Interview with Roi Vito Peleg of CHASE THE ACE

Chase_The_Ace_2014

Chase The Ace is a hard-rocking, sleaze-rocking, glam-rocking, hair-rocking… well, let’s just cut to the chase and say that the band is a seriously ROCKING crew. The band’s musical journey started in Israel, but since their debut EP Rock Bottom RockNRoll was released they have spread their music far and wide – touring extensively, releasing several music-videos, as well as a full-length album titled Are You Ready. The band is currently working on their second full-length album Bad Seed, and are about to head out on another European tour.

Big thanks to front man Roi Vito Peleg for answering some questions for Rock And Roll!

Q. How would you describe Chase The Ace’s music to a new fan-to-be? And if you had to choose two Chase The Ace tracks to help make someone a fan, which two tracks would you pick?

Vito: Hi Maria, thanks for having me! To me, Chase The Ace IS rocknroll. The ability to be free to play as loud as I can, sweat out on stage while having the best time of my life. It’s all about good times.

If I have to choose only two, I have to say I’ll start with “The Cat Is On The Loose” – this was our first single and one of the first songs we released. This song introduced us to the international rock community and still is a good representation of what Chase The Ace is all about.

The second will be “Bad Seed”, this one will be featured on our upcoming second album, a fast and kicking riff generated song and it’s a blunt example of the future of Chase The Ace.

Q: On the band’s webpage, Chase the Ace’s approach to the music business is described as “running as fast as you can with your eyes closed”. I love that quote, and I guess it’s working very well for you! What has the experience been like since you released Rock Bottom RockNRoll, and then Are You Ready? Do you feel like you’re on a crazy rock’n’roll roller coaster?

Vito: It’s definitely been a crazy roller coaster. We started the band nearly two years ago and been chasing the ace ever since. We recorded two albums, had five tours around Europe and have been featured on radio stations all around the world. It’s been and still is a crazy ride. The quote you mentioned is something, I think, most bands encounter while persuing the dream – you don’t really know what to do, what should be the next move or how it’ll effect your future. But we figured a while back that if we do 150% of the things we talk about, some of it is bound to get us to places we’ve never been before. Since it works for us, this how we try to conduct the band. By the way, this quote also inspired a new song that’ll be on our second album.

Q: Can’t wait to hear the tune and the album! I know you played in an Israeli band called Koex, writing and performing tunes in Hebrew. How did the band originally get together? And what made you take the decision to start writing and performing in English?

Vito: Yeah, I formed Koex back in 2007. The idea was to create a hard rock/ glam metal band in our local language, something that no one has done before.

I grew up listening to that style and wanted to expose as many people as possible to the genre I love so much. We were in our early 20s and were all still soldiers in the IDF, everyone in Israel serves for three years right after high school. I called up the best players in my high school and told them about the vision. We all knew each other from other bands we played in, and I guess we were all intrigued about the idea of playing in the same band. Kind of a super group of the small music scene in our home town.

We picked up a nice reputation throughout the years as a hard working band but the truth is, most people didn’t really want to listen to Hebrew RNR. From sheer dedication to our cause we managed to release five albums, play some stadiums but nothing major ever happened for us. You see, the whole country is only about 7 million people, smaller than the population of London, and rocknroll is far from being the preferred genre. So even though we had some good times and learned A LOT, it was pretty tiring and frustrating.

In 2012 I went to Download Festival in the UK and was just amazed! I came back home and told the guys that only five hours flight away there were 100,000 people who LOVE rocknroll! I had no idea that such a thing existed! And so we decided to write some new tunes, this time in English just so we could hear it and see how it was. We went to a local studio in Tel Aviv and recorded six songs in two days, all played live. We were so proud of the result that we decided to release it to YouTube as our first EP, but under a different name, Chase The Ace. This EP was the result of the frustrations we experienced in Koex, hence the song and title ‘Rock Bottom Rocknroll’. A couple of weeks later we were approached by a record label from Liverpool, and things have been crazy ever since.

Q: Where did the name Chase The Ace come from?

Vito: We were looking for a new name for the new project. Honestly, Koex was a shit name so we HAD to nail it this time.
We came up with a few stupid ideas like Megazord, Lightning and Road Hawks, until Artzy, our drummer, found Chase The Ace from an AC/DC song. It’s actually their only instrumental song ever released. The minute he said it, we all agreed on the spot. It was perfect for us. It just screamed rocknroll and we connected to the idea of ‘chasing the winning card’.

Q: Chase The Ace has been touring a lot in Europe: what is the reception like from audiences there? How does it compare to your experience playing at home in Israel?

Vito: We played hundreds of shows in Israel, but like I said, rocknroll is not part of the culture. We had a decent following compared to other rock acts back home, but Europe has been amazing to us. It’s beautiful to see how people commit to the band, come see us every time we’re in town, follow us on the road on multiple gigs and bring all their friends along! The growth is like something we’ve never seen before and we’re really grateful for it. We love being on the road and every time a tour ends we’re already eager to start the next one. This is only thanks to our amazing fans throughout Europe. So thanks guys!

Q: There’s such amazing energy and sense of fun in a lot of your tunes. What bands and musicians inspire you? Who are your idols?

Vito: Oh that’s easy. You got AC/DC, Van Halen, Motley Crüe, Guns N Roses, Led Zeppelin and so on… While these are the bands we look to for inspiration, we always do our best to give a fresh spin to it. We don’t want to be an 80s cover band, our aim is to bring the fun side of rocknroll to our decade so there’s always a modern feel to whatever we do.

Q: Was there a specific moment in your youth or childhood when you decided you wanted to get up on stage and play rock’n’roll?

