DOORSTEP INTERVIEW: Worry Party | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Welcome to Doorstep Interview, where we find out more about the brilliant bands and artists we’ve got right here in the region. In this edition, electronic producer Steven Chell, aka Worry Party, tells us more about himself.

Tell us a bit about yourself. Who are you, where are you from?

I’m a bedroom producer from Houghton le Spring. I used to play acoustic gigs, then played in a post-hardcore band, and now this moniker is for my solo electronic projects. Other than music and associated gadgets, I’m chatty about fitness and video games. No matter when this goes out, I’ll probably still be neck deep in Bloodborne.

What inspired you to first start making music?

I met David Littlefair (of O’Messy Life fame) at college, and he was really the first person that I could talk to about music. No-one at school had my interests to be honest, so it was great to have someone else that was enthusiastic about live music, and about discovering new music. He got me into a load of new bands. We started jamming with other college friends, then we started booking gigs together. I only really picked up a guitar when I was 21 or 22, but I wanted to join in. I wanted to contribute. From there, I started writing and performing acoustic songs, formed a few bands with friends, and then Worry Party became known as the post-hardcore/ emo band I was writing for. When we decided to call it a day, I carried on writing, and eventually the number of electronic songs outweighed the number of acoustic songs. I thought I best start putting a set together.

Who would you say are your biggest influences?

I don’t think I have any real influences in terms of a “sound” that I aspire to reproduce, or a genre I want to fit into. The people who have been most influential to me are those who inspire me to be creative and do my own thing. I love The Blood Brothers, The National, Goldroom, Bright Eyes; all artists that know what they want, create something new, and give their own personality to it. When I started making electronic music I was listening to people like Com Truise and Kavinsky, but I was into electronic artists like College and M83 a long time before I was interested in making electronic music myself. I wouldn’t be surprised if more obvious influences like that are noticeable. I really love video game soundtracks too. The last one I was really into was Darren Korb’s soundtrack for Transistor. Obviously I’m a fan of Disasterpeace as well, and I can’t wait for Hyper Light Drifter!

How would you describe your sound?

The songs that I’m going to be playing over the next six months are just straight up good fun electro pop tunes. I like my video games too so that “hobby” definitely comes through in my music; be it in the samples or the feel of some of the sections. Beyond that, there’s a heavier set that’s pretty much finished. It’s got a lot more of a songwriter’s perspective influencing where the songs go, and I feel that artists like Lana Del Rey, MGMT, Bat For Lashes, Pretty Lights, SBTRKT, and even Mr. West himself, have been closer to my mind when I’ve been working on it. I’m really keen for people to hear it, but it’s one of those things that will take as long as it takes, and I won’t rush it. I’ve let it be since Christmas to be honest, I need to be in the right mood to work on it.

The people who have been most influential to me are those who inspire me to be creative and do my own thing

Where do you see yourself fitting into the local music scene?

I don’t know if there is much of an electronic scene in the north east at the minute. If there is, someone needs to let me know because I’m missing out. I’m not too concerned though; I remember there being next to no metal or post-hardcore scene when I was in my early twenties, but I got together with some friends and started organising gigs, and everyone seemed to find each other. I’m confident that will happen for electronic music too.  There are definitely some great electronic artists up here that I’d like to build bridges with.

Tell us a bit about your live performances. What can we expect from a gig by Worry Party?

It’s a one man show, so I should probably invest in some lights or something. I use a laptop, an Akai APC40, and an Akai MPK49. I’ve got a few sets; one in Ableton which runs entirely on triggered loops and live drums and synths; it’s good fun and upbeat and will hopefully raise a few smiles. The other set is in Logic Pro, which is more of an affected backing track with me playing keyboard over it. More textures, more mood, and a bit of singing too. As I mentioned before, that one’s definitely a lot more personal, and something I won’t be playing until the whole “project” is finished. At the moment, a live performance is lots of button pressing, basically.

Can you tell us what gigs you have planned in the region in the near future?

I’m playing The Head of Steam on April 18th with What We Call Progress, therunningchelsea and Emile’s Telegraphic Transmission Device, and again on May 2nd with Symmatik, Ako and Morpion. I’ll also be part of the All Dayer at The Empty Shop in Durham on Saturday June 20th. I’m really excited about that. Loads of acoustic artists followed by an evening of electronic music from local producers.

What do you think has been your biggest achievement so far as a band/artist?

I’m brand new as a solo electronic performer, so the bar is pretty low right now. There have been a few tracks on BBC introducing which was cool, considering, but just getting gigs is keeping me happy. That’s why I started teaching myself this stuff in the first place so I’m excited to have a few lined up.

Have there been any major challenges so far in your musical career?

I’m a jack of all trades, so to be honest I find everything challenging. On the flip side, there’s not much I can’t have a good go at myself, and in terms of moving forward with what I want to do, there’s no-one else I need to rely on. I’m just interested in too many things. One day I’ll narrow those down and perhaps find something I’m meant to do. Until then, I’m enjoying trying everything.

What else have you got planned for the future?

I have a few projects running alongside each other, so they’re keeping me interested while I polish my current live set and work on gigs and events with friends. I’m hoping to have three live sets I can switch between. That way I satisfy all my current interests and give Worry Party a couple of dimensions to play with. I’d like to be playing a few small festivals next Spring or Summer, so making a good impression is definitely going to be important over the next 12 months. I play in two bands as well and they’re both prioritised above my solo stuff; I’m looking forward to playing gigs with those too. One of my long term goals is to work with independent video game developers. I don’t think I’ll ever be up there with the guys making soundtracks that I look up to at the minute, but I’d really like to be involved in an area of music that sees those two creative worlds meet one another.

Worry Party is playing alongside What We Call Progress, therunningchelsea and Emile’s Telegraphic Transmission Device at the Head of Steam, Newcastle on Saturday 18th April.

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