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Marquette Wire

Q&A: Cheem

Cheem talks about their background, some favorite artists, their recently released album “Guilty Pleasures” and more.
Photo by Shannyn Donohue
The band performed at X-Ray Arcade Oct. 12.

Nu-Pop band from Connecticut Cheem played a sold-out show at X-Ray Arcade Oct.12, accompanied by bands Cali Cuzns, Michael Cera Palin, RILEY! and Camping in Alaska. Cheem talks about their background, some favorite artists, their recently released album “Guilty Pleasure” and more.

What’s the story of Cheem coming together as a band?

Guitarist and vocalist Skye Holden said they started out in high school, but things didn’t become serious until they all went off to college. 

“We were like alright, let’s get a little more serious about this. All of us went to schools in Connecticut so it was pretty easy to rehearse, play shows, coordinate and all that stuff. After several lineup changes throughout the years, we feel like the final lineup we have is the final form, Cheem. We’re a high school band that turned into something way bigger than a high school band.”

In Cheem’s latest album “Guilty Pleasure,” what themes do you guys reference and what did the creative process look like compared to your older projects?

“That album, we took the sort of genre-blending stuff further than ever before. We were like ‘alright, let’s make an album that sounds really good live and still has a lot of weird stuff, all the hip-hop, RnB style going on,'” Skye said.

“I think a reason it came out the way it did was because it was one of the releases we really took our time on for the first time in like two albums. Not even that but just paying such close attention to every detail of the production process, it definitely didn’t sound the way it did right after the first draft. There was at least a year of shopping around sounds and rearranging,” vocalist Sam Nazaretian said. 

“Theme-wise, there’s always relationship themes on our albums, interpersonal stuff, friends, girlfriends, whatever; but a lot of songs also just touch on the industry as a whole and the scene. Music on every scale in which we’re involved in it. The experience of being in a band, interacting with other local bands, social media, playlisting; working all of the frustration with it into an album,” Skye said. 

“We actually added ‘Snag’ and ‘Overload’ at the very last minute. It was just going to be an EP, but because it took so long, we were like might as well just turn it into a whole cohesive thing,” Sam said. 

What does the graphic design process for the band look like with your visual style being so unique?

“Cheem likes to keep everything in-house, Gabe, our guitar player, also engineers, records and mixes all of our music. We stay pretty DIY. The graphic design comes from me, so all the album covers, tour flyers, merch, I do all that stuff. I have a graphic design background so it’s cool to be able to incorporate other styles that I don’t see that much in our contemporary scene. We have a cohesive style that I think is pretty unique,” Skye said. 

What influences do you note the most in your sound?

“Definitely 311 and Linkin Park, Fall Out Boy. I wrote ‘Snag’ after listening to ‘Take this to your Grave’ by Fall Out Boy one too many times. I was like why is this song so good we need an album that sounds this good. Frank Ocean is also a big one, NSYNC is a big one, too,” Skye said.

What are some of your favorite hobbies outside of creating music?

“I’m really into fashion, I’m interested in making fashion one day. I really like clothes in general,” Sam said.

“I’m a pretty big gamer,” bassist Nate Porter said.

“I’m also a big gamer, really nerdy about video games, I like to cook a lot too. I also work with animals, it’s a lot of fun,” drummer Sean Thomas said.

“I also like cooking a lot, and eating a lot, I like going out to eat. Me and my girlfriend are always trying new stuff. I like hiking and longboarding a little bit. That’s the Gabe stuff outside of music and production,” Gabe Weitzman, guitarist and producer, said.

“I used to skate, but I’m sick of messing up my hands because then I can’t play guitar. I’m trying to get back into reading more too because I read a lot when I was younger. I actually brought the book ‘Different Seasons’ a collection of short stories by Stephen King with me on tour, too,” Skye said.

This story was written by Sofía Cortés. She can be reached at [email protected].

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About the Contributors
Sofía Cortés
Sofía Cortés, Assistant Arts & Entertainment Editor
Sofía Cortés is the assistant editor for Arts & Entertainment. She is a junior majoring in journalism and with a writing intensive minor. Sofia is from Puerto Rico and outside of the Wire she enjoys reading, writing poetry, drawing and listening to music
Shannyn Donohue
Shannyn Donohue, General Manager of Marquette University Radio
Shannyn Donohue is a senior from Nashville, Tennessee studying Advertising at Marquette and Graphic Design at MIAD. She is the MUR General Manager for the 2024-2025 school year. Previously, she served as the Technical Director of Marquette Radio for the 2023-2024 school year. She also hosts the radio show "Tetris Sounds" as a DJ.

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