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Interview with Chase Petra

Chase Petra: Brooke Dickson, Evan Schaid, Hunter Allen
Chase Petra photographed by Syd Trip

Chase Petra are an alternative rock band from Long Beach in California whose album 'Liminal' from 2019 has been an album I've been listening to a lot recently. I can't describe the feeling I get from the album but it's nostalgic and new all at once with the grit from the DIY punk scene on the west coast that I have been really into recently. So after listening to the album one night I decided to email the band on a whim to see if they would like to do an interview with me for After Midnight. To my surprise and excitement Hunter Allen, the frontwoman of the band, emailed back that night saying that it would be great. So, here's the result of that, my interview with Hunter Allen of Chase Petra.

Hi! First of all, how are you?

I'm doing well! Still trying to adapt in this quarantine, it's really keeping me on my toes!

For the readers who are not familiar with your music, how would you describe your sound?

Ahh, I really struggle with genres because they're so subjective but I tend towards calling our music alternative rock with strong pop punk roots.

How did the band start?

The band started as a solo endeavour in a kind of "phoenix rising out of the ashes" kind of situation except that the phoenix was a depressed community college student with no real prospects hahaha. My first band had broken up in 2016 and I was crushed but also had no interest in a future that didn't involve music so I started over. The first year or so of Chase Petra's existence was a pretty brutal personal struggle in terms of finding the will to go on (excuse my dramatics) and it wasn't until I started playing with Evan and Brooke that I felt like any of the hard parts were worth it.

Who would you say are your biggest musical inspirations?

Hmm, I'd say we're subconsciously inspired by the emo/pop-punk fixtures of 2008, primarily Panic! at the Disco, Paramore, All Time Low, etc. Nowadays the pool we pull from is much deeper. Basically, anything that makes me feel some kind of something - whether it be pop, funk, indie acoustic, etc - will influence the way that I write.

Chase Petra: Evan Schaid, Brooke Dickson, Hunter Allen photographed by Myron Fung
Chase Petra: Evan Schaid, Brooke Dickson, Hunter Allen photographed by Myron Fung

I really love listening to your 2019 album ‘Liminal', it has this nostalgic feeling about it, though it also sounds new and fresh. Could you explain more about the process of making the album? Were there any parts that you found particularly challenging? Or do you feel like you completed your initial intentions?

To think of Liminal in terms of "initial intentions" is hysterical hahah! We had literally ZERO intentions when we started!! Don't get me wrong, we were always open to recording an album but we were so incredibly haphazard in our process. Originally, we were invited into a DIY recording space to track a song or two, which then led to 3, 4, 5, fuck-it-we're-making-an-album hahaha. That said, the hardest part of completing the album was the time it took. Some people - when there's a clear plan laid out - will record an album in the span of a few weeks. I think we took over a year. Nevertheless, I am really proud of the work we did. It was experimental and DIY and I don't think we could've or should've done it any other way.

Why did you choose the name ‘Liminal’ for the album?

So, back to that depressed community college student haha. I heard my old professor use that word in lecture and had no idea what it meant but after hearing him define it* I felt such a strong connection to the word. I was a directionless 20 year old with little to no adult guidance and I was so, so angry about becoming an adult myself. So I was stuck in this in between place, like a purgatory between childhood and adulthood. Everything felt liminal!

*Liminal: relating to a transitional or initial stage of a process or occupying a position at, or on both sides of, a boundary or threshold.

One of my favourite songs on the album is ‘Contractual’, can you explain more about the inspiration behind that song?

Contractual was a song I wrote at the apex of my frustrations with the concept of adulthood. I was being asked to "step up" and "act like a grown up" by a family that had time and again forced me into adult situations (i.e. abusive situations that I won't detail) all throughout my childhood and in tandem gave me none of the respect that comes with responsibility. So, I was pissed and uncomfortable. I had no self esteem and also no desire to do anything that anyone told me to do. It is a song largely about that pain and discomfort, which was pretty all-consuming.

What’s the reasoning behind having the vocals quite low in the mix? It’s not something that I have come across very often, but I find it quite interesting.

Ahhh, that is a feature of a bunch of kids in DIY having no idea what they're doing hahaha! At the time we had minimal experience with mixing and WAY too much say in how everything was levelled so here we are.

I can imagine seeing Chase Petra live would be really fun, and I hope one day that I will be able to see you guys in person, what’s your favourite part about performing?

Every part! I love performing and miss it like just about everyone else haha. I'd say my favourite part is actually watching the crowd. Like it may be a show for you but vice versa it's a show for us too! Especially when people seem to be connecting to the music, that seriously fills my heart with joy like nothing else.

What’s something you miss about touring?

We've actually never toured so I'm gonna have to say everything haha!

Chase Petra: Brooke Dickson, Hunter Allen, Evan Schaid photographed by Chloe Abler
Chase Petra photographed by Chloe Abler

How has the pandemic affected the band? Has it been harder to write new songs or has the spare time meant that you’ve been able to experiment more?

The pandemic has been roooough. I'd say it's adversely affected us more than anything because it's really slowed down our writing process, which we prefer to do in person. Honestly, we were supposed to be in the studio some time ago but for safety reasons we've had to extend the timeline on our second album by quite a lot.

What’s next for Chase Petra? Have you guys been working on any new music?

Absolutely! It's slow going but slow and steady wins the race, right? We'll definitely be putting out new music as soon as possible.

If you could choose one album to listen to for the rest of your life, what would you choose?

So, this is the hardest question in the world!! Christ on a cracker, uhhhhh, I'm gonna have to throw a curveball at ya and say A Fever You Can't Sweat Out by Panic! at the Disco. I have learned so much from that record and I still learn from it to this day! Not to mention it is wall to wall bangers.

And lastly, what have you been listening to recently? Any music that you want to recommend to us?

Well, naturally since Daft Punk broke up I've been getting into their stuff for the first time haha! I've also been listening to Hayley Williams' newest solo record, Flowers for Vases/descanos, MUNA's album Saves the World, and every single Twilight soundtrack hahaha! As for recommendations, I'm gonna throw out some really talented locals we've played with in the past: Its Butter, Forever Emerald, and Cheridomingo.

Chase Petra (Hunter Allen, Evan Schaid, Brooke Dickson) performing live photographed by Myron Fung
Chase Petra performing live photographed by Myron Fung

Thank you so much to Hunter Allen for taking the time to answer those questions for us, it's really appreciated and I have been so excited to share this interview with you since I put this piece together. Please go and listen to Chase Petra's music, it's so worth your time, I will leave links to everything below as always.

Listen to Chase Petra on Spotify here.

Follow Chase Petra on Instagram here.

Go to Chase Petra's bandcamp page here.

All After Midnight links here.

Follow me on Instagram here.

Music Submissions and Enquiries to


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