INTERVIEW: Brett Reagan of CHEW



Milwaukee’s psych scene is ever-changing, and seems to be constantly growing. Needless to say, when an experimental group comes through the Midwest, Milwaukee should be a must on their list, and a number of bands are finding that out. One band that’s going to learn about it on Wednesday night is CHEW, an Atlanta-based experimental band with an extensive touring schedule that brings them to Frank’s Power Plant. We chatted with Brett Reagan of the band to get to know them:

B&E: How would you describe Chew’s sound to someone that’s never heard the band before?

Reagan: CHEW sounds like two big scoops of experimental psych with multicolored synth sprinkles.

B&E:  You have some self-described “electronic weirdness” in your sound using old technology. Are we talking dial-up internet sounds here, or what do you use?

Reagan: Yes, we use an old 14.4 modem to connect to a virtual zoo, then sign the guestbook. We go back later and look at the guestbook to create songs. In all honesty, the old technology consists of a sampler and a mini analogue synthesizer.

B&E: What was the process for recording your most recent EP, “3D”? Was there parts written, or was it more of a free-flowing thing?

Reagan: We had been playing all the songs that were recorded for 3D EP on tour before we ever walked into the studio. Drums, bass, and electronics were all recorded live.  We knew exactly what we wanted. After all the main parts were recorded, we were able to improvise parts like the secret track in between Bianca and 23.

B&E: Have you ever played Milwaukee previously? What are your expectations for the city?

Reagan: This will be our first time in Milwaukee.  Sarah has wanted to play there for a while now. My parents briefly lived in Milwaukee in the 80’s. The line-up at Frank’s Power Plant is one of the best of our whole tour.  We expect to meet some new friends and explore strange places that aren’t on a travel brochure.

B&E: What would you say is your favorite part of touring? Is there one?

Reagan: There really is nothing better than touring for us.  It’s road tripping with friends and playing music in a different city every day. Nothing can top that. After a year of consistent touring, being on the road seems more like normal life.  Standing still feels stagnant.

B&E: Most importantly, you’re playing a bar in Milwaukee. What’s the beer of choice?

I usually go for a hoppy IPA.  Brandon likes multiple cold PBR’s.  Sarah prefers more of a malty, dark beer or a lighter, shandy-style, depending on her outfit.