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Heading up Topman CTRL online for the month of April, Chew Lip’s  James Watkins and Tigs sit down with DIY to talk success, SXSW and a fondness for bum smacking.

Chew Lip's James Watkins and Tigs at Topman, Oxford Circus.

Hi guys, thank you for joining us. How is everything in the world of Chew Lips?

Tigs and James: We’re jetlagged, we just arrived back from SXSW last night.

As a new band, playing SXSW is a pretty big deal. Can you describe the experience for our readers.

Tigs: Mind-blowing. You walk down the street, catch someone’s eye, and they smile. Even if it was just for a second, people are so warm, and always want to talk. It was incredible.

James: It’s definitely a lot more laid back from UK festivals.

Tigs: I really cannot stress that point enough, I have never seen anything like it.

James: After we arrived, we went down to the lobby of the hotel, met another band and got chatting. We shared a taxi with them into town and ended up at their show at the Copa Cabana, which is your classic SXSW club. We had just met these guys, and ended up at their show. This is what it is like.

You clearly see an obvious difference from the UK and US crowd?

Tigs: I don’t know if SXSW is typical of your US crowd. I think it’s just a special festival. They’re not shy in telling you what they like they properly go for it. Even the bands are clapping. That would never happen here, bands are too cool to do that. The crowd get so enthusiastic, high-fives and everything.

James: I’m not a natural high-fiver though.

Tigs: I am. At SXSW I spent a whole night running through the street just smacking bums, no one said a thing, everyone was just so happy. (She laughs) I’m sorry this has nothing to do with your question.

Blame it on the jetlag

Tigs: I’m babbling on now aren’t I?

James: Yes.

That said SXSW really helps young bands to gain exposure. Have you had any offers that might help you crack America?

Tigs: There are deals on the table from this trip, which is why a lot of people go out there. All the right labels came and we are in talks now. You need a big label to crack America; you can’t do it in low-key way.

You’ll definitely go back then?

Tigs: Oh God Yeah, we’re going to New York in six months for a few shows.

Despite your debut album, ‘Unicorn‘ not being released in the US you have a growing number of fans (During their performance at SXSW the entire crowd sang along to every one of their songs) were you surprised at the crowd’s response?

Tigs: I was shocked and surprised. You play in front of industry crowds, and industry crowds are cack, they don’t give you any promotion. But when we were there it was a packed room, the front two-thirds knew every word not just the singles, but the whole album. I was touched. And we haven’t even had a release over there. They’re probably ripping it off online.

We’ve heard the term ‘overnight success’ being used a lot in relation to Chew Lips beginnings. Is this the case, or did it take a very long way to get to where you are today?

Tigs: Both. We got noticed very quickly. But, we spent a long time writing before we put anything out, because we wanted it to be good. It was our fifth show when we started to get touted by management companies. For any band that was ridiculous, because we weren’t ready for it at all, and we weren’t very good. We had something but we weren’t polished, it was rough and messy. But you can’t chose when you get attention.

Do you worry about the fact that with fame comes the fear of selling yourselves out, and bowing down to certain industry standards?

James: I think if you change who you are to become big then that is selling out.

There has been a lot of criticism over the use of advertising in Lady Gaga’s single  Telephone, where would you draw the line?

Tigs: If something came up that we didn’t find morally unacceptable, and they wanted to use our song, that had already been ripped off online to promote their product then we wouldn’t have a massive problem with that. Like the classic example of bands in a mobile phone advert. Obviously we wouldn’t let them use it for something like a tampon advert. Gaga can do whatever she wants. She is so out there anyway and makes all her own rules. In American that is totally acceptable, here people do not forgive you for things like that. Here, that is viewed as selling out.
James: As long as you don’t bend over backwards for people it’s fine.

So what have you got lined up for the summer, any UK dates?

James: It’s shaping up quite nicely.

Tigs: We played 35 dates last summer, and with some of them, we punched way above our weight. We opened for the Killers at Hard Rock Calling for example, which was crazy. We will be more selective this time with UK dates because there is like five festivals every weekend now. We’re doing the Montreux Jazz festival. Everyone from Bo Diddley to Stevie Nicks has played there. We’re also playing at Exit festival in Serbia, Rock n Seine, in Paris. And in the UK, we are doing Lovebox, V, and Camden Crawl.

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Dan Le Sac at the Roisin Dubh, Co.Galway

A palpable sense of excitement pulses through the crowd tonight as Essex duo Dan Le Sac vs Scroobious Pip manage to once again sell-out  their Galway  gig at the Roisin Dubh.

Bar, toilet trot complete I make my way to the front. I’ve caught these guys live before and the clever use of theatrics and stage owning is worth front row presence alone.

Opening to a killer mash-up of the antiques roadshow theme the trumpet barely gets a chirp in as Dan smashes it with the darkest, dirtiest  electro beats known to man.

Pip fully suited avec cap takes to the stage  suitcase in hand suggesting the  use of theatrics that’s to come.

