Feature: Kingsley Chapman – A Look Back At 2016 | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Over the last twelve months, we’ve had our pages filled with some incredible creative souls, we asked a few of them to be kind enough to share some words on a year that the world all went a bit odd. Next up, it’s maker of beguiling baroque pop Kingsley Chapman, whose charity single The Stars Fall Down in aid of MIND is out now, available here.

So Kingsley, how was your 2016?
I’ve had a wonderful year to be honest. Despite all my favourite pop stars dying, the terrifying rise of xenophobia and hate crime in this country, future presidents running their foreign policy via bloody Twitter, and the actual state of the new Toblerone bar… despite all of this I’ve had a great time. I feel energised and want to create. I’ve met some truly amazing new people this year who’ve opened my eyes to creative possibilities way beyond what I’d previously thought were available for a little simpleton from Stockton who’s obsessed with throwing paint at walls and loud noises. If anything the terror, the threat, the bickering, the violence, and the seemingly non-stop death of 2016 have triggered me to try and enjoy life and to get things done.

What was your best moment of 2016?
Let’s make no bones about it, observing the events of 2016 has been like sitting high up on a hill watching Sodom and Gomorrah burn to a crisp. However, over the summer Quorn introduced a vegetarian sausage patty which was a pretty seismic moment in my eyes. Ever since quitting eating cutesty animals and little fishies I’ve never really craved things like the finest cuts of fillet steak or beautifully cooked lamb, I’ve mainly hankered for the scuzzy meaty treats at the other end of the quality spectrum like dirty kebabs, stinky KFCs and sausage and egg McMuffins. So with the advent of the Quorn sausage patty I can now finally recreate with terrifying accuracy my own version of a Maccy D’s breakfast. I even have little rings to go in my frying pan to make perfectly circular fried eggs. For the perfect recreation you need to buy the cheapest and most orange cheese squares in the supermarket, go for the non-brand stuff ideally. If you genuinely want it to have the authentic feel of the real thing wrap up your completed masterpiece in grease proof paper and kick it around the kitchen like a mini stinky football. I also make a pretty mean veggie donner kebab out of their Lamb Strips and stale pitta too but that was more of a 2014 moment.

And your worst moment?
So many awful things have happened this year I think it’s impossible to pinpoint a single moment so I’m going to put a feeling as my worst moment of the year. It’s an odd feeling. It’s the feeling that the idiots are winning and there’s nothing we can do about it. This isn’t just about pompous gurners like Trump and Farage or opportunistic right wingers, this feeling can equally apply to moaning minny lefties as well as non-political personalities. Everywhere you look there’s blatant stupidity and lowest common denominator hugging entertainers. People are bawling utter nonsense into the void and I’m baffled by it. Common sense and facts aren’t seen as sexy anymore – the truth has a habit of being long winded, boring and dull and the populace don’t like dull. We don’t have the attention span for dull. We only like sly half-truths and out and out lies. We like them made into short and snappy soundbites or easily repeatable pointless puns that effectively mean nothing. They’ll help win you arguments about Brexit in the pub when faced with cold hard facts though so that’s ok. We’re taking our country back. Well done us. We’ve confused buffoonery and idiocy with personality and now we’re getting our well deserved comeuppance. 

Your favourite band of 2016?
I don’t really want to single one band out so I’ll just have every band of the north east of England as my favourite band of 2016. It’s been brilliant watching the region kick on creatively in the face of such misery and austerity and I hope it continues to do so in 2017. Mouses, Avalanche Party, Eat Fast, Coquin Migale, A Festival A Parade, James Leonard Hewitson and Tough Tits have been standouts but there’s a huge swell of other musicians pushing through around here and it’s wonderful. Obviously Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds were my favourite band of 2016 really but you know, #TeamNorthEast and all that…

Your favourite song of the year? 
David Bowie I Can’t Give Everything Away. It’s the last song on Blackstar and for me it’s the perfect sign-off. Of course he’s done better songs, it’s not even the best song on the album, but it still reduces me to a quivering wreck by the end as the realisation hits me that I’ll never hear his beautiful voice again. 

Your favourite film? 
Ben Wheatley’s High Rise. It works on so many levels.

What was your favourite gig of the year?
I went to see Avalanche Party play in a jam-packed tiny pub in Staithes and it was insane. They’re definitely the sweatiest and most energetic bunch of lil’ firecrackers the North East has to offer right now. 

And finally, what has 2017 got in store for you?
If we’re all still here in 2017 and the asteroid hasn’t hit putting us all out of our misery it should be quite a fun year. I’ve got another art show in the spring which is going to be full of brand new pretty, trashy and glamorous big scale work and the band are hard at work messing around with our sound to make a completely new body of work. We’re basically throwing all of our ideas into the massive ideas pot and doing whatever the hell we want to do. It sometimes feels like there’s restrictions on what bands can and can’t do either due to fashion or their own imagination. It’s not good enough in my eyes to simply scramble a song together with a couple of guitars and some drums. I love bombast and I love layers and layers of ludicrous sound. We recorded a song last week that was initially supposed to have a minimal take on our standard schtick but ended up with about eight tracks of violin, a lorry full of saxophones and a great big timpani banging in there too for good measure. We’re not trying to follow any fashions or styles or be influenced by current trends or flavours of the month – I mean, look at the actual clip of us – so we’re going to plough on regardless and attempt to create things that excite our delicate little ears. Bloody art rock isn’t it?

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