INTERVIEW: Cape Cub | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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On the North Yorkshire coast lays the tiny village of Marske, once home to the oldest ever person in British history (she was 115) and also where Cape Cub’s main man Chad Male resides. Starting out as Male’s solo project back in 2014, Cape Cub gradually developed into a band over the last few years and, with the release of some very strong singles, catching the attention of many online listeners including a Hollywood actress. “It’s quite funny.” Says Male. “Chloe Grace Moretz who is Hit Girl in Kick-Ass tweeted about Swim and our Twitter just went mental for a few days!”

Swim was Cape Cub’s second single, after debut Lantern set the template for the band’s emotive guitar-pop sound. The track was picked up by music blog aggregator Hype Machine, propelling CC into blogosphere overdrive. It hasn’t stopped there, with third single Keep Me In Mind currently registering over a million hits on YouTube and latest release Closer, the lead track from CC’s debut EP, enjoying attention from the tastemakers at Radio 1.

Closer burns slowly, with a folk-tinged guitar hook, before evolving into a pop anthem of the catchiest kind. The track was premiered on trendy music site DIY alongside Cape Cub’s first music video; set in and around Teesside, it shows a couple trekking across the gloomy landscape and trying to rekindle their love.

There’s a kind of unintentional lo-fi element but in a much grander way

Cape Cub’s sound is a combination of intimate, building melodies that tug at the heartstrings and big, pop choruses that insist on repeated listens. Male has honed his songwriting and, with his focus solely on Cape Cub, he spends most of his days working on new ideas. “I’m constantly on my laptop doing beats and programming or whatever. I set up a little studio with two monitors, keyboard and guitar. I recorded Swim in my mam’s loft on a shitty little mic! There’s a kind of unintentional lo-fi element but in a much grander way. Generally I build it up in layers and see how big it can go.”

Lyrically, Cape Cub’s songs are universal vignettes of emotion that everyone can relate to, yet Male draws inspiration from a wide range of sounds and situations. New Order, RY X and Bon Iver all crop up in conversation, but there’s one artist in particular that ticks all the boxes: “Springsteen. A lot of the themes that he draws on parallel in what I can see…like where I’m from in Teesside there’s been a lot of shit happening. About 2,000 people lost their jobs in the steelworks and, without me getting too political or anything, it’s been pretty shit. There’s a sense of longing there, a massive sense of longing for people.”

Male’s hometown is a theme that appears to seep into his music. His feet may be firmly in his heritage, but his sights are set much further than there. “Leeds Festival is an absolute bucket list! The first year I went a band were on in the NME tent and asked someone to get on stage for a tenner, so I climbed up the fencing.  Ever since then I’ve thought ‘wow, imagine playing there, imagine how it feels’. We’ve made it if we play Leeds, even if it’s on a podium in the corner somewhere.”

Cape Cub band play Pop Recs Ltd, Sunderland on Friday 8th April as part of NARC.’s 10th birthday celebrations. They also appear at The Cluny 2, Newcastle on Thursday 21st April, Hole In The Wall, Darlington on Sunday 8th and Westgarth Social Club, Middlesbrough on Thursday 26th May.

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