INTERVIEW: Charts And Graphs | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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By the time you read this, Newcastle’s own Charts And Graphs will have played perhaps their most prominent gig to date supporting Jesus Jones. The day before this however I catch up with Dan Greener, the band’s vocalist and guitarist, to talk all things music related, having fun and recording their two albums, the latest of which, No Dive Bombing Or Heavy Petting, is out this month.

The elevator pitch for the band goes as follows, “Talking Heads being force-fed Gang of Four while repeatedly running around the park listening to LCD Soundsystem on a Walkman”. It’s a snappy soundbite and also happens to be very accurate. Anyone familiar with these bands will connect with the jerkily riffed guitars, bouncing basslines, motorik drumming and the mix of David Byrne’s wired vocals and those of Jon King and Andy Gill.

So, what’s the fascination with the new wave/post-punk era? It’s a lengthy story, as Dan explains, he and fellow bandmate Ross’s (bass) love of ska music, The Specials, The Clash and Madness et al, led to their initial foray into the music business as The Toy Guns.

There’s an authenticity about the band’s live sound they want to capture, much like their new wave counterparts

After a lengthy stint in the capital recording and touring, that band ran its course and members went their separate ways. Returning to the North East, older and with new priorities, Greener kept writing and making music but hadn’t touched a guitar or sung in years when he reconnected with Ross to work on some new material together, wanting “to keep things really simple”. Coincidently, the planet locked down at this point in time so 2020 found the pair sharing files. Electronic and bass parts coalescing, adding guitar and vocals and creating drum patterns, the duo produced album Run It Neil in 2021. The release and a steady presence online garnered attention from BBC Introducing and from that point it was full steam ahead.

There’s an authenticity about the band’s live sound they want to capture, much like their new wave counterparts. Dan says that initial ska interest seemed to slip forward a few years and they found themselves smack bang in the late 70’s/early 80’s.

With material written they entered Newcastle Blast studios and recorded all the drums before doing what they love best, collaging the music around these drum tracks in Dan’s basement, collectively piecing their parts together and recording live before finally adding vocals.

Lyrics are always the final piece of the puzzle,” says Dan, “I never start writing thinking about a subject, but prefer instead to come up with nice phrases, lines that can refer to five different things in a couple of sentences.” He cites Shaun Ryder’s biography explaining that the Happy Monday’s lyrics are meaningless, stream of consciousness. This could appear disingenuous given the new album touches on many obvious subjects, but these are fleeting never settling for too long.

Armed with this musical ammunition I ask what’s next, what does the future hold? “Just have fun, see where things go,” is the answer. That might change, I think it’d be prudent to check Charts & Graphs out soon, because the band could go way beyond their own ambitions.

Charts And Graphs release No Dive Bombing Or Heavy Petting on 31st October.

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