Gimme Your Answers: An Interview w/ CHAPPO

Photo by Michael Williams
Brooklyn band CHAPPO have announced the release of their sophomore LP, Future Former Self. The group burst into the scene when their single Come Home was used in an iTunes commercial, and they’ve been gaining momentum since. Future Former Self is out March 4th via their own Rouse Records. The album follows lead character Rene Cogito on his journey to a black hole, addressing the abstract concept of time. To learn more about the record, we spoke with CHAPPO’s Alex Chappo about the feel of the album, the band’s name, artists from Brooklyn, and a law involving telephone poles.

Hello CHAPPO, thanks for speaking with AMBY. What have you been up to recently?

CHAPPO: We’ve been wrapping up our new album. We’re getting everything ready for its release on March 4th on our own label Rouse Records, so there are about a billion things to juggle and figure out in order to do that the right way. We’re working on some music videos as well and preparing for tour, which is kicking off in February. We’ll be doing a wild little loop-dee-loop from Texas up the West Coast through the Midwest and back into Austin for SXSW.

AMBY: Your single I Don’t Need The Sun is sounding huge! What inspired the new song?

CHAPPO: Future Former Self is an album about a man who travels to a black hole in order to establish contact with a parallel universe and help save mankind.  He is traveling alone and sees the sun slowly fading away in the distance. “I Don’t Need the Sun” references the moment when Rene opens an envelope he has saved from his wife. There’s a photo, a letter, and some other keepsakes in there that help him feel close to his wife. It smells like her, which triggers a flood of memories and emotions.  He’s drifting alone in a void. All he needs is to smell that envelope and he’s back on Earth with her. You know, in a metaphysical way. But I think a more specific inspiration was the night the melody came into my head for the verses. It was wet and damp outside and there was a glow coming from one of the windows in our hotel from the blinds. It was so dark and pleasant outside but I was also missing my lady back home. I imagined that moment when you can smell the person you’re with on your pillow and it’s pleasant and perfect and warm. I wanted to capture that in some way, but in a less direct way.

AMBY: The single is taken from your forthcoming sophomore album Future Former Self. What’s the significance behind the album’s title?

CHAPPO: The album is exploring this man’s journey to a black hole and the bending of time that happens as a result of this. His time, his dreams and his reality all get jumbled and distorted the closer he gets to the black hole. He’s also learning about himself and his place in the universe and what that entails and the challenges that he’s going to have to face. He’s literally slipping into a new dimension, shifting his energy and perception of himself and the world around him.

AMBY: Looking forward to the upcoming release of Future Former Self; how would you describe the feel of the LP?

CHAPPO: As a whole the album has a more classic feel, a 70’s Southern California meets 60’s New Orleans psychedelia. It also feels a lot more cohesive than our last album. We found a delicate balance of the live approach we used during the Plastique Universe II EP and the studio layering we did when recording Moonwater. There was a nice balance of digital and analog as well which gives the album a distinct feel and depth.

AMBY: Where did the name CHAPPO come from, and what other names had you considered for the band?

CHAPPO: Picking a band name is tricky cause you have to live with it forever. There are so many silly ones, ironic ones, bad ones, ridiculous ones. We ended up going with CHAPPO, which is my last name. I think what initially drew us to using CHAPPO was the rhythm of the name. It’s punchy. It’s movement is forward and  upward.  I will say it is also strange to name your band after the last name of one of the band members because people start to assume it’s all just one guy. Or they think you are Bon Jovi.  And it isn’t. We aren’t.  So the bottom line is: you will never find the perfect band name. So just pick one and move on with your life.

AMBY: Which other artists from Brooklyn should we keep an eye on?

CHAPPO: We are good friends and huge fans of the band Monogold. They remind me of Animal Collective at times with some of their atmospheric sounds and melodies, but they mix it beautifully with some falsetto harmonies and badass-ary.

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

CHAPPO: Don’t be an asshole or you’ll get handcuffed to this telephone pole (assuming there’s a telephone pole nearby).

AMBY: What does 2014 have in store for the band?

CHAPPO: We’re jumping on tour in February and heading to some new cities we haven’t been to in the past. Excited to hit up Denver, Salt Lake City, Kansas City, Houston, Dallas and Minneapolis. Definitely excited to get back to the cities that we have been to in the past and the fans that come out and support. That’s about all I can officially say right now, but some exciting things gurgling under the surface as well.

AMBY: What’s the best release of the year?

CHAPPO: That’s an answer that will probably be different with each day you ask me. But today I think Phosphorescent’s new album is great.  I also really got into Foxygen’s album.  Both these albums really stumbled on something cool and refreshing  that is also reminiscent of something great from the past.

AMBY: And lastly, what’s something about CHAPPO that nobody knows yet?

CHAPPO: Chris is pregnant.


Thank you CHAPPO, for giving us your answers!

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Alicia Atout | @AliciaAtout

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