HER LIFE IS HER ART
Photos Kristen Gallegos | Words Tamara Rappa
Chase Cohl grew up on tour. Like, seriously on tour. With The Rolling Stones. Her father, Michael Cohl, is a legendary concert promoter and producer, and her mother worked at a multitude of record labels. Cohl describes her childhood as what she imagines it's like to grow up as part of a circus troupe. She was 8 years old when she watched Bob Dylan open for The Rolling Stones in South America and counts some of the world's most prolific musicians as extended family. Both of her parents ooze creativity that was passed down to Chase. It's no wonder she created her hat and headpiece line Little Doe 11 years ago, its launch item spotted on her head, and then requested by Fergie. Cohl's childhood home in Toronto was painted pink by her mother with whom she shares her keen eye for interior design, apparent in her meticulously styled yet warm abode nestled in the hills of Laurel Canyon. It was from her mother that Chase learned creative skills like sewing and cooking at a very young age, her mother relaying their importance. The singer/songwriter and guitarist hones and cherishes these skills amongst others. Excited to put out new music this summer with a totally different sound, a 60's girl pop vibe, because "there's no place in the world right now to be making sad music", Cohl is also launching a women's collection based on her own cool style. We sat down to chat about what's making her tick these days.
How do you see yourself as an artist? I guess sort of multifaceted, but mainly a musician. But I'm a writer and that's important to me. That's how my music was born. I'm a creator. I love to perform, I love to sing, I love to write. I love to play instruments, to design. Design was sort of an afterthought, but that came out. I'm working on a new line that I can't say much about because it's in development. It's womenswear, and an extension of my style right now.
How did design "come out"? I was working as an assistant stylist through college. I assisted Kate Young. And I just sort of started making things with my hands. It always came naturally to me because I grew up in music. Fashion always felt accessible to me. Music and fashion are so intertwined. Especially with some of the great seventies rock bands that I was exposed to. Fashion is an extension of their character.
What was it like growing up so close to the music industry? It was amazing, and it was isolating because there is no part of "normal" society that can understand your experience. It was incredible. I got to see shows every single night.
What do you like to cook? I'm a vegetarian but I cook everything. I cook fish a lot, veg a lot. And I weirdly love to cook steak for people. I cook the most insane steak though I haven't eaten meat in 15 years.
What is your "uniform"? My friends always make fun of me because I dress like George Harrison. A little trouser, usually a little jacket, a plain white sneaker, or a loafer or boot if I'm going out at night. I always wear a lot of earrings. I have four holes in each ear but I'm terrible to my ears, I put multiple earrings in. I love a heavy, almost tribal earring. If I'm not wearing earrings, I'll do a lot of rings. That's something newer, it came from touring. Any time my mother came to see me on tour and would comment on what I was wearing she was like "you're a guitar player, people are looking at your hands."
How do you get your best ideas? From my life probably, and other people's lives. I read an obscene amount of everything. I read a lot of historical fiction, a lot of classic literature, poetry. I read the news feverishly. These days I'm reading a lot more metaphysical works; Eckhart Tolle; psychodelic books and authors. Aldous Huxley, Timothy Leary...
What do you do when you are stuck? It's not something I would recommend people doing, but I usually go out and cause some trouble in my personal life. My personal life then becomes my inspiration. It's probably not the healthiest thing.
Are you afraid of anything? Yes, so many things, but mostly pigeons. I hate pigeons. I think they're disgusting. A disabled pigeon once landed on my back on Sunset Boulevard. Otherwise, I don't know, failure?
What is your most amazing recent discovery? Oh my gosh! I recently bought a four album set called "Hot Jazz" by Benny Goodman at a weird shop in Sherman Oaks that my best friend Blake took me to. It was ten bucks and it was buried deep in the back of the store. I'm not a jazz person, but it's the most wonderful Sunday afternoon record. Also in the last year or so my father's mother passed away and I got to go through her stuff. I have a lot of amazing old furs of hers, and things that have her name embroidered in them. She was a massive Frank Sinatra fan and a massive Tony Bennett fan, and I got to keep all her vinyl.
Look out for our podcast with Chase Cohl later this season for much, much more.