Band: Chase Nafta
Members: Jeff Miller, aka Chase Nafta; Anthony Devine, aka White Shadow; Angela Irwin, aka Angie-La-La; and Brain Maclean, aka B-Mac
Who we talked to: Miller
When did you get into music? When I was 16, I started playing guitar, and my whole family was into music all my life. I sang in the choir ever since I was really little. I sang for my brother's band that was around back in 2000. Later on, I decided to do some raps, but it was mostly just hanging out with my friends and freestyling.
Where did the name come from? I went to this camp for a whole summer, and I was a counselor there. While I was there, there was kind of a theme of what we (were) chasing after and that came up in our studies. It just boiled down to one day I was freestyling with my friend Tony (Devine). He overheard me saying I was chasing after God. I didn't want to chase after drugs and alcohol or anything like that. Tony was like, "You should call yourself. . . Chase and Nafta." The Nafta thing kind of sounded political. But that's not why (I chose the name).
How did the group come together? It started out with Tony Devine . . . and I and we would just freestyle a lot. We would put an instrumental (CD) in our car and just drive around York, bumping our system and freestyle rap. In 2000, I moved away from York. I met another rapper named Ben. He's not in the group, but he raps with us. Later, my younger sister decided to join. She fell in love with doing it. I must mention . . . B-Mac . . . he's our electric guitarist. We are all making God our top priority.
What are some of your influences? When I first started rapping, I was really into Wu-Tang (Clan). I would go through and listen to the album and imitate every rapper that was in the group. The Fugees influenced me back in the day. In the Christian realm, what turned me around and made me want to rap for God was the Cross Movement. It was intense because I never heard a rapper that sounded good and not corny, yet had in-depth theological truths. He was talking about drugs and how he was in the thug life and he was acting a certain way, and then God got him out of that and redeemed his life.
Is there a certain place that you guys like to play? Last year, we did a concert up at Ski Roundtop. We received some airplay on WJTL-FM (90.3). We've been around the outskirts of York, but not so much in (the city.)
What are your long-term goals? We've had a long-term goal of making our first full album. It's just about done. I just put the finishing touches vocally on the last song. Our album just needs to be mixed and mastered and distributed. We're hoping to play bigger Christian venues . . . and go out and play at any venue. We want to be able to possibly crossover and possibly get some play on the major radio stations. We want to expand our boundaries . . . and reach out to everybody. We're more about impact than reward. I want to make music to impact people and change their lives.
How do you feel about the rap industry? I just was watching "Hip Hop versus America" (on BET). They had Nelly on there and T.I. on there. They were talking to them about how they don't have any substance to their stuff. Their point was that this is what sells. It's hard to be a Christian rapper because you know that some people are going to hear it and be turned off. They want to hear about violence. We want to overcome that.
What was it like growing up in a pastor's house? It had its tough moments. Growing up, I was confused. I kind of rebelled, and when I hit high school, I wanted the acceptance of people around me. I basically started falling into patterns that were destroying my life. I hit rock bottom when I was 22. I had a big awakening. I wanted to change my life around. My Christianity became more of a choice then something I had to do.
- ERIN McCRACKEN, FLIPSIDE STAFF