Do you like indie rock, with a pinch of pop? If yep is the answer, Chutes re definitely your cup of tea. I had a not-so/brief chat with the drummer of the band, Matt, who found some time to answer to my questions about gigs (also front rowed ones, being on the other side of the stage), some tasty suggestions on Kent breakthrough acts and a forthcoming EP.
How would you define Chutes’ sound to somebody who has never heard of you?
I think we’d define our sound as indie/rock with a bit of pop thrown in somewhere, and certainly a bit quirky in parts. A big part of our sound is memorable vocal lines, catchy riffs and pounding drums which I think altogether defines us quite nicely. We were on the ‘Rob Da Bank Show’ on BBC Radio 1 and he said there were hints of Foals and Local Natives in our music which we were quite pleased about! So maybe that too.
How much are the recording sessions themselves important in your opinion? I’m not just talking about the crew, but also the atmosphere, the location (like the Maida Vale Studios) and the camaraderie that is created. From your website it seems that you have a lot fun while recording – and also during the McDonalds breaks.
The recording sessions have been really important to us and we had such a great time. BBC Maida Vale studio’s was such a great place to go but it was kind of intimidating walking into this huge studio, especially knowing all the awesome bands that have been there before you, so the atmosphere was great. And it was incredible working with the producers there because they’ve worked with massive bands like Coldplay so the fact they were recording us was something special. Our first EP, single and current EP have all been recorded at Anchor Baby Recording Company with Dan Lucas. The studio’s in a lovely place out in the sticks and the atmosphere is great. I suppose you don’t always have to go to a great studio when doing early releases, just recently there have been some great bands played on BBC Kent Introducing who have recorded in their basements and stuff and the results have sounded incredible. But the experience of working and recording in a great studio with a great producer is something we didn’t want to turn down. Of course, the McDonalds breaks are the MOST important thing! In our first year as a band we must have eaten at McDonalds about 500 times… they should be our sponsor! In terms of camaraderie, there’s not much of that, anyone who gets their part wrong while laying down a track gets severely mocked and verbally abused! Nah, it’s great spending a whole week with the guys and gal and it’s a great feeling when it all comes together because we’ve all played our part.
I read you are recording your second EP. Has your sound changed from ‘I pulled the cord but we’re still falling’?
Some of our newer songs have a bit of a darker edge to them. I think it’s a more mature sounding Chutes than on previous releases. On the new EP there’s a bit of a mix, some songs in a similar vein to ‘Battles’ and some that go in a new musical direction that are a bit darker.
How much do your personal influences inspire you while writing and composing your own songs? Which music tickles your fancy?
Quite a lot. All the music we listen to inspires us and influences us in some way or another no matter what genre it is. But we don’t really try to write our music so it sounds like a certain band even though we might be influenced by them. We all love such a broad range of music as individuals but some of our favourite bands are Phoenix, Foals, Mumford and Sons, Bombay Bicycle Club, and Little Comets to name a few.
Do you compose the music, or the lyrics first? Is there a specific creative process, or is it more like a flash of inspiration?
There’s no specific process, but mostly we write a piece of music and the lyrics are added to it. But like you say, it can be a flash of inspiration and we just play it like a million times! And somehow it just all fits together. We just play and practice until it feels right.
I read you played at ‘Lounge On The Farm’ last summer in ‘You Say They Play’ -knowing that in the next stage artists like Echo and the Bunnymen, The Vaccines, Graham Coxon were playing. How was the experience? Were you looking forward to any of the other bands performing?
The experience was amazing, but the voting process for ‘You Say They Play’ was terrible! So much suspense! It was crazy, we were checking the website like 100 times a day! You’d look at it and we’d be in the top 3 and then you’d check back an hour later and we’d be out of it, and that would happen all day! We were just so grateful to finally get in and be given the opportunity and we loved every second of it. Everyone we met backstage was so nice. We saw some great bands there, I personally was really looking forward to seeing Little Comets, Everything Everything, Ellie Goulding and the Streets, so many to name though.
Which is the aspect of live performances you enjoy the most as musicians? Which is the one you enjoy the most as part of the crowd instead?
The build up to a good show and waiting to play is always exciting if you’re playing a later slot. We prepare by eating a hell of a lot of McDonalds and then we just wanna play. The thing we love the most is just playing music that we’re really proud of to new people. It’s great when we’re just having such a fun time on stage and then there’s more people at the end of your set than there were at the beginning. We like a bit crowd participation as well, we love it when we can hear the crowd sing along to our songs and we like talking to people after the show, we always appreciate it when someone says a kind word or two about our performance and we really appreciate it.
When I’m in the crowd I like to see something original, someone who puts on a bit of a show rather than just a group of people aimlessly playing songs. It’s always nice to see something quirky or a little bit ‘out there’ that makes you remember that band. And hopefully that’s what we bring to the stage.
If you had to choose the best gig you’ve been as part of the crowd, which one would you pick?
I saw Muse at Wembley Stadium in September 2010 and the sound was phenomenal! But I was just about as far away from the stage as possible so I may as well as watched it on a small TV! Most recently I saw Bombay Bicycle Club play at the Brighton Dome and they were amazing. It was absolutely packed and the crowd was going crazy. Nearly died by getting crushed, but it’s all good!
How do you find the Kent music scene? Any band or artist in particular to suggest to the readers?
It’s not too bad at all. It used to be brilliant a few years ago and then it was really dead for a couple of years but now it seems to be getting better again, there’s some great venues around Kent. A few bands we really like are ‘Jamie and the Portraits’, ‘Blaise Paisel’ and ‘Project Plenty’. ‘Jairus’ are another great band and we’re also really into a band from Brighton called ‘Phoria’.
What does the future look like for Chutes? Is there any plan about a possible full length?
The future’s looking good for us…I think! We’ll just keep writing music and see what happens. Hopefully we can keep playing to people at great venues and if we can do that we’ll hopefully get to play at some festivals next summer. There are no plans at the moment for any full length just yet, we’re just focussed on releasing our new EP in the next couple of months, but of course it’s something we’d love to do if the opportunity came by.