How did one local indie rock band on the rise get their start? Well, as New Chums, of course.

“The New Chums met through my Craigslist exploration. I was a singer and wanted to continue playing music when I moved to Arizona in 2013,” says Seth Boyack, vocalist/guitarist for The New Chums. “I wasn’t finding what I was looking for as a singer/guitarist, so instead of joining a band, I decided to start my own.”

Along with drummer Ben Hedlund, guitarist Matt Lloyd and bassist Cassandra Clark, The New Chums were solidified in 2017—and the rest is history. Or as Seth says, they are in the process of making history.

“We played main stage at a large local festival, and we were invited to play at Apache Lakes Music Festival, which is popular for Arizona bands,” Matt says. “On a national level, we’ve had many placements including having our music videos being played in Journey’s nationwide and in Canada. Our song ‘Blossom’ also made rotation on SiriusXM channel Alt Nation, which was a big thrill for us. Our song ‘Come On, Come On’ was featured in a 20 Top Summer Songs to Hear list, so those are some exciting highlights.”

Cassandra says that to her, wanting people to enjoy the music they make as much as she does can be a struggle.

“Like anything in life, when you pour your heart and soul into your passion, it can be hard to accept that not everyone else will be as pumped about it as you are,” she says.

The payoff, she says, is finding camaraderie with other musicians while making music together.

“You can be very different from the players you’re in a room with, but when everyone is in the groove, it’s unlike anything else I’ve ever experienced.”

Ben has toured, played on other indie records and just genuinely enjoyed being around creative people writing, recording and playing songs, so joining The New Chums was a logical next step. He loves to perform live and truly adores his bandmates.

“I’m less concerned with being a rock star and more focused on performing, recording and being with people who I love.”

Boyack says that regardless of backgrounds, they are each seasoned musicians who (he jokes) also look cool in band photos.

What is in store for The New Chums in 2019? The new year goals for the band include finding a label to release a full-length record in the U.S. and overseas, get airtime in stadiums during pro or college games—which might happen very soon— and of course, having a song in a movie so Ben says he can, “have popcorn and listen to Seth sing to me in a theater.”

The success The New Chums have had is no joking matter, though. Their 2017 EP, See It for Myself, is an integral part of their new year focus. 

“One of the songs we play called ‘Bad Part of Town’ has a significant meaning for me,” Seth says. “The song basically goes into a couple of dark times throughout the verses, but the chorus is a simple line of ‘It’s OK.’ I’ve always liked the idea behind that. No matter how challenging the situation is or can be, it’s all OK; it has to be.”

The band is headed into the studio this month to record their next EP, so local fans should stay tuned via social media for upcoming performance dates.

“The struggles of doing music are mainly wrapped around just not being heard. Whether its playing live shows to just a bartender or feeling like no one is buying/streaming your music, it can feel like a never-ending uphill battle. But if you stick with it and keep working hard, it can turn into payoffs. Those would be when you begin having the breakthroughs of bigger shows, national placements, commercials, etc. But the older I get, I actually feel more assured in my true love and passion for just playing/writing/performing music.” – Guitarist Matt Lloyd


The New Chums’ Favorite Holiday Songs:

Seth Boyack (vocals/guitar): “Don’t Shoot Me, Santa” by The Killers and “All I Want for Christmas Is You” by Mariah Carey

Matt Lloyd (guitar/vocals): “Last Christmas” by Jimmy Eat World and Bing Crosby’s versions of all the classics

Cassandra Clark (bass): “Jingle Bell Rock” and “Up on the Rooftop” 

Ben Hedlund (drums): “Santa, Bring My Baby Back to Me,” “Linus and Lucy” and “Blue Christmas”