Interview: Young Rebel Set
Published on September 13th, 2013 | Jonny Abrams
Young Rebel Set are gearing up for the release of their second album Crocodile with a string of UK dates starting in Leeds next Thursday, so we caught up with front man Matty Chipchase for a bit of a natter…
Have you been playing many festivals over the summer?
Yeah, we did some festivals over in Germany and Norway, which was an experience. Nothing as yet in England because we’ve just been getting the album ready and as watertight as it should be.
Does “The Lash of the Whip” give a good indication of what we can expect from Crocodile?
I guess so. That was the reason behind putting “The Lash of the Whip” out as the first single, to give a good indication of what people can expect from the album.
It’s still got the same kind of mentality as before; there are some very ‘big’ songs in there, some very poignant songs, but also there’s a raucous kind of energy, which I guess was borne out of the frustration of wanting to get back out there, try to turn the tables on the first album and put something fresh out this time.
I think there’s a good all-round kind of scope to this album. It’s a bit different, a bit special. There’s a sparkle.
Apparently there were some initial problems with the making of the album…
We went in to record with a producer down in London, got about halfway through and we all kind of thought, “This isn’t how we wanted it.” So we took our foot off the gas a bit, reevaluated where we were at and after a brief break we went into the studio with Paul Savage.
We actually went back and rewrote the album, rethought what we were going to put on it. It’s not until you’re listening back to it yourselves that you realise it hasn’t got as much of a sparkle as you’d thought. It can dishearten you a bit.
So we reevaluated, looked at some different producers, went in with Paul and it just clicked like that. The album was done in about three or four weeks. He kind of turned things on its head, gave everyone a different way of thinking.
He gave every instrument a voice in the band so no one was just strumming along to a three-chord pattern or anything like that. Everyone had a part to play, which makes for a much more complex and interesting sound, I think.
When you say you rewrote the songs, do you mean you rejigged existing songs, or did you scrap a bunch of songs and write new ones?
We didn’t scrap them…well, I guess we scrapped them, knocked them off the album. It was a lot of tough love from management; we were umming and ahing about it, and they said, “To be honest with you, we know you can do better.”
It was tough being that self-critical but I think sometimes you have to be to get the results that you want. In the end, I think it paid off.
Where was the album artwork photo taken?
That was done in Hamburg. We spent a day there doing different quirky things and we found this staircase in an apartment block of offices; because it wasn’t perfectly spherical, it kind of gave this quirky, crocodile-like effect.
It was a good day, our first full-on photo shoot since we’ve been in a band, really. It wasn’t something we were going for but we were told it’s an essential part, so we put aside a couple of days in Hamburg for it and away we went.
How did you get Steve Lamacq to write your new biography?
We did a few bits and bobs together around the time of our first album, did a few of his shows and whatnot, and we ended up getting together and putting together a biography for the band.
It was a very open and honest chat, really; there was none of the rock and roll bullshit or clichés. We just sat down over a couple of pints and talked about how it was, no sugarcoating anything. That’ll be out soon for everybody to read.
It speaks about our determination and grit just to get stuck in and do it, not moan about it. We chose to do this and we’re in this for the long-haul. We just want to make better albums as we go on, lay down markers and stepping stones of our career.
We’re only at the very beginning of it now so I think it’s important to not look back on any albums with regret, just see them as “at that moment in time, we were that band”. I think we’re a completely different band today to what we were on the first album.
Finally, if you’ve had the time to be listening, which other albums from this year have you enjoyed?
The new Arctic Monkeys album is great. They’ve done it how a lot of the greats do it, move and evolve with each album, like I was saying about laying down stepping stones, marker points.
I think people were expecting a big folk album to come out of us, but what people don’t realise is that we were never really a folk band in the first place. Just because we happened to have an acoustic guitar in the band and a few finger-picking songs, people thought we were climbing on the Mumford thing, but we want to show people that we’re a lot more than that.
Bands who are going to stick around have to change and evolve in everything they do. So, in answer to your question, I think the Arctic Monkeys album is good!
Matty Chipchase, thank you.
Crocodile will be released on September 30th through Ignition Records.
Young Rebel Set are set to play the following tour dates:
Thu 19 LEEDS Cockpit
Fri 20 NEWCASTLE Think Tank
Mon 23 LONDON Sebright Arms
Sat 26 MANCHESTER Soup Kitchen
Fri 01 LIVERPOOL Lomax
Fri 08 PRESTON Mad Ferret
Thu 14 EDINBURGH Electric Circus
Fri 15 CREWE Box
Tue 19 SOUTHAMPTON Joiners
Wed 20 LONDON Queens Head
Thu 21 BRISTOL Louisiana