[Interview] Chace Talks U.S. Debut Tour, Debut Album, Mahjong, and More

Chace has become a household name in house/indie music ever since he exploded onto the scene as a dance music prodigy. When he was 18, he was signed to Yellow Claw’s Barong Family label. In 2017, he was the first ever Chinese DJ to play mainstage at Tomorrowland. Since then, he’s continued to demonstrate his diverse skillset as a producer, songwriter, vocalist, musician, and DJ at both his live shows and in the studio. In 2022, he released his 11 track Belated Suffocation album which is described as his personal diary to his journey throughout the last 6 years, and shows both the breadth and maturity as an multi-talented artist.

At Creamfields Hong Kong, we had the chance to sit down and chat with Chace.

I know you recently made your debut into the U.S. market, how was the overall experience?

For the whole U.S. leg we did, I wanted to present the tour in a more organic way where I am just playing my tracks and seeing how the crowd reacts instead of doing it the fandom or idol way. We got some really good feedback. I did not compromise at all with my music selection and taste. I kept it house and groovy and I believe every spot we went to, the organizers were asking when are you coming back? When can I book you again? So that was a really good sign. I think the best night we had was at Elsewhere in NY where the venue was rather small and intimate where you can really feel the crowd to see who actually digs your music or who is drunk.

You grew up with your dad who was a musician and picked up drums at an early age. How did you make the transition into producing dance music?

Drumming was always my main thing when I was young and even now. I was always a computer geek when I was very young, making GIFS and visuals. Messing on computers was already natural for me so it was something I could latch onto. In 2010, I found Mike Tompkins who was one of the first youtubers who did a capellas with beatboxing. I found this very cool so I decided to go this route where I did a capellas covers like him for 3-4 years. This is basically how I got started on the production side of things.

As a songwriter, vocalist, and producer, how do you get over your writer’s block when you get stuck on an idea?

I caught someone saying this before on an interview who I believe is John Mayer and I will quote this. Whenever you have a writer’s block, it is the listener’s side not feeling the writer’s side. It is about your listener’s perspective on things. I’ve had many times when I’m making a track, I feel great. But when I’m listening, I switch to a passive mode where I become so critical to my own work. I’m also a perfectionist so it’s hard to impress myself. You really need to let go and not let your brain get too attached.

You released your debut album Belated Suffocation back in November which highlights your musical journey over the past 6 years. Can you share your thoughts behind the album, the album name, and how your view of music has changed over years?

From the music perspective, the whole album goes from a capella to dance then to indie. It had more piano and guitars towards the end. That basically reflects my journey. I started from a capella to edm to house and then to indie. From the title perspective, the reason why it is belated is because I had plans for the first album from 2017 already. I’ve always known the debut album is the priority but I also needed to know that my music needs to change and evolve. The suffocation part comes from that I finished the album during the pandemic. We really could not breathe well and there was so many restrictions on our daily lives. The feel of being restricted and limited, I wanted to reflect that in the album.

Is there another genre that you would like to dip your toes into next?

Don’t get me started, I’m constantly thinking about it in my head. I’m thinking about different types of music and from a different character as well. I could be a producer, a singer, or a conductor in some type of project. My mission is to really focus on my music and what is right in front of me. You can get so overwhelmed with different ideas, production tools, and different jumps around music. You need to ground yourself.

Do you have any artists that you want to collaborate with soon?

The DJ’s that got me into house music are Swedish House Mafia, Deadmau5, and Tiesto. It was around 2010-2011 where the sound was matured up as EDM but not as Hollywood. It was these names that drew me to house/techno. On the dance side for any of them, if I just got the chance to talk to them on a music level, that’s good enough for me. I’m at a phase where I don’t really think I want to work someone or do a session with someone. Sometimes, it’s the conversations on any level that can reflect so many things, and can guide me for the next 5 years.

Is there anything else you want to share about in terms of music or touring?

I’m probably going to release my album this year. Most of the tracks have already been made, or almost completed. That is very exciting to me because I’m going to have a different sound to it and story. I have my own label called Monte Arc and from this year on, we are going to start signing new artists and start that machine up. I hope people can follow me and follow the label side of things I do.

What do you like to do in your free time when you’re outside the studio?

I recently picked up Mahjong. It’s so not me because I didn’t think I would be into it a year ago. Since then, it’s like a rabbit hole. There are so many different versions and playing methods.

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