1.For people who have an affinity with music and who really understand
it, not only can it be a sanctuary for them, but also a way of life!
Have you yourselves, always felt so passionately about music?
My appreciation of music takes a strange form, or so it sometimes
seems to me. Its always had a weird competitiveness to it. Theres
a Ted Hughes poem in which he describes himself and a lover (probably
Sylvia Plath? I cant remember) as like two wolves, come
separately to a wood. Each finds it impossible to rest in the
knowledge that the other exists, and both animals are driven by this
overwhelming need to discover, dominate and consume (in some sense)
the other. I really understand that view of love.
I feel like that about the artists I most admire, people like Jacques
Brel, Tom Waits, Scott Walker, as well as various writers or painters
or whoever. Theres this odd need to validate your relationships
with other peoples work by trying to equal or surpass it in some
way. Consume that which threatens to consume you. Im a long way
off yet, by anyones standards. But you know, you keep at it. Its
a weird psychological dynamic I guess, but I imagine there are a lot
of people out there who experience the same thing.
2.How would you say your personalities and musical ideas blend together,
and whats the story behind your name Chapel Club?
The name Chapel Club comes from the fact that we used to sit and
drink in the churchyard of St Lukes on Old Street after rehearsals
on summer nights; plus all the other names we liked were already taken
by about a million other bands. As for the bands personalities,
I think part of the reason we work well together (so far at least),
is because were all quite different in some ways but very similar
in others. We all tend to agree on whats good musically, artistically,
aesthetically, whatever. But we all tend to approach new songs from
different angles. When we write together, its like everyone brings
their own take on a song and we put it all together and manage to make
something thats often completely unexpected but also (hopefully)
kind of cool.
3.Some music critics have argued that a band's value is measured
in terms of both their reach and their artistic qualities and
that important acts are driven by a desire to change things.
Would you agree with this and has there ever been an artist / band that
has changed the way you think about music?
There have been plenty of artists that have changed my view of
music (the ones I listed in my first answer, for example) and I think
its an admirable thing to try to rewrite the course of (music)
history etc. Or to do so without trying. But, I dont agree that
theres any simple connection between reach and value.
Bradford Cox is a far more important artist right now than anyone showing
up in the Top 40, but his reach is probably pretty limited, compared
to (say) Lady Gaga. Its a shame, but it doesnt matter. The
music and the ideas and the feelings behind them are whats important.
4.What was the first song that you wrote and were all really proud
of, and lyrically, is there anything that you would still like to write
a song about?
I think the first song I was fully satisfied with (for a while,
anyway) was one called Spirits, which we dont play any more. I
doubt itll ever be released in fact. I think it was the first
lyric that wasnt reworked from an existing poem, and I remember
toiling over it when my girlfriend was away over the Christmas of 2008.
I recorded the vocal on this crap little multi-track Ive got.
It took me ages to sing it properly, but the little demo turned out
to be really atmospheric. The other guys liked it too, but then we decided
the track was too soft so we added loads of noise to it. Eventually,
it fell out of favour completely, our sound moved on and Spirits didnt
fit anymore. Lyrically, I cant say theres anything I know
I want to write a song about in the future; it doesnt really work
like that for me. Whatever comes, comes. There are a lot of lyrics that
probably wont see the light of day now, about terrorism and love
and hunting and all kinds of other stuff. None of them were planned
in advance, its just a case of seeing what feelings the music
suggests and what words I can find to frame them.
5.Both yourselves and fans of your work, seem to be drawn to dark romanticism
and melancholy. Would you agree that these emotional and lovelorn themes
permeate a lot of your songs?
Yeah, I guess so, at the moment anyway. Not because Im some
proto-goth with a morbid outlook, Im actually quite upbeat. We
do have songs that are more optimistic, musically and lyrically, but
its not so simple as us being a happy band or a sad
band, a light band or a dark band. I think were
just a thoughtful band, and the worlds a tricky place and human
psychology is a strange thing. So hopefully the songs reflect that to
6.The next instalment of Radio 1 DJ Zane Lowes Masterpieces
was recently aired in the UK, whereby Zane plays out four albums
that he and his crew think altered the musical landscape at the time
of their release. But if the decision was yours, which four albums
would you play?
