The Sounds of Chicane
Taking one giant leap in dance music after another, we find Chicane on top of the scene with his new album ‘Giants’. Its mastermind, Nick Bracegirdle, has all reason to be proud of this milestone and crown to his 15 year residency in the hearts of dance music lovers. Some of his first releases, the warm down-tempo ‘Offshore’ and legendary ‘Saltwater’, along with the many exciting collabs following, are now being accompanied by new highlights. ‘Giants’ is a well-balanced, melodious piece of quality music, including last year’s summer-hit ‘Poppiholla’, ‘Hiding All The Stars’, ‘Come Back’ and the brand new single and Adam Young collab ‘Middledistancerunner’. In between gigs, new projects and promoting his album, Nick found some time to talk to Armada Music. Read on if you’d like to know all about his strive to perfection, his ode to Jean Michel Jarre and the evolution of his sound.
Armada: First of all congrats on the release of your new artist album ‘Giants’! How does it feel, to have your fifth artist album released?
Chicane: “It’s great! I mean, it’s the first artist album in quite a while and so of course it feels really good. I was really excited about it actually.”
Armada: Are you any less excited than 15 years ago, or is it exactly the same rush?
Chicane: (laughs) “It’s different, shall we say. It’s gonna be interesting to see how people get to it, cause it’s a mixture of the Chicane of old and the Chicane of new actually. I hope people will like it, but you never can tell, can you?”
Armada: In another interview you said you’re never really finished with a track and there’s always that perfectionist feel taking over – and you want to keep changing it. Is it the same thing with Giants, or are you completely satisfied?
Chicane: “Yes, true, I never finished it. It’s as I said, it has to be taken away from me. It’s not that I actually find it hard to have a beginning, a middle, a end and a structure. The actual way the track is put together, that’s fundamental. I think it’s a thing of some sort of perfection. I always hear something cool and then I’m looking at my tracks and it’s not as cool as I thought it would be. So I’m always coming back to it. But there are some tracks when I said: Yeah, that’s it, it’s finished! But it’s not many.”
Armada: How long did it take to produce the ‘Giants’ album?
Chicane: “It pretty much started under a year ago. I did it within a year, but some tracks I started before that and others took a smaller amount of time.”
Armada: Actually, what’s the story behind its name?
Chicane: “Track five on the album is called ‘Giants’. It has a mental, huge, kind of crazy sound to it. It’s really unusual, a kind of massive. It was an attempt to retry what I thought Jean Michel Jarre would be doing now. Not that he doesn’t run music now, but that’s some kind of how I see it. He is one of the reasons why I got into music in the first place and so he’s a giant for me. It’s kinda involved like that. The title came from that track.”
Armada: When you hear the album back yourself, is there any particular track you’re most proud of? Which one is your favorite?
Chicane: “It’s quite a few I’m really proud of. I’m really proud of ‘What Am I Doing Over Here Part 1’. That’s a really beautiful piece. Probably also ‘Barefoot’ and ‘Titles’, the opening and the end track. I know I’ll always listen to them and be completely happy with it.”
Armada: You described Giants as ‘related but evolved to the older albums’. What do you mean to say with that? How is it different and the same from the past albums?
Chicane: “Sorry, is that what I did? I can’t remember what I said, haha. Well, it’s kind of what I’ve said earlier. Tracks like ‘Titles’ and ‘Barefoot’ are massively derived from my first two albums, means how they were put together, the melody and the atmosphere. That’s what people would say is typically Chicane. If you asked to pick a track from the album which sounds like Chicane, it would be those – two typical tracks that fits pretty much into that kind of bag. Other tracks are different and still have the Chicane thing. But they are more current within the dance scene. So the album involves older influences and current stuff. That’s it basically.”
Armada: Chicane fans will surely be pleased when hearing this one. What would you say to those that are new to your stuff? What’s the main reason they should buy it?
Chicane: “To keep me from becoming homeless, as a start, haha! I think ‘Giants’ is quite a balanced album. You got some down-tempo stuff and you got some dance tracks. I’d like to think it represents everything I like about music. It’s very strong on the melodies and melodies are what really move people. Well and I just think it’s no trash to throw away, you know. I mean, if you look for disposable rubbish you’ll find that elsewhere.”
