is still there,” added Thomas.
As for the remainder of 2017, Cheem looks to broaden their horizons with the release of their second EP, which has been tested out in the live setting numerous times, according to Thomas. “The entire beast is written and we’re crazy proud of it — we’ve been debuting songs from it live for the better part of a year now,” said Thomas. “My drum parts come first, I plan on blasting through 14 to 15 songs in two recording sessions.”
In addition, Cheem looks to join the road with a few other guests from the indie underground music scene, including Slingshot Dakota and Emperor X.
While the books may be full for quite some time with Cheem, their energy remains relentless as they continue to reach new audiences on campus and around the northeast. This form of interpersonal connection between Cheem and their audiences sets them aside as a formidable giant in the stuffed realm of local music, only stressing that you never know exactly who may be the next band headlining arenas around the globe.