Even as the COVID-19 pandemic has put a pin in the plans of singer and multi-instrumentalist Carter Hardin and drummer Kortney Grinwis, the duo’s pop band Chapel aren’t stopping from creating something fresh for fans to one day enjoy.
Hardin and Grinwis, who released their first EP, Sunday Brunch, in 2017, had plans to tour and release an album, but plans change.
“This entire three months or so that we’ve been locked down, we’ve just been writing a whole bunch more,” Hardin said in a recent phone call. “It’s awesome; it’s like one of my favorite things to do.”
Chapel’s latest milestone involved the release of an animated video for single “Mushy Gushy,” completely entirely during quarantine.
“We just got off tour when COVID happened,” Hardin said. “We had some plans to go do some videos, which didn’t work out. And we really wanted to do something special because we worked really hard on the song.”
And that’s when short film director and editor Peter Ferris Rosati came into the picture and pitched the concept of combining animation mixed with webcam footage of Hardin and Grinwis, which Hardin acknowledged was tough to do because of the limitations of quarantine. But Hardin said it was a success in the end, keeping in line with the song’s theme of celebrating the honeymoon phase of a relationship.
“It’s kind of like you’re so infatuated with each other that logic doesn’t exist,” he said. “And it’s short-lived time, but I think it’s something that should be celebrated and not looked down on.”
Hardin felt that there are simply not enough songs written about the first six months of a relationship. “Mushy Gushy” shows just as much appreciation for the youthful and blossoming stages of a romantic relationship, as is often projected toward long-term relationships in music. He also takes pride in the personal touches put into the lyrics. Same lyrics: “I’m Michael Scott whenever it comes to lovin’ someone new”—as the video flashes to a scene from the show.
“I reference ‘The Office’ a lot; that’s one of my personality traits,” Hardin said. “So I had to do it.”
Hardin, formerly of Atlanta band Nightmares, and Grinwis, formerly of Favorite Weapon, became friends in 2015, before they decided to begin a new chapter with Chapel. Hardin said the pivotal moment presented itself after he had asked Grinwis to work with him on “Caught Up,” which later appeared on Chapel’s debut EP.
“Ever since then, we’ve just clicked,” Hardin said. “She’s like my sister, essentially. She’s incredible, and I’ve never had chemistry like this with any other person I’ve been in a band with.”
When everything fell into place with Grinwis, the two began incorporating nostalgic ’80s pop with the sounds of their favorite acts like Prince and OutKast.
“The things that were attractive to me musically were the things that reminded me of my childhood, and trying to implement that in a modern way is kind of our goal,” Hardin said. “The earlier stuff for us is, like, ‘What can we write?’ but now there is more of a vision to it.”
As for the name of the band? Hardin said it simply evoked a sense of home and childhood for him.
“When I went to a private school growing up, I played in a worship band, and every Wednesday we had chapel. That’s when I was picking up writing songs,” he said.
Even though the pandemic brought on a plethora of frustrations early on, Hardin and Grinwis continue to write their next album so they can get on the road once the world begins to shift back to normalcy.
“With the music industry in general, things are always changing,” Hardin said. “A curveball happens every year of some sort, so [the pandemic] has affected us in that sense. But I think everybody is just trying to figure out something.”
Follow writer Amelia Parreira at Twitter.com/AmeliaParreira.