Armada: After remakes ‘Poppiholla’, ‘Come Back’ and ‘Hiding All The Stars’, you return with a true original, ‘Middledistancerunner’, featuring Adam Young. What was the reason to cover or remake the previous three single?
Chicane: “They are all pieces I loved over the years. Also, during spring last year, I wanted to do an EP of reworked tracks. We thought that’s a good idea and so we did it. A lot of it was a fun thing, having a little bit of a laugh and rework some tracks I liked. I already had some ideas coming up on those old tracks, so it was a really cool fun project. And sometimes you get so serious caught up in music and in being really Chicane… I had a lot of fun putting all of them together. We also got a couple more which never really saw the light of day. We also did a track ‘House Arrest’ by Krush which sounded fantastic and we played it live a lot. But basically, for example with ‘Poppiholla’ – that was crazy. We weren’t truly expecting the excitement and the response we got from it. This thing was absolutely massive, it was on the radio for ages and ages.”
Armada: The next single is going to be your collab with Adam Young. How did ‘Middledistancerunner’ come into being?
Chicane: “We haven’t actually even met yet, believe it or not. We did it completely over the internet. I had the track and nattily the original version had me singing on it, which is not the greatest thing. This version is now under lock and key! It just happened strangely that I heard Adam was a fan. The ‘Fireflies’ record was out and we got in contact. He asked me about possibly doing a remix and I wrote back: well yeah but maybe you’d like to sing on a track of mine. And that’s kinda how it happened.”
Armada: Another special track on the album is ‘What Am I Doing Here’, that appears in two parts. What’s the story behind that one?
Chicane:“It’s kind of linked to what we were talking about earlier. I’m not able to finish tracks. Everything started up with one record, which was about 14 minutes long. So it was just one thing and we started scaling it down and it didn’t work out. So we eventually split it into two separate pieces of music but of course they were still linked through the melody. We decided to come up with Part 1 and 2 and get different people to sing them.”
Armada: You’ve collaborated with Bryan Adams, Moya Brennan, Tom Jones, Keane and loads of other talented artists. Who’s left on your wish-list?
Chicane: ”Lots of people! As you know it’s always a right place, right time thing. Sometimes you can’t get the people you want. I tried to work with Bjørk many years ago but it didn’t work out. But eventually I worked with some producers. Brian Eno for instance.”
Armada: Are there any artists you already produced tracks together with, who you wish to collaborate with again?
Chicane: “Well, I already did a lot of stuff with some of them, Brian Adams for instance. I did a remix for him, then we signed ‘Don’t Give Up’, then I remixed something else for him and I did a track for his last album as well. So we are still really good mates. And yeah, I’m still kinda feel like all the people I did collaborations with, I could go back and do another one.”
Armada: Whatever happened to your Disco Citizens alias? Do you only still use it for remixes?
Chicane: “Disco Citizens was actually how I started out my musical career. That was my first artist name. I guess I just started the Chicane project because I became a bit different. I still use it when we have a Chicane track and we wanna make it a little more danceable. It’s very useful. It’s me being me.”
Armada: When it comes to live performances, is there any that really stood out?
Chicane: “It’s been a few very, very big gigs. It’s been amazing. Every single show is different. I played some small shows where the reactions have been just amazing. You can’t believe it. I mean, I do remember a show, nearly eight years ago in Manilla. We played in what actually was meant to be a cockfight arena. They converted it and it actually should hold 3.000 people but we ended up with 6.000 people. There were even people on the stage. And I remember how we got there. Signs were saying: ‘Please leave your handgun in the car.’ Just to give you an impression of where we were.”
Armada: Any gigs this summer you’re particularly looking forward to? Where will the summer take you?
Chicane: “I’ve just came back from ‘Sunrise Festival’ in Poland and I’m off to Hungary for another festival soon. I’m also headlining the big Manchester Pride Festival in England. That’s a big thing coming up.”
Armada: Are you going to take some rest now, after the Giants tour? Or already working on the next project?
Chicane: “There’s never any rest. I’m just as exhausted as Armin. It’s always going on. I’m always thinking about the next task. Actually Armin and I are in conversations of doing a EP together later this year but more on that later. And I’m also working with BT, that’s coming up. So, it never really stops.”
Chicane's 'Giants' album is now available on iTunes .
Download the new Chicane single, 'Middledistancerunner' featuring Adam Young on iTunes here!