Good God you’re a noisy bunch” grins Pip as he launches into a verse from ‘Waiting For The Beat To Kick In’  closely followed by ‘ The Beat That My Heart Skipped’.

This double act, upon first glance are polar opposites on all levels.  Yet  at that work incredibly well together. Pip delivers his spoken word with passion, character and comic interjection. While Dan provides live electro pulsed hip hop beats,  as a dancey backdrop to Pips poetic flow. The perfect balance.

Pips cheeky crowd rapport emerges  as he asks the crowd: “Hey, have we got any shitty couples here tonight pretending your still in love?” while launching into the closest version of a love song you’ll get from these guys. “Look for the woman” sees the duo’s strength shine as Dan takes to the mic and delivers his view of dried up relationships. Feeding into this raw genuine spit of emotion Dan recalls his last visit to Galway as an unforgettable one. Their début album ‘Angles’ hit the shelves that very day.

Scroobious Pip at the Roisin Dubh, Co. Galway.

Flow of adoration

Albeit, there is a darker element to their music, as  lyrics wise these guys deal with some pretty heavy content – as Pip puts it himself:  “Hmm chant, suicide, revenge and murder just the perfect thing to get you going on a Saturday night”. Yet, they manage to draw you in, educate you on reality while simultaneously giving you a bloody good time.

After all –  that’s what a gig is about right?

Delving into the darkest track off their début, Pip embraces each word as if  reflecting on his own personal experiences.

The use of  crowd interaction is outstanding as Pip embraces the audience as if on first name basis,  which in turn leaves us nothing short of putty in their hands. Keeping this up, Pip asks with a half grin:Do any of you guys listen to UK Hip Hop?” while launching into the funniest, wittiest and quite frankly honest attack on the UK Hip Hop scene to date.

Thou Shalt

‘Fixed’, a clever re-working of Dizzie’s ‘Fix Up Look Sharp’ provides a communal nod of approval from the audience. They, like the band seem to tire of Hip hop’s constant wishes of dropping the proverbial “lyrical bombs” on our asses.

Euphoria erupts as Le Sac drops the beat to the familiar ‘Thou Shall Always Kill’. Leaving any still member in the audience trampled.Drawing to a close, the crowd will not loosen their grip,  and with the familiar “ONE MORE TUNE” chant a sweaty but willing Le Sac and Pip emerge back on stage providing a sexed up, fast paced version of Prince’s ‘Cream.’

Exiting the gig, a flow of adoration seems to emerge from the lips of every punter. For some this is their first Le Sac vs Pip gig. Others it’s simply a re-visit coupled with met expectations. To quote a line from the witty pop culture piece,  Thou Shalt: “Thou shalt not use poetry, art or music to get into girls pants. Use it to get into their heads.”

Mission Complete.

Click here to see if a Dan Le Sac vs Scroobious Pip is happening near you.

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Here at DIY it is with a creative mind, and a musical ear that we welcome the familiar sight of aspiring indie songstress’.

Sashaying their way onto the new music scene, they emerge, carrying their own unique vocal and instrumentation arrangement that sets them apart in an already bubbling genre.  Lucy Day, an acoustic artist from Derbyshire, both passes and fails on said acquirements. It is all very new here, ‘Trick of the Light’ is a roughly mastered six track EP with only a few creating a real stir to the soul.

Courtesy of stock.xchng

Opening track ‘A Trick of the Light’ introduces Day‘s vocal abilities, the main strength of the album. This ability should flourish with the use of strong instrumentation and complementing percussive effects. Instead, at times it sounds a tad patchy, weak and honestly, a bit flat. ‘A Trick Of The Light’ has no great sense of movement, there is no authority or track crescendo –  rather it flows from beginning to end and exits safely with no great impact.

Music has the power to uplift the soul, trigger thoughts and tap into that addictive side of our personality (yes,  admit it – we all have one). Only a handful of tracks can pull off this charm.

As a newbie, Day provides a stable enough platform for herself  with her début. Furthermore, it could be argued that tracks like ‘Oh Desire’ and ‘A Fire In The Sea’, while holding the same unstructured flow as ‘A Trick Of The Light’, could be cleaned up a bit and tightened with the aid of professional recording.  Day, like many artists these days, recorded this EP in her bedroom, a method where few artists can achieve that perfected,  polished sound.

Stripped of fussy awkward instrumentation is where Day excels. A back to basics personal approach on ‘A Personal Disaster’ displays soft, innocent emotions in her voice.  ‘Our War’ an upbeat catchy pop number proves that maybe, with practice, Day will make perfect.

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Fake Diy

 

 

 

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Scroobious Pip - Galway 2008

 

 

I shall also be trying to link a few of my reviews/interviews I  do for a hot little music website posted below, Diy is one of the most visited underground music websites in the UK – and delivers only the best in new and Alternative indie music.

www.thisisfakediy.co.uk

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