“I’ve got a terrible case of the day-offs,” jokes Wes Chiller from his San Juan Capistrano home recording studio. There’s no doubt that the singer-songwriter, whose Chiller Instinct EP is set for release later this year, lives up to his name. The last single from that EP, “Burnin’ Up,” is a catchy summer anthem. The accompanying music video, complete with shots of Chiller surfing, jet skiing and beach bummin’ it up, perfectly captures his carefree vibes.
“We took a lot of liberties on that one,” Chiller laughs. “It was a fun time. We just wanted to show people what’s going on. My whole writing is really influenced by my pursuit of personal freedom.” This is at the foundation of everything Chiller writes. It particularly shines through on his third single off the upcoming EP, “Inside Your Head.” Like his other material, the song is built around a few simple chords and memorable melodies, but as Chiller sings and, at times, almost shouts the chorus, “I am no second place/ I am no runner up,” one can’t help but feel their spirits lift.
“It’s just like a declaration,” he explains. “Whether you’re looking for a job, or you’re looking for a woman, or you’re looking for a mate, anything, you’re never going to be second place if you’re sure of yourself. If someone disagrees with you, that’s okay. If someone doesn’t accept you, that’s okay. But you don’t need to bend and you don’t need to put up with someone’s lack of understanding if you’re certain of yourself.”
While “Burnin’ Up” illustrated more of Chiller’s personal quest for freedom, “Inside Your Head” pushes the listener to embark on their own. In addition to literally telling his audience to drop their inhibitions and embrace their true selves, Chiller also seeks to inspire through his instrumentation. He claims that Tom Petty, a true master at writing great songs with just a few chords and simple melodies, is one of his biggest influences.
“Some people really like that, some people don’t,” Chiller says. “I get a lot of reviews that are like, ‘It sounds really familiar, I would like a little more experimentation,’ And like, yeah, I totally get that, but that’s not my style. I want kids to pick up a guitar because they hear me playing. I want them to be like, ‘Oh, I can learn that song because it’s three or four easy chords.’ So that’s kind of a big motivator for me, too, is making sure that it is accessible, especially to kids that have got to get off their Xboxes and phones and make some music.”
Musically, Chiller has also embraced the freedom that comes along with home recording. His entire EP, including “Inside Your Head” (which honestly sounds like it could be a major label radio hit), was recorded by just himself and fellow South County songwriter Kyle Krone. The two have developed their own easygoing recording process that not only captures, but contributes to Chiller’s musical free spirit.
“We both take whacks at pretty much everything and the better track will just stick,” Chiller explains. “There’s really no ego involved, we just want the best thing. Sometimes he’ll have more tracks on the recording or I’ll have more tracks; it just depends on what comes out better. It’s actually super fun because now our influences are so tightly cross-pollinated that we almost can’t remember who did what.”
The Chiller Instinct EP is set to be released before the end of the year. Throughout its five tracks, Chiller leads by example, showing his audience that the easiest way to enjoy life is to embrace your true self. “The second it stops being fun is the second I’ll stop doing it,” Chiller says. He’s not playing music to make money or get famous: he’s doing it because it’s a part of who he is.