By Christine Leonard
CALGARY – It’s been a respectable reign for Vancouver’s La Chinga since the trio was originally crowned Georgia Straight’s ‘Band of the Year’ back in 2013. The five year interim has seen ‘the champagne of rock bands’ celebrate the release of their arm-out-the-window soundtrack LP, Free Wheelin’ (2016) and the arrival of lead vocalist/guitarist Ben Yardley’s firstborn son. Both events were critical turning points for Yardley, bassist Carl Spackler and drummer Jason “Jay” Solyom, who style their low-riding and high-flying sounds after Thin Lizzy and Plymouth Dusters with personalized license plates that read “GET SOME.”
Prized for their forest-flattening power and inherently groovy melodies, it was La Chinga’s pursuit of heavy, but unhindered, riffs that brought them to the attention of the organizers of Calgary’s 420 Music and Arts Festival. Thrust into the glowing green limelight of the burgeoning annual event, La Chinga laid down their signature spellbinding cuts with an effortless grace that left festivalgoers craving more of that magical mojo.
“It was a great gig and the highlight of the whole year for us; it’s really flattering that we’ve been invited again. We’re absolutely floored and happy to come out a play,” reports Yardley.
“In fact, my son, Townes (like Townes Van Zandt), just turned one. So, it’s easier to make the trip. Incidentally, our plane touches down at 4:20!”
Making up for the time they lost over the course of tumultuous year, La Chinga is in the process of mastering the tracks for their next great opus. Titled Beyond the Sky, their forthcoming album on the Small Stone record label may have taken longer than anticipated to complete, but the results, Yardley assures, are well worth waiting for.
“Jay left the band for a while, so we were working with a drummer named Jonas,” Yardley explains.
“But, then Jay came back on the scene right before we went back into the studio, so we just wrote the majority of it on the spot in the studio which was really awesome. We just fuckin went for it and it turned out great! We were just going for it everyday there and just feeling it. We tried to capture the creative spirit and it suits the band to do it that way, because our style of music is more open-ended and isn’t rigidly arranged. We want that sound of freedom, ‘cuz that’s what it’s like to play in the band. It’s freeing, power trio music; where we are all doing our own things, but still playing together.”
Anticipating a May release for Beyond the Sky, La Chinga is keen to share fresh material and insights with their audiences while still holding true to the other worldly psychedelic themes that have long been their calling a card.
“The new album is still La Chinga, but the songwriting is better, in my opinion. Every song is really strong and the production value is totally killer. We haven’t suddenly turned into an emo band. We don’t feel the need to change what we’re doing. We’re just making a better song, making a better record, making the best music we can at the time. It always has to be fun. If it’s not fun why bother? At this point, if we don’t’ get that rush we don’t want to do it. But luckily we get that.”
La Chinga performs with Buffalo Bud Buster, Mendozza, Bazaraba and more on day two of the 420 Music and Arts Festival, which takes place April 20 at Distortion (Calgary).
420 Music and Arts Festival, Bazaraba, Buffalo Bud Buster, Distortion, La Chinga, Mendozza