EXCLUSIVE: Chaz Cardigan Talks New Single “S.O.S.” and More

Rising musician Chaz Cardigan is a singer songwriter that got his start back at age 11 performing in punk bands. He moved to Nashville to further his career in the music world and eventually got signed by Capitol Records and Loud Robot, making him the first artist at Capitol Records to be signed to two record labels. His first release for the label is Vulnerabilia: a bravely confessional EP that makes a brilliantcase for embracing and sharingourtoo-often-hidden emotions.

Chaz Cardigan continues to pair searing self-examination with supremely catchy refrains, as his new single, “S.O.S.,” demonstrates. While vowing not to pull the S.O.S. in his relationships, he acknowledges a tendency to self-sabotage and admits,“I’ve got a way of getting in my way.” Chaz produced the song, which he wrote with Better Than Ezra’s Kevin Griffin. Frequent collaborator Jamie Lidell (Lianne La Havas, Hailee Steinfeld) provided additional production.

ECHO had the chance to talk with Cardigan about his new single and much more!

How are you?

Actually really inspired right now, despite everything going on outside.  Maybe because of it.  Either way, I feel good lately.

You recently released your new single “S.O.S.” What was the creative process behind that like and what was the inspiration for the song?

I wrote “S.O.S.” over two days with my buddy Kevin Griffin from Better Than Ezra. I had just started going to therapy, and we had a pretty raw conversation unpacking our bad habits and about hitting breaking points that require you to change your routine.  

So my drug up to that point was the illusion of productivity. Absolutely addictive. Just staying busy all the time, using it as a crutch to make myself feel good and to keep distance from people. “S.O.S.” is about burning out over and over again, learning the exact same lesson, and wanting to break out of that cycle.

How has your music changed since your EP in 2017?

I’m proud of I, but when I listen to it now, it feels a bit over-thought.  I was probably more meticulous with it then I needed to be personally.  It was made on a lot of borrowed time and borrowed equipment over the course of 2 years while I was in between houses and jobs all the time, so I had the luxury of just getting lost in the songs for ages and second guessing myself over and over.

I don’t do that so much these days.  Once music became my only job it became a lot easier to trust my gut and create intuitively.  I produced Vulnerabilia in about a month, and it was much more defined sonically from the start. I trust my instinct a lot more now.

You also had a song featured in the movie To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before: P.S. I Still Love You, what was that like knowing your music was a part of such an iconic Netflix movie? 

It’s really, really humbling. I got invited to the premiere in LA, and to see a movie like that in a room full of hardcore fans was absolutely electric. I love how the song’s used in the film.

What have you been doing to stay creative during this quarantine?

I had to give myself a break from writing or trying to write for a few weeks. Once I stopped telling myself I needed to be “productive,” I started to actually make stuff again. Going outside every day, reading a bit, listening to some new podcasts, being disciplined with my meditation, that’s keeping me sane.

What’s one thing you’re excited to do when this is all over?

Oh my gosh, see people again. Being in a room with my friends and hugging them. Being on the road with my band, in a van for 8 hours; playing shows again.

What’s something you’ve picked up you’d never thought you would have before this?

This is totally true: Ice baths and cold showers.  I’ve been doing Wim Hof breathing daily for about a year, but in the last 3 weeks I’ve started taking daily ice baths and I feel absolutely superhuman.

If you could set up a fan for them to listen to your music, what setting would that be?

I love this one. I think through headphones, in the woods, on a drizzly day somewhere in the Northwest.

What’s one quote you’ve heard in life that you want to ECHO out to the world? 

Walk through life like it’s a dream. Don’t think you can predict it, and don’t take it too seriously — have fun with it, because it’s really weird.  

Take a listen to S.O.S. now!