The electro pop band CHEW LiPS lands this month in Spain to show us what they can do: to cause the vibration of the stage and the revolution in the pitch with their rythms and the charismatic voice of Tigs. The English band is playing on March (24, 25 and 26 in Barcelona, Madrid and Valencia) to present Unicorn, their first album. We emailed with Tigs, the frotwoman of CHEW LiPS, in order to know more about who they are, what they want and if they really are a band who bite their lips…
CHEW LiPS, you’re touring around Europe this March, and you’re making three stops in Spain. What do you expect from Spanish audience? Moreover, Tigs (or should I say Alicia Huertas?) I think you have this special relationship with our country…
Haha! Yeah, my father is from Granada, but I was born and educated in England. My parents moved back to Andalucia a few years ago, and most of my family are there, so I love Spain. We’ve never played our own show there though so we have no idea what to expect. Hopefully they will like the songs and dance like crazy.
Spanish people don’t really know very much about you. Could you describe your essence in just a few words, what is CHEW LiPS? Which is your musical background?
“We make alternative pop music” That’s the description. We have very indie backgrounds -both James and I we’re into guitar music originally- but became bored of it. Pop music is far more interesting and innovative, when it’s done well. A lot of people who only like indie music (or only like any one genre) are just very closed minded. So we started using instruments that we weren’t familiar with and that is how CHEW LiPS sounded the way we did.
I don’t think those tools are great for sales, their benefit is more as a personal way of connecting with fans and building relationships with your audience. It’s very useful for that.
I first heard you guys on Kitsuné’s compilation albums and I miss these two amazing songs in Unicorn (‘Salt Air’ and ‘Solo’)… is that a way to mark a change? An evolution of CHEW LiPS since your beginning in 2008?
Partly that, yes, as we felt we had released them quite a while before the record was made and they were old songs. But also, we didn’t think it was great value for money for fans to buy a record that they maybe already owned those singles. We wanted to give a better deal.
I think Unicorn has a more refreshing sound compared to other popular electro bands. The vocals are strong and clear which compliments the other instruments. Would you say this makes you different to other electro pop bands?
OK, personally I don’t think we are an electro pop band. We are electronic, yes, but the bracket that “electro pop” puts us in to -with things like La Roux and Little Boots etc- I don’t feel connected with that at all. The main difference is that they are artists, not bands. We write songs, internally. The songwriting is the most important thing.
You also released your album last year, when so many other electro pop bands are releasing albums and singles. Do you think the market is possibly becoming saturated by this sound?
Yes, completely. But when you’re forming as a band you have no idea what else is forming at the same time. And then suddenly you find yourself in the middle of a trend. Our second record sounds nothing like that.
People talk about your intense way of working, of creating. It’s said that in one of your first rehearsal meetings as a band, you wrote more than ten songs! How do you work?
Mainly James and I will sit down and he will start to make a beat and I will start to sing and we’ll just keep doing that until the right shape forms. We’ll then build the song bit by bit around it and I will either write the lyrics then or work on the on my own and come back and record them the next day. If we can’t be together then he will e-mail me music ideas and I will write a melody and some words and send them back. It’s pretty flexible.
Can you explain a bit about how you create the lyrics?
Lyrically I write about whatever I’m thinking at the time. The first record was a transitional, growing up record. When I listen to it now I can hear the frustration of not being able to get where I’m going. And not really knowing where I’m going! I never thought I’d say this, but album 2 seems to be a love album.
How was working with David Kosten (Bat of Lashes’ porducer) ? How did he contribute to the sound of CHEW LiPS in Unicorn?
He is a sonic genius, he helped create an environment where we felt comfortable experimenting with the songs and not being precious about them. Sometimes the demos simply became better versions of the same song, other times they changed a lot. He’s a brilliant producer.
After this tour, what’s next for CHEW LiPS?
Well, we’ve just spent the last six months writing our album and that’s why we wanted to tour, to progress the songs and to see what works live and how people react. So we will be recording it when we get back and after that it will be festival season.
What do you expect from the future? What about your goals?
I just want to feel satisfied with the music we’re making. Do I want to sell a million records? Yes, of course. But only making the music we love.