What inspired you to first start making music? And how did you come to be in your current incarnation? Or if you prefer, a brief bio about you.
As far as I know The Beatles, Abba and ELO were early inspiriations for Chap members back in the Seventies, when we were little. That took each of us on a long path of playing various kinds of music in various bands and ensembles, some of us even studying it. Eventually, through a process too complicated to explore in any detail – suffice to say it involved occasional emotional and logistic upheaval –, Panos, Claire, Keith and Johannes ended up being The Chap around 2001/2002. Berit joined in 2007.
Provide us with some info about your latest release…
It’s our seventh album. It’s called “Digital Technology”. We liked that title because as a term it is rather outdated but nonetheless it describes life today and in the future. The notion that a term becomes outdated as a result of the thing it denominates becoming ubiquitous is fascinating. Unlike some of our previous work, the album places melancholy above irony. But it also has a lot of that old Chap outrageousness and menace.
Which ones would you consider your main influences both music-wise & non-music-wise?
We have been influenced by the entire canon of all music from all times ever. Plus other stuff: life, film, politics, art, literature. Obviously.
In what way does your sound differ from the rest genre-related artists/bands and why should we listen to your music? In other words, how would you describe your sound?
How to describe our sound? Judging by the reaction we’ve gotten over the years, I’d say: slightly experimental unpopular pop music that sounds confusing and beautiful. Joy in depression. Every song is different. Go on, just have a listen, it’s unlike anything you’ve ever heard (possibly).
Please name your 3 desert islands albums, movies & books…
I guess those better be long…“Tannhäuser”, “Stalker” – the Tarkovsky classic – , On The Sensations of Tone by Hermann Helmholtz? . That should keep us entertained for some time.
Do you prefer studio or performing live and why?
We like both but I’d say we prefer playing live because we’re just so damn good at it. I mean we make really good records, too, but recording is such a drawn-out process (especially since we live in two different cities, Berlin and London, and nobody ever gives us any money for making music so we have to fit The Chap into our busy work lives) whereas performing live is instant gratification. Which is why we still tour whenever we get a chance, which makes the hordes of fans we have in every European city happy, I guess.
Is there any funny-unique story you would like to share with us, always in relation to your music ‘career’?
I like that you put “career” in inverted commas. Thanks for that! But quite accurate, I’ll admit. Dunno, the time the promoter threatened to beat us up in front of the audience because we had taken an inflatable banana prop from backstage onstage with us; or the time Keith fell off the drum riser in Stockholm. It’s just the way he fell, like Buster Keaton, pretty amazing. More recently, when Wendy and Lisa who used to be Prince’s band invited us backstage after their London show to tell us how much they would like to be in our band, that was amazing and surreal.
Which track of your own would you point out as the most unique and why?
“A very old track of ours, Bitss, is an instrumental that goes from free guitar improv to hard techno with cello and violin freaking out. That’s quite special. More recently, “Hard” from our new album, just because it’s so depressing in such an uplifting way, and so different from everything else we’ve ever done.
Would you like to share with our readers your future plans?
Release a bunch of videos to songs on “Digital Technology” and tour the EU and the UK!
Free question!!! (Ask yourself a question) you wish to answer and haven’t been given the opportunity…
Europe: yes or no?
Europe sucks big time. But yes.
Being a band comprising four different EU nationalities (at least at the time of writing; those include the UK), we know what we’re talking about.
Photo credits: Stephanie Piehl (2nd one)
Curated by: Christos Doukakis
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