Monday, 12 January 2009

Chatting With CHOPS

So Chops did an interview with Hannah Gregory for Plan B but only a lil bit was used in the end so we wanted to publish here the whole transcript - ENJOY!

PLAN B: "Ah, you sweet little rogue, you! alas, poor ape, how thou sweatest! Come, let me wipe thy face; come on, you whoreson chops: ah, rogue! i'faith, I love thee..."

Explain your choice of quote/ your affiliation with the words of Tudor England via the most renowned dramatist of our isle and his expectant punctuation...

CHOPS: Gratifyingly peppered between his illustrious punctuation, the Great Bard excelled in the esteemed art of the pun-down; complex word play often dismissed as a simple and unsophisticated form of humour. Puns require a natural, instinctive reaction; explaining a joke weakens the punch, and that’s doubly true of puns, which rely on a sudden link being made between two ideas that have previously been completely separate, or with conflicting meaning. This is a highly metaphorical insight, which creates a satisfactory poetic basis on which to introduce readers to the collective mindset of CHOPS during our infancy.

That was an awkward one to start, some more straightforward info/influence stuff:

Influences: Musical: This is the trade-secret to our sauce, and we must keep the lid on. You can taste it when it's on the plate.

Influences: Non-Musical (books/people/food stuffs/miscellany): We take huge influence from the great literary works of Thesaurus and Google Search, and fall mercilessly at the service of anyone who will cook us a good meal. Imagine us, if you will, as a river; a mighty force of erosion, yet confined within the valley to meander toward a vast ocean and a destiny of evaporation, all the while being fed by the tributaries of inspiration from our surrounding slopes.

Idols: Moz was once physically ejected from Manchester McVities Factory, on the search for his hero, Julien Pike, inventor of the HobNob. Unaware that the factory only made Jaffa Cakes, Penguins and Digestives, and that McVities had purchased the recipe from Mr Pike in the early 1980s, Moz was left feeling rejected and deflated. Since then we have learned not to elevate people to such high status.

Expand on your appointed band roles (Moz - conspiracist, Leon - Voice of Reason, Dom - actuality facilitator)

We have never discussed, elected or dictated any specific roles, besides the obvious selection of our own instruments. We exercise a sporadically persistent, shambolic sense of collective organisation and open-ended contingency. Rather than being defined tasks, the descriptions you have selected correspond to particular character traits.

Please provide one version of the band's formation.

CHOPS was a half-baked worm eaten by the early bird of 2007. The three of us placed the bun in the oven at the turn of the millennium, baking feasts with our Leeds based DIY label/gigs/arts collective (Chinchilla), setting up house gigs and squat parties, recording and sound engineering, playing in bands like Quack Quack, Two Minute Noodles, Massive Heron, Sense Or This?, Inecto School, Eagle Eye, and guesting with Cowtown, Action Beat, Chrome Hoof, The Damo Suzuki Network, etc. Even if you ask him nicely enough, you will struggle to discover the name of the famous stadium indie rock band Moz used to play for - the mysterious people in his history responsible for him burning all ties with the Music Industry, and catalysts for his many subversive plots. Dom has driven the equivalent of 6.2 times around the Earth since May 2006, as chauffeur, tour-guide and gourmet sous-chef for many travels, with many bands. CHOPS is the sensible, illogical, incomplete conclusion of three similar and conflicting responses to our various experiences.

Be honest, is CHOPS just one glorious excuse to have lots of messy, justifiable fun?

It would be more accurate to say three excuses, though excuse is the wrong word as it's totally unnecessary to justify having fun. We've ridden a learning curve. CHOPS gives us the possibility to get involved in situations we're not familiar with, and experience the unexpected.

Do you enjoy acting-up live/ how would you describe your live performances?

Our first live performances were enjoyably idiosyncratic as their own uncertain voyages, though we can at least lay claim to have used a degree of control to restrain and make some sense of what we were creating. Forgetting the necessary theatrics of Moz's drumming, and a certain amount of mischief or over-exuberance when the right occasion brews, we would be mildly offended if people think we're acting-up, because it's not that... we're just out to encourage a welcoming, baggage-free, convivial situation. When we realised we could recreate an improvisation recorded for the Upset The Rhythm 12”, we gradually introduced structure and have begun to employ other classic song-writing techniques. It feels like our enthusiasm for achieving something more consistent and concise has replaced the nervous thrill of recklessness with a more dignified euphoria.

What is the best thing to be doing/ wearing/thinking of whilst listening to CHOPS?

We direct you to this essential notation from Anthony Phillips' rarely available self-help cassette, released several years after his recovery from leaving Genesis due to stage fright in 1970; "..... and relax.... ... let your haircut down... brush aside the stranglehold of faux-intellectualism and machinery of your entertainment ... hold hands with your friend, feel the safe reassurance of a shoulder to lean on...... drift away from thoughts about your next bill, the list of chores, nagging responsibilities.... take some time to forget about what's coming next, or what already exists, because you already know where this world is leading.... perhaps we can all take something from the moment of calm.... take joy in the simple pleasures of life, such as a peaceful gathering of friends celebrating nothing in particular... perhaps we can allow those basic moments of happiness to make a difference to how we relate to strangers and the decisions we make during our lives....".

Future prospects and pasts: Please give some indication of where you'd like to go/ send your sound to, and one or two anecdotes of where your sound has come from/how it has come about.

We have begun to write music for the first time, rather than being intentionally clueless and meandering into it at various unexpected junctures. We still have the three way tugging of each other's musical tastes, but it's a much more positive vibe now that we're structuring songs around our strengths, while still allowing some room for the possibility that it will spill over into something unexplored. We're just at the point where we need to work out how to record the new songs for an album. As a whole, it's more propulsive and danceable than we ever used to be; it was a slow dawn for us to realise we are happy to allow the tone and melody to sing out, instead of washing it out in persistent concentrationspanlessness. The end result will hopefully consist of us savouring several more hours spent on the M1.

No comments: