MY final interview of the day…
is a talk with Jeff (Keys and Vox) of Victory Chimes who tells me about the new single, Halos. I ask him what sort of themes are addressed on the forthcoming album, Spinning Wheel, and if there are particular albums that are especially important to him – I discover how the Victory Chimes lead spends time away from music.
Jeff recommends a rising artist to have a look out for and reveals what tour dates are coming up; which artist he’d support given the chance; how the music has evolved since the early days and whether there are any goals to achieve before the year is through.
Hi, Victory Chimes. How are you? How has your week been?
Doing great, thanks! Busy rolling out this record.
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?
After playing in a long list of bands in Montréal, I started Victory Chimes in 2008. It’s my outlet for some more creative and experimental ideas in songwriting. It’s been my platform to investigate long-forms, synth soundscape texture; new vocal styles, drones and general hypnosis.
Halos is out. Can you reveal how it came together and what its background is?
The seed of the song, the original inspiration and core can come from different places. A lyric, a bassline; a drum loop etc. In Halos; it started with a piano bassline. It was eventually replaced by two sub bass synth lines working against and with each other. This part became the hook of the tune as it came to represent the message of the song which developed later when lyrics were written.
The song is about the daily contradictions we live by, changing hats and wearing different faces to get by and get ahead. The interesting thing is that, through the tension of these contradictions, something new, unique and beautiful can be created. These two battling subs are literally playing out this phenomena during the song.
Spinning Wheel is your new album. What sort of themes and experiences inspired the music on the record?
There is a general theme on this record of growing up and getting yourself together. Hopefully, rising out of some of the confusion of youth and coming to a deeper understanding of the self and learning how to express that honestly. Still craving a good time, though - for better or worse.
How do you think your music has evolved and changed since the early days?
I think I’m getting closer to finding my sound and voice. In the early days, I was determined to be original and may have even written some inaccessible music in my efforts to get there. I’ve learned that true originality rather comes from a lot of self-investigating, experimenting and practicing.
Can you tell me what sort of music you grew up around? Which artists struck your ear?
I grew up listening to a bit of everything. I learned about sonic textures from Radiohead, groove from Led Zeppelin and beats from Beastie Boys.
What do you hope to achieve by the end of 2018?
We just want to get this album to as many people as possible and get on the road and bring the live show everywhere we can.
Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music so far – the one that sticks in the mind?
I remember hearing OK Computer by Radiohead for the first time when I was hitchhiking around Australia in ‘97. Heard sounds I had never heard before and had no idea where they came from. Really opened my ears up. Turns out most of the sounds were made by electric guitars.
Which three albums mean the most to you would you say (and why)?
The Beatles – ‘The White Album’
For pushing the limits of songwriting.
Radiohead - OK Computer
For sonic textures and production.
Nick Cave - Push the Sky Away
For vibe and space. He’s a dark preacher; no one can do his thing.
If you could support any musician alive today, and choose your own rider, what would that entail?
That last couple Nick Cave shows I’ve been to have been insane. He gets such a vibe at his shows and his audiences are total pyschos. I was asked to move four times in a standing room venue because I was obstructing people’s view of Nick. Would be fun to be a part of that as the opening act for sure.
For rider…just natural orange wine.
What advice would you give to new artists coming through?
Being an artist is like being an athlete: you have to work at it every day. You have to build your creative muscles. You have to enjoy this as well because like a lot things it’s really about the journey rather than the end goal.
Do you have tour dates coming up? Where can we catch you play?
Next show is the album launch at the Bar De Ritz PDB in Montréal. We’re working of a Toronto and N.Y.C. release shows now.
Will you come to the U.K. and play at some point?
Would love to. No set plans yet but we are talking to European bookers.
Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?
Check out Parker Shper. He’s the other synth player in the band and he’s doing a solo synth instrumental project that’s pretty cool.
Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
Not really. I play Jazz piano in clubs every night of the week to pay the bills. Love it, though. I run to unwind. We live near the Jacque Cartiers Bridge in Montréal, so I run over that and around parc Jean-Drapeau every other day. Good for body and mind.
Finally, and for being a good sport; you can choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).
How about Get Real Paid (on Midnite Vultures) by Beck. It’s pretty awesome, right!?
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