Fears Chella have a time machine and they’re going to go back in time and play a gig. Yes, you heard me right.

At the back of the Fears Chella van, all four members of the band huddled together in an attempt to shelter from the rain. It wasn’t the kind of weather anyone wishes for when they organise an outdoor festival, but this is what the organisers of Ashcombury Music Festival were faced with.

Having only played three gigs as Fears Chella, Andy, Chris, Ben and Tom have received the kind of reception many new bands could only dream of. Their debut single ‘Cool’ has made them one of the most exciting up and coming bands on the local scene, and it appears they’re just getting started.

How are you all?

T: Yeah all good.

Even though it’s pouring down right now!

A: Well fortunately we’re all under the tailgate right now so…

B: We’ve got beer and burgers so I’m happy.

T: We’ve got a voucher each for free food.

A: That’s our pay for the day!

Did you enjoy your set even though it was really soggy?

A: Yeah it was really good. I think it’s always going to be hard when it’s smashing it down with rain at an outdoor festival. I think it went as well it could! Everyone’s happy to be here despite the weather.

C: I wouldn’t like to be on later! Thunder and lightning!

Hopefully it will be dry later! Fears Chella are still a new band. You haven’t been a thing for that long have you?

B: Pretty new.

A: We only released our single around three months ago now. Before that we’d been together and jamming since maybe the start of the year. But basically, when we released the single, that was when we put out the social media pages. We’ve only been ticking for a few months but we’ve had a really good response to the single. Stacked up loads of plays on the song between Spotify and Soundcloud and stuff like that. It’s going really well.

It does seem like you’ve gone down pretty well, from what I’ve seen. 

A: Yeah. It’s cool. We’re constantly being asked for interviews from blogs and radio stations. I feel obliged to share the blogs that reblog us, but then our Facebook feed is just filled with like 25 blogs that have done a piece about ‘Cool’. It’s all good though. You can’t knock it at all.

Are you going to release more music?

A: Yeah. I think lots of bands just spew out material, just because they feel that people won’t like them if they don’t release more stuff. But we’d rather sit on it and make sure it’s right. We just want to write and release the best songs we can. We don’t want to just release stuff just for the sake of it or go and record it in some half arsed way. So yeah we are tentative. We’ve just played an eight song set so we’ve got that and we’ve got another five or six songs on top of that. We’ve got loads of demos that we haven’t even started yet but we have rough ideas for. So there’s loads of material there, it’s just about being careful about what we release. You want people to like what you do ultimately, so there’s no point in releasing something just to get it out.

Personally, I don’t think there’s many local bands that carry the same sound as you guys. Would you agree?

A: I think we’ve definitely got our own thing going on. The way our songwriting process works is I usually bring a demo and it’s just the really basic bare bones of a song. Then we’ll work on it as a band and sort of get everyone’s personality and everyone’s style into it. I think that’s the best way to write because then you get a true representation of the members of the band and everyone’s vibes, rather than just trying to be something else and all of your songs sounding the same. Sometimes people come up to us and they’re like “Your third song sounded loads different to your sixth song”. I think people like that. Everyone likes a different song from out set. That’s the band we want to be. We don’t want to try and be something we’re not.

Release have a similar ethos. Every single they’ve released is completely different to the previous. Is that something you’d like to do?

A: The way we look at it is our instruments always generally sound the same, so it’s all down to the songs that we write and the way the that we play them. You keep that character of your sound just through the sound of your instrument. We really get on with the Release lads. They’re good mates of ours and they practice at the same place so we see them all the time. They’re writing great songs so I just wouldn’t knock it all. That’s the way some people write and all that shows to me is that they’re just writing the songs that they want to write. They’re not saying “We wanna be like our first single” and try and re-write that over and over, they’re just writing what they love and coming and playing it. I think there’s a lot to be said for that.

Their set sounded amazing earlier!

A: We pulled up as they came on–

C: We thought “That sounds like Release!”

A: We were like “Yep, that definitely sounds like Release!”

So what shows have you got coming up? What gigs have you played?

A: We played the Night & Day in Manchester and we played a show at The Sugarmill with Broken Flags and both of those went down really well. We’ve played today and then the next show we’ve got lined up is supporting All Twins at The Sugarmill in October.

