INTERVIEW: Cross Wires



Image may contain: 4 people, people standing PHOTO CREDIT: Steve Fothergill


Cross Wires


IN a veritable sea of bands playing around the U.K…

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it can be hard aligning yourself to dependable stock. There is such a fast turnaround and sense of dispensability: it means a lot of great acts get overlooked or toil in anonymity for years to come. Cross Wires are a band who will suffer no such fate. The Essex/London group release We Call the Shots: a song that got me fascinated and one I wanted to know more about. Previous tracks I Want Radio and Pink Dogs – a double A-side, in fact – have attracted reviewers and got fans’ senses primed and salivating. Jonathan Chapman, Peter Muller; Pete Letch and Ian Clarke are the impressive four-piece. They discuss their upcoming debut album and their collective experiences; how the London lifestyle suits them and whether any fresh tour dates are imminent.


Hi, guys. How are you? How have your weeks been?

Jonathan Chapman: Very good, thanks, although we haven’t rehearsed for a couple of weeks so going a bit crazy.

For those new to your music, can you introduce yourself, please?

Cross Wires are Jonathan (‘Joff’) Chapman – Vocals; Pete Muller – Guitar/Vocals; Pete Letch – Bass and Ian Clarke – Drums.

Image may contain: one or more people, people sitting and shoes

PHOTO CREDIT: Steve Fothergill

You source membership from around East London and Essex. How did Cross Wires get started in the first place?

I’d been in a band with Ian for a bit but it wasn’t that serious: just a few gigs now and again. Pete (guitar) joined that band as a second guitarist when the bass player left – because we wanted to fill up the sound but we didn’t play any gigs – just rehearsed and then the original guitarist left so it was (just) the three of us. We rehearsed like that for months while we were looking for a bass player. We were introduced to Pete Letch through a friend.

He came to meet us in the pub and we were all really drunk. He had a Beatles haircut and was dressed like he was in Status Quo. He had never played bass before but he like getting drunk so he was in.

Numerous blogs and stations have featured your music. What, would you say, is the secret behind your success and growing popularity?

I really appreciate it when blogs or radio feature or play us. It still blows my mind that someone in, let’s say, Sweden, will share a song we wrote in Essex. I love and appreciate it massively. I think we have good songs. I think that’s it really.

We Call the Shots is the latest single. Can you reveal what the song is about and how it was created?

We recorded a demo. of it a few years ago and only just bought it back.

I wrote the lyrics about bands who keep changing their style to try to crack the music scene.

One week Grunge; the next, Shoegaze. The single is pretty much the same as the demo. – apart from Pete’s backing vocals. He hated what he wrote so he came up with something on the day – we recorded it with Rory.

Recently, you released the double A-side I Want Radio/Pink Dogs. What inspired both songs and what compelled the decision to release a double A-side?

I Want Radio comes from the same sort of place as We Call the Shots. Bands who will do anything for a hit – especially if their career is on the slide. We wanted it to sound a Pop-y as possible. It’s sort of a joke that nobody got.

I’m really proud of Pink Dogs. It went through so many different versions before it became the song it is now. We nearly gave up on it. I’m so pleased we didn’t. We put them together because they are complete opposites.

Many bands are taking this approach. Do you think a double A-side is a good way of premiering album material without committing to an E.P.?

Well. We have released a few E.P.s already but we hadn’t put a single – so that was it really.

A debut album is forthcoming. Has it got a title and what kind of songs can we expect to hear on it? 

It isn’t finished yet so we haven’t thought about a title.

We have three new songs that we are working on at the moment that we want to go in and record soon.

Rory Attwell produced the record. What was it like working with him and what did he bring to the recording sessions?

It was brilliant working with Rory. He is a lovely guy and so easy to work with. He had a great idea for Pink Dogs. Pete (Guitar) was recording some overdubs and he told him to go into the booth and attack his guitar. Pete was just hitting it, really going for it. We listened to it back and it sounded amazing. I love what Rory did with that track.

Can we see you perform live anytime soon at all?

As soon as the album is finished we will be back out there.

Finishing the album is our main focus now.

The band has conquered large sections of London but there must be ambitions to perform further afield. What are those dream venues/cities you have always wanted to play?

We have talked about a small tour once the album is out. I know we’d really all love to play in other cities apart from London. I’d personally love to play in New York because I love so much music that’s come from the city.

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PHOTO CREDIT: Steve Fothergill

If you each had to select the album that has meant the most to you, which would it be and why?

J.C: Parklife by Blur, for me. It changed the way I dressed and the music I listened to forever.

Pete Muller:  Just one?! Probably the one that started it all off for me: Definitely Maybe by Oasis. It had a swagger and energy that captivated me as a kid and made me want to pick up a guitar.

Pete Letch: Job Lot by Chas and Dave. It got me into music when I was four – never looked back.

Ian Clarke: Hard to pick one but the first Roxy Music album or Never Mind the Bollocks… by the Sex Pistols.

Image may contain: 4 people, people standing

PHOTO CREDIT: Steve Fothergill

What advice would you give to any new artists coming through right now?

Make the music you love.

Who are the new acts you recommend we check out?

J.C: IDLES who, I’m sure, everyone is aware of now.

That album is brilliant and we went to see them at Moth Club a few weeks ago and they were amazing.

Also liking the sound of a band from Hull called Life.

P.M: I’m pretty slow on the uptake when it comes to new bands but I would recommend Public Access T.V. I have to thank Joff for introducing me to their album Never Enough. They channel Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers via The Strokes – to create catchy three-minute tunes!

P.L: I’d have to say Cross Wires, haha, because I don’t listen to anything that comes out this century.

I.C: Would have to be IDLES for me as well.

Finally, and for being good sports, you can each name a song and I’ll play it here (not one of yours as I’ll do that)

Here are some songs we are loving at the moment:

J.C: Dum Dum Boys by Iggy Pop: just obsessed with (the) The Idiot (album) at the moment.

P.M: International Space Station by British Sea Power. My current favourite from their new album (Let the Dancers Inherit the Party). A track that’s both driving and dreamy as well as being catchy as hell. Love the imagery in the lyrics, too.

P.L: Nowhere Man by The Beatles.

I.C: Going Nowhere Fast by Girls at Our Best!


Follow Cross Wires

Image may contain: 4 people, people standing and outdoor

PHOTO CREDIT: Steve Fothergill





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