Interview – Chef’Special

This summer, Chef’Special will be joining Twenty One Pilots on their North American tour, Emotional Roadshow. Since forming back in 2008, this Netherlands band has been growing their fan base across Europe. They have released two records, their self titled EP and full-length, Passing Through. Fans have come to know them for their unique blend of hip-hop, rock, and reggae. The Emotional Roadshow tour will be coming through Cleveland tomorrow night, on June 8th. Learn more about the band from their responses and be sure to check below for a tour date near you.

Chef'Special - Main Pub Photo -  Rob Hoffman


How would you describe your music to others?

Our music is a mixture of a lot of different styles, that keeps evolving every time we make something new. There is some funk, pop, world, hiphop and EDM in it.


What is the story/meaning behind the name, Chef’Special?

We had a hard time coming up with a band name, and after a few months of bad ideas we sat down in a restaurant, and decided not to leave before we had a name. The waitress came to show us the menu, and on the bottom of the menu was the “Chef’s Special”. We all felt that that was to be our name. To make it look better we decided to cut out one “S”, so it became “Chef’Special”.


Who and what influences your music? Why?

Our music is influenced by a lot of different artists. When we just started out we were much more of a funk/hiphop band and we all listened to artists like the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, and Special sauce, the Fugees, Ratatat, and many more. Later on we started to also incorporate world and EDM influences, and listened to artists like John Wizards, Ben Kahn, Vampire Weekend, Coldplay, Paul Simon, Major Lazer, Skrillex.  We also all like reggae, like Bob Marley, Toots and the Maytals, The Ethiopians, Gappy Ranks.


What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

We don’t have that much spare time lately, but when we do, everyone in the band has some kind of sportive activity that they like to do. Those include: running, soccer, gym, yoga and krav maga. When you’re on tour or in the studio a lot, its very important to do sports once in a while to stay healthy. 


How would you describe your writing process?

When we started out we wrote our songs together while jamming in a rehearsal room. We were very much focussed on being a good live band that could build a party everywhere we went, and therefore jamming together was a good way to write. When we started to focus more on making recordings, we changed our writing process a little. We first made demos on a computer and when they are almost done try them out in a rehearsal room. 


How often and how long do you practice together?

In the beginning we spent a lot of time in the rehearsal room together, which was great. We had a lot of fun nights jamming for hours and trying lots of crazy stuff. Nowadays we rehearse less and more efficient, every once in a while we take a few days in a row,  and sometimes we don’t practice for a while because we are touring or writing. When we have a new show to prepare we usually take a week or two to get everything right in the rehearsal room. 


Can you talk about the inspiration behind your tracks, “In Your Arms” and “On Shoulders”?

“In Your Arms” is a very special track to us. Joshua wrote it for his father, who passed away. He had been trying to write something for his dad for a long time, but he was never satisfied with what he made, and after a while he gave up. Until G played him this demo that he made, just one night before the final recording of the album started. That night Joshua wrote the lyrics, and the next day we all agreed the song had something special. It felt sad and hopeful at the same time, and although Joshua wrote it for his dad, it felt like the song could speak to a lot of people in different situations.

The guitarriff for “On Shoulders” came about when we were in Kenya. We got inspired by the music we heard there. The lyrics are about the realization that you always build on the works of previous generations, whatever you do. That realization can make you feel humble.


Do you play covers at practices or shows? If so, which ones are your favorites?

We don’t play covers regularly, but sometimes we like to play “Ready or Not” by the Fugees. We also had a version of “Can’t hold us” by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis in our set for some time. 


What do you typically do post-gig?

After a show we like to have a beer with friends and crew members. Sometimes we have a merchandise stand where we hang out with people that came to the show. Its always great to meet fans and hear what they think. 


What image do you think your music conveys?

We hope that our music gives people positive energy and makes people feel better about themselves and the world. Our message is one of love and understanding. People from all over the world may seem different from each other, but we believe everybody is the same, and we should try to understand each other better. 


What has been one of your biggest challenges?

Keeping our minds sane with a crazy schedule like ours is nowadays, and maintaining a healthy relationship with our friends, families and girlfriends can be quite a challenge. But also, it is definitely worth it! 


What has been your funniest or craziest fan/show experience?

One time a girl asked joshua to be on a picture with him. Suddenly we heard him scream. It turned out she had jumped him and bitten him in his neck. That was pretty strange. Usually our fans are really friendly though..


What about the Emotional Roadshow tour are you most excited for?

Our goal is always to give the best show we possible can, anytime anywhere, so it might be corny to say, but I think we’re excited for everything about the tour.

It’s going to be hugely impressive to be able to play for so many new people every night. Making sure we make everything run smooth as a part of such a huge production, and giving the best of ourselves in the opening slot is something to be really excited about. We are very thankful to 21Pilots for this opportunity. 


Are there any dates you are particularly excited for? If so, which and why?

As I said in the answer above, to us it doesn’t really matter where we are, or who is there, we will always try to generate positive energy through our performance and bring out the best in ourselves and hopefully the crowd. That being said, of course it is a big deal to walk on stage in Madison Square Garden, or the Red Rocks Amphitheatre…


What is something odd you want fans to know about you?

There is a lot of odd stuff going on, but unfortunately we have to keep all that a secret. Trust us, it’s better for everybody.


What else can we expect from Chef’Special in the coming months? 

As we are writing this, we are near the end of recording our new album. We are very excited about it and very proud to be able to release it somewhere in the early fall. In advance of the album release we will probably come out with a new single soon.. It was very exciting to write and work on the songs that made our final selection, and we look forward to letting them out into the world and see how they do. It’s like watching a nest of birds fly out. We can’t wait to share our new music with the world.


Chef’Special : Official Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

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