20 Questions: The Chain Gang of 1974
Gaming experts all had a hunch about what a phenomenon “Grand Theft Auto V” was going to be before its release. It was almost a gimme, but none of them came close to predicting just how massive it would eventually become. Only three days after the game’s first day of sales, GTAV clocked in a cool $1 billion, making it the fastest-selling entertainment product in history. It broke seven world records with its release and continues to hold a favorable spot in our worthless weekends of gaming excess, medicinal bong rips and fast-as-heck sub-sandwich deliveries.
So when Kamtin Mohager, the lone visionary behind The Chain Gang of 1974, was told his single “Sleepwalking” would be used for the trailer of one of the hottest entertainment items ever created; he was elated at the prospect of the massive opportunity. He’s ridden that wave of virility ever since. In advance of his June 14 performance at The Marquis Theatre in Denver, we grilled him a little about his music, surfing and life on the left coast.
1. You were once a resident of our fair state before you left for greener pastures on the West Coast. Do you miss home at all?
I'm very happy with my decision to have moved to California. I was born here and spent my childhood in Hawaii. Being around the ocean and palm trees makes my soul happy. I'm grateful for what I learned while living in Colorado for those 12 years. I was able to surround myself with music and become part of a great scene. Having other musicians around, along with countless amounts of shows to attend, influenced me to become the man I am now. I believe that the Chain Gang Of 1974 would not be where it is now if it weren't created in Denver.
2. What are some of the places that you miss the most here in Colorado?
3. Do you see yourself ever moving back?
To be honest, I don't. I live a certain lifestyle now that wouldn't be possible in Colorado. I spend every morning surfing, and I see myself doing that until the day I die.
4. We remember one of your older bands here named The Vanity: Any chance for a reunion tour?
I would love to. It was such a beautiful thing to be able to play in a band with two of my brothers. It was a fucking headache at times, but nonetheless beautiful. But I doubt we would ever play again. I don't think anyone would care if we played a show.
5. Which social media platform do you prefer: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook or, dare we say it … MySpace?
I've been getting really into photography. And even though I'm taking photos with my iPhone, I find myself becoming more passionate about it with each passing day. I enjoy posting things I see onto my Instagram account.
6. Did (do) you have a favorite Spice Girl?
Posh Spice. 100 percent.
7. What are some of the most important things that all great songs have?
Real, honest emotion. If it lacks that, then I don't care to listen to it.
8. Is surfing as great as all the movies make it out to be?
Most definitely. It's a very difficult thing to pick up, but that's the beautiful thing about it. You get to witness your progression. You get better after every session.
9. Any close experiences with sharks or other frightening ocean life?
I see dolphins and seals almost every time I surf. Dolphins are incredible. I get a bit sketched out whenever I see a seal because those fuckers do bite. I had a small shark swim under me once while I was surfing in Malibu. Even though it was small, I was still terrified.
10. Do you shower after surfing, or is the sea your bathwater?
Always. The Venice water is definitely something that you don't want on your skin for a long period of time.
11. Who would you want to play with (dead or alive) to create the ultimate bill?
There's a band from the UK called My Vitriol. They've only released one album, and that was back in 2002, I believe. I think they're genius. I'd be honored to play with them if they ever made an official return.
12. Your single “Sleepwalking” got an incredible amount of exposure because of the “Grand Theft Auto V” video-game trailer. Are you a gamer yourself?
Not at all. I'm so grateful for the gaming community’s open arms with my band. They've been so accepting and supportive. But I rarely play games.
13. How many hours do you think people can sit and play a game before it’s considered too much? We’re asking for a friend…
I'm not the right person to ask. And I say that because I once played “Golden Eye” for over nine hours straight when I was younger.
14. Do you get noticed now as “That guy that makes the song for the video game,” or have you been able to separate the two?
The separation is starting to happen. In my opinion, I released an album that is full of songs that are just as good, if not better, than "Sleepwalking." It's been a small struggle to get the public to pay attention to what else is out there. But it's starting to happen, and they're being really receptive to the other tracks.
15. What can an audience expect out of The Chain Gang of 1974’s live show?
If you stand still, you won't have any fun.
16. Can we look forward to new songs played at the Marquis show?
17. Beer, wine or liquor?
18. Who are you listening to lately?
XO, Pianos Become The Teeth, Iceage, Deafheaven, Cheatahs, Weekend and the new Afghan Whigs.
19. If you could tell your younger self one piece of advice what would it be?
Listen to more Red House Painters.
20. What does the future hold for The Chain Gang of 1974?
Honestly, I have no clue. I like it that way.