Vito: I first wanted to play guitar to impress a girl I liked in school, so I borrowed a crappy electric from an older friend who didn’t use it anymore, but I’ll never forget that the night I got that guitar, even though I could play a single chord, it slept next to me in bed. Ever since the guitar has been my savior whenever I needed it the most. In the darkest times as well as the brightest, I’ll turn to my electric.

Q: Chase The Ace seems to be a band that works fast and works hard. You made your debut with an EP, and then in short order you had a full album out. What’s your process when you write your songs? Do you all write the music and lyrics together, or how does that work in the band?

Vito: I usually write the lyrics, even though on the upcoming 2nd album our bass player Ya-Ya, who’s an amazing musician, co wrote some of the lyrics with me.

The music is written together. Someone comes up with a riff or a melody and we all join in and basically jam out a tune.

I’m really thankful about our musical connection, when we write a new song we rarely stop and talk about it, we just go at it and the best songs kind of spill right out like a good dump after a Mexican meal!

Q: Your band has some excellent videos out. My own personal favourites are probably the videos for “Rock Bottom RockNRoll” and “Bring You Back” (which is a different type of video, but very unique and touching). Who do you collaborate with for your videos? And is it as much fun to shoot them as it is to watch them?

Vito: Thanks! When we first started the band, still being in Israel, we thought, what could be a good way for us to reach as many people as possible throughout the world? And using YouTube came up as the best solution for us. Being a musician nowadays is not only making music, you’ve got to do it all and producing videos is just another part of our career in music. We had to learn how to put together a set, coordinate between the director, actors and models, makeup artists, photographers, editors and all the other jobs involved in producing a high end video on a tight rocknroll budget. We had the privilege to work with really talented people on our videos, one of them is Tomer Fuchs who directed most of our videos and has been a great friend for years.

Like every other thing we do, while we try and be as professional as we can, we never forget to enjoy it and push our boundaries while we do it.

After seeing the response from some of our videos we decided to take it too far, as we always do, and film three new videos in 24 hours. The first of the three probably won’t be released as it was shot in a bar and EVERYONE on the set ended up waaay too drunk. By the end of the night we were all sure we shot the best video in the world but watching the footage a few weeks after we couldn’t stop laughing, people falling around, passed out around the bar and I screamed so hard I lost my voice for a week. The thing was we still had two more to shoot in the morning, so we all sucked it up and got up at 6 am to finish what we started with two other videos that were shot on that day and will be released pretty soon.

roi_vito_peleg

Q: Working hard AND playing hard… I like that! I haven’t had the pleasure to see the band live, but I can imagine you’re quite a force on stage: what are your favourite tunes to do live? And do you have any crazy gig-stories to share?

Vito: First of all, you gotta! Our shows are rocknroll parties so most of the songs are really energetic, high tempo, chorus driven tunes.
Crazy stuff happens almost every night but Belgium is the craziest! I think it’s due to the fact that a pint of beer costs less than 1 euro, haha.

We had this chick coming up on stage, dead drunk and insisting on singing a song even though she had never seen us before, it quickly turned into the most unsexy striptease show I’ve ever seen. We had a dude in a wheel chair that just couldn’t contain himself and rammed into every other rocker at the venue with a frenzied and satisfied smile on his face. I was flashed by a 70 year old chick – wasn’t a pretty sight I’ll tell you that. All this in different cities throughout Belgium. Crazy.

I think my favorite part of the show is my solo on “Dear Demon”. This is when I get to run around the venue, jump on the bar or being lifted on some random dude’s shoulders. I love it!

Q: Considering you tour a lot and spend time far away from home: do you have any survival tips for being on the road? Do you bring any particular comfort items or food with you when you’re away?

Vito: For some reason it seems like we enjoy the rough situations better. We’ve slept on stages filled with broken glass, spent horrible nights freezing to death in the van or partying all night, sleeping for one hour and waking up to drive to the next city. It’s all part of the experience and we learned on the first tour that if you don’t sleep for two straight days once you get back home, you didn’t have enough fun so we just try and take it all in and enjoy the ride. After all, this is our dream coming true.

Q: What music do you listen to right now? Any favourite artists or albums?

Vito: AC/DC are always on my playlist. I also got into Black Label Society lately, Airbourne, The Eagles when I need to calm down a bit, Aerosmith, I love the Foo Fighters and Black Sabbath’s latest album is just brilliant.

I listen to bands by albums, not songs, so if I find an album that I like I’ll listen to it until I know all the lyrics, solos and drum beats and only then, I move on to the next album.

Q: What’s up next for Chase the Ace? I know you’ve got more tour-dates coming up this fall!

Vito: Yeah we’re back on the road in two weeks! Going to Germany, Belgium, Switzerland and UK.

This time will be the first European tour for our new guitarist, Dan Parsons. He did the summer festival tour with us in the UK but never on the mainland. He’s been an amazing addition to our family and we’re all really happy to have him on board. It’s been great to add a new member that is really committed to the band and believes in it like we do! I can’t wait for the second album to come out so you can hear him shred his face off!

The long term plan is just to keep at it – bigger and better tours, more albums and a lot more good times! A smart dude once said “it’s a long way to the top if you wanna rocknroll” and our plan is to enjoy every step of that way, all the way to the top.

Q: And I have to ask this one: if you were stuck on a deserted island, and could only bring three albums with you, what three albums would you bring along?

Vito: Ooh that’s a tough one… I’ll have to say AC/DCs “For those about to rock”, Foo Fighters – “In your honor” and Kiss – “Revenge”.
Each will serve me in different situations on the island and will probably be the reason for me keeping sane, haha.

Chase The Ace’s official website / Facebook / Twitter

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