The cream always rises to the top. In the 2008/2009 surge of ElectroPop acts surprisingly few actually ‘made it’, fewer still are still kicking around for the second album. From the moment we first heard London duo (then three peice) CHEW LiPS’ début record, Salt Air, it was obvious they were going to be big, and they were going to be around for a while.
Immediately snapped up by the hippest of hip label (at the time) Kitsuné Music for their first two singles set a precedent for mixing Indie sensibilities with grungy ElectroPop and infectious melodies that had been oft copied since. But their string of catchy singles and reputation for an intimate, energetic live show has always seen them ahead of the pack.
2010 saw the release of the début full length record, Unicorn. An instant hit, loaded with track that resonated with both Indie fans and Electro heads alike. The perfect example of how you can still do something unique with ElectroPop. Damn good songs too. Now, just in time, with memories of ‘10’s summer fading from people memories, CHEW LiPS are retuning. We’ve heard two single from the album so far, and a handful of tracks live, and with each new track we grow more excited for the album release.
Hot on the heels of this weeks première of the video for their amazing new single Hurricane, CHEW LiPS took some time to chat with us about their past, present and future:
ER: I have to get this out the way first. We’ve been writing about you guys since Kitsuné Music released ‘Solo’, and despite things relaxing in the font department I belligerently refuse to stop writing Chew Lips as CHEW LiPS. Doing it right or doing it wrong?
CL: Relax, the upper case / lower case thing feels a bit Nu-Rave nowadays…
(OK then, from now on we won’t…)
ER:. So how did the Chew Lips adventure begin? As a listener I always get the feeling that you all came from wildly different places and this Indie tinged grungy ElectroPop sound was something that was just spawned when you came together.
CL: That’s pretty much what happened. None of us we’re really into anything vaguely “dancey” at all, we were definitely from more of an indie background. Also, as we were a three piece then we couldn’t really make enough noise without using drum machines & synths, so we kind of slipped into this style. I think that’s where some of our early originality came from, the fact that we didn’t know anything about the instruments we were using meant we weren’t constrained by the rules.
ER: Coming together and then blowing up music blogoshpere so quickly, and being snapped up by one of the coolest record labels in the world at the time. How do you think that affected you? It must have been a hell of a lot of pressure, when most bands that early into their careers are still finding their feet?
CL: Not really, you kinda get used to everything that is happening to you as a band very quickly. We were lucky to have good management from early on, who took us away from everything & allowed us to take our time making a record. Luckily we never had to rush anything, we get to mess around & write a lot of songs before choosing what we think are the best ones. We did a lot of pretty awful gigs back then though, we’ve only recently found our feet live I think, the new drummer has helped massively.
♫ Chew Lips – Hurricane (Radio Edit)
ER: Fast forward to 2012. ‘Unicorn’ is a tough act to follow, it’s (in our opinion) one of the greatest albums of the 2000’s. How did you approach the new record? What has inspired it, both lyrically and musically.
CL: Thanks, that’s very nice to hear. We approached this one by trying to step up everything from the first album – the songwriting, the sounds, the production, the thought behind it, the lyrics, the whole package. Tigs was living in Paris during the writing & recording of this record so that totally influenced her lyrically. Musically it’s gone way deeper into the analog world I guess, with loads more proper old synths & drum machines, with some live drums too. Loads of harmonies & BV’s this time too, which is new for us.
ER: And how would you describe it’s sound? What’s it going to be called?
CL: It sounds massive I hope, tougher than before, more focused than before, possibly more open & emotional than before. We wanted it to be a bit more of a pop this time, with a lot more hip hop influenced beats rather than the 4/4 thing. We’re still not sure on the name yet though… We had a name for it all the way through which the label has now said is “too indie” so we’re now trying to find a new name for our baby.
ER: Now you’ve slimmed down to a two piece, has the way you write or record changed?
CL: Not so much really, we only really wrote stuff in the practice room very early on. We probably did more stuff over email this time round as Tigs was in gay Paris a lot & I was in London.
♫ Chew Lips – Solo
ER: So what’s in Chew Lips’ studio? Do you have a favourite bit of kit?
CL: Lots of old analog synths… I share a room in Shoreditch with a friend & between us we have a really nice setup. We have a Pro One, a Juno 6, a Prophet 5, an MS20, an SH101 and loads of crazy tape echos, spring reverbs & pedals. I like fun stuff you can get your hands on rather than plugins on the computer. Favourite thing at the moment is my Sequential Circuits DrumTraks an early 80’s drum machine, it sounds incredible on everything.
ER: If money was no object, what piece of studio gear would be your dream to own?
CL: Probably a MemoryMoog, we hired one for a few days whilst recording the album & it’s just amazing. Everytime you turn it on it’s worth recording as it’ll be doing something amazing & random. The sound of the Thom Yorke record basically.
ER: The first few times we saw you guys live it was all raucous and usually resulted in Tigs parading up and down the bar of whatever venue it was? What can we expect from Chew Lips live in 2012, more of the same?
CL: More of the same but she’ll probably be in tune this time & not so out of breath! We’ve worked really hard on the live set this time round & it’s definitely way better than it was before. A kick ass girl drummer really helps.
ER: Speaking of which, do you prefer recording or playing live?
CL: I like both, geeking around in the studio for months is really fun, but playing live is great, the feeling after a good show is amazing. I like travelling too so touring is great fun. We’ve been to some awesome places recently too, China, Russia, all over the place but Eastern Europe is the best.
♫ Chew Lips – Play Together
ER: Tell us one thing about Chew Lips you’ve never ever told anyone. 😉
CL: Erm, tough one… There’s nothing left to tell, there are no skeletons left in our closet.
ER: What’s on the cards for the rest of this year? Does the album have a release date yet? And festival appearances?
CL: More gigs, more festivals, Hurricane comes out Sept 3rd & I guess when the record comes out depends on how well that single does. It could be early next year for the album to be honest.
♫ Chew Lips – Salt Air
ER: Are Chew Lips a cereal or a Full English Breakfast kinda’ band? Would your answer change the day after a gig?
CL: Usually cereal for me (Bran Flakes) & for Tigs it would be either Porridge or eggs, she fucking loves eggs, we call her the Mongoose. The morning after a late night it’s definitely a fry up, usually at this amazing Italian place in Newington Green that we love. Would have to be served with coffee too, we’re obsessed with coffee, I worked out how much I spent last week on coffee & it was more than on food. How stupid is that?
ER: Thanks guys.
♫ Chew Lips – Do You Chew?
Chew Lips awesome new single Hurricane is released 3rd September.
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