Bass Race – Chasing The Sun

Bass Race – Chasing The Sun

Bass Race – Chasing The Sun

Bass Race – Chasing The Sun



SONG TITLE: Chasing The Sun


ALBUM TITLE: Tender Vittles


RELEASE DATE: March 19, 2021


GENRE: Alternative R&B















Bass Race is the sonic lovechild of Los Angeles-based couple Steven Mertens and Laura Benack. You could aptly describe their musical influences as soft yet rich and yacht yet synth with heavy echoes of jazz, funk, and soul. But stop there and you’d miss out on the more tantalizing alternate reality in which The Carpenters cheat death to evolve through the ‘80s and ‘90s that truly characterizes their sound… Their debut album, Tender Vittles, transcends categorization. Unfussy but far from simple, each song offers an efficient vehicle for traveling through time and memory, vacillating between dreamlike introspection and crystalline clarity. Detail-rich lyrics ground the gauzy atmosphere and add a crisp prescience to the dreamlike styling.
After meeting in New York in 2010, Mertens and Benack started dating and immediately dove into a musical partnership. With the help of friends and Benack’s brother on trumpet, they made music videos including one for their trippy, eerily playful song called “Clowns Everywhere.” Determined to use every ounce of their collective talent, they began combining their music with Mertens’ visual art in 2019. The product is the @raceofbass Instagram page, a completely unique never-ending surreal multi-media collage with animated videos as easter eggs, described by fans as “magical” and “super amazing mega fantabulous.” Born out of pure love for each other and their craft, Bass Race vibrates with an effortless joy that’s hard to find and impossible to manufacture.





Come inside to leave the gray
Leave the winter far away
Light-reflecting warmth inside
Phosphorescence that can’t hide


When the sun goes down and the stars come out
And we don’t give up and we feel no doubt


And we wait for the words to come
It’s like chasing the sun


Like chasing, like chasing the sun, like chasing
It’s like chasing the sun, like chasing, like chasing the sun, like chasing
It’s like chasing the sun


Open wide magnetic lines
There’s a melding of the minds
Patient solar winds oblige
Eos, earth, and sky collide


When the stars go down and the sun comes up
And we feel no doubt and we don’t give up


And we wait for the words to come
It’s like chasing the sun


Like chasing, like chasing the sun, like chasing
It’s like chasing the sun, like chasing, like chasing the sun, like chasing
It’s like chasing the sun


It’s like chasing the sun, whoa
It’s like chasing the sun, chase oh
It’s like chasing the sun
It’s like chasing the sun
Chasing the sun
It’s chasing the sun
It’s like chasing
Chasing the sun, whoa



Discuss the processing involved in creating a song.
Our songs typically begin with a single melody/lyrical line or a chord progression on the keys. From there, Steven will add either bass or guitar. For drums, we have an ongoing Spotify playlist of drumbeats that we save for future song samples. We also use an app called Funk Box where you can create beats with vintage drum box sounds.  


Elaborate on the themes of most of your songs.
Our songs are very sincere. Whether we’re talking about the beginning stages of a relationship, dealing with doubt and anxiety, or struggling to find creative inspiration, we aren’t afraid to be earnest and vulnerable with our lyrics.


Tell us your greatest musical works up to date.
We are really proud of finally releasing our debut album! The first song that we created together was a trippy song called Clowns Everywhere with a music video where we dressed up as mimes!


Tell us those behind your music process.
We both typically take turns working on the pieces of a song. One of us will start with the acorn of an idea and then the other one will come in and add a few more layers of tracks and ask the other one for feedback. Working on lyrics is definitely the hardest part of songwriting for us. The first verse typically comes somewhat quickly, but we’ve been known to agonize over finishing lyrics!


Tell us your future goals and how you aim to accomplish them.
Our first goal is to be able to support ourselves through our music. We both have day jobs and it would be a dream to be able to focus on our music and visual art full-time. We’d also love to have the opportunity to collaborate with amazing musicians, producers, and visual artists on our project.


Tell us what you think has changed in the music industry.
It’s not hard to find interesting music through blogs and social media, but Top 40 radio is no longer an outlet to find cutting-edge musical ideas.


Tell the greatest mistake to avoid while making a song.
Judging your creation too early is a big mistake. It can stop you in your tracks and prevent you from persevering to finish the effort. It’s important to reserve judgment especially when you’re coming up with ideas. Any idea is a good idea if it eventually helps you get to the great idea!


Explain the structure of the song.
Verse, Pre-Chorus, Chorus, Verse, Pre-Chorus, Chorus, Chorus…


State your musical skills.
Laura is our lead singer and keyboardist. She grew up in a musical family and studied piano since she was young. She also plays clarinet on one of our tracks “How Long Have I Been Gone”. Steven’s primary instrument is bass, but he also sings, plays guitar, and a bit of piano and drums too!


List the name of artists you cherish most.
Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, ABBA, Steely Dan, Earth Wind & Fire, The Carpenters…


Tell us how you get inspiration.
Inspiration can really strike anywhere! Being open to finding inspiration at any time and in any environment is really important (even when it’s inconvenient!). We often record voice notes on our phones when we’re out in the world and a great idea pops up.


Elaborate on the song.
We were in Pittsburgh a couple of years ago over Christmas to see my family and we visited our good friend Pete Mudge (Nice Rec) in his studio along with our friends Laura Herrmann and Blane Britt (GrandEar). There was a snowstorm, and it was freezing. Once we were inside, we started to warm up and Pete played us some beats he had been working on. When we heard the track that would soon become “Chasing the Sun”, we all started smiling right away. The creativity started flowing and within a couple of hours, I had recorded all the vocals and Steven laid down some guitars. The gray weather definitely inspired the song title, but the song lyrics detail the arduous process of overcoming writer’s block and chasing creative inspiration.


Elaborate on your artist’s name and the title of the album.
Early into their relationship, Steven was teaching Laura how to play bass and we joked about starting a band of dueling bassists. We came up with “Bass Race” which is also a riff on “Space Race” and the name stuck! As for our album name, “Tender Vittles” is a defunct brand of semi-moist cat food that was big in the 70s/80s. “Vittles” is a slang term for “victuals” meaning food. The term is associated with the rural South, cowboys, pioneers, and mountain men. Not only does “Tender Vittles” roll off the tongue nicely, we thought it was an appropriate metaphor for our songs, which are heartfelt and sincere.


Share your press release and review with us.
Bass Race is comprised of Steve Mertens (Moldy Peaches) and Laura Benack. The duo’s new album Tender Vittles drops on March 19, 2021.


Fun Facts about Bass Race:
  1. Steven has played bass on 50+ US and global tours for acts including The Moldy Peaches, Adam Green, Dev Hynes, Here We Go Magic.
  2. Bass Race’s main influence is 70s rock and soul music. Bands that have inspired them include ABBA, The Carpenters, Ace of Bass, Hall & Oates, Ween, and Foreigner.
  3. “House of Spirits” was featured on the soundtrack of the horror short “Dylan” starring Rob Belushi and Aimee Carrero.
  4. Bass Race lives in Echo Park, Los Angeles, and produced and mixed “Tender Vittles” at Palomino Sound in Boyle Heights.


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