The Chevin - Interview

16 October 2012

Interview with The Chevin

Interview with The Chevin

Ahead of the UK release of their much anticipated début album Borderland, Contact Music caught up with Jon and Matt from Otley based band The Chevin just before their (Almost) hometown show in Leeds at the Brudenell Social club.

Contactmusic: How are you feeling at the moment?
Jon: Tired! We're half way through a tour with the Psychedelic Furs in America. Saturday night we were in Seattle, flew back overnight on Sunday, then we went to London to pick up our gear this morning - we were up at 4 a.m.

CM: How are the Furs to tour with?
Matt: We've only done three or four dates with them but they're really good guys. The crowds are great. We think that The Lemonheads are going to join us when we get back.

CM: We've noticed that you've done a lot more touring in the US this summer as opposed to doing the European festival season - was that a conscious decision?
Jon: Not really - it's just the way it's happened. We had a really good response to our first single Champion out there and to the album. Then we got booked to play the (David) Letterman show and the momentum started building. For whatever reason, the audience over there has taken to it, and we've sold out a show in New York and also one in LA.

CM: Trying to break America has broken a lot of British bands in the past - are you doing anything differently ?
Jon: I think you've just got to be prepared for how much hard work it is. It's not like the UK where you do a show and then you drive for an hour to get to the next gig. Over there you're driving for 17 hours!
Matt: A lot of bands from here will tour Europe in a big bus, but when you go over to the States you've got to downsize and get into a van for a bit otherwise your money's going to run out. You've just got to tough it out. People don't want to do that.

CM: It's normally East Coast/West Coast.
Matt: But you've got to do the whole thing. It's massive.

CM: So we can expect future shows over there in places like Philadelphia, Denver and Tucson?
Matt: We're already going to those places - when we get back we're playing in Texas and Louisiana.

CM: Do you find the crowds are different in these places where not a lot of bands will stop by?
Jon: Definitely. They're a lot more appreciative.

CM: Speaking of Texas, you recorded Borderland there in just three weeks earlier in the year. Was that because it was largely written before you got there?
Matt: Partially, but it was also because we didn't have a label at the time and our budget was limited. We'd done a lot of work on the songs in rehearsal, so when we got there we were prepared.
Jon: We were saying that the time constraint wasn't necessarily a bad thing, because we had a deadline, and it forced us to record in an environment with a lot of 'Live' work in the studio.

CM: And you're pleased with the results, obviously?
Matt: Very. It was released in the US last week, and so far it's getting a good response, without us having really done too much touring over there.

CM: Some people talk about a Killers influence within your music, do you feel that's fair?
Matt (after a pause): It's just the way it comes out really! We don't particularly listen to The Killers - I like them - but none of us are massive fans. It's much more true to say that we have the same influences as they do. Maybe people hear Brandon Flowers and think he sings in a similar range to Coyle (Girelli, the band's lead singer) and we have a similar set up - keyboards as well as guitar.
Jon: People have to compare you to someone. Because we have a power house drummer, driving basslines, synthesisers and some delay on the guitar, it's the most obvious one they can make.
Matt: By the next album, I think people will stop making that comparison. When The Killers came out everyone thought they sounded like Shed 7!

CM: After playing The Cockpit earlier on in the year, The Brudenell's another step up.
Matt: It's Leeds, so obviously there'll be a lot of friends and family here, but it's definitely going to be a step up.

CM: You were brought up not far away in Otley of course, and the area features not just in the name of the band but also in your videos and song titles, with an early song being called Menwith Hill. How has growing up in a small town shaped your music?
Matt: Growing up in a small town there's less distractions, so you focus much more on your music, spend more time actually creating it. Is our sound influenced by the moors? Well, it's very big, panoramic soundscapes. I also think recording in the desert had a similar effect - there are just these vast expanses of land you can see for miles, with huge storms. There's an element of romance to being in that environment as well.

CM: What's your most special moment from the last 12 months?
Jon: It's got to be Letterman without a doubt so far.
Matt: That was definitely the most exciting thing.

CM: And finally in the next 12 months, where do you want to be? Any specific goals?
Jon:It'd be nice to have a top ten album. You've got to be ambitious and for me that would be a real achievement.
Matt:I'd like to be in a position where people can hear our music and decide for themselves. It would be good for it to be on the radio regularly and for the people who like our music to come to our shows. Then everything else should sort itself.

Borderland by The Chevin is released in the UK on Monday October 15th.

Andy Peterson

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