I dont care if my music doesnt sound modern, all I care about is trying to write great songs which make people think and feel.
Long time R*E*P*E*A*T ally Gavin Chappell-Bates is poised to release his debut album, 'We Are the Ones', on R*E*P*E*A*T Records. We talked to him about making music with passion, heart and some brains
Gavin Chappell-Bates who, what and why?
Carbon based life form playing rock n roll for no other reason than its fun (and I cant stop)!
Who are your heroes, musical, cultural, sporting, political, other?
Richey James Edwards the greatest lyricist and most intelligent and beautiful man.
James Dean Bradfield the greatest frontman of all time (how does he get so much venom and aggression into his voice!?).
Joe Perry the greatest guitarist of all time.
Paul McCartney inspirational songwriter.
Manic Street Preachers the most important band of all time.
Tony Adams the greatest leader / captain of all time.
Ray Parlour (the Romford Pele) my favourite footballer ever!
Gandhi the greatest human being who ever lived (surely!).
Terry Pratchett my favourite author.
George Orwell for writing 1984 (if nothing else).
Nietzsche when I finally learn to understand all his works Ill let you know why
Describe your sound to a deaf alien.
Having played in bands over several years, you are just about to release your début solo album; what can you tell us about it and what are your hopes for it?
We Are The Ones is an album I fantasised about making all my life. I assumed for a long time it would just happen, before I realised I had to make it happen. Its taken a long time to get here but it has been worth it and everywhere Ive been on the way has given me experiences, memories and ideals which have gone into the record.
I hope that people really love what they here and get something (whatever that is) from the music Ive written. Then its on to the next album which (Im hoping) wont take as long
Your music clearly deals with issues of personal and global importance, is this deliberate or did it just happen?
Being highly influenced by the Manics, I think it would be impossible for me not to write songs which look at the world around me and the inner soul of humanity. Some songs I write with the intention of tackling an important social or political issue, others just come out naturally that way.
What is the Gavin Chappell-Bates live experience like?
That depends whether Im playing solo or with a band. Regardless, there will always be passion and energy and plenty of engagement with the audience.
When Im playing solo I tend to live loop. This is because my songs are written as full band songs and with the looping I can build up the layers to create a bigger sound.
With the band (who will be joining me for my album launch at The Portland Arms on 8 April) its full on rock. Not being tied to my pedal board, means I can do lots of bouncing around along with the crowd.
What has your 'Finest Hour' been, to date?
The 95 single launch at The Portland Arms in Cambridge last summer. It is the best atmosphere of any crowd Ive seen at The Portland and the most fun Ive ever had on stage.
I am writing this in a chilly skate park in Northamptonshire. What are the most unusual places you have gigged and / or what unusual place would you like to perform?
I played the Malt Cross in Nottingham once which is the only time Ive performed on a balcony looking down on people. That was a bit surreal. They also have caves underneath the venue where they hold occasional performances. Playing somewhere like that, intimate, personal and off the beaten track, appeals to me.
Has the advent of the internet made it easier or harder for you to get yourself heard?
Easier to get music to people to because of the tools available now, harder to get people to listen because those tools mean there are so many musicians competing for everyones attention.
Who are 'The Ones'?
All of us. Every human who has ever lived. All with the capacity to do great things.
How do you think you stand out amongst the plethora of indie rock bands?
Its not easy standing out in a world oversaturated with indie bands. What Im not is trendy, fashionable or of this time. Im not interested in being part of any scene where style is more important than substance. I dont care if my music doesnt sound modern, all I care about is trying to write great songs which make people think and feel.
Drums Jimmy Chamberlain (Smashing Pumpkins). I dont think Ive ever seen someone pound the drums the way he does. He gives the power to a lot of the great Pumpkins track.
Bass Darcy (Smashing Pumpkins). I just always thought she was really cool when I was a teenager and wanted her in my band!
Guitar Joe Perry (Aerosmith). I grew up wanting to be him (I fell a little bit short). Best rock guitarist of all time and exudes coolness. How he is still alive I dont know.
Vox / guitar James Dean Bradfield (Manics). How could I not pick him? Greatest frontman of all time.
Vocals / piano Paul McCartney (Paul McCartney). Just think of the harmonies!
How can our readers get hold of your music? Why should they bother?
My music is available to listen to for free on Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/gavinchappell-bates
If theyd like to own it they can get it from my Bandcamp site: https://gavinchappellbates.bandcamp.com/
Why should they bother? Well, if they love the Manics, or alternative anthemic rock, or 90s music, or music with passion, heart and some brains then theres not much of that in the mainstream but there is some in the underground. If you check it out you may well like what you hear and prefer it to what is played on the radio all day every day.
If you do use your hard earned cash to buy some of my music then thank you. In an age of streaming and free music it means a lot when someone takes just a few of their pounds to buy something Ive created.
What's best, chips or cream buns?
'We Are the Ones' is out April 8th via R*E*P*E*A*T
Records but you can preorder it now here
It will be available mailorder, in good record shops or digitally; you will be able to order it from Gavin or here https://repeatfanzine.bandcamp.com/