Q&A: Santa Rosa Beach rock band Chat Holley talks quarantine, and its new EP 'Homegrown'

Savannah Evanoff
Northwest Florida Daily News
Santa Rosa Beach rock band Chat Holley will release their EP, "Homegrown," on streaming platforms Jan. 9.

SANTA ROSA BEACH — Chat Holley isn’t the type of rock band to forget its roots.

Respecting its origins is something reflected in not only the band’s name, the same as a road in Santa Rosa Beach, but also it’s upcoming EP, “Homegrown.”

“The expression homegrown for us is just stating that we’re proud of where we grew up, how we wouldn’t be who we are if it weren’t for this glistening beach town we call home,” said frontman Zack Sloan.

The band is composed of 20-year-olds Sloan (vocals), Shane Huron (bass guitar) and Levi Ward, who melded their love for music a little more than a year ago while working at The Bay restaurant, which sits at the end of Chat Holley Road.

“Homegrown” will drop on streaming platforms Jan. 9.

More:Meet Santa Rosa Beach band Chat Holley

What has the band been up to since we last spoke?

We've been keeping at it like we always do, working a lot to make money and doing as many shows as we can, as well and writing new songs and improving old ones. Slowly moving up in the local music scene. 

How has the coronavirus impacted the band? Did it impact the EP?

The virus only affected the turnout at a number of shows that we had for a while, but the lack of things to do during quarantine inspired us to sit down and put all of our energy into a recording project, and an opportunity arose for us to work with Cole Huffer at Enlightened studios to get it done. We worked tirelessly for several weeks to get it all laid out and recorded, but we didn't expect how much more work we would put in to the mixing and mastering process in the months to follow. 

How many songs are on the EP? Has the band performed any of them already?

There are five songs on the EP, and all of them we have been performing live for a while. We intended for the EP to be an eclectic example of our best music so far. In order, “Just a Dream,” “Coming Home Late,” “Blackheart,” “Storybook from Vegas” and “Daylight Lullaby” each bring something uniquely delicious to the table. Listen, man. 

How did you decide on the name "Homegrown"?

The concept of "Homegrown" is something we've been thinking about since before the EP came into reality. We're all very influenced by where we're from, the places we grew up and the people around us. For a short while, it was actually going to be the name of the band. When we began the process of recording in Enlightened Studios, a place we very much call home, we decided it would be a very fitting name. 

Does the album tell a story? How do the songs connect?

Yes, there is a story to the EP. It's inspired by real-life events that happened to each of us, but it's a fictional story that takes a life of its own. It's about the end of a relationship. The first two songs describe each lover's perspective on the argument that tore them apart. Then, the next three songs follow one of these lovers as they descend into a life of excess to cope with the loss, get into some strange situations, and eventually realize their mistakes and learn they need to change. 

Which is the band's favorite song to perform? Why?

Our favorite of these songs to play live depends on the show. Each song has a specific mood, and whichever song we relate to the most in our current state of mind is our favorite to play. 

Which is the band's favorite song lyrically? Why?

Lyrically, our favorite of these songs is "Coming Home Late." We think it manages to pack an emotional punch. It's very bittersweet and very real. It's especially coherent compared to the others and feels like a love letter written in the heat of emotion.

What is next for the band? Any upcoming performances (virtual or in-person)?

As far as what's next for us, we're taking a brief break to collect ourselves and bring back something new. You'll see. You'll all see. 

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