Chastity are a band who pull no punches.
Their latest video features an interracial gay couple kissing in front of a giant screen upon which images of war, violence, right wing TV hosts, police brutality, armed conflict, public protests and politicians are projected. It’s an aggressively beautiful expression of confrontation, all bolstered by the frantic, scrappy sounds of Saliva, the song it was made for. Chastity, then, are not a band to be taken lightly. The brainchild of Brandon Williams, the band formed last summer and currently only exist in morsels – like that video and demos on their Bandcamp page – on the internet, and the live shows they’ve played to date.
“I’ve got a ton of songs,” says the Canadian, “and I’m chipping away towards a full-length, but in the meantime we’ve got a tape coming out on Friday the 13th [of November] – and that has four songs on it. And that’ll be it for this side of this year. This is the first full year of Chastity, so I think we’ve got a bit more time to go before a full-length. I don’t think it’s appropriate to put these songs on full display just yet.”
Not one to conform to either external expectations or pressures, despite the buzz and attention that’s starting to grow around the band, Williams remains resolute that Chastity will continue at his own pace – Williams is someone who clearly wants to do things on his own terms and in his own time.
“It’s been a pressure-less type of project,” he says, “and it’s been great like that. It’s just going to continue like that, on my terms. I’m going to play the shows that I want to play and won’t play shows that I don’t want to play. I think it’s just going to be that way. I find it pretty easy to say no. I think 2015 is kind of exciting in that way. There’s no set way of doing things. Like, do I need to release a full album? I don’t think so. It’s just bitesize, like we’re developing a relationship between whoever listens and me.”
That outlook extends to the make-up of the band, too. Williams writes all the songs and then records and plays shows with a group of his friends who share the same mindset and passion for collective creativity – it’s more an amorphous, politically-charged art project centred around community and friendship than it is adhering to the traditional confines of what a band is meant to be.
“I am Marilyn Manson,” he says dryly, “and my friends play. I make songs with my friends and I make videos with my friends from around here. There’s a lot of creativity in my circle. I see Chastity as multimedia project. I see these songs sometimes before I hear them, so I think I’m just the holder, maybe, of a vision which I put into music and posters and visions. I had some friends who were down to rip with me and it’s just gone on from there.”
That’s not to say, however, that Williams doesn’t have any ambitions for Chastity. While his approach may be one of slightly nonchalant slow-burn, he wants the fire to continue to burn, but in a natural and organic way. He doesn’t want to write songs to be heard, but he wants to write great songs that get heard, that people pay attention to.
“If these songs are any good,” he says, “they should be heard like other great songs. But I think there’s then a pressure that exists to just write great songs and to make great videos. If I have one, maybe that’s my goal. Noel Gallagher said that if he knew Wonderwall would have been that big, it would have never been written. And great writers write for an audience of one. I can’t do it any other way. It’s too gnarly that way. If you put economics into songwriting, it’s crippling.”
Chastity release debut EP TAPE on November 13 via Hand Drawn Dracula. The band tour the UK later this month. For more information, visit their official Facebook page.