The Chapmen are going a bit Adam & Eve here, cover your eyes!
When we dispatched the orders “think outside the box” to our wonderful writer Henry Johns, he darn-tooting delivered. Our SUPERSWEET cad interviewed Kingsley Chapman from The Chapman Family with some wily questions about their recent record Burn Your Town, a frantic and furious debut album from the four-piece brethren. Note, our writer may have met his match - the vocalist and his “encapsulating eyes” fired an unexpected bucket of silliness, unveiling his and the band’s sincere joy in “this band lark”.
SS: Abigail and Brittany Hensel, the American conjoined twins, were born on the date of your album release. It is safe to presume that the album is dedicated to the conjoined among your fans?
Kingsley Chapman (vocals, guitar): It depends on whether they buy one album or two really. And if they only buy one is that strictly speaking an example of file sharing? As we all know, in this day and age file sharing is bad and is punishable by being made to watch re-runs of Take Me Out on ITV2 forever and ever and ever and ever, until you gouge out your own eyes and violently mash them into your ears in an attempt at stopping the madness.
SS: What’s your take on the downloading generation? Do you give illegal downloaders a chocolate bar, a firm telling off, or a straight up punch in the face?
Kingsley: They're all cheapskates. Oh I don't know really, I'm just old fashioned, I just can't bring myself to get excited about purchasing a music file digitally. To me, regardless of the fact it shoots through your headphones and does the job intended, it still doesn't really exist in a physical form. I like CDs and records and sleeves and photos and silly little booklets that list all the equipment they used in the making of their masterpiece and thank you lists that include "God" and "Mom and Pop" and record collections that fill bookcases, meaning it's a fucking nightmare when you have to move house.
SS: You've got very encapsulating eyes, Kingsley. Have you ever caused a rush of fans to the stage with those peepers? What’s been your favourite “fan” moment?
Kingsley: Strangely no, that's never happened, but perhaps it has and I missed the moment as I was too busy trying to look encapsulating…by peering off wistfully into the middle distance, like a really cool farmer (probably played by Johnny Depp in the movie of his life) standing at the edge of his field at the end of a long hard day, proudly surveying his magnificent cabbages as the sun sets. My favourite fan moment was probably at The Great Escape in Brighton in 2009 and one of our "fans" attempted to strangle me with my mic cord. It's hard work sometimes this band lark.
SS: You do love a bit of strangulation via the MIC lead, what’s been your worst stage injury?
Kingsley: I do like a MIC lead around my neck, it has to be said. It does hurt quite a lot and I've caused myself to collapse onto the stage floor on more than one occasion, which is nice. I've seen some snide reviews that say it's all a bit of an act and I'm not really strangling myself but I'll gladly show them the burn marks and bruising. When we supported La Roux, in Preston, I hit myself in the head with my guitar so hard (the reason being that I used to think it made a nice clangy effect and sounded good, bloody idiot) that a lump the size of an egg instantly appeared on my forehead. Phil recently wrote "KILL ME" on his snare drum in his own blood from a gig accident. Paul and Pop are also quite consistent injury prone disasters, Pop fell out of a nightclub balcony in Middlesborough and we all thought he was dead for about four hours. We need to be wrapped in cotton wool really, bless us.
SS: Jeremy Paxman has got you in a vicious headlock and asks for three unrelated sentences to best describe your new album (he's pretty excited about it), what are they?
1. A noisy social document of our troubled, mismanaged times.
2. Romantic interludes of northern misery and ambition.
3. Get off my head Billy Ray Cyrus.
SS: In what location or scene would Burn Your Town most suitably be played (for example, in a jar of jam or a line dancing club)?
Kingsley: The House of Commons. With a load of strobe lights all dotted around the place and a smoke machine. It'd be fun to smash guitars all over the place in there.
SS: Invent us an animal that might enjoy your music. Drawings or elaborate descriptions are always welcomed.
Kingsley: It's called "the Four Horsemen of the Rockopalypse".
SS: Who's the coolest, albeit most inspirational person you've ever met, or hope to meet?
Kingsley: I'm pathetic when it comes to meeting folk that you might look up to. I get hyper intimidated and my heart races so fast [that] it feels like it's a chest-bursting alien, I can physically feel my face get redder and redder, hotter and hotter until it feels like I look like one of those old style glowing heaters. When we first played at Glastonbury the first "famous" person we saw wandering around backstage was Jo Whiley. She had her cowboy hat on, shades, wellies and was pregnant. It would have been really beneficial for us to hand her a demo CD just so she could listen to it…she may have even mentioned us on her show. Bands have to be pretty shameless in trying to get exposure (if that's what they want) and it usually means going up to complete strangers thrusting CDRs into their ungrateful hands. My legs turned to lead though and my heart did that exploding thing it does and I just froze. Jo had trotted past and my window of opportunity had gone.
SS: What’s your best anecdote that you’ve used to charm new company, possibly about any shenanigans on recent tours?
Kingsley: I have a lovely girlfriend at the moment so there are no on tour shenanigans - we're not Motley-fucking-Crue you know. I remember, when I was a kid, I once tried to quote from the film Dirty Dancing to a young lady with a shockingly poor level of success. Apparently reciting the words of Patrick Swayze's song ‘She's Like The Wind’ is something akin to chat line poison. I might as well have introduced myself as Fred West; I'd have probably got further.
SS: What's the fire in the belly that keeps you working in the music industry?
Kingsley: We do what we do because we genuinely love it. We're not in it for money or fame or anything which is a good job really. Whilst it's sometimes difficult taking criticism from internet warriors who don't like our videos or songs; or if we argue with management or our label as to how we think we should be represented (or something else equally as lame); or the prospect of just concentrating on writing the best songs you can possibly write, as everything is collectively cluster-fucking in your tiny inadequate northern English human brain…we do it purely and simply because we LOVE it. Even if I do look like a miserable bastard most of the time.
Words: Henry Jones & Gemma Dempster
Photography: Eleanor Harvey