Chasing Melfina
e-mail interview October 2013
by Rosey R*E*P*E*A*T

“ … Epic, volatile and really, really loud, Chasing Melfina are the widescreen bombast of Muse shot through the wide-eyed insanity of punk. Ears ring, neighbours complain and streets run red with blood and wine …” DROWNED IN SOUND

This isn’t merely empty noise-mongering, however – in between strangulated guitar squalls, reverb tsunamis and feedback storms, singer and guitarist Aidy James Stevens doesn’t shy away from wry wordplay and intellectualism; say, for example, by penning a stomp-gaze lecture about the heat death of the universe. In the engine room, Oli Kelly's intricate, punctuated bass lines are as much a lead instrument as the guitar or voice, snaking in and out through gaps in the wall of fuzz. Drummer Will Key is the band's rocket fuel, tribal and unrelenting, yet straddling the fine line between gymnastics and overplaying with rare finesse.

As you may gather, CHASING MELFINA are not exactly renowned for their subtlety, but it’s exactly that which is capturing the attention of critics and fans alike. Recently signed to R*E*P*E*A*T Records, they are tipped to join Mallory Knox and Lonely The Brave among the city’s most successful musical alumni.

Lucy: Your band have been quite quiet for the last few months. Are you looking forward to playing gigs again?
Katie Jane Garside: I think I give very obtuse ans

Chasing Melfina – who, what and why?
Melfina is a character from Outlaw Star - I was really into animé in my teens.

She's an android (well, technically, she's a gynoid, but we're not pedants here, right?) who is the only being who can interface with the ship. They're pursued by The MacDougal Brothers, who are, in effect... Ta-Da!

Describe your sound to a hard of hearing alien.
We sound spacey! Expansive, stargazing and littered with big, heavy bits.

Tell us a bit about the genesis of the single.
It started with Will playing a really intricate, deliberately showy beat in rehearsal, then Oli and I just went with it.

The whole thing was conceived in one rehearsal, pretty much, just from jamming! Usually, a song will be born from a little idea or motif that one of us will come up with, then everyone builds on it. That way, everyone can say it's theirs.

Who are your favourite dead stars, and what head starts have they got?
Rowland S Howard, without hesitation. He nailed his own playing style from the get-go; innovators give themselves their own head starts.

Joe Strummer, too - he played life to the rhythm of his own drum (or strums...) and maintained a policy of openness and honesty with the press, which really set him apart.

What can people expect at a Chasing Melfina gig?

Who do you have no sympathy for?
That song was about a friend who isn't a friend anymore - he's his own worst enemy. In general, people who end up victims of their own arrogance.


Tell us about the making of the video.
The solo shots were really fun - Boldi (check out ASWESAW) was full of ideas for locations and they were all conveniently close together in one part of Hackney. It was really good fun, particularly under the overpass.

The second day, with the whole band, was shot on a rooftop in Peckham and it was a logistical nightmare. We did really well within the constraints, though.

Do you think music has the power to influence society, for good or ill?
Most bands and artists that are seen as being socially revolutionary, for example, The Sex Pistols, The Clash, Bob Marley and The Manics, were mirroring their own experiences and philosophies through their art. If these individuals weren't creating music, I believe that they would have been very involved in socially influential activity anyway. However, their art gave them a platform and, therefore, it did influence people.

What are the best and worst gigs you've played?
Our first two shows of 2013 were particularly special - completely rammed, really satisfying setlists and hitch-free. Our most recent hometown show at The Portland was great, too!

Our worst was a disastrous show at The Portland for Cambridge 105. Everything was falling apart - the music, our equipment, my voice... I got so embarrassed when Thunderflies fell flat at the first hurdle that I threw my guitar down and started walking. I didn't stop until I was on a train. I left my phone, wallet and coat and I didn't even care - I was just too mortified with embarrassment to face anyone in that room.

Who are you heroes and heroines?
Nick Cave and Blixa Bargeld are my spirit animals. I hope to one day be as accomplished a songwriter as Nick and as notorious a noisemaker as Blixa.
In terms of guitar players, Daniel Ash, Rowland S Howard and Robin Guthrie are my favourites.

As a frontperson, I've always admired Katie Jane Garside's total command of the stage and her audience. She's the focal point wherever she is. I also really dig Josh Homme, Kim Deal and PJ Harvey, too, who have the same magnetism but, rather than through melodrama, they do it all by just being so damn cool. I'm far too neurotic to play it that cool.

How does songwriting work in Chasing Melfina?
Most of the time, a whole song comes together in a rehearsal through jamming, like Dead Stars (Hold On For Your Life came together REALLY quickly). Sometimes, I'd bring a complete song to the guys or Oli would demo bits of things that we'd build up, but it's generally a very democratic process. I tend to adlib lyrics, then refine them later.

We like to keep it as exciting as possible. If the songwriting process got too clinical, it wouldn't be satisfying anymore.

What's next for the band?
More shows! I'd love to record an album, too - something big, coherent and accomplished.

Why would anyone combine black cats with guillotines?
Imagine if said cats had the opposable thumbs to operate said guillotines - carnage. Luckily, evolution hasn't blessed them with such a privilege. Yet.

'Black Cats & Guillotines' is supposed to be an analogy for a little bad luck feeling like the end of everything, as I'm, admittedly, a very panicky, neurotic person. Like, a minor hiccup - a black cat crossing your path - feeling like the guillotine falling on your neck.

What song should I teach to my really rather good 12 year old guitar student?
Circuitry of the Wolf by Mew!

How can people sample the Chasing Melfina musical experience, and why should they bother?
They can find our latest single on R*E*P*E*A*T Records in all good digital music retailers. Product placement!

Alternatively, check out our Facebook page at for a bigger glimpse of what we're about.

We're the product of three very different musicians with very different tastes and philosophies about music and we reckon that they've converged to produce something unique. Dreamy, shoegazey washes of guitar; über-technical drumming from our resident metal aficionado, Will, and Oli bringing the funk, though with enough modesty and restraint to refrain from slapping (cheers, Oli).

However, I feel that you can only truly get to grips with what we're about at one of our shows!

Chasing Melfina Jan 2011 Cambridge Cornerhouse (Pic Rosey)

What's best, chips or cream buns?
Chips! There's one chippy in Stoke Newington that my wife and I always visit. Marginally less messy, too.

DEAD STARS [MAKE HEAD STARTS] will be available from the usual digital outlets, while very limited hand made CDRs will be available directly from the band or R*E*P*E*A*T Records.

“ … Chasing Melfina promised, “massive, high-octane stuff; subtlety is not part of our current agenda, expect us to be playing our heaviest cuts”, and they didn’t disappoint …” SLATE THE DISCO

wers to questions...It's never about looking forward to it. Actually maybe I should change the
script, maybe we are looeir musicm the 3rd album?