The Chevin are a four piece from a sleepy town in Yorkshire tasked with starting the revolution and bringing the soul back into British music.
With a live performance at T in the Park under their belt and plans to rock The David Letterman Show later this month, we caught up with lead singer Coyle Girelli to discuss his love for pop music, chasing old ladies around the Yorkshire Dales in lacy underwear, find out why he feels there's been no good British bands since Arctic Monkeys - and film an exclusive performance of Cheryl Cole's 'Call My Name'...
Hi Coyle. How was T in the Park?
It was great, it was amazing. We were in London the day before and we drove up and played in one of the tents, and it was full and busy. We felt horrible for everyone who was out there because it had rained non-stop for three days and the place was a total mud swamp. We had fun, though.
There’ve been a lot of stories going around about Nicki Minaj and throwing her weight around. Did you experience any of that?
We didn’t, we were too busy concentrating on walking through the mud to even see Nicki Minaj. We wanted to stay to check out her set but the mud was just too much so we ended up leaving, unfortunately. We missed both her diva tantrum and set, and I would have liked to see both.
What have been the band's best and worst festival moments?
We haven’t done too many festivals, so I’d say the best was probably T In The Park. It was a really good show and we had a lot of sun. It’s always a good crowd up in Glasgow and we always have a good show in that part of the world, so that was probably the best. The worst was for me, personally, the only time I ever camped at a festival because I’m not cut out for that sort of stuff. If I’m in the wild like Bear Grylls, I don’t think I’d last very long. I have an issue with the whole toilet thing – having to go to the toilet in the woods isn’t my vibe.
What guilty pleasures would we find on your iPod?
Loads, absolutely loads. Ace of Base, The Bee Gees, Carly Rae Jepsen is on there at the moment and Nicki Minaj. I listen to everything – if I like a band then it unashamedly goes on my iPod.
You have covered Cheryl Cole for Gigwise. Why did you choose 'Call My Name'?
We were thinking of what to do and playing with a bunch of things – we were going to do a Roy Orbison one or a Springsteen one and then we thought, sod it, we’ll do something current. We listened through the Top 30 and couldn’t find a single song which actually had a song structure, everything was just a dance remix or something – Cheryl’s was the only one which, when we played it on an acoustic guitar, actually seemed to work. It was quite good fun doing it, we messed around with the chords and rewrote a new outro and we had a good laugh. Very different vibe to the original!
Watch The Chevin cover 'Call My Name' below:
As a Yorkshire band, and being named after a famous Yorkshire hill, has your upbringing had a big influence on your sound?
A lot. We grew up in Otley and growing up in that part of the world, surrounded by hills and the green green grass, it definitely has an influence on you as a person and on your music because you spend a lot of time in your own head and a lot of time listening to music, because there’s nothing else to do. I think it’s a good place to be creative. Otley and the Yorkshire Dales are an inspirational part of the world.
What made you name your band after a hill?
I like the romance of being named after somewhere we grew up, and we saw the Chevin every day. It looms over the town and it’s definitely been a big part of all our childhoods, so it seemed like the natural name – and was also the only one out of a list of fifteen that wasn’t taken. But as a word, most people don’t know it, and I like taking a little bit of our home and throwing it out into the world.
Would you like an old age like Last of the Summer Wine?
Yes, maybe when I’m older. Maybe I’ll be in a barrel, rolling down the Chevin, screaming and chasing after old ladies with French stockings.
Will all of The Chevin be chasing women around the Yorkshire Dales in your later years?
Hopefully all of us will have that spark in us! When we’re older we’ll be wandering the hills. There’s actually a couple of characters like in ‘Last of the Summer Wine’ that live on Otley, it’s that sort of vibe, but I don’t know whether I want to end up like them.
So what do you miss most about home when you’re away?
It depends how far away we are. Whenever we go to America, I always miss Ribena quite a lot.
Do they not have Ribena in America?
No Ribena in America! It’s an absolute disgrace – I don’t even think blackcurrants grow over there because there’s not a single blackcurrant drink anywhere to be found. So I do miss that and you always miss your own bed and your own bath.
How did a Yorkshire band end up recording an EP in the middle of a Texas desert?
We knew we wanted to get away and go into the middle of the forest or something like that, and when we found Noah [Shain] the producer, he said, ‘Well, I don’t know anywhere in the middle of the forest but I do know a place in the middle of the desert if you’re up for that.’ We were like, hells yes! We did one over to Texas and we were in the desert for four weeks. It was crazy and amazing, like a musician’s heaven – full of vintage guitars and keyboards and huge old desks and no distractions. Apart from the spiders and scorpions. They were distractions.
You’ve been called a band to watch in 2012, but where do you see yourself in 2017?
Getting better with every album. That’ll do me. I think we need to concentrate on writing and push ourselves musically, and continue to enjoy it and write music that people enjoy and want to listen to. I think that’s it – apart from that, what will be will be.
Below: The Chevin 'Blue Eyes'
We're interviewing you in John Lennon's flat. Do you count the Beatles as a major influence?
Without a doubt. I think anyone who has ever picked up a guitar and learned how to write a song need not go too much further than the Beatles to learn the craft of song writing – even now, they just wrote at a level that’s mind blowing, John and Paul in particular. They’re arguably the greatest song writers of the last hundred years, so to be somewhere like this, which has such a rich part in their history… It’s just pretty special. I’m trying to feed off the energy as much as I can so we can get inspired.
So who do you think are the greatest British bands of all time?
I’ve got to say the Beatles and then Queen. I love creative, well-crafted songs and they stand out a bit above everybody else so for me, in terms of song writing, it’s the Beatles and Queen. And then I’m a big Radiohead fan as well, so I’d say they’re probably my top three.
You said in an interview that since the Arctic Monkeys, music’s been pretty soulless...
That was sort of taken out of context. The point I was trying to make was more a comment with regards to songs. I’m a big fan of a lot of pop bands, like Beach House and Band of Horses and stuff like that and I love all sorts, but I think since the Arctic Monkeys there’s definitely been a lack of depth to British song writing. Not so much American – I think America’s had some great bands over the last five or six years, but I think in terms of British music, there’s been nothing truly creative or of depth. I don’t know whether it’s just a lull or a trend towards a certain kind of thing or whether no one’s just been that good, but hopefully it’ll change. These things go in cycles and I think it usually takes someone to start trying to understand and push the craft of song writing a bit. People can disagree, it’s just my opinion.
Thank you very much, The Chevin. 'Blue Eyes' is relased on 5 August, 2012.