Chromatics (band)

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This article is about the electronic music band. For the technology company, see Chromatics (graphics). For other uses of this term, see Chromatic (disambiguation).
Chromatics 2013 Austin TX.jpg
Adam Miller and Ruth Radelet performing with Chromatics in Austin, Texas, 2013
Background information
Origin Portland, Oregon, U.S.
Genres Synthpop, post-punk revival, indie rock, Italo disco
Years active 2001–present
Labels Gold Standard Laboratories, Italians Do It Better (Current)
Associated acts Glass Candy, Desire
Website Official Facebook
Members Ruth Radelet
Adam Miller
Nat Walker
Johnny Jewel
Past members Hannah Blilie
Devin Welch
Michelle Nolan
Maximillion Ronald Avila
Nat Sahlstrom
Nate Preston
Aleesha Whitley
Chelsea Mosher

Chromatics is an American electronic band from Portland, Oregon that formed in 2001. The band consists of Ruth Radelet (vocals, guitar, synthesizer), Adam Miller (guitar, vocoder), Nat Walker (drums, synthesizer), and Johnny Jewel (producer, multi-instrumentalist). The band originally featured a trademark sound indebted to punk and lo-fi that was described as "noisy" and "chaotic".[1] After numerous lineup changes, which left guitarist Adam Miller as the sole original member, the band began releasing material on the Italians Do It Better record label in 2007, with their style streamlined into a synth punk-Italo disco indebted sound.

The band began incorporating elements of synthpop and post-punk on their third release, Night Drive (2007), which garnered them critical acclaim, and their latest album, Kill for Love, was released March 26, 2012. Several of the band's songs have been featured in television series such as Gossip Girl and Bates Motel, and their track "Tick of the Clock" was featured in the film Drive (2011).[2] In December 2014, the band announced that a new, 17-track-album entitled Dear Tommy will be available via Italians Do It Better "in time for Valentine's Day."

On February 3, 2015, Chromatics released the three-song single "Yes (Love Theme From Lost River)", which is included in the trailer and soundtrack for Ryan Gosling's directorial debut, Lost River which is scheduled for a worldwide release on April 10th. Chromatics write, record, produce, and mix all of their own songs.


2002-2005: Early career[edit]

Chromatics originally featured Adam Miller, guitarist; Devin Welch, bassist; Michelle Nolan; and Hannah Blilie, drummer. After releasing debut album Chrome Rats vs. Basement Rutz in 2003, all members except Miller left to form Shoplifting.

Miller and a revamped lineup released Plaster Hounds in 2004. Further lineup changes 2004-2005 reduced the band to the quartet of Miller, Ruth Radelet, Johnny Jewel, and Nat Walker—resulting in a gradual shift in the band's sound and live performance. Chromatics have often toured the world with labelmates Glass Candy, since Jewel plays in both bands, as well as Desire, a side project of Jewel and Nat Walker. Walker and Jewel also have an instrumental project called Symmetry.

2006-2010: Night Drive[edit]

They have released three studio albums, including their most acclaimed release,[3] Night Drive, which was released in 2007 on Italians Do It Better. On Night Drive the group ditched their "aesthetic (hairy noise-rock troupe) in favor of a neatly groomed pop-dance quartet". In their review of the album, Pitchfork noted: "The transformation of Chromatics had been so effortless but it was still easy to be wowed by their results - listeners who were only familiar with the band's forays into shambling punk were certainly surprised by Night Drive '​s assured songwriting."[3]

Various songs from Night Drive have been licensed for usage in multiple Hollywood films, television shows, international television and internet advertisements, and runway shows.

Other releases have included the "Nite" and "In Shining Violence" singles. In 2007, Chromatics were featured on the Italians Do It Better compilation After Dark, performing non-album tracks "In the City" and "Hands in the Dark", as well as a demo of Night Drive's "The Killing Spree".

