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- Posted on Feb 21st 2010 7:45AM by Stephen Dowling
It used to be a common enough occurrence in the days before MySpace sites meant a band could be checked out online -- a band would create such a buzz that gigs would start to be visited by a coterie of A&R scouts, each checking the others' reaction before reaching for the chequebook. As legend has it, got everyone from Arctic Monkeys to Teenage Fanclub, Franz Ferdinand to Blur, it was an accepted rung on the way from obscurity to stardom.
Chapel Club, the east London band who created something of a stir towards the end of the year, gear up for their second tour with rumours circulating they were the recipients of just such a scramble, and an ensuing contract worth a great deal indeed.
Except, sighs singer Lewis Bowman, that's not exactly the case ...
"I guess the rumours of an A&R scramble are kind of true, but it was all pretty ridiculous. We tried to dampen it down and take it more slowly and steadily. The hype wasn't something we expected or much enjoyed, it just feeds sniping and silliness. We're still a new band and want to be thought of as such."
He adds, "We're still a new band and want to be thought of as such. The rumours of a massive deal are not true, however. I may as well put it all to rest: we had a choice -- try to get as much money as possible and then have to sell two million albums to stay in favour with a frantically worried label, or take only as much money as would allow us to make our album and be able to eat, while pushing for total creative freedom/control. We chose the latter, and we were lucky to find a label willing to allow us that choice."
The quintet -- who also include Michael Hibbert (guitar), Liam Arklie (bass), Alex Parry (guitar) and Rich Mitchell (drums) -- come from all around the UK, and met in London. Chapel Club's sound has been likened both to the literate, chiming indie pop of the Smiths and to the feedback-stained noise of Creation Records staples My Bloody Valentine and Swervedriver (most especially on the clattering 'Machine Music').
Not that Bowman wants to liken himself too much to the likes of Moz. "I love Morrissey," says Bowman. "I love his lyrics and the first time I heard 'I Know It's Over' I pretty much lost my head, I obsessed over the Smiths for about a year after that. But Morrissey is untouchable. His style is too original to emulate.
"I think the comparisons stem from the fact that 'O Maybe I' is a little arch, it has something of his tone. Our next single very likely won't follow suit: subjects, voices, tones can all change. I'm new to this, I'm still having fun approaching things from different angles. I don't want to nail my colours to the mast just yet."
Bowman, instead, namechecks the likes of Russian novelist Mikhail Bulgakov, the author of 'The Master and Margarita.' "That novel and Bulgakov's style were the key things reinforcing my desire to do something worthwhile of my own, to write better and think better etc. I like Bulgakov's sense of humour, his sly eye, the way he winkles out the ridiculous and holds it wriggling in front of you."
The band, who have signed to East City Records, are still working on their debut album, but Monday sees their second single, the plaintive 'O Maybe I,' hitting shelves. The band also last week announced their second tour of the UK for April and May.
"It seems ages away, " Bowman says. "We've got an album to record first. I guess sometimes it can be tense on the day, but I never worry about the band doing our thing properly - I just wonder what the sound will be like in the venues and stuff like that. And whether anyone will show up. I have no clue how many people actually know who we are or like what we do. I can't imagine it's a large number on either count."
Spinner thinks this won't be the case for much longer.
Chapel Club's 'O Maybe I' is out on Monday. The band begin a UK tour on Apr. 7.