T: October 14th

A: After that we’re just looking at booking up tours and stuff like that. We’re in talks with loads of different bands and it’s just about picking the right one really. We don’t want to go off and spend loads of time touring with people we don’t like. We try and approach bands that we’re good mates with and we think are cool and have got a sound that compliments ours. We’re just talking that out at the moment. We’re got a lot of management and booking agent interest, so we’re just sort of playing it cool and just trying to pick the right thing.

It’s great that you’ve got interest. Am I right in thinking you’re also based in Manchester?

A: We’re sort of based between Stoke and Manchester yeah. I used to live in Manchester and we’ve all spent a lot of time there. It’s so close to Stoke. Our first show was at Night & Day in Manchester. I think it’s good for us because we get a really good response from the Manchester scene. We played Night & Day and we didn’t take that many people with us, but loads of people were messaging us leading up to it. We played to like a hundred people that we’d never met before. They’d just found us on social media or on Spotify or something. We were like woah this is crazy. People were coming up to us after the show asking us for photos and stuff like that. That was our first show and we’ve found that at every show we’ve played since. At The Sugarmill we saw loads of people that we’d never met, who just showed up on the door. Afterwards they were like “Can we have a picture?”. They were blogging about it and putting it on social media. It was really cool.

B: It says a lot when a young lad came up to me and bought 16 tickets, straight off. That’s something you don’t usually get when you’re a band and you’re just starting off.

Wow. It must help to give you a boost?

A: Oh yeah. You’ve got to love what you’re doing and we do. It’s absolutely pissing it down like today and it would be really easy for everyone to go inside, but we got up on stage and we enjoyed playing our set. We love what we do. We’re just four mates who go out and play music and I think if you’ve got a band like that, then you’ll never really have a bad gig. You just show up and you do it and you love doing it. It doesn’t matter who you play to or where you play, you’ll just do it and love it.

I was talking to James from Delamere and we were saying that Facebook has become a massive promoter in itself. You don’t even need a promoter sometimes because social media does it all for you.

A: Yeah definitely. You can make something massive just through Facebook alone.

B: We’ve found that with Instagram. We’ve found that Instagram has been the one that’s taken off for us.

A: Yeah. We put the single out and quite early on a lot of people reposted it. A few music blogs wrote pieces about it and they had loads of followers on Instagram, so over the course of like two weeks we went from having 70 followers and a brand new Instagram page, to 2000 followers literally over night.

B: We’re just short of five and a half now.

A: It just shows you the power of social media. All of these people that come and see us at shows and buy tickets, I guess that’s where they find us. It’s just such a powerful tool.

That’s pretty impressive! So what’s next for Fears Chella?

A: We’re trying to line some tours up. We’re talking about studio time as well, but we’re just trying to find the right producer.We’ve had a lot of producers approach us so again, it’s just about going through the right people. Picking someone who really digs what we’re doing and is really going to benefit our sound and help us move forward. So yeah I guess touring is our next thing. And the All Tvvins show in August–

…October.

A:…October.*laughs* Not August.

Haha! Are you going to go back in time and play the 14th August?

A: Yeah I’m gonna get my time machine, go back and play the gig. No it’s October the 14th. I like how no one else picked up on it though. Everyone else was like “Yeah, I’ll just leave him to it”.

It’s okay. I’ve got your back.

A: Thanks!

E.

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Fifteen minutes with James Fitchford of Delamere

“Is this alright?” asked James Fitchford, as he ushered me into a changing room that was littered with guitars, amps and cymbal stands.”Sorry, it’s quite smelly”. He wasn’t wrong. Smelling of old socks, the changing room come backstage area come instrument store room was a strange place to have an interview, but it was dry and relatively warm so I wasn’t going to complain.

In a few hours, Delamere would headline the first Ashcombury Music Festival, a sold out event organised by guitarist Ashley Egerton as well as Mark Jones and Rich Goodwin, both members of the cricket club. But before that, I’d managed to get Fitchford talking about his greatest loves – his music and his band.

Have you done anything since launching your album last weekend?

We played in Hull on Tuesday and Banbury last night and then we’re in Birmingham tomorrow. It’s going really well. We’re shifting albums when we go which is always a good sign. Hull was a mad one at a place called called The Polar Bear. The thought of driving to hull on a Tuesday night made me think it was going to be rubbish, but for some reason Tuesday’s in Hull are like Friday’s. There was probably about 300 people there ready for a night out! I couldn’t get my head around it.

