Interview: Chew Lips

Since breaking into the music scene in 2009, Chew Lips have been building up an impressive catalogue of electro wonderment for listening ears at a steady rate. Having enjoyed positive reception and reviews with debut LP Unicorn in 2010 and recently released new single Do You Chew?, showing steady progression in sound, things are seeming to come together for the duo. They recently headlined the fifth Fred Perry Subsonic Live, which showcases the latest and greatest in bands and djs. We caught up with James to cover a range of topics including the Far East, “jazz” moments and Con Air.

Spindle Imagine David Attenborough is describing the evolution of Chew

Lips from single-selling amoebas to the fully formed roaming mammals you are today. What would he say?

James He would say ‘we are looking at the last breeding couple facing extinction every day’…

Spindle Heading to a slightly more standard area of questioning, how did you find your time at Great Escape, were there any bands on the line up you particularly enjoyed?

James TGE is always fun, we didn’t see a single band this year though sadly, we arrived late straight from a show in Katowice, Poland the night before. Unfortunately our set got cut short and we only played for 20 minutes; it was a great 20 minutes though, possibly one of our best.

Spindle Looking toward the summer, you seem to have an exciting run of festivals on the European circuit, where are you most looking forward to playing on the continent and why?

James Slovakia will be fun- great festival lineup & Eastern Europe is the bestest! We’re off to China next week too, which should be fun. Russia as well, really far East too which should be weird, and also it’s a big vintage flea market festival so it will combine my two favourite things (music and buying old tat).

Spindle Lurking amongst the Kraftwerk and Talking Heads LPs that everyone loves to acknowledge having in their record collection there is always an overlooked embarrassing choice. What the guilty pleasures you have hiding on the shelf?

James Is Michael MacDonald embarrassing? If that’s wrong, we don’t want to be right.

Spindle Influences come in a range of forms, as we are all aware, are there films, works of literature or any other obscure areas you take inspiration from?

James Stop Making Sense (the live Talking Heads film) is a big influence, best live show ever. We sort of like arty pretentious films I guess, plus Con Air. In fact Con Air might be the best film of all time; on our European tour last year we actually watched in every day on the bus… We both read a lot too so I guess that comes into it somewhere.

Spindle On a personal note, what is the most memorable – be for an important or strange reason – moment you have had on tour to date?

James We met Mr Motivator at a festival in Yorkshire: that was a highlight.

Spindle For those of a more technical nature, what are the most important things to include in your live set up?

James Definitely a Moog that stays in tune… There have been some real “jazz” moments lately.

Spindle With the previous question in mind, how have you found translating your studio sound to the live environment?

James Fun, I love all the messing around with sounds and stuff. We try to do it the same but different, incorporating as many ways to be flexible as possible into the show, so we can play around depending on how we think it’s going.

Spindle Finally, this is no doubt one of a million interviews you have had to do in the last few years and it has been well documented how arduous they can be at times, what is the best question you have ever been posed?

James Questions when you are interviewed abroad seem to be generally “deeper” than those at home, though this is perhaps due to some mistranslation somewhere along the line. My favourite was in France one time where we were asked “what is music?” That’s a big one.

That was all we had time to discuss with Chew Lips, but if you can get along and catch them playing a string of UK festival dates including; Tramlines 2012 in Sheffield, Leopallooza in Bude and The Magic Loungeabout in Skipton.

Words: Ben Clark