What comes to mind when you think about Steveston? Most likely, a historical fishing village, the Fraser River, Fisherman’s Wharf, great boutiques and restaurants, but perhaps a rising rock band on your back door step would not be at the top of the list. In fact, in the future Steveston may receive attention as the place where it all began for The Chase.
The Chase is comprised of band members Jeremy Hankins (guitar), Jameson Hankins (drums), Mischa Lowenstein (guitar), Jeek McIntyre (bass) and Kyle Owens (vocals). They are instantly recognizable in their matching black jeans, white v-neck t-shirts and black vests, reminiscent of the early days of British rock when The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Kinks and The Animals wore matching suits. In their own words, The Chase enjoy making fun energized party music, and they are not out to make people cry. In the past five years, with an innovative sound and a charismatic stage presence, The Chase has entered the Metro Vancouver music scene and successfully demonstrated that retro-rock does not have to sound like something you have already heard.
Inspired by rock legends including The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones, and newer bands such as Sam Roberts and Arctic Monkeys, The Chase was raised on a steady diet of music from across the pond, and most of the music that they listen to originates from the United Kingdom.
In 2006, while still attending McMath Secondary, twins Jeremy and Jameson met Jeek in a guitar class. They recruited Kyle to be the voice of the band. Kyle is the band’s vocal front man while Jeremy is the key songwriter. After playing countless shows around Metro Vancouver, The Chase added Mischa to the line-up. With a second guitarist, the band was able to expand their musical horizons and rally audiences with their dynamic live performances.
Family support in their early years was an integral part of their journey to becoming musicians. When they were young, Jeremy and Jameson enjoyed playing behind the couch where they would make up songs with their mother’s old two-string guitar. Music was always a part of Kyle’s life as his father is a musician and a high school music teacher. Jeek’s guitar playing uncle inspired him to pick up the guitar. There was always a guitar lying around Mischa’s house; however, it was not until he was in Grade 8 and saw grade 12 students Jeremy, Jameson and Jeek perform that he thought it would be cool to learn how to play and be in a band.
In the early years, living rooms and garages were converted into jam spaces. All of the band members come from supportive and loving families who attend many of their shows. Indeed the band feels extremely grateful for the support of their parents and closest friends.
Jeremy, Jameson and Mischa continue to live in Steveston while Kyle and Jeek live in Vancouver, but they enjoy coming back to their old stomping ground. The Chase enjoys hanging out at Blue Canoe Waterfront Restaurant where Kyle’s photograph hangs on the restaurant’s wall of fame. Garry Point was one of the band’s favourite places to hang out during their teen years. They enjoyed having hot dog roasts on the beach, and beach fires, before fires were banned in the park.
What is their long-term goal? The Chase hope to become established as a top rock and roll band, yet ever loyal to Steveston, they will miss home when they are away on world tours. In the meantime, they will continue to work their way to the top by playing locally, which will include performing for their fourth year at the Steveston Salmon Festival’s Rock Fest on Canada Day. They derive a great deal of satisfaction from playing gigs where nobody has heard of them and by the end of the evening, they have a roomful of new fans. Their fan base may soon be spreading across Canada as The Chase is working on booking their first Western Canada tour, which may also include venturing east to Toronto and Montreal.
At this point, they do not have a record label; however, they have succeeded in getting their songs onto i-Tunes, which is an important stepping-stone for making their music widely available. Jay “Juice” Evjen of JuiceMix Productions produced their self-titled CD. The cover photo features The Chase’s black and white ‘uniform’ lying on the beach and the back cover photograph was shot at one of their favourite places, Garry Point.
The future looks bright for this young band. Make a point of catching a performance soon as it may not be long before you are chasing down tickets to see them in concert when they return home from a world tour.
by Sarah Gordon