FROM BELMONT TO THE CHARTS, BETCHA ON THE STATE OF MUSIC

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photos / Mallory Turner
story / Annie Lesser
Styling + grooming / Molly Free at Amax Talent
Location: Kung Fu Saloon Nashville

 

Charlie Green [vocals, guitar], Ben Booth [lead guitar], Taylor Dubray [bass, keys], and Chase Wolford [drums] form the indie rock quartet Betcha. The group’s name comes from the combination of BEn, Taylor, and CHAse/CHArlie. The band began under the name Wilder as a project helmed by just Ben and Charlie. The two cold-emailed a DIY video of their concert to alt-rock producer Jacquire King, best known for his work with Kaleo and James Bay. Jacquire was impressed by the two, encouraging them to grow their band and keep in touch. After adding Chase and having a string of successful concerts the group found themselves over the next few years in the studio with Jacquire, being signed to Atlantic Records, adding Chase to the band, and touring with the likes of Kaleo, Judah The Lion, and NEEDTOBREATHE.

 

Starting their career with earnest yet subtle rock singles like “Coincidental” and “Losing My Mind” the band has started to release more upbeat songs like, “Lucy, Lucy,” and “Falling.” Their debut EP Falling is out today.

 

Annie Lesser sat down with Betcha lead singer Charlie Green last month to discuss the band’s new single, past and present trajectory of their music, and the state Nashville’s music scene.

 

How did the members of Betcha first get interested in working together?  

 

Charlie Green: Yeah, we were just at Belmont …. which is pretty much all musicians. So you kind of just start off a band just because a lot of people try to interact with you, who are doing the same thing. I heard about Ben [Booth], our guitar player, just through some mutual friends. And we linked up and got talking about music then started writing, just the two of us for a little bit, and one by one over the next couple of years [found our other members]. You see different musicians through other bands…eventually ended up with the four of us. Going to a music school and studying music. I [went] to so many different people and [tried] different configurations.

 

You probably got opportunities to work with a lot of very talented musicians at school. What would you say was the reason that you felt like each of you guys clicked so well together?

 

I think a lot of it was our influences. I think rock music is kind of our vibe. People our age have been getting a lot more into pop and hip hop and stuff like that.  Maybe some of them, 15 20 years ago, would have been diving into electric guitar or something like that, but they’re more into you know, DJing and making beats….[But] we all love bands and we were all kind of itching to be in a band… We all love alternative rock and had some of the same idols.

 

Ben and I were going to do it on our own thing for a minute before our bassist Taylor [tried to meet] with us at some point. He [said], “Hey, I love what you guys are doing, and would love to meet up sometime and Jam.” So [we were] kind of just us putting ourselves out there from the beginning…We’re doing rock music and just [had] another guy who [come] to us with a similar interest. 

 

After Belmont you all moved in together. How do you feel like your Dynamic is all living together and writing together and working together at the same time?

 

It’s awesome. We moved into a house together, three of us, during college [before] a couple people dropped out [of the band]. But [this iteration of the band] all moved in together a year or so ago with just one priority,  to get a house with a basement so we could Jam and not wake up the neighbors. Before we were all jamming in our garage, three days a week because…We had neighbors and it was pretty loud so we had to be done by you eight o’clock. Now it’s like we can jam whenever.

 

And us all living together…if we want to go and write at 2 a.m. That’s something that we can totally do….Us being together, and having this whole Creative Energy going on, we’ve been diving into a lot more production. [We] used to just [write] and then bringing that song to the studio, now we have this little DIY studio in our house, where we can just play a lot more sounds and just dive into [music] a lot more and spend more time with [songs] and get more creative and experimental. 

 

Recording from home do you feel sometimes you get a little bit of your work-life balance blurred because you’re also living with people you work with? 

 

That’s something we’re kind of trying to figure out. Right now we were just on the road for a good bit of time. And the summer it a little unorganized… [For getting work done] What’s been helpful making sure that the four of us are all together at certain times, [on] certain days a week…[then the rest of the time], just two of us [will] to go off and work on certain things….Because if we’re all sitting down there jamming all day can just feel really tiresome, but just splitting up and just conquering small tasks [is helpful]…the key is just like mixing it up a lot.

 

And of course we’re doing a bit more touring so that helps because when you’re gone on the road for three months you come back itching to sit down and write. So I think the biggest thing for us is just making sure we’re not stuck in one place for too long.

 

But how do you keep yourself from having your whole life consumed by nothing but your music?

 

I know for me personally, I’ve done our last two single artworks and I’ve been doing a lot of the art for this EP that’s coming out, doing the art for CDs and stuff like that…I think we’re all very creative people and I think it’s good. I don’t think any of us want to stop channeling creativity because that’s kind of what we thrive on…There’s so much more to a band than just the music and so I think we’re just trying to figure out how we can place ourselves in those other categories.



Speaking of the artwork.  Your logo is a 4 layered colors of your band’s name, black, red, orange, then yellow. Did you purposely do four because there are four members in the band.

 

Maybe, I mean our drummer designed the logo. I don’t know if that was the intention…I mean it would be dope for [it to be] very strategically planned, but I think it’s a kind of a whole look . I know we threw that logo on everything…I think it’s good for developing a brand. So we’re trying to throw it on everything and even just mix up the colors. 

