What is Chemicals?
“Dynamic,” says the band’s senior member Dereck Higgins, as if verbalizing his band’s bio for the first time. “Alive … engaging … spiritual … challenging … colorful.”
Though it almost reads like a shotgun answer to a standard query, it really feels as though the Omaha music scene veteran is still trying to make sense of it all. Chemicals checks a lot of boxes that make its psychedelic stylings “fusion” — John Evans’ jazz style drumming, Blake DeForest’s meandering trumpet blasts, and ever-present synth from James Cuato Ballarin and Jake Reisdorff. Guitarist Jacob “Cubby” Philips channels the prog-style leads of Omar Rodriguez-Lopez or Carlos Santana. Each dynamic ingredient makes the brew stranger and more potent.
Yet its nascent state is still one of rapid evolution. One could point to Chemicals’ relative youth as the source of its energy, which becomes all the more apparent if you’ve seen or heard the band perform. Higgins, 61, raves about each of his bandmates like both a proud father and a peer, which makes his self-assessments sound all the more earnest. The music genuinely seems to challenge him; he just wants the audience along for the ride.
If you haven’t had the experience, let Higgins and Evans introduce you in the latest artist profile feature.