Oklahoma-based alternative band headlines Norman Music Festival opening night | Culture

Oklahoma City-based alternative band Chelsea Days will headline Norman Music Festival on Thursday, April 27.

The band began when Ashton Gary, Tim Miller and Autumn Hamil met while studying at the Academy of Contemporary Music at the University of Central Oklahoma. The trio met Ethan Wilcox — Gary’s cousin — and the four of them released music in 2019 until the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2020 Brogan Lamb joined, followed by Naseem Najib in 2021. That year, they began creating the psychedelic melodies that can be found on their debut, self-titled album.

The members of Chelsea Days agree that their music is hard to fit in a box. Throwing out words such as “trippy” as well as “Americana,” they said there are elements of every genre. They find inspiration from a variety of artists, from Tame Impala to The Strokes.

“It’s kind of always changing, in a way,” Hamil said. “We tackle a bunch of different new things, and I think that’s what makes it fun and exciting.”

Aiming for a sound resembling songs of the 60s and 70s, Chelsea Days records its music using vintage gear. Their debut album, as well as their most recent EP “Falling in a Dream,” was recorded and mixed on a Tascam-388.

Gary described the band as “tone chasers” aiming to change its music as they grow as artists.

“We’re all just growing and evolving as people,” Miller added. “So does our music.”

Making sure everyone’s voice is heard during the writing process is important to the band.

“Everyone kind of has an input, and that’s what’s really cool about us,” Miller said. “We get a lot of sounds and influences that way.”

Chelsea Days has performed at multiple venues around Oklahoma City and Norman, including 89th Street and, most recently, Opolis. They also made their way to Denton, Texas, opening a few shows of Brooklyn-based band Work Wife’s tour. They hope to branch out to new places as they grow as a band. Performing at Norman Music Festival, Miller said, will bring them credibility.

The members of Chelsea Days have attended Norman Music Festival in the past, but this will be their first time playing together at one of the main stages. In previous years, they had planned to sign up to play the festival but would barely miss the deadline. This year, they jumped at the opportunity.

As Norman Music Festival brings in audiences from across Oklahoma, the members of Chelsea Days look forward to seeing new faces at their set. With a wide range of listeners attending, they said they hope to perform a show that will appeal to all audiences. Gary said he looks forward to meeting others in the music scene.

“You might discover your new favorite band,” Miller said.

Chelsea Days will perform released and unreleased songs at Norman Music Festival, giving them the opportunity to see how a live audience responds to their music before it’s officially released.

“Live feedback is probably the best part,” Najib said.

Chelsea Days released a new song, “Eyes On You,” on April 19 and plans to release another EP in June. They will perform at the Country Cannabis Alley stage at 9 p.m. on the first night of the festival.

This story was edited by Silas Bales and Emma Blakley. Francisco Gutierrez and Alexandra Powell-Lorentzatos copy edited this story.

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