 

Speaking of your brand you changed your name about a year ago. What made you choose Wilder as your original name and then what prompted your decision to shy away from that first name?

 

Wilder is actually my middle name….I [originally] was just doing my own singer/songwriter stuff at Belmont with the original intent intent of doing a solo project…[I was] playing around Nashville a lot by myself and was just not as fulfilled and felt like I grew up on bands and knew that was something I wanted to do. So when I first approached Ben… thinking about band names [it came up] my middle name was Wilder and for some reason we just thought that was a cool name from the get-go that we just kind of ran with.

Then it turned out there’s a lot of Wilders out there. And so we kind of realized, when we were on tour, that people [were] having a hard time finding us and that we needed something maybe a little bit more original…we just wanted to have something that was totally unique… Wilder is my middle name, but [the band is] definitely a [group] project, not my own thing. It felt a little weird that it kind of encompassed my name but it was all four of us. 

 

So you guys only have had five singles plus the one that’s coming out August 2nd. It’s not that many songs out. But obviously you play a lot live. Do you try try out new songs that you haven’t performed yet, or do you try and keep those close to the vest when you’re doing your live show?

 

We like to try out anything, especially now, because we’ve been doing a lot of support acts, and we do only have those four or five songs out and typically we’re playing a 40 to 45 minute set… [The crowd] since we’re support, might not have heard of us, so it’s always a good thing [to try new music]…We don’t shy away. If we’re excited about something, we want to try it because we just [learn] so much from playing live about what a song [can] be…Sometimes there’s a song that we don’t really know what its identity is and we’ll go and play it live and they’ll be a real magic, a real spark. So we just like trying new things.

 

Speaking of new things. Is there anything that you’re working on now that you’re excited for and when do you think we can expect the first LP from you?

 

We’re in the process right now of trying to book some studio time because we do have an EP coming out and they’ll be a couple more songs that aren’t singles that’ll be added to that. So we do have some more songs that people haven’t heard…I don’t know exactly what the next thing will be [after that] whether it’s an EP or an LP or whatnot, but we do have some new songs right now…that are ready to go after this EP. 

 

How do you feel about the direction of your music is going with this with these new songs that you’re writing. What is your music pushing towards or reaching for?

 

We were putting out songs when we were starting out that definitely felt a little more acoustic and alternative rock driven and now we’re being influenced a lot by bands like Phoenix and The 1975, bands that we really think are pushing the sound of where rock is going. We want to be a part of that conversation. I think it’s growing more to an indie pop rap setting. so more synths and more experimentation.

 

Your new single, “Falling,” Drops August 2nd. So what are you excited about with that new single and how do you how do you feel it pairs with your past singles?

 

I think it’s definitely a step in that New Direction and I think it’s kind of the first thing we wrote when we started this new conversation amongst ourselves for what we want to [be doing]. We [recorded] it with this guy named JT Daly, he has done some stuff with K flay and he had a band called Paper Route. [This was] the first time working with a newer producer and just trying out just being a little more experimental, we just we just feel like it’s almost  a statement for for what’s to come… [That being said] I think it still reflects the music that we already have out. [We don’t] feel like a completely different band, but [the song] does feel fresher…and just feels very modern. We’re just really excited for it.

 

You are working and recording in Nashville. I know that’s a very strong music town with one of the largest music venues per capita in the world. How do you feel living there affects your writing music?

 

It’s super exciting. I think it’s definitely a good thing for us …We just know so many countless people who are working on music and striving for a similar things. I think if you want to stand out in Nashville and you want to be heard it’s a harder place to do that, but in a good way, it just keeps people standards higher…[There’s] just a lot of great bands that are around our age group and we’re friends with a lot of those bands. There’s definitely a sense of community in Nashville. 

 

I know that it’s a city that’s, like many cities in the United States, very rapidly changing and different areas are gentrifying and how do you feel working in Nashville might be changing currently?

 

It’s growing so fast…Even the house that we moved into as a band [when we first moved to] this neighborhood there wasn’t much going on, and [after] a year and there’s four bars and three restaurants and all the stuff is opened up. It’s crazy just watching it grow. But I think with the growth a lot more musicians are coming here…I feel like nationally it has this reputation of being like super super country town, [and that] definitely exist, but I think that’s more the touristy side of it. Every genre of music is [becoming] really well represented here. There’s a really good underground pop scene growing [as] people from LA and New York and moving here to do pop.

 

You mentioned you know there’s a lot of bands your age and young musicians around you. How do you feel the music being created by your generation? What Insight do you feel Generation Z is bringing to music and songwriting, especially considering you’ve had garage band from the time you were in kindergarten and the internet your entire lives?

 

Our generation’s access the music is crazy because you know if you have streaming you have access to every type of genre…[Before our generation] if you were really only into the country or into rock or only into hip-hop like, [because you had] to go out and spend money and invest in those things. So I don’t think now…anyone has super easy time saying [they are] just into country… [Because we’re] spending just as much time with things like hip-hop [as we are with rock]. So I just think our generation…[has] kind of like thrown out the rule book for what they’re supposed to do genre wise…people are just a lot more willing to stretch themselves and not feel like they have to lock themselves into a certain sound.

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