Brothers Pete and Sam Loeffler were putting the finishing touches on the ninth Chevelle album when COVID-19 descended in early 2020. “The last four years have been very tumultuous for us and our friends and family,” Pete tells Apple Music. “And then on top of it, this pandemic and the election. We were trying to come up with an album title right when COVID was hitting, and the situation just didn’t seem real.” The title they settled on is an acronym for “Nothing Is Real and This Is a Simulation”—a fitting description for Chevelle’s sci-fi take on driving hard rock—and a cover painting by the great Peruvian fantasy artist Boris Vallejo seals the deal. “This album talks about simulation theory, space travel, and all this wild technology,” Pete says. “But the title is also a reference to basically losing your job overnight because the music industry stopped.” Below, he comments on the album’s songs. Verruckt “This opening song harkens us back to our first album in that it’s an instrumental. It's a bit heavy and a bit crazy, as the title says [in German]. I love how it weaves heaviness around before ending on the double kick pattern constantly telling the listener to turn it up louder. It also allows me to get lost in the music without being tied to a microphone for a chance to roam around.” So Long, Mother Earth “The first of a few songs speaking about interstellar travel. I’m trying some new techniques for writing on the guitar these days. A few less power chords and more moving/walking single-string riffs. It seemed to help us end up at new places within our music. Lyrically, it deals with the loss of leaving Earth and its relationships, searching for courage for the future, and wondering if technology can help us advance to the point of being an interplanetary species.” Mars Simula “This song is a banger of excitement for me. Heavy and always pushing forward toward a release, it’s a track designed for chaos in the live setting. It’s inspired by Elon Musk and SpaceX and all the risks involved with the harrowing trip to get to Mars.” Sleep the Deep “This was written and recorded in my closet when I was alone. I started dabbling in alternative sounds on keyboards, using random effects and a kalimba. It was exciting to write outside of the guitar world for a minute to see what I can do with other sounds. There is more of this to come in my future.” Self Destructor “I didn’t see this one coming as a first radio single but was pleasantly surprised at the response. It’s not a short song and it never really lets up. To me, it’s upbeat and moves around a lot, with lots of finger work on the fretboard, which is a challenge. Lyrically, I needed to confront a few hard conversations I’ve had, one of them being science denial, which to me is risking forward progress.” Piistol Star (Gravity Heals) “A trippy rock track inspired by the movie Sunshine. The characters are hurtling through space and possibly sacrificing themselves to reignite the sun. It’s got a lot going on and we threw a ton at it. I love how the higher guitar lines carry it later in the song and make it feel like it's constantly growing.” Peach “I believe we are surrounded by cults in our societies, vying for our money, our attention, and our worship. A simple explanation for this song is ‘Keep your hands to yourself.’ Also, be especially wary of people who say that they have all the answers.” Test Test...Enough “Dealing with the end of something held so closely for so long, we all [struggle] with this in different capacities. But in this song, it’s me giving in—gladly—and fully letting go.” Endlessly “It’s the sad song on the album, although ultimately positive in the hope that when we leave this earth, in some way we are all reconnected—whether that’s through energy or possibly somewhere inside the simulation.” Remember When “The musical equivalent of the image of an astronaut disconnected and floating off into space. The thoughts that would flood the mind are truly terrifying. I use a sort of single-string chugging approach to the guitar line here—it’s different for us and super exciting. It’s very important for us to try new things at this point. We always need a new challenge.” Ghost and Razor “A rather dark brooder of a song. Lyrically, I can’t seem to shake the feeling of being used throughout my career. It's a realization that one can change and refuse to play the victim. Most times, to truly move on, one has to search it out for themselves and choose to apply it.” Lost in Digital Woods “I recorded this alone late at night, wanting to add piano to my spoken-word poem. I love the simplicity. Taking a break from writing, I heard a pack of coyotes running down the street. I quickly ran out of the house and recorded them on my phone. I thought it was a perfect way to end the album.”

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