INTERVIEW: The Chapman Family
“What isn’t there to be angry about? There’s too much of it around these days to keep track of. The thing that perplexes me is that I see things seemingly on a daily basis that irk or grate on me and I don’t understand why the vast majority of people don’t seem to care.” Says Kingsley. “It’s like the whole country has been anaesthetised en masse and we all just accept whatever crap is thrown at us.
“It’s the previous government’s fault, it’s the fault of those immigrants that we keep telling you about, and those evil bastards on benefits… it’s the poor’s fault… listen to your Queen as she tells you it’ll be a difficult year, as she sits with a massive diamond atop her inbred lizard head. Now sit down and shut the fuck up because Take Me Out is on. You could be a contestant on there couldn’t you? Now sit down and imagine which one of those orange harlots you would take to Fernandos. Your dream is Fernandos… Your dream is Fernandos…”
For those not familiar with the work of The Chapman Family, the above could probably be refined slightly and turned into a song. There’s a beautiful rage weaved throughout their output, a mix of fear, resignation, rebellion, depression and desperation in every lyric – desperation to change things, fear that they never will.
“The reason the band started was the feeling of pure frustration out of what was going on around us,” muses Kingsley, “no one seemed to be in it for what I imagined were the right reasons, people wanted fame and celebrity and not the privileged opportunity to connect with people on some sort of level beyond their vacuous persona – I wanted to see people sweat blood on the stage and make me feel like what they were doing really mattered – all I saw were people aspiring to be T4 presenters.”
In the face of such an unbridled torrent of sewerage, how does a band like The Chapman Family even find the will to carry on? Embarking on a national tour in a – as Kingsley remarked – hugely apathetic society, must be a daunting task and one that almost doesn’t seem worth it.
Pop disagrees. “The need to be in a band and be creative is the main reason we keep going. All the members of the band are bonded by a huge passion for what we do and a huge belief in how we do it and that gives each of us the strength to carry on in the face of the quite considerable adversity we’ve faced in the past. If there is one piece of advice I could impart to younger bands it’s that they should never lose sight of why they started their band. They should hold onto that thought like a bar of soap in a prison shower because as soon as they drop it they’ll be fucked like a flashlight by every dick in the ‘biz’.”
“As long as people continue to buy records by The Script I feel we have serious problems.” Kingsley adds. “The complete rejection I have of this mentality and taste drives me to keep going.”
The good news for fans of The Chapman Family is that the band have been back in the studio, recording the follow-up to last year’s Cruel Britannia EP. The better news is they’re recording an album.
“We’ve been back in the studio with our long-time collaborator Nathan Stephenson at Green Dragon Studios in Stockton recording new material for a free single and a few tracks that might end up on the album we want to release this year.” Says Pop. “We really enjoyed doing Cruel Britannia because doing an EP means you can work much faster. The urgency adds something exciting to the music and it feels like a very accurate snapshot of where you are as a band at that moment, but it doesn’t allow for as many nuances or moods as an album. We like to give as much light and shade as possible on our releases.”
“For us at the moment an album is the only real way to go. This time around we’re going for a slightly less fuzzed up, noisy affair – trying to take songs a bit back to basics in terms of sound and structure. We really wanted to expand on the melodic side of the band and really showcase what we can do when we’re not pushing volume to the limits. Our forthcoming free single, ADULT, is a solid statement of the direction the band is headed in at the moment.”
To coincide with this free release, the band are touring. “I feel like we’re more prepared than ever for this tour,” says Pop, “we’ve delved back into the first album and picked a few tracks that we’ve only played live a couple of times. We’re also going to be throwing in a few brand new tracks that we’ve been working on since the last tour.”
Travelling to no doubt numerous dates of this tour will be The Chapman Family’s growing base of super-fans. I asked them if they were surprised by the unwavering loyalty of a lot of their fans.
“Absolutely,” says Kingsley. “We’ve got people coming to see us who’ve been to thirty-plus gigs and using their holidays from work to come to as many tour dates as they possibly can.”
“I’m constantly surprised by our fans’ loyalty and commitment to this band.” Pop adds. “Their loyalty is what makes turning up in Derby and playing in front of a handful of them for no money after seven hours in a shitty work van feel like the best job in the world.”
- VIDEO: The Chapman Family – Adult