Chovette Brings 'Power Punk' to Music House

 by Chloe Johnson

Chovette on stage

It's challenging to describe a band accurately. It's even harder for a band to describe itself without instantly feeling like they're pigeonholing themselves. After struggling to put their fingers on it, Music House band workshop Chovette unanimously (well, almost) described themselves as "power punk." Their workshop instructor, Brock Schwien, agreed and added his two cents: "Powerful, but intricate." 

Tate Clemen, Guitar
Brooke Metz, Vocals
Kevin McAfoos, Drums
Noah Flemming, Bass
Sydney Van Ophem, Guitar
Adam Wallace, Guitar



Why the name, Chovette?
It's a curious--yet memorable--band name that definitely raises some questions. Sydney Van Ophem, guitarist and back up vocalist, is the first to explain. She takes French in school. The word chouette is French slang for "cool."

Sydney:  

"It also means owl. Chovette is a play on the word."

Adam:  

"What's more unique than a word that doesn't exist?"



So, who is Chovette?
From my perspective, Chovette is a little genre-bending, powerful, and challenging to define. Watching them on stage only solidifies this fact, showcasing their confidence in what they've created together. Talking to all six band members at once is a whirlwind, much like their wall of sound they produce.

Brooke:  

"I write the lyrics for our originals. I try to get past basic lyrics when writing, and infuse some sort of meaning to them."

Tate:  

"We're fast and loud, but I think we have a fun energy on stage."

Brooke:  

 "You know, we do a lot of covers. I think even those covers have a pretty strong sound. Music House has definitely helped form that sound." 


 

Musical Influences
One of the most over-asked questions when interviewing a band is, no doubt, "what are your musical influences?" Because Chovette is made up of band members with very different tastes, I just couldn't resist. 

Noah:  

"Lately, I've been listening to a lot of In Extremo, a German metal band."

Brooke:  

"Right now, I'm listening to a little band called Aloke."

Adam:  

 "I guess the two guitarists I listen to the most are Slash and Synyster Gates." 

Kevin:  

"I'd like to be as good as Lars Ulrich thinks he is."

Tate:  

"I feel like I get a lot of influence from heavy metal and alternative. Kind of an overlap of those two."

Noah:  

"Yeah, I'm mostly metal and folk. Both really different, but yeah."

Sydney:  

"I don't really listen to any of the sort of music we play."


So what do you listen to, then?

Tate:  

"She listens to, like, the sound of waterfalls."

Sydney:  

"Haha no, I listen to 96.5 the Buzz. I like a lot of the music they play. We don't really play that sort of music in this band because some of us aren't into it."

Tate:  

 "Well, honestly, most alternative guitar lines aren't the most exciting to play." 

Sydney:  

"Bands like Alabama Shakes."

Tate:  

"I'd love to sound like Alabama Shakes, but I don't want to spend $300 on pedals."


Any Kansas City music you're digging at the moment?

Tate:  

"A band called Hembree. They're good."

 Noah:  

"I'm really digging this one band named Chovette."

Kevin:  

 "Federation of Horsepower."

Brooke:  

"Arc Flash is good, too."


chovette.gifFrom Left: Brooke Metz, Sydney Van Ophem, Kevin McAfoos, Noah Flemming, Tate Clemen, Adam Wallace

 

Chovette's time together as a band
After debate (many of the band members have played together for upwards of five years), we ended up settling on Chovette, as we know it,  being about one year old. Whether that estimate is a few months off or not, an annual mark feels solid. Chovette has had ample time to develop a unique sound as a diverse group with varying musical influences. 

In that year, have you had any cool accomplishments?

Noah:  

"We wrote a few songs."

Adam:  

"We finally played 'Spellsinger.'"

Brooke:  

 "We've been writing and recording some of our originals."


What about challenges? What happens when you disagree?

Brooke:  

"We have a process. We get the white board out and write down a few songs each of us wants to work on and then vote for them."

Adam:  

"I guess some challenges would be coming up with original material and ideas sort of on the spot at rehearsal every week. We don't really meet outside of Music House, so it's hard to get things done. We don't really have any conflicts, otherwise. Noah usually comes up with a bass line and then we try to play on top of it in the time we have."

Brooke:  

 "Some of us go home and work on our songs, but others don't. It's hard to get things done sometimes."

Noah:  

"The songwriting process for me isn't all that easy. I sit in my room for an entire afternoon, and play until I finally have something that works. Then I work throughout the rest of the week to actually put that together and add new parts. Coming to practice and trying to get those ideas across in such a short timeframe is frustrating at times." 


 

Future plans for Chovette
With two of its members leaving for college this fall, the future of Chovette is unclear. Each of Chovette's members have spent a good chunk of time learning and fine-tuning their craft at Music House. Whether Chovette sticks together through the next year or not, all members agree that it's been an eye-opening experience. 

One thing is for sure, this Focus Workshop at Music House will live on through band member and style changes . For more info. on how to get involved in a band workshop of your own, click here.

Adam:  

"Meeting every week for the sole purpose of making music is hard to do. The ability to commit to a weekly workshop at Music House is really nice to have."

Tate:  

"Brock Schwein is a god among men. No but for real, I think Brock has actually helped us progress a lot as a band from where we were before."

Noah:  

 "Yeah, when we started we were just a bluegrass-ish jug band. Brock gave us electric guitars, so you can credit him for all of this."

Brooke:  

"We're all different and have all kinds of ideas. Brock helps merge it together."


What about individual future plans?

Adam:  

"I'm going to KU to study computer science, but I hope to start a band there eventually."

Noah:  

"I'd say finally releasing our demo and playing more shows this summer while we can. Our upcoming show at Rock & Brews (July 12 @ 7:30 p.m.) will be our first show outside of Music House in a year."

Brooke:  

 "I'm going to KU as well. I think i'm going to stick with music and then eventually go for psychology as well."


Any final words?

Kevin:  

"We need another guitarist. Three is just not enough."

 Noah:  

"Let's shoot for five guitarists, actually."

  


 

 




Written by
Chloe Johnson

Chloe johnson

A Kansas City transplant, Chloe Johnson comes to Music House from Minnesota. She grew up with music junkies for parents, majored in English and Creative Writing at the University of St. Thomas, and has been published in a few stuffy literary magazines.