Banbury last night was probably the oddest but coolest venue we’ve ever played. It had all odd furniture that they’d made themselves, cut out of old baths and boats. There was a pommel horse out of gym that they’d turned into an arm chair! We’d just loaded in and they said “Your green room’s through there” and there was like a little 70’s wardrobe. I was like “Through where?” he said “There”. We opened the door and it was a big green room with sofas all the way around, a big TV, fridge and bottles of Vedette with our picture on the back. It said ‘Thanks for playing Also Known As’. So we took one of them home!

That’s pretty cool. Were you pleased with the launch last week?

Very pleased yeah. When you go to these big old buildings they have the bass bins on the floor and the tops hanging high, so the sound carries. I think next time, we’ve learnt from that, because unless you were right at the front, the sound didn’t particularly carry.

Yeah, it sort of hung in the front bit.

Yeah that was it. It basically hit the people which soaked it all up. Once it went through a wall of 400 people, it sort of just turned into this mush of nothing. But for everyone stood at the front having it, it was alright.

There was a lot of people there that night. A lot of friends and family?

Yeah there was a lot of friends and family but there was a lot of people there that I’d not seen before. Leek’s funny. A lot of the time when we’ve gone out or we’ve seen people, they’ve said “We’ve seen you’re doing really well. We’ll come and watch you”. On the last tour when we were in Stoke, we said “Come and see us in Stoke” and some people were sort of like “Ohhh”. There’s an old joke; a lot of people from Stoke say that people from Leek need a passport to leave, because they like staying very central, so there was a lot of people that hadn’t seen us before purely because that gig was on their doorstep. It was a really good night. I really enjoyed it. I thought it looked amazing with all the lights and the high alter.

The lights did a lot for the show.

Yeah it looked ace. We were only talking last night actually when we were in Banbury, that we’re going to do – exclusively – a Christmas party. A Delamere Christmas party at All Saints Church with a bigger PA and more booze *laughs*.

It was weird seeing drunk people in a church!

Yeah! We’ve done it with our label before, with Scruff (Of The Neck Records). They do a lot of gigs in churches and we’ve done some in Manchester and it’s always been a thing. They’ve put the bars in and they’ll do the drinks. I’ve never really thought about it but everyone said you know, we had messages on the Facebook page from people saying “What’s the deal with bevy’s? What do we do? What’s going on?”.

It definitely felt weird ordering a rum and coke in a church!

I know! The vicar was sound as well. At the end of the night, all we had left was three crates of IPA, so we gave him about 8 tins of IPA and he was buzzing off that. And an album and a t-shirt. He was chuffed with it! They were really good at the church so we’d definitely do that again.

It was a really nice venue. It must have been nice doing something different than playing at a normal venue?

That was the thing. We wanted to do something that was different. Because it was our album launch and it was our hometown, we didn’t want to do it at say – probably the only place in Leek where you could go is The Foxlowe or one of the pubs, but they always see bands and acts. We wanted somewhere on a larger scale where nothing like that had happened before. When we announced it, the reaction from everyone was what we wanted. Like “In a church? How? Why? What?” That was good. That was what we wanted to achieve and it was a good night. Memorable.

Have you sold a lot of albums since it’s release?

Yeah, we’ve sold quite a few on iTunes actually. In the grand scheme of things, for other bands it’s not massive, but for us – from Friday to Sunday – we sold 120 albums on iTunes. So that was cool. It was unexpected because it’s sort of in the back of your mind as you’re not shifting physical copies. We shifted a load of albums and t-shirts on the night. We’ve got a little merch table by the bar today actually. I’m really happy with it.

How many shows are there left on the tour now?

We’ve got.. oh.. let me count. *pauses* So Birmingham tomorrow, Leeds, London, Bournemouth, Dundee, Edinburgh, Manchester, Ramsbottom Festival and then another one in Leeds. The Leeds one we’re doing this week is a Sofar Sounds session so it doesn’t really count as a full gig. And then we’ll go back up – we’re playing with Glass Caves on the 17th September back up there… I think. We’re quite busy!

And then what’s the plan afterwards?

