“[Provo’s] music scene has been a huge part of that decade for me, and, at times, it was a refuge for me when I hated everything else about this town or my life,” says Lewis, a former pop-punk frontman turned hip-hop music maker.
This album is a tribute to the scene. Each of the 10 songs contains a sample -- in various lengths and genres -- of a band from Utah County. “Lyrically, the songs also make lots of references to the Provo music scene, but I didn't want to make an album that you have to live in Provo to get,” Lewis continues. “So, I tried to strike a balance there -- paying tribute to where I live, while at the same time making the songs relatable to people who live anywhere.”
The album-release show will be at Muse Music on Dec. 12. Find more information here.
Lewis talks about three tracks off of Just Happy To Be Here:
"Specific (feat. Jack Mergist)"
I had the concept for this song since back when I was playing in pop-punk bands. In fact, one of the problems I had as a writer for those bands was that my songs were too specific to my life and to Provo. One of the things that really attracted me to hip-hop was that you're ALLOWED to be that specific in your music. The first verse is about me growing up in Nazareth, a small town in Pennsylvania, and moving to Provo. Verse two is basically the origin story of my stage name, Chance Lewis (my real last name is Clift). When I was thinking of local singers to sing the hook I had in my head Jack Mergist (of The Lunatic and Pale Rooster), who stood out because he has that amazing voice but he's also an underdog, locally. This song also has samples from Broke City, John-Ross Boyce & His Troubles, and some of my old bands, including Abby Normal. At one point in the third verse, there is a Broke City sample in the right ear, and an older Broke sample (before they added the "city") in the left ear at the same time.
"I Need Myspace"
This is one of those songs where the sample IS the song. The riff is from the song "The Grand Exposure" by legendary Provo band Return To Sender. I just started writing lyrics, playing off of the original song title, and then kinda went from there. On the original song, the lyric is "I need my space" but I always thought it would be funny if he meant "I need Myspace". Lyrically, it's about being stuck between two different generations, which I literally am, based on how most sociologists define Generation X and Millennials. Also, this song features scratches from DJ Skratchmo of The Crate Dwellers, who is our go-to live DJ.
"We're Back (featuring John-Ross Boyce)"
This was the first song I finished for the record, and I based the plotline of the album on. I knew when I wrote it that it had to be right in the middle of the album -- it's track six. The vocal sample in the intro is from the song "Muthahardinyourface,jack" by late- ‘90s Provo rap-rock group Chump. I wrote the hook to this song before the verses, and I knew when I wrote it that John-Ross Boyce (of John-Ross Boyce & His Troubles) had to sing it, to the point that I transposed an early MIDI-version of the beat to his ideal vocal range. The inspiration for this song comes from a friend's band, who, a couple years back, when they were just a new band, put up a big banner on 100 Block saying, "WE'RE BACK" with no other info as to who was back. They are a rad band, but they had been gone for such a short time that no one even knew they were gone.