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Into the Ethereal

With his chill Midwinter record, pop crooner Jenkins comes in from the cold.

Chase Jenkins, who has played the piano since childhood, recorded his new six-track EP in a studio he fashioned inside his home.

“I started writing these songs forever ago,” says Chase Jenkins of one-man indie pop band Lovelast, noting the tunes on his 2011 album December. “I’d stop writing, and every time I’d pick back up the record again, I’d throw half of it away.” He pauses and stares up at the ceiling with piercing blue eyes, and then he adds with a smirk, “I wrote a lot of really crappy songs when I was younger.”

The now 28-year-old Jenkins, a Rice grad who was born here but spent his childhood all over the country—in California, New York and Washington state—recently released his Midwinter EP, a follow-up to December, with three of his old (decidedly not crappy) songs stripped down and played acoustically, and three new ones, also with an acoustic-tilting sound. All of his tunes have a powerfully ethereal vibe. “My new songs have more of a hopeful feeling, more of a confidence to them,” explains Jenkins, a photography hobbyist who works as a software architect for Schlumberger by day.

Jenkins, who plays piano for other local musicians, including popular Christian rock group the Robbie Seay Band, and who frequents open mic nights at the Rice Coffeehouse and McGonigel’s Mucky Duck, lives near the university with his resident-physician boyfriend of six years. The pair has converted a spare bedroom into a makeshift studio, where Jenkins records. “There’s a lot of material; I’ve written a lot of songs,” explains the singer. “I want to do a full-length. I want to figure out what makes a coherent album.” In fact, his next record is already in pre-production—though not without challenges. His half-smile returns. “Sometimes I have to stop and wait for a cop car to go by on Kirby.”

Jenkins’ Hots
Yoga, prosecco, portmanteaus, analog synths, France, Katy Perry, “anything that involves avocados”

Jenkins’ Nots
Driving (“especially in this city”), business casual, early mornings, people who push elevator buttons that are already pressed