Locals, we meet again. One of the most important elements of my job as a journalist is to cover bands in the area that are making a splash. The beauty of it is, each and every week I get to find a new genre or style of music to shed some light upon, and it’s always different. This week, I will be switching up the Radar a little bit with a short but sweet interview with one of my favorite cover bands in the area, Sweet Chin Music. Whether you are looking to go out for a night of fun, or just trying to let loose and have some drinks, this is the band you want to go see. Now, there are a lot of characteristics that make a successful cover band, and Sweet Chin Music check each attribute off of the list.
Cover bands may not be your thing, but let me explain to you why this band is different. I’ve seen them live, and there is no way you can leave the place without a smile on your face and a buzz in your system. There are so many ways that a cover band or artist could easily elevate their own success, and they are well aware of this fact; they cater to what their audience wants to hear. When making a setlist, they think about what is in demand rather than what is on their personal preference list.
I recently had the chance to chat with Josh, the drummer of Sweet Chin Music, about the key elements to being the Shore’s hottest cover band, and trust me, they’ve been called that for a reason! Check it out below:
First off, for those who don’t know the backstory, how did Sweet Chin Music get started?
The band originally started in the summer of 2012 when I hit up lifelong best friend Chuck about starting a cover band for some extra cash. At the time I was in college playing in a very successful cover band, so I knew bringing the idea home would work. Once we went back to school, we stopped playing. I hit up Chuck and said, “Let’s start it up again, except this time with a better and more committed lineup of musicians.”
Knowing that you’ve all done other side projects, did you always know that a cover band would be the route you would take?
After going to college and doing various internships in the music industry, I learned with the evolution of the internet that musicians barely get by financially nowadays. I knew even if I worked hard enough playing in my original bands, I would not want to live a life of being on the road 300 days a year making no money.
When it comes to deciding what songs to play, there are obviously millions to choose from. Can you tell us a little bit about the process of the setlist?
There are definitely a lot of songs to choose from. First and foremost, we are hired to entertain. It is more important for us to play what the people want to hear, as well as play more upbeat songs that will get them to dance and interact. We normally take requests, or every once in a while we each think of a few songs, have a meeting, and vote on what songs we are going to add in.
Does the setlist vary per show?
Yes. Depending on whether we learn new songs or not, we normally keep it the same for a few shows, and then change it up to keep it fresh.
You guys seem to have taken off on your own by word of mouth and just growing your own fanbase. It’s been a pretty crazy year, wouldn’t you agree?
Yes. We have only been a band for over a year and we have already played some of the bigger bars at the Shore. It’s great getting emails and phone calls from bars that want to hire you just from word of mouth, having them reach out to us solely because of our reputation. It’s humbling knowing that since we have started this band, there have been two other cover bands that have started up from our town.
One thing that always has me locked into your set is your natural musical talents as a band; just raw, good music. What I mean by this is, all you have to do to showcase your talent is show up and jam, no gimmicks. Each member brings a distinct element to the table. Do you find that you guys get better and tighter, personally and as a group every show?
There are a few bands out there that need to use effects and such; we like to keep our music organic and natural, utilizing our talents as muscians.
Being that there are a lot of cover bands in this area, what would you say makes you stand out the most?
Well, it’s an oxymoron to be an “original cover band,” but what makes us stand out the most is our age. I personally feel our age plays a big part in the wide variety of songs we play. People like how we put that “original” aspect into these cover songs.
Are there any genres in particular fans go nuts for, and how important is it to you to play what the fans want to hear?
It varies on the crowd in terms of what people go nuts for. If you play Bruce anywhere on the Jersey Shore, people will go nuts. If you play “I Want It That Way” by the Backstreet Boys, that works too, so it does vary. How you deliver it plays a big role as well.
How far in advance you do guys book, and where can people contact you?
The good thing is a lot of the bars we play at like to book ahead of schedule; we are already in talks for booking our summer schedule. If they want to get in touch with us, we do have a Facebook page, facebook.com/SweetChinMusicNJ; email is there, too. Our guitarist Chuck is also in the process of finalizing our official website, so that will be up and running very shortly.
2014 was a hell of a year for Sweet Chin Music. What can we expect for 2015?
We can expect more shows; we have been hired and contacted by more bars, which means we will be playing a lot more this year. We are excited for the summer; it’s going to be super busy.
If you want to learn more about the Shore’s hottest cover band, Sweet Chin Music, go to their shows and have a good time, and be sure to visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/SweetChinMusicNJ.