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Interview: Chapel Club


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Indie electronic outfit Chapel Club burst onto the London music scene in 2010, with their single 'The Shore' named 'Hottest Record in the World' by Zane Lowe and NME naming it 'Track of the Week'. TNS spoke to Chapel Club vocalist Lewis Bowman about their upcoming album, getting old and appropriate hair length…

There are a lot of indie synthpop-type artists around these days. In what way are you unique?

I reckon most artists will probably give you the same answer. I couldn’t give you one particular quality of our stuff that’s unique as it’s all recycled in some way. The originality comes from when you get together and write - whatever you come up with is never quite what you were aiming for. Your identity is that gap between what you aim for and what happens. Every group of people bring something unique to the table. With our most recent release we made a real effort to avoid creating anything cliché or easy which was quite satisfying. We wanted the sound to be more melodic than before, to write pop songs of a fashion.

Would you say your sound has changed much since the inception of Chapel Club?

We haven’t really had a chance to find out yet. Our latest release is very different from our first I guess, it does seem like were growing. Hopefully we’ll take people with us.

The UK has a very strong musical tradition, with indie in the 80s and dubstep recently. Would you describe yourself as fitting into that tradition? Are your influences mostly British?

Probably not, we have a real mix of influences as we all listen to various stuff – British and not. For the record that’s coming out, we were mostly listening to American artists probably, like hip hop, funk, disco from the 70s – a huge mix.

What’s the best way to experience your music? To listen to recordings? Or in a gig, festival or club environment?

Different things really. Festivals are always a shot in the dark as they don’t do sound checks and the crowd might not know who you are – they can be the best or worst gigs of your life. Playing live is always a lot of fun. We make an effort to play songs differently to the recordings live as it’s more fun to keep changing it up. However, when we get into the studio we put a lot of effort into atmosphere and texture so it’s best for people to hear it on good speakers at some point. There are a lot of layers going on, it’s complex.

How rockstar are you guys on a scale of one to ten?

I think maybe once we could’ve tried to hold a candle to classic rock stars in that department but as you get older, you look like an arsehole if you continue that behaviour, the Rolling Stones being a perfect example. I think maybe two of the guys in the band have still got it - they’re 23, but much more stoners than drinkers.  At the present I’d probably have to give us about a three.

Where do you guys hang out or go out in London? Do you have any favourite haunts?

People keep disappearing off to other countries so we don’t necessarily go out together all the time. But I live in Hackney near Victoria Park so I end up at pubs round there a lot. I go to The Hemingway a lot.

More of a pubber than a clubber then?

Well we used to be into clubs but we’re getting on a bit, I mean I’m in my late 20s. Like I said you look like a twat if you keep that up as you get older. It’s more bars in Hackney and people’s houses that I go to now. I like to talk to people instead of having to scream my lungs out at a club to say anything. Being a singer, that’s not very helpful. I went to the Hawley Arms a bit before the fire but we’re not really into that whole Camden nightlife scene. That long-haired scene is not really our thing. I mean none of us really have long hair; we don’t want to give the wrong impression.

Don’t you all have long hair?

Well, I mean we all have kind of long hair apart from me, but it’s more of an arty farty kind of long hair than a stumbling round Camden at 6am with a glass of white wine in your hand long hair.

Chapel Club’s new album will be released by Ignition Records later this year. You can listen to and download tracks from it on their website.

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