Chicane - still on the route to adventure
Always being in search of the musical spark, is exactly what has kept Chicane on top of all things during the more than 20 years of his career. 15 years after his first album, he presents his new one: ‘Thousand Mile Stare’. For the dreamers, music lovers and fans of the unrivalled Chicane sound. To celebrate the release of this new masterpiece, we named him Artist of the Week and hooked up with the one and only driving force behind it: Nick Bracegirdle. Find out all about his musical adventures.
Hey Nick! Congrats on the release of your fifth album! Is it still as exciting as releasing your first, 15 years ago?
Nick: ”I would say so, it’s less daunting now as I know what I am doing now, although expectation is far greater so there is always pressure to achieve a bit more than your last work. But I’m quite fired up about this release, I feel I have grown musically and delivered something special.”
In what way has Chicane grown as an artist throughout those years? What’s the most important lesson that time has taught you?
Nick: ”When I look back to say the 'Offshore' days, I wonder just how on earth we got things done back then, the tools we have now are quite superb. I think back at the start I knew and felt how I wanted it to sound, but was not that great at being able to express it, so you learn how to do that only over time. I think also writing songs not just instrumental tracks takes a certain maturity and say 'life knowledge'. One of the most important lessons I think is to listen to as much other music as possible. It’s from this that ideas spark and send you on a route that will be an adventure rather than sitting in studio hoping to conjure something out of thin air.”
How long did it take for you to hit that moment and say: ‘now it’s perfect, now it’s finished’? Are you a perfectionist when it comes to that?
Nick: ”I would have to be honest and say that I rarely get to that moment.... I could be forever tinkering and fiddling with a track. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, you will always find something to improve upon. It’s knowing that once you let it out into the world, you can't haul it back in for a few improvements, then send it back out, that kinda sends me a little nuts sometimes.”
In an interview you said that no matter in what style you produce music, it will always have that Chicane sound. How incredible is that? Despite experimenting, you’ve always kept your identity!
Nick: ”Well, I guess it’s the same for other artists too, no matter how you try, you will always leave traits of your core values in music. For me the elements that are important are the atmosphere and mood that the melody is conveying, so those things creep into whatever you do regardless of genre.”
For ‘Thousand Mile Stare’, you’ve definitely done some experiments. There’s some breakbeats, ambient, pop, Balearic, house and what more on there. What’s your way of working? Do you get inspired by hearing something and then try to incorporate it into one of your tracks?
Nick: ”The method is not always the same, but finding inspiration is key. I tend to create a sort of 'mood board' of ideas. I will collect say 30/40 tracks and little ideas I have demoed, then put them all together to get an overall feel for what I want for the track, from this the track starts to emerge. It’s not always done like this though, I can have a single idea or melody and just hammer it out quite quickly. One thing that is constant is, working on a tune, then leaving it and returning to it later, this is vital to iron out the wonky bits and develop as much longevity into a piece.”
‘Going Deep’ was the first single of the album to be released. Many of us didn’t expect you going for a collab with rapper Aggi Dukes. Is that what you like to do – the unexpected?
Nick: ”I would have to say I do like to put a twist on things now and again, I did so with the Bryan Adams track. No one expected that or knew it was Bryan for some time. It’s also really driven by the artistic want to keep looking at something just a bit different, I would hate to be regarded as mundane and self replicating. So it’s refreshing and keep you on ya toes!”
We have to say, the melodies on ‘Thousand Mile Stare’ are absolutely stunning, again. How do you do it - time and again?
Nick: ”That’s a very nice thing to say. I'm not too sure exactly how one does it either, but the thing about music is, for me it has to move you, it has to provoke an emotional response. That’s what I strive to achieve with it. It’s not an easy thing to pull off, sometimes very time consuming and mentally draining. Without a great melody we are left with something like rhythm and poetry! Ha!”
For the album, you’ve worked with the Iceland based band Vigri. How did you find out about these guys? And what made it so easy working with them?
Nick: ”It turned out that a producer friend of my manager had just finished working on their album. We had been looking for the right guys to collaborate with for some time. So I picked up the phone and simply asked about getting together to jam out some ideas. So flew over to Reykjavik and had a wonderful time writing stuff with the guys from Vigri. It was an easy session as we are sort of like minded in the sense that we both construct atmospheres out of layers of sound and also have a similar melancholic melody sense.”
On April 27th, the album launch will take place in London’s Koko! What can we expect of that show?
Nick: ”It’s gonna be a one off this show, as we have nearly all the players and guests from the album performing. The Vigri boys, Kate Walsh and Aggi Dukes are all coming down. The stage will be littered with masses of equipment. I think it’s going an amazing show and I will be debuting some special tracks too!”
And what about a full world tour? We’re sure many Chicane fans would love to see one of those special live shows of yours again.
Nick: ”I am sure we will be in many places again this year, in fact I have just got off a plane back from Helsinki and was not long ago in Sydney, so as many shows as physically possible will happen!”
Thanks for the interview Nick! Any last words for your fans maybe?
Nick: ”Thank you for supporting, it’s very special to have people buy into your dream and believe in your product, thank you!!”
Get the album on iTunes now!
Check out the special Artist of the Week – Chicane Spotify playlist here.