Chemistry Lane are signed to Manchester based Victoria Warehouse records. They are currently recording their debut album. They recently rereleased the haunting assassination of Kennedy themed “November’s day parade” as a prelude to their new work
Thanks to the band for submitting to an interrogation:
Tell Me About Your New Material –
The songs we are writing and recording for the album focus more on rhythmical interplay than anything we’ve done previously. Whilst our last couple of singles show glimpses of this approach, we hope the album will reveal it to a fuller extent. The intention is to produce a record that is less drenched in reverb than our earliest releases, which were more post-rock/shoegaze orientated than our current material. The general pallet of sounds has also evolved away from the typical shoegaze tool of soaring glide guitars, towards riffs and other forms of rhythmic motifs, incorporating synth arps, loops, electronic drum patterns and triggered samples which allow us to build intensity through layers of repetition.
In terms of lyrical content and subject matter, we find the absurd and nonsensical qualities of Western ‘civilisation’ to be a rich and apparently endless seam from which to draw from, and as we write more songs, we aim to improve our articulation of the things we observe. We are interested in the illusory narratives provided by the mainstream media, the consumption of which is like constructing a slues into your own head to voluntarily fill it with misinformation, prejudice and meaningless shit. Sometimes though, we just write love songs.
In School Did You Want To Be Ringo? (to drummer Sean Stockton) What Music Were You Into At The Time & What Do You Like Now?
We are generally of the opinion that George Harrison was the coolest member of The Beatles. His ‘All Things Must Pass’ album being the best solo offering of any of member of that band. But in school we were obsessed with Stone Roses drummer Reni, and The Smashing Pumpkins’ Jimmy Chamberlain. Both have the ability to write drum parts that either lock tightly with the guitar riffs or act as rhythmical counterpoint to another significant element of the music.
Back then we listened to lots of different music – we’d just met and started jamming together, and hanging out and playing each other records was a big part of our education. Our parents all had pretty good taste in music, so we had access to record collections that contained some real jewels of the sixties and seventies, and our listening habits at that time reflected this, and included the likes of Neil Young, The Grateful Dead, Love, Bob Dylan, Curtis Mayfield, Crosby Stills and Nash; as well as more contemporary artists like My Bloody Valentine, Ride, Slowdive, Soundgarden, DJ Shadow, and many of the acts on Warp Records like Aphex Twin, Squarepusher and Boards of Canada.
Nowadays we listen to a lot more electronic and synth based music – Jon Hopkins and Blank Mass are incredible. But we also delve further back in time with stuff like Jackie Wilson, Sam Cooke, and the many hits of the convicted murderer Phil Spector. It’s a hard thing to pin down; anything can pop into your head and determine your listening habits for a week or so as you consume as much of an artists’ work as possible, or explore an era of music, or a genre, or reacquaint yourself with something you haven’t listened to for a while.
How Did The Band Get Together, Have You Visited The Real Chemistry Lane?
we kind of started when we were still at school. Three of us were in a band together at that time, and we all knew each other socially. In a way Chemistry Lane is a development of that band; there was an early realisation that we could communicate creatively, but university and wanderlust intervened, after which it took a while for us all to be in the same geographical place, and to complete the line up.
The origin of our name comes from seeing the street sign of Chemistry Lane and thinking it a strange name for a street. We’d talked about it from the point of view of curiosity, but it wasn’t until some time later that it was suggested as the name for the band. Sometimes ideas float around and find their own place, and when it was suggested as a band name, we settled on it quite quickly. So to answer the question, yes, we’ve been to the real Chemistry Lane.
If You Had To Eat One Fact, What Would It Be?
This is by far the best question we’ve ever been asked. Does eating a fact result in something that was true becoming false as you swallow it? We’ll assume that is the case. Probably the biggest causes of inequality and violence in the world over the last fifty years stem from the ideas of Professor Milton Freedman of the Chicago School of Economics, so we’d happily eat the fact that that shit-house was ever born.
If You Could Play A Concert Anywhere In The World, Where Would It Be?
Spiritualized did some outdoor concerts from within the Arctic Circle using the Aurora Borealis as the light show, which probably cannot be bettered. We’d like to play more gigs in Europe, and dare we dream, America, but the financial viability of that is a little way off.
Favourite Place In Chester?
We all spend a lot of time in Hoole, either because we live there or socialise in it’s bars and restaurants. It’s a very special place, and an example of how independent traders can thrive in a community which is supportive of that idea. Standing in the queue at Hoptons to collect the Christmas joint of meat is strangely romantic. We were disappointed by the councils’ decision to allow a Tesco to open on the site of the Elms Medical Centre as it will surely take trade away from Faulkner Street and Charles Street and hand it to a company with an ugly reputation for treating it’s suppliers badly. Though in all honesty, we’d struggle to be any more cynical about these sorts of things.
Views On The Chester Music Scene?
In many ways we are a reclusive group, largely by necessity rather than choice. We all have day jobs and some of us have young children, so in order to balance work, family and musical commitments, our social lives are things we sacrifice. That means we are poorly qualified to comment on the local music scene as our only experience of it is through gigs we play at. That said, we would argue that the Chester music scene has to encompass North Wales also, which between the two places boasts such impressive acts as Half Avian, Mechanical Owl, Campfire Social, Operation Lightfoot and the sadly no longer Gallops. One of the best things we’ve seen recently is Jonathan Coley.
How Important is social media in today’s music industry?
Social media is hugely important to anyone trying to build an audience for whatever it is they do. In the music industry, it has become an important metric that influences the profile of the bookings you get offered or are able to pursue. Over the past year we have found ourselves doing higher profile support slots for gigs that have not always been well attended, but the people at Victoria Warehouse Records have turned round and said words to the effect that
“It doesn’t matter that the turnout was low, you weren’t the headline act, the social media coverage was great and you got a good review from an influential blog”
It’s a pragmatic attitude that shows the importance of social media and blogging as promotional tools, and is a marker of the size of the change the industry has undergone since we first started making music when we were still at school.
Blogs have largely replaced regional fanzines, which is a bit of a shame as they usually had contributing artists who gave each publication a very distinct visual style. Facebook and Twitter have become a means of advertising for bands, but they have also become that for a whole raft of things, which means that the medium is saturated to a point that it is often ineffective.
Technology has both liberated and dismantled the music industry. On the one hand, the availability of affordable, high quality recording equipment means bands like ourselves can attempt elaborate productions that would have required astronomical budgets only fifteen or twenty years ago. We no longer have to hire studios because we can and do make our records at home, which is creatively empowering. On the other hand, the primary income stream of the industry, record sales, has all but disappeared, and bands are often caught in a situation where record sales yield little income, and venues/promoters are not willing to pay for the services they procure from the artist.
Have You Ever Torn The Wings Off A Butterfly?
Given that we wrote a song condemning the act of tearing wings off butterflies, albeit metaphorically, then no we’ve haven’t actually ever done that, not even in the interests of research.
The band is at Telfords on the 14th Nov.