Everything Jason Wozniak involves himself in seems to inevitably result in beautiful music to my ears. As one of Nashville’s most talented young producers, Wozniak has helped breathe life into the songs of many incredible artists including Kinn, Drew Elliott, Callie Burnett, Colin Powers and more. But in addition to his production for other artists, Jason Wozniak delivers his own personal music via his solo project, Chasing Ella, and has now released a brilliant addition to his repertoire with his new EP, I Haven’t Moved So I Lost Myself.
Jason Wozniak has been releasing music under the Chasing Ella moniker for the past couple years and his new EP, I Haven’t Moved So I Lost Myself, is easily my favorite Chasing Ella release to date. The EP is filled with perfectly toned guitars, crisp rhythms, captivating vocal melodies, and heartfelt lyrics that leave a lasting impact.
After having already been a fan of Jason’s work and listening to I Haven’t Moved So I Lost Myself at least a dozen times, I was eager to ask him some questions to gain a deeper understanding of this talented artist. Here is what he had to say:
Your new EP is a shimmering, smooth, and refreshing release that we just can’t stop listening to. Can you tell us a bit about the inspiration behind this EP and how these songs came to life?
I had been passively writing music in between working with some production clients in the spring/summer of 2019. Anytime I get to work on a record with somebody, I learn so much about the process of making music, both from a writing and a production perspective. I knew I wanted to make another big rock record, but I also knew this time around I wanted to do it a little different. In the past, I feel like I tried to do or say too much, vocally and lyrically. I sort of had 3 main boxes I wanted ticked.
1) I tried super intentionally to write these songs in keys that were not straining for my voice. I wanted the vocal production to feel really easy and floaty.
2) I didn’t want to say too much. I am super guilty of trying to change the world every time I sit down to write, and while that can be a noble pursuit, I don’t think it’s always beneficial. As I’ve matured as a producer, artist, and music listener, I notice that more times then not I listen to something because of the way it makes me feel, not lyrical elitism. I obviously don’t want to say non-sense, but in the past, I have felt hesitant to put out a love song or something that feels really simple, and I wanted to challenge myself to move past that desire because I don’t think it was benefitting the music.
3) I wanted this project to be guitar-driven. I got really deep into hardware synths and keys in 2018 and kinda felt like I hadn’t made music with my first love, the electric guitar, in a hot sec.
The songs started to come to life over the summer of 2019. I was writing some music with friend and long time collaborator Cole Suddarth, and we sort of just stumbled on the song Only One. That same week I wrote Imposter, and from there I caught wind of what I wanted this all to sound like. Nothing Else and Getting Out were actually old ideas that I had sort of written off. Those two definitely came together later in the process.
Throughout the EP your lyrics seem to reveal self-reflection and ongoing internal dialogue. Do you mostly write from personal experiences and feelings, or do you draw from any outside sources of inspiration?
That’s a great observation. Yeah, I would say my lyrical approach tends to be pretty reflective. For this project, my intentions with a song like Imposter were definitely more selfish than helpful. Like I mentioned above, I didn’t really want to say too much, so to put a song like that on this project, it needed to say exactly how I was feeling, even if it felt dramatic or dumb or whatever, because otherwise it would have felt too contrived and calculated (to me). I think in the past I would have cut a song like that or really honed in the lyrics, but this time around I just left the verse lyrics how I first wrote them, because they just felt the most honest. I don’t necessarily live and die by those rules, but my goal is basically to just serve every song individually. I don’t ever want to hold a lyric too tightly because something better might be right around the corner.
Does your creative approach differ when working on your own music as opposed to producing music for other artists?
This is a great question. Producing for others has taught me a lot about making music. It’s illuminated weak spots in my own process. I’m much more decisive now as a result of working with others. I’m also a lot kinder to myself. Working by yourself as an artist is really tough. It’s so easy to get in your own head about the dumbest things, and nobody is immune to that.
You’ve been able to produce and work with a variety of incredible Nashville artists. How does the local Nashville music scene keep you growing as both a producer and artist, and who are some artists who continuously inspire you?
It really challenges me! I think particularly on a songwriting level. There are some GREAT songwriters in this town who are scattering seeds right now that will be sprouting up very soon. Giants in their respective genres, whether they or anyone else realizes it yet. That’s one of the greatest joys of getting to produce records and write music – getting to be around greatness like that, and then to have the privilege of playing a small part in their journey is so sick. This is a sweet time to be making indie and alternative music. It’s never been easier to build a career from the ground up then now. I’m so thankful to be in this scene at this time.
I’m so glad you asked this question. I have been a long time super fan of The Pressure Kids. I think everything they’ve put out is so tight. They’ve got their own thing going on that I don’t hear anywhere else. It’s not trendy, its just great songwriting with tons of personality. Their live show is also so killer. Also was recently turned onto Louis Prince. His record Thirteen is twisting my brain in knots. The production is so creative and intentional, highly recommend giving that a listen. Night Beds is another one of my favorites. Their record Ivy Wild is worth the deep dive.
Do you plan on playing any Chasing Ella shows this year, and/or also have any other upcoming projects on your horizon?
Who knows with all this COVID-19 stuff. I was admittedly hoping to play some shows this spring, but it is what it is. I think overall I’m trying to stay focused on producing records, because that’s what I love the most.
There are a few releases this spring I’m super stoked about that I got to work on in various ways. I wrote a couple songs with Chris Renzema for his new record that drops this month (April). I also co-wrote and played guitar on a new Vacation Manor single coming soon. An EP I produced for Colin Powers drops this month (April) as well. I started writing with KINN in November for a full length I’m producing that feels really special. We are finally narrowing down songs for that and I cannot wait too deep dive on this one. Lots of things swirling around, but in the midst of it, it feels great to get some personal music out.