The album cover to the self-titled debut EP by Miami-based Chase the Jaguar perfectly captures the duality that an urban city set in paradise frequently offers: palm trees and a soft, calming sunset with streaks of lingering blue and flamingo pink, all broken up by a giant, imposing, and often very loud cement factory. Likewise, the first offering from Chase the Jaguar is a multilayered combination that brings together a cornucopia of genres and styles.
On the band's Facebook page, Chase the Jaguar lists a trio of classic British bands – Muse, Pink Floyd, and Radiohead (whose “High and Dry” has a definite impact on their song, “My Mirror”) – as influences, but there’s an additional element of jangly indie/power pop that shines through the gentle melodies. For example, “Burning Up” sounds like Death Cab for Cutie meets Two Door Cinema Club. There are also shades of alternative guitar rock such as Better Than Ezra and Guster sprinkled throughout.
“Really it’s just a mixture of influences,” guitarist Sebastian Fox explains. “We can’t really pinpoint why our songs sound the way they do. We just go with the flow and the way they come out is the way they come out."
The quartet is made up of brothers David (lead singer/guitar) and Sebastian Fox (guitar/backing vocals), Kevin Krag (guitar/backing vocals), and Michael Cohen (drums). Everyone except Cohen is from Argentina, with the Fox brothers arriving in Miami as children, and Krag, a more recent transplant, having moved here just over four years ago. The Fox brothers met Krag through a mutual friend. Cohen happened to be practicing at a studio next to David’s and after hearing Cohen play for months, David invited him to jam, which eventually led to a full-time membership.
“We try not to lock ourselves up in that we’re a rock band and we only do rock band things or that we only do pop music,” Krag says. “We have different styles of music and we try and come up with unique methods and different points of view.”
Nearly everyone in the band began their musical careers early on. “I started playing when I was 14 years old,” Krag says.
“David and I, our dad’s a guitar player,” Sebastian continues. “We started from a very early age. For David and I, it runs in the family. Mike started playing with Rock Band with his friends. He was
Outside of the band, they lead a normal life that balances school, work, and the pursuit of making this music thing pan out. David and Sebastian, a pair of FSU alums, support themselves exclusively through music. “We gig with our guitar playing, but in other styles of music,” Sebastian says. “Mainly in hotels and lounges and stuff like that.” Meanwhile, Cohen attends FIU and has nearly completed a degree in accounting. As the band’s PR contact, Krag doubles as both musician and manager.
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Chase the Jaguar debuted its EP at Sweet Liberty in Miami Beach earlier this month and the response so far has been overwhelmingly positive. That helped them book shows at Churchill’s, the Delano Hotel, and this weekend’s gig in Little River. And, although they’re still solidifying plans to tour throughout Florida, they’ve already cemented a two-week trip through Argentina in October with eight scheduled shows. Despite being so new to the scene, they’ve made plenty of progress in a short time and the desire to succeed isn’t just an abstract notion; it’s built into their band name.
Originally there was no real reason why they chose Chase the Jaguar, but
“To me," Krag says, "it
Chase the Jaguar at Little River's Night of Light. 5 p.m. Saturday, June 25, at North Miami Studio Complex, 7111 N. Miami Ave., Miami. Admission is free.