Pretty obvious choices, but I guess any album that changes the
musical landscape is going to be pretty well-known
Chuck Berry One Dozen Berrys
The Beatles Abbey Road
The Stone Roses The Stone Roses
OutKast The Love Below
7.What are you hoping to achieve with your first long player?
All I want is to make an album that people can listen to and enjoy
to the full: no filler, no fluff, nothing boring or vacuous or bland.
I want people to have an emotional connection to every song on the album.
I want the music to be worthy of the lives people lead.
8.From the Chapel Club tracks that Ive heard so far, guitars
and bass seem to play a prominent role in your overall sound, but from
all of your favourite artists / songs, are there any guitar or bass
lines that have stuck in your head?
Wow, therere tons. The guitar on Brian Enos Third
Uncle is pretty unbelievable. On a different tip, I always loved the
solo on this live version I have of The Allman Brothers One Way
Out. I love the bass on The Flaming Lips Yoshimi album, that plucked,
bubbly sound. Its got such a relaxed, summery feel to it, but
with a kind of darkness roiling underneath. Im sure the other
guys would have a lot more insightful stuff to say on this one though.
9.If you were asked to record a Split EP with one act,
where you would both cover each others songs who would
you choose and what track, plus which song of yours would you like them
We were talking about covers the other day. Mike suggested Glen
Campbell. Wed do Wichita Lineman and (if I had my way) hed
do a track of ours called Wintering/Widows, which no-one outside the
band has heard yet and which probably wont even make the album.
But its my favourite of our songs.
10.As music fans, whats the furthest distance that youve
ever travelled to see a gig + who for you, are some of the great live
bands in the history of popular music?
I went from London to Nottingham once to see Deerhunter, just
after the release of Cryptograms, but my girlfriend was interviewing
them and it was her birthday, so there were more reasons for the trip
than just that one. Plus a friend of mine runs Liars Club, the night
they were playing. It was cool though, Deerhunter seem like nice guys.
As for great live bands... Richie Havens at Woodstock, Jacques Brel
at the Olympia, Blur in the early days and Focus doing Hocus Pocus on
some TV show in The 70s. Check it out, its on YouTube. Its
11.How do you feel before going onstage, and do you ever listen to
any music in your dressing room in order to psyche yourselves up?
We dont always have a dressing room, were too new
for all that. And at our London gigs were often DJing before the
show, so no time for psyching up. I prefer it that way, to be honest,
no need to ratchet up the tension with weird group hugs and stuff.
12.Peter Hook has just opened FAC251 - The Factory in Manchester,
but if you could own a club / venue anywhere in the world, where would
it be and what would you call it?
Itd be on the coast somewhere in the south of France, or
else in some battered part of Paris, just to give me an excuse to live
in either of those places. Itd be an old-style jazz club (none
of that easy listening shit) and Id name it Greenleafs,
after Dickie Greenleaf in The Talented Mr Ripley.
13.Of all your favourite music, are there any acts who you feel really
should have been massive in terms of success and recognition + nowadays,
do you think Webcasts such as exclusive live basement-style gigs
and fan questions are a good way for musicians to interact with
their followers and help increase their profile?
Just off the top of my head: Washington Phillips, The Nerves,
Big L, Jamie Lidell, Camera Obscura (though theres still time
for the last two). There are so many. I guess Webcasts are a good
way for musicians to interact with their followers, though I dont
really like thinking about profile and all that, that kind
of talk freaks me out. The worlds complicated enough, without
the marketing chumps adding to it with their false wisdom. I guess if
anything, web stuff could be more fun because it might let you avoid
loads of the corporate bullshit that clings to other events.
14.If you were asked to travel the world as part of an NME New
Music Tour Package which 3 artists / bands would you most
like to join you?
Mike (our guitarist) introduced me to a band called Munch Munch
the other day, they sounded cool. Would Atlas Sound count as new, given
the lack of profile this side of the pond? Im pushing it a bit,
but if so, Id have them along. And Washed Out. We all love the
Washed Out record.
15.Lastly, chips or cream buns?
Chips: savoury over sweet any day.
A very special thanks to Lewis, to Lucius @ Anorak
London and to Tav + Mark @ East City Management, for all of their time
O maybe I, should settle down to a quiet life
O maybe I, should chance it all on a perfect night