The EDGE grabbed the chance to chat to Chapel Club – tipped by many to be the next thing in British music – prior to their set at Portsmouth’s Wedgewood Rooms as part of the Emerge NME Radar Tour. The five London-based boys, who formed in 2008 and were signed by Universal in late 2009, have created a stir across the UK media and are now looking forward to the release of their eagerly anticipated debut album. Vocalist Lewis Bowman and guitarist Michael Hibbert sat down to talk about their highlights of the last few months, and what the future may hold for Chapel Club.
How was it playing the festivals this summer?
Lewis: It was good! It’s always a bit haphazard, ’cause you don’t know what the sound’s gonna be like and stuff, until you go out on stage and do a sound check. We were really lucky though ’cause it seemed to go well for us most of the time.
Michael: Yeah, I’d say Glastonbury and Reading were both real stand-outs.
How is it being on tour at the moment, are you enjoying it or are you getting a bit sick of it now?!
Lewis: It’s been really good.
Michael: Yeah, we’ve been back and forth to London quite a lot, ’cause it’s cheaper than staying in hotels – like tonight, we’ve only had a two hour drive so we’re gonna travel back. So generally we’re quite enjoying touring but we haven’t done that much of it yet – I think we’re gonna find out next year whether we’re made for it or not!
Lewis: Yeah, we’re all feeling quite refreshed today. We had a day in London yesterday and then did Later with Jools Holland last night so we’re all still on a high from that, and we got a night in our own beds as well!
Wow, how was it performing on ‘Later with Jools Holland’?
Lewis: It was amazing, really really good. I mean we were there for about twelve hours in total, just hanging around, which did get a bit dull. But there were some amazing people on the show, including Cyndi Lauper and John Legend, who I got to meet very briefly. It’s weird though when you get to that level of stardom which they’re at, I mean they’re both really nice but none of their personality really comes through – they’re obviously so used to meeting people that they’re just going through the motions now. I also met Marcus Mumford ’cause Mumford & Sons were performing too, and he was an incredibly nice person.
How is it sharing this tour with the other bands?
Michael: We’ve never really toured with another band before, so it’s actually been quite exciting for us. We get along really well with Flats, and it turns out we’re from the same part of London, so we’ve realised that we know quite a lot of the same people and stuff. Their set’s only fifteen minutes long and it’s totally different to ours, but it’s great.
Have you heard any rumours going around about Chapel Club which you’d like to set the record straight on?
Lewis: I feel like I am constantly complaining about people making stuff up, but now you’ve asked me I can’t remember anything specific! Being in a band has made me really aware of what people can be like though; we haven’t even really done much press this year, but from what we have done I’ve realised that it’s quite ridiculous how often people will say you’ve said something when you haven’t.
Any news on the release date or name for the album yet?
Lewis: It’s looking like it’s going to be the 31st January next year. It’s really exciting for us because it’s actually been done for a while, and we’ve been writing other stuff and moving forward in the mean time, so we just want to get it out there now. We have got the name decided too but we’re not allowed to tell anyone that yet! It should be announced soon though.
How would you sum up the mood of the album?
Lewis: There’s a couple of words knocking around which people have used to describe it, which I’m getting bored of repeating in interviews! (Laughs). We’ve been labelled as being a really dark band but I don’t think the album sounds that way at all.
Michael: I think if you listen to it musically rather than lyrically, then it doesn’t sound dark in any way.
Lewis: I suppose a lot of the lyrics are quite melancholic, but not dark.
Michael: If I had to describe the mood of the album, I’d say it’s trying to capture areas of the spectrum. So it’s not just downbeat, it’s also uplifting and rousing.
Lewis: Some people have said it’s quite sonic, which I think is true in that it’s like an assault on the senses. It’s blistering, and it sounds best loud… there’s a lot going on. In terms of the lyrics, it is a love story I suppose. We never planned it to be but it just came out that way… more or less. It’s a lot to do with memory as well.
Did you enjoy being totally wrapped up in sheets in the video for ‘All the Eastern Girls’?!
Michael: It’s funny you should mention that actually – I’ve never been claustrophobic before but I really freaked out when we were doing that! Everyone else was fine with it but I really didn’t like it, so I’m worried I’m gonna develop some form of claustrophobia now! (Laughs.)
Are any of you ex-students yourselves? What did you study?
Lewis: We were all students except for Liam (Arklie). Alex (Parry) was actually in the middle of an English degree when everything started taking off for the band, so he had to put a hold on that.
Michael: My course was related to music management and production. I’m gutted now that I don’t really have a proper degree to be proud of, ’cause it feels like everyone else does! I pretty much went to University to meet other musicians though, and that worked out pretty well.
And finally, a random one to finish with… would you rather get in a fight with ten duck-sized horses, or one horse-sized duck?!
Lewis: I’d prefer the ten little ones.
Michael: Yeah, I’d woo them and use them as a form of transport!
Chapel Club’s single ‘All the Eastern Girls’ is out now. For more information on Chapel Club, visit www.chapelclub.com