What are all your roles in the band musically and creatively?
I sing, and I write the words I sing. Or choose from whom to borrow them, ha. Then there’s Rich, who drums; Michael and Alex, who play guitar, and Liam, who plays bass. There’s a pretty good balance of input and authority within and among the band. Everyone contributes, everyone criticises, everyone creates.
How long have you been chapel club?
We’ve been Chapel Club since August last year, more or less. But we wrote and played together without a name for a year or more before that.
Your lyrics seem to have a strong literature influence, how difficult is it to keep within the convention of a recognisable song template and still be innovative with expression through words?
Yeah, it’s difficult. But it’s difficult to write well in any medium. There’s a lot to consider when you’re writing song lyrics, and not much room to manoeuvre. But somewhere between mind, music and mouth, things seem to come together. Some of the time, anyway.
In relation to that, many artists struggle with an initial idea, a moment, and a mind space completely unique can then be diluted because songs tend to be interpreted about boy meeting girl vice versa? This seems to be something Chapel Club can address and avoid how so?
Ah, I don’t think about all that. That’s for lazy lyricists to worry about. I think if you make a bit of effort, you’ll be rewarded by people taking a deeper interest in what you do and what you write. And then there’s more chance they’ll appreciate what you’re trying to do. If they don’t – if the audience or the media seem to dilute the meaning or the mood, as you say – then so what. I can’t see that it would destroy me. It’s enough to know someone is listening.
Can you talk to us about ‘Five trees’ and how the reception to the release was for you guys?
I don’t know really what to say, I don’t have a view on the reception. It was pretty well received I think? I need to pay more attention to that stuff, but we were on tour and mixing the album at the time. My thoughts were elsewhere.
If I’m honest, it’s probably my least favourite of all our songs. I campaigned pretty hard for it not to be recorded, let alone released. But I was out-voted. It’s not a bad track I guess, I just thought the lyric was a little straightforward. When I listened to it on headphones in the spring it made more sense to me, it’s got some real momentum and energy. The music’s great. But if people like Five Trees, well… the rest of the album should floor them.
When are listeners able to expect an album release?
I think it’ll be released next year now, January or February probably. But we have lots of extra stuff planned between now and then, more songs and free shit and loads of gigs etc. So it shouldn’t feel like too long a wait.
It’s been said that you guys have finished and are mixing and mastering, who else is involved in the debut Chapel Club album, production wise?
Paul Epworth produced most of the tracks. Chris Zane produced Surfacing. Claudius Mittendorfer produced O Maybe I. Claudius mixed the whole album, and did a new mix of Surfacing, which we all love.
Many festival appearances at the moment, are you finding this moment daunting at all?
Not particularly. We’ve taken things slower than a lot of the so-called buzz bands, we’ve recorded a fucking strong album and our best songs are still to come. We’ve kept writing all the while – we’ve got more new songs than we know what to do with, really. And I think we’re getting better and better live. I still haven’t played more than 40 gigs in my entire life, so there’s always a little bit of trepidation. Festival sound can be tricky, what with no sound-checks etc. But the festival crowds so far have been the best we’ve had. People are more fun at festivals, they have a drink and drop their guard and open up to you, which is how it should be. It’s much less ‘us and them’. I’m enjoying it.
I always wonder with bands, how difficult it must be to be asked to intellectualise and explain your creativity so often; with you guys being press favourites, do you now just juggle interviews between yourselves as to not become bored?
No, I do pretty much all of them at the moment, everyone always wants the singer, don’t they? Sometimes for TV stuff they let Mike come with me and we just end up taking the piss out of everything. But generally it’s just me. That won’t last long though, the other guys will get more involved I think. Sooner or later someone will realise that Liam and Alex are the Gervais and Merchant of indie and I’ll never do an interview again. Actually they’re more Bert and Ernie.