Gimme Your Answers: An Interview w/ The Chapman Family

Chapman FamilyThe Chapman Family are a band that wear their musical hearts on their tattered sleeves. When Kingsley Chapman belts out the lyric “no more lies… no more tears” from the stellar track No More Tears, you have very little to do but agree with him. Like a buzzing chainsaw ripping at your senses, The Chapman Family are a like sonic assault. On the verge of an upcoming tour and a new album in the works, this was the perfect time to see what else The Chapman Family were up to. Kingsley was kind enough to fill us in on who inspires him, his pick for song of the year and what law he would create that we would all have to follow. Have a read below!

AMBY: For those who haven’t had the pleasure of hearing you, how would you describe The Chapman Family’s music?

KC: “Good old fashioned family entertainment.” To be honest with you I’m not really sure. We’ve been branded lots of things over the years from “spiky post punk” to “hard noise rock” but none of them seem to make much sense to me. The last song we’ve just recorded for instance is a piano ballad with a waltz time signature. But the one before that involved lots of loud noises and shouting. We’re a fairly loud and intense rock band with moments of romance. We don’t see anything wrong with crooning romantically over the top of a million loud guitars. We also have a song with 36 swearwords in it. Something for everyone really.

AMBY: Which artists inspire you as songwriters and musicians?

KC: Everything inspires and influences us. We’re just as influenced by the artists and bands we utterly despise as ones we love – possibly more so. There’s so much blandness out there that gets applauded for being so utterly meaningless and trite it’s untrue. It’s the bland leading the bland. Let’s just say we’re as influenced by Mumford and Sons and Olly Murs as we are The Smiths and And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of The Dead and leave it at that.

AMBY: You have announced some 2013 tour dates. What is the craziest thing to happen at one of your live shows?

KC: We once played a festival in my home town of Stockton and as we were playing I turned to the side of the stage and noticed the comedian Frank Sidebottom dancing away in his full outfit behind Pop. I gave him the recognised international hand gesture for “f*** off” after which he politely did. He died a couple of years later. Not our fault though.

AMBY: Summer Song is a fine tune, what is the story behind it?

KC: I think Scott came up with the music for the chorus originally, then Pop added a load of shoegaze-esque noise and melody over the top and I added a homage to the Cure over that with my keyboards. We like making big sounding songs that have huge swells and power. A few of us like a bit of that mid 90s pre-Britpop era guitar rock like My Bloody Valentine and their ilk but I never felt they ever really put enough emphasis on putting a proper pop music vocal over the top of all of the wonderful noises going on around. I’m absolutely obsessed with the way David Bowie layers vocals on top of his songs so I took a little bit of that as inspiration also. As to what the song is actually about I’m not telling.

AMBY: Which three albums changed your life?

KC: The Strokes Is This It is the most obvious one I suppose as around that time we were being swamped by awful nu-metal and cheesy boybands and like it or not The Strokes kick-started everything that’s been any good in the twenty first century. They also inadvertently invented the Kooks though but you can’t have everything. Nine Inch Nails’ The Downward Spiral is an endless treasure chest of noise and I’d never really got into Morrissey or The Smiths before his You Are The Quarry album so that album is really to blame for the way I try and construct my lyrics and stories.

AMBY: Your latest release was the stellar EP, Cruel Britannia. Is there an album in the works for 2013?

KC: Indeed there is. We’ll have a free download available in time for the February tour and there’ll be a new single after that then later in the year we’ll release an album.

AMBY: What’s been on your iPod as of late?

KC: Valli Girls’ It’s A Hair Thing.

AMBY: If you could invite any three people to dinner, who would you choose?

KC: Pointless ol’ fame craving Kerry Katona, dead eyed Mark Wright from TOWIE and celebrity sycophant columnist Dan Wooton just so I could poison them all and make the world that little bit better. Either that or the entire cast of the recent pointless revival of Jesus Christ Superstar so I could genuinely give them a last supper. Barlow too. He can come. I’d love to spit in that smug gits soup.

AMBY: Describe your dream gig and who would be on the bill with you.

KC: My dream gig would be in a big shiny Las Vegas hotel ballroom and the only act that’d be on would be early 1970s jumpsuited burger loving Elvis Presley. The man himself may have been flawed beyond all question of doubt but he could definitely put on a good show. Most bands are really boring to watch – even the “classic” ones – and I’d much rather watch Elvis sweat around the stage doing karate moves to Suspicious Minds than Led Zeppelin dragging out yet another song over the ten minute mark.

AMBY: If you could create a law that everyone would have to follow, what would it be?

KC: There’d be a law against people thinking Gary Barlow had any talent in any way whatsoever.

AMBY: What is the best song of 2012 so far?

KC: Without a doubt it’s David Bowie, Where Are We Now. Not only am I glad he’s not dead but I’m also glad he’s still making beautiful music. My absolute hero.

AMBY: Lastly, tell me something about The Chapman Family that nobody knows yet.

KC: One of our parents has an MBE.

***

Lend an ear to The Chapman Family’s tune No More Tears, it’s a fantastic one! And of course, thank you very much Kingsley, for giving us your answers!

Alicia & Yaz Atout

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