Writing. We’ve been told we can officially take a little break and write by our manager. We brought the album release forward, because we were going to release it in October, but we decided to bring it forward because we felt that it was a bit summery. The vibe of everything, it just wouldn’t have suited to have brought it out in October. We made a conscious decision to bring everything forward, so that made him work a hell of a lot harder! We had to get the dates in around that to promote it. Just pushing everything out. Once we’d got everything mastered and ready to go, we turned everything around in the space of a couple of weeks. It was frantic but definitely needed. It hasn’t really been that long ago since we toured ‘Kill It’, the last single we did and now we’re on this tour. Obviously to keep the dream alive, we all work full-time as well.

Ah yes. It’s a pain isn’t it?

Oh massively. You know, you drive back from London and get in at four in the morning and then go to work and then that night you go and do another gig somewhere. So that’s why we need a short break. Then I think, instead of having a really busy schedule, we’ll play big good gigs but predominately we’ll be writing to release an EP next year. I think we’ll release another single off the album and there’ll probably be just a few dates around that – nothing as big as this – and then an EP next year.

You definitely need the time to write and to gain experiences to write about!

Yeah that’s the thing. We’re not a band that sort of organically writes in a room together. It’s mainly myself and Will the drummer. He’s got a little studio set up, as have I. He’ll come up with something and then I’ll put something to it and I’ll send it back and we’ll send it back and forth. Sometimes we’ll have the bones of a song and we’ll take it to a practice room and do it that way. That’s pretty much how it will go for us. I’m looking forward to having the time to do that, because with the album and singles and everything we’ve done, it’s come from jamming ideas in a soundcheck. It always turns out that if we’re practicing, we’re running through the set a couple of times because we’ve got a couple of big shows coming up. So I’m really looking forward to that. Seeing what new noises we can make. Ash has got a mad crazy delay pedal – a Dr. No pedal. He’s dying to get that into a song so watch this space! It’s mental!

Would it sound good in the church?

He wasn’t allowed to use it! Literally, it sounds like a beast. As soon as you touch it, it’s unpredictable! He got it when we went to London last. We went down Denmark Street where all of the guitar shops are. There’s only like 200 of them made and he managed to find one of these. He had a play and he had to buy it. He’s dying to put it in a song! It’s wild. He’s got to find a place to put it in. No doubt, the next song will have this delay pedal in – MotherBrain by Dr. No.

I can’t wait to hear that!

Me too!

So Delamere are doing really well. You’re probably one of the biggest local bands going at the moment.

Thank you. A lot of work has gone into it. People say that, but we don’t take anything for granted. We keep trying to push. The main ethos in the band is that as long as it keeps going up– I mean all of us will still make music but it’s dependant on how far we can push it or see what we can do with it. This year has been mad for us with playing Ibiza and getting booked for Great Escape, Dot to Dot and Live At Leeds and things like that. Obviously the album coming out as well and good reviews keep coming in so that makes it all worth while. Once it starts to plateau or starts to go the opposite way, then we wouldn’t put so much time into it.

We love playing your stuff on Moorlands Radio. We’d love to get you back in for a session, if you’re not too big for it!

Thanks! No definitely not too big! We’ll do anything. We’re easy going. I don’t know if people have different views of us, but we’re not arrogant or anything like that.

That’s something I’ve noticed. Not that I expected you to be massively bigheaded, but what struck me last weekend was how modest you are.

Thank you. We’ve had it all the way down. You’ll get bands where you see it all the time and it’s just embarrassing. We cringe ourselves when we see it. You’re all there to do the same thing and play. When you see something like an attitude or a comment like “We’re not doing this” or “We’re better than them” it’s counter productive. They dig their own grave so to speak. Leave them to it!

I’m glad everything is going well for you. Delamere are definitely going to keep going for now?

Definitely. Oh yeah. Definitely. As I said, even if things start going down, we’ll still write music because we enjoy it. It’s just whether we’re prepared to give up seven nights a week for something that’s going downhill. We’d still release stuff. We enjoy it and that’s why we do it. If we were doing it for money or for fame I’d have quit a long time ago! When we tour, everything is added up. So if we go on this tour we’ll get paid x-amount. Some bands don’t do that. They’ll just go per gig. But literally, we’ve gone as far as Brighton for £50 and beers and it’s like your van hire alone is £100. It’s stuff like that. We put into it. We’ll do whatever we can for it because we enjoy it. We love what we do and we’ll keep doing it.

E.

Check out E Major’s review of Delamere’s debut album here. You can also see what E Major thought of the launch gig by clicking here.