It was all Delight without Fear as The Correspondents played to a sold out crowd in Brixton, and once again showed why their album will be the one to look out for in 2014.
Following on from our review of their latest single Fear & Delight, Art Noise were delighted to be invited to this sell out show in the heart of Brixton. The small but colourful venue, Brixton Jamm, filled up rather quickly, and by the time Mr. B (a gentleman who has coined the term ‘chap hop’ for his mix of lyrical genius and ukulele filled beats) took to the stage the party was well and truly pumping. Amongst a few Christmas covers Mr. B also laid down a few of his own tracks, and the crowd lapped it up, singing along as one of the finest moustaches in music right now got the people well and truly pumped up for what was about to come.
When Mr. Bruce took to the stage alongside Chucks, the cheer inside the venue was almost deafening. Performing well established tracks such as ‘What Happened To Soho?’ alongside a few new hits that will feature on the up coming album ‘Puppet Loosely Strung’, the duo brought energy to the stage that has become synonymous with their act. Mr. Bruce is no stranger to exciting the crowd. His stage presence, with limbs flailing and feet sliding to the beat is something both wonderful and mesmerising to watch. Chucks however, should not lose credit for his work behind the scenes, and although the more reserved of the two when it comes to stage presence, the big sounds he has created as the backing for Mr. Bruce’s quick lipped lyrics are what makes that crowd throw their hands in the air and jump around, right up until the energetic frontman dives head first into them, to continue showing off his mic skills whilst surfing across the packed out main room of Brixton Jamm.
Before the show we caught up with the duo back stage, to try and shed some light on some of the more pressing matters regarding their career so far:
With the new album out early next year, what can we expect?
Mr Bruce: A lot of people ask us that, or along those lines, ‘have you recreated the live show?’ and the answer would probably be no, but 5 of the tracks that we play in our sets feature, while the other half of the album is very different. It’s more introspective, theres a lot of much slower stuff, almost ballady, sort of trip-hoppy sounding things.
There are some very dancey tracks in there, but it’s not out and out drum and bass.
You are one of the most active bands in terms of tours, in the summer playing up to 3 or 4 gigs a week, but is there one gig or festival that really stands out?
Chucks: It’s impossible for us to say really, there have been so many big moments, I think we could maybe pick a top 10 if we really sort of thought about it but that would be too long and…boring.
Mr. Bruce: It’s funny, people assume the bigger the crowd the better, it’s not necessarily true, but there are some gigs, where is a massive crowd and it does just seem to click, and then some of the afternoon shows, that we thought were not going to be great, because they were graveyard slots turn out to be amazing. There was one we did at Bestival, on the Friday at mid day, we thought no one is going to turn up, so we might as well get through it, and we will do another gig later on in the weekend, but it ended up being around 10,000 people… probably because they had nothing else to do so they just turned up, but that can sometimes be some of the best times.
Here is a bit of a generic band question, but if you could perform with one musician, dead or alive, who would you choose?
Chucks: To do a giant live show with Janelle Monáe would be pretty amazing.
Mr. Bruce: Ooh yeah.
Chucks: That would be pretty fun to choreograph with her.
Mr. Bruce: I’d agree.
Chucks: I would love to see you two (Monae & Mr. Bruce) on a stage together, that would be fun.
Mr. Bruce: We’d probably end up fighting.
Chucks: You’d be pushing each other out of the way for space!
What’s been the biggest challenge with recording the new album?
Mr. Bruce: Getting it finished?
Chucks: I’d say just getting 12 or so tracks that we’re happy with at one point in time in our lives, but we’ve eventually got there. We’ve actually cut it down quite a lot, it was looking more like 16, and it’s been quite a satisfying process, culling a few tracks, just saying it’s a bit of a waste of a track that, we’d rather it just be something we are are really really happy with. I think the hardest thing is just getting it done, it’s taken 6 years so its been a fairly long process.
Mr. Bruce: It’s funny, I guess, with the amount of material that we make and we feature in our sets, we probably could have 3 albums worth in the last 6 years. You start thinking ‘oh we’re gonna make an album’ and because we are always running around and gigging a lot, we will make a series of tracks and then 6 months time look back on the ones we thought were going to be on this “imaginary album” and begin to sort of think, oh they’re not very good any more, and by that stage we are already making new stuff, so we keep on sort of chasing our own tail. I think a big factor was breaking a bone in my foot, gave us that concentrated 4 months off to actually really get a body of work done.
Chucks: That was the hardest bit about making the album, breaking your foot.
*Mr. Bruce & Chucks re enact Chucks smashing Mr. Bruces leg and manically yelling ‘it’s for your own good’* (Which was not, by the way, how Mr. Bruce broke his foot)
When the album does come out, will it be a case of straight back on the road again?
Mr. Bruce: Well we’re not really stopping, we’re going to Australia on Christmas Day, then a small little German tour in February, with a sort of smattering of dates in January, so it’s not like we ever really stop, but there is a sort of more concerted effort of a tour, with more structure, happening throughout March.
Chucks: I think we might even have a poster. We might even promote it.
Mr. Bruce: We might yeah, branded, the album brand across it.
On stage Mr. Bruce is always the extrovert, where as Chucks comes across as being the more quiet type of person, is that something that replicates itself in day to day life?
Chucks: I’d say we kind of meet in the middle.
Mr. Bruce: I think if I was as hyper active as I am on stage all the time I’d be completely obnoxious, just really irritating to be around. So I think it’s probably a good thing. I get all of that excess energy out of my system.
On the subject of excess energy, where did you learn to dance, did you teach yourself?
Mr. Bruce: Yeah, yeah, sort of, I mean I’d probably say, and this sounds silly, but I learned to show off in Drum & Bass clubs. I think there’s a distinct difference between dancing and what I was doing. I think just the fact I was quite hyper active, aged 15-16, listening to a lot of Drum & Bass, dancing in my bedroom, then eventually going to clubs and dancing. I’ve never learnt any set type of dance, I’d like to say thats a good thing, I don’t know, having never learned how to dance properly with any particular genre, and in that sense I’ve never really stuck to any mode of dancing.
Finally, Fear & Delight is your latest single, out now on iTunes to buy. What are your biggest fears, and what has made you most delighted?
Chucks: Fears… oh god… being alone… *Chucks laughs, everyone joins in*
Mr. Bruce: There’s a constant fear that things will suddenly stop. That you suddenly won’t have any gigs, and we think shit, what are we gonna do with our career now? I can’t imagine there is any band out there right now that doesn’t have that as a fear. Even if they’re massive, they are still looking at the numbers and going ‘are they gonna go down, are they gonna go down?’, and inevitably they will, eventually they will. I think that’s probably a fear.
Chucks: Luckily we’re not particularly a ‘boom & bust’ band so we’re quite sort of sustainable compared to other bands. Because there’s only two of us there aren’t like 5 ego’s and divas.
Mr. Bruce: We don’t have a team of 30 people to make the show happen.
Chucks: Or 5 furious coke habits to keep up…. and Delight… oh God… just getting through those security at airports. But no really, just doing what we do, counting our lucky chickens.
The new album will be out early 2014, and the band are constantly touring, so be sure to head to www.thecorrespondents.co.uk to check when they are coming to a venue near you!