Nick - Chicane
Interview by Carl Marsh - Feb 2015
Hi Nick, you know that I inspire people to pick up reading by doing these interviews, so can I start by asking why reading is important to you?
Ahh, now, reading is very much not one of my best attributes.... As a dyslexic (which is deliberately impossible to spell!) I read very little. But because of it, I followed a much trodden path to art college and onwards into music. I should read more & write.... With computers I find I can type quite well, but my handwriting now looks like that of a gerbil.....
As a musician, you obviously must have read lots and lots of music, but with books, what is your all time favourite, and why?
Ok, so I also cannot read music and I have practically self-taught myself most things in life.
I do have a fondness though for the books of Douglas Adams:
'Life, the Universe and Everything', and 'So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish'.
I know you do a lot of travelling, so how do you relax, do you read, listen to music, write music; when on a train or plane?
I spend a lot of my time reading EVO magazine as I am quite a petrolhead, of course I will be always have my headphones on working on something... You have to think of music sometimes as a jigsaw, all the pieces don’t go together at first, and it takes some time to get everything in the right place.
And if I can ask, if you had not become a musician, what would you have likely become?
Umm, something in motor sport or more likely something in film/directing/creating chaos.......
How did you get your break in the music industry, was it something that came easy, or was it quite hard to achieve?
I realised from a while back after having 100's of demos sent back with a standard letter from say, the age of 12, that If I was going to get noticed I was going to have to do it myself. I started putting out my first records, blagged a mailing list, and generally made it happen for myself... no one else was going to it. This is the way of the world, unless you strike lucky with someone that recognises talent. The industry is full of sheep attempting to jump on something that has started a buzz, not wanting to take risks.... In answer to your question, its very difficult to achieve, and more so, to keep it going!!
What advice can you give to anyone considering writing/performing music as a career?
Retrain as a fishmonger.........
There have been many artists that have worked with you over the years, which one stands out for you as being the most memorable?
They are all memorable to be honest, Tom (Jones) and Bryan (Adams) are obvious highlights, but recently working with Lisa Gerrard on the new album was very special. She is absolutely unique, there is no one like her. She sings in her own tongue and can inject such emotion into a piece. It also took me 4yrs to put the collab together........
And is there anyone you would love to work with that you have not done yet?
I am still interested in working with Brian Eno, Trevor Horn, Hanz Zimmer..... Many really.
Any regrets along this journey that is life?
A few, but not really, as it’s the mistakes which shape you and make you more focused on getting it right the next time.
There is nothing I have done which I wish I had not, except for that time I spanked my Hillman Imp into a tree. It was my first motor after all, and it was diabolical and needed crashing, but maybe not quite so scarily......
Of all your songs, which would be in your top three?
Why do I always get this sort of question? It’s impossible but: Offshore, Windbreaks and Poppiholla. To be honest I could swap them around with another 10 or so tracks.
Which is/was your best location/venue that you have performed in, and why?
Love playing at the Astoria in London, sadly gone now, Koko is also very good....
But then you start thinking about Ibiza and the list starts to get rather long..........
For me, your first album took me on a journey, from the first song to the last, (and everybody should listen to it!). Did you spend plenty of time planning the track listing order, or was it just something you did without even thinking much about it?
It was a very conscious decision to shape the flow of the album that way and I would have in mind an opening and ending track, with something banging for the middle. I would then have to try and fit other tracks I had written into the spaces, so they sat correctly.
What can we expect from Chicane in the next 12 months?
Lots of me, I'm on a takeover.
A Sun:Sets compilation, more Sun:Sets live shows, in fact, the whole Sun:Sets project is taking off in a big way. We may well be releasing ETA, as it never ever had an official release. We are thinking of doing BTS album as a one off live show. Collabs with a whole bunch of peeps........
With the current acts on the scene such as ‘Ten Walls’, who are you a fan of, and why do they impress you?
Most interesting act out there is Chvrchs.
Fehrplay, Keeno and Grum are also getting it right..
As I end this interview Nick, I always like to end on a literary note, hence the reason behind the website, so... as if you were to write it in a book, “What animal would you be, and why?”
"I am a sloth, on Red Bull..."
Occupation: Musician / DJ