2011–present: Kill for Love[edit]

Chromatics live at La Route du Rock festival in 2012

Chromatics gained recognition for their song "Tick of the Clock" which was featured in the heralded Drive film and soundtrack,[4][5] a feature film released September 2011 by director Nicolas Winding Refn.[6] In December 2011, Johnny Jewel and Nat Walker released Symmetry, which was described as their "most ambitious project to date: a sprawling, 37-track, two-hour collection of cinematic noir-electro" featuring contributions from Chromatics and other Italians Do It Better acts Glass Candy, Desire and Mirage.[7]

On October 23, 2011, Chromatics released the title track from their upcoming album, Kill for Love. Reviews described the new single as a "really hypnotizing, fascinating song that will definitely get you psyched for the record - Ruth Radalet warmly croons her sweet, cryptic confessional lyrics while her band effortlessly weaves a bubbling, dreamy, New Order-esque soundscape."[8]

The Fader mentioned, "Maybe Kill for Love will inaugurate a sea change where artists come to terms with themselves and start being open about how they sound when they sing. In basement studios everywhere, young vocalists will blink three times and start x-ing out effects in Ableton, look at the mirror for the first time in weeks, deep into their beady, sun-deprived eyes and whisper, "God, there are no shortcuts... Kill for Love continues the band's penchant for popular-sound defiance that made Chromatics so exciting in the first place."[9]

After waiting patiently, Chromatics have begun to reach fans "five years after the release of their incredibly prescient Night Drive album."[10] On February 11, 2012 the band leaked a second track from their upcoming Kill for Love album, "Into the Black". Chromatics followed their second leak with three additional tracks, "Lady", "Candy" and on March 11, 2012 their fifth leak "Back from the Grave".

As fans anticipated the upcoming album, Jewel mentioned that the process of creating Kill for Love resulted in a total of 36 tracks that have been narrowed down to 17 for the album.[11]

Chromatics' Kill for Love was released on March 26, 2012. The album has been described as sounding like a "time warp ... a warm collision of past, present, and future."[12] On May 7, 2012, the group released an alternative version of the Kill for Love for free, withdrawing drums and percussion with 11 songs.[13] Kill For Love has had songs featured in television shows such as Parenthood, Bates Motel, Gossip Girl, and Revenge.

In December 2014, the band announced that a new, 17-track-album entitled Dear Tommy will be available via Italians Do It Better "in time for Valentine's Day."

On February 3, 2015, Chromatics released the three-song single "Yes (Love Theme From Lost River)", which is included in the trailer and soundtrack for Ryan Gosling's directorial debut, Lost River which is scheduled for a worldwide release on April 10th.

Honors and awards[edit]

Chromatics were invited by Karl Lagerfeld to play the Chanel Spring Summer 2013 fashion show in Paris in early October. The band was put above the runway, overlooking the whole catwalk and creating a dreamy ambience. Chromatics performed about five new and old songs.[14] The performance and the show can be seen here.


Chromatics have played at numerous music festivals around the world, such as the Paris Pitchfork Music Festival and Barcelona Primavera in 2012.[15][16] In September of 2013, the band opened for the xx at the Hollywood Bowl.[17]



Studio albums[edit]

Singles and EPs[edit]

  • Beach of Infants / Steps (Hand Held Heart, 2001)
  • Arms Slither Away / Skill Fall (K, 2002)
  • Cavecare (Hand Held Heart, 2002)
  • Ice Hatchets / Curtains (Gold Standard Laboratories, 2003)
  • Healer / Witness (Italians Do It Better, 2005)
  • Nite (Italians Do It Better, 2006)
  • In Shining Violence (Italians Do It Better, 2007)
  • In The City (Italians Do It Better, 2010)
  • Into The Black (Kill For Love, 2012)
  • Running from the Sun (Italians Do it Better, 2012)
  • Drumless (Italians Do it Better, 2014)
  • '"Yes (Love Theme from Lost River)" (Italians Do it Better, 2015)
  • Cherry on multi-band PDX Pop Now! 2013 compilation

Other appearances[edit]


External links[edit]