There's something gloriously British about The Chap. It's not just the name - although that helps - it's also the resolutely eccentric path they've trod for over a decade. Over 7 albums they've plowed weirdo avant pop that has rarely troubled with categorisation, and is all the better for it. Like shed based inventors coming up with feasible breathing apparatus' for Mars, they're bizarre and genius in equal measure.
Naturally when we asked them to talk about their new record, an ordinary round up of songs they might like to sound a bit like would never do - instead the band have given us a list of the political and philosophical influences that have plowed into new album The Show Must Go. Unsurprisngly, it's an esoteric bunch of characters.
First of all, let's set the scene with a bit of the record (and one of the greatest videos we've seen all year)
To the influences...!
Conceptual artist, philosopher and avant-garde musician, whose Cognitive Nihilism position/theory promotes anti-art as a means for both pure recreation and subversion. His performance at Cafe Oto a few years ago was a true epiphany.
Themroc (film, dir. Claude Faraldo, 1973):
Features Michel Piccoli as a blue collar worker who rebels against modern society, reverting into an urban caveman. There is no discernible dialogue, just grunting. As the film progresses, scenes of incest and cannibalism underscore Piccoli’s deafening atavistic screams and growls. He makes Henry Rollins sound like Donny Osmond. Check out the video for our song Jammer, it combines mechanophilia with Flintstone-like eloquence:
Probably the best composer from the UK the last 45 years. His scores are so dense in information that they seem impossible to perform, but people all over the world try to anyway. His music says two things to us: 1- Shit is complex, get over it. 2- You can compose stuff that actually sounds improvised, but better. Listen to “Society” from our new album.
Brian Griffin (Family Guy):
A dog with anthropomorphic behaviour. Cynical and blissfully resigned to living in a world that doesn’t work. Scathingly ironises people who are ironic, like Stewy the baby. He would be really into “Epic Tolerance” from our new album.
Post-war Austrian novelist and playwright who wrote obsessively about the absolute horror and futility of human existence. Very depressing and very funny, rather like The Chap: “Joy in depression” is the name of one our new songs.
He was this cool guy in the 19th century who described how people become alienated when entering the labour market. He also predicted that capitalism would eventually be overcome. Quite the optimist! Anyway, check him out on Reddit or something, he was actually quite spot on about a lot of stuff, and he's all over our new album.
Well, you all know this one. We like it because all the actors look like their lives are rather similar to those of their characters. It's also a cultural beacon created by a public service organisation, addressing burning social issues: resurrection, reincarnation and inbreeding.
Lars von Trier:
Unpopular genius. Every film of his that we watch makes us want to send him a demo tape with a letter pleading for us to write his next soundtrack. He makes the idea of genres seem like a 19th century trend. His anti-humanist stance is ecstatically beautiful: Classicist aesthetic, no future. Listen to “Hey Youth” from our new album.
The Chap's new album is out NOW