The Chordaes are on a mission: to bring back great melodic rock, with a contemporary spin. This fall, they reach a new milestone in their musical journey, with the release of In Itinere (In i-TIN-air-eh), their second project. According to Elmore Magazine, The Chordaes produce “… a diverse array of sounds and ideas, inspired by the freewheeling experimentation of Radiohead and late period Beatles while retaining a strictly pop essence.” The music site All Things Go said the band “blend[s] the raw, candid lyricism of early alternative rock with the expertise of classic Americana and doesn’t spill a drop.”
The Chordaes were founded in 2014 by songwriter, lead vocalist, and rhythm guitarist, Leo Sawikin, and drummer and longtime friend Ethan Glenn. The two have been playing in bands together since their NYC middle school days. With the addition this year of Nick “McFly” Haberstroh (bass and vocals), Dan Cobert (keyboards), and Kevin Foley (lead guitar and vocals), they have formed a tribe based on their shared love for the great songwriters and musicians of our time. They all believe in music’s potential, largely untapped these days, to move people spiritually.
In writing and conceiving In Itinere, Leo looked for inspiration to the elegant melodies and intricate harmonies of such songwriting idols as Brian Wilson and Burt Bacharach. To capture the depth and complexity of the new music, much of the EP was recorded live in studio, the instruments playing and bleeding together in homage to the famed Wrecking Crew sessions on The Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds. Working with veteran producer Marc Swersky (Joe Cocker, Roger Daltrey), Leo and the band brought in guests Charlton Pettus (Tears For Fears), Steve Holley (Paul McCartney and Wings), and Todd Caldwell (CSN) to achieve the rich, warm sound they were looking for.
For the band, the songs on In Itinere (Latin for, roughly, a walkabout) also represent an emotional journey, an escape from darkness and fear to a more reflective, hopeful place. The opener, What Do You Want From Me, is a slow burn about a toxic relationship. The Last Time and Run and Hide have classic rock DNA and deepen the mood of anger and despair. The epic, lush California ends the EP on a note of optimism.
A big part of The Chordaes’ experience is the live show, which now brings a near arena rock intensity to the club stage. This year, the band has focused on playing around their Northeast backyard, including a residency at New York’s Rockwood Stage 2, as well as frequent stops on the Jersey Shore, where Nick and Kevin live. “Every Chordaes show is meant to tell a story with a beginning, middle, and end,” says Dan. “It’s not enough that our audience has a good time; they have to be moved emotionally, too.”
To draw without snobbery on more than fifty years of the best rock and pop—on everything from Abba to Zeppelin—to reimagine it, and to bring that sound to a mass audience: this is The Chordaes’ dream.