2 December 2020
They care about the people in need and suppressed, they care about an equal and social world, they care about those who did an awesome job in this very strange 2020, and they care about music. All this and more is what post-punk influenced crusaders CROSS WIRES write songs about. Last year’s excellent debut album A Life Extinct was a strong reflection of the band’s huge potential and new music is just around the 2021 corner. Before talking with their heartfelt frontman and songwriter Jonathan Chapman let’s turn up the decibels for their new single Hall Of Mirrors…
Debut album A LIFE EXTINCT turned 1 early November. What are the most
vivid memories about making and releasing this excellent record?
“We’d rehearsed those songs so much in the year or so running up to recording that it all came together really quickly. We recorded it at a great little studio called Kluster Rooms in Limehouse, West London. Unfortunately it was badly flooded recently so they’ve had to move to new premises. The album launch at Flashback Records in Bethnal Green was a really special night for us. To release the album on Vinyl was something that was really important to us. We had an after-party at a pub a few doors down from Flashback with
all our friends and families. That night will stay with me forever.”
A bit out of the blue came new single HALL OF MIRRORS. Is it a lockdown song?
“It was recorded in our rehearsal space ‘The Control Rooms’ on the studios portable
mixing desk. It was written and recorded in 1 day then sent to Rory Attwell to mix and master it. I wrote most of the lyrics on the train on my way to the studio. We are planning to write/record and release a number of tracks like this over the coming months but it’s not possible at the moment because of the second Lockdown in England. Once we can get back to the studio we will do some more of these type of tracks leading to an EP sometime next year. They will all be written and recorded in a day.”
What did you feel the moment the fall of Trump was announced?
“How can any decent person react to that news with anything other than complete joy. When it became clear he wasn’t going to be re-elected he, and his supporters, reacted exactly as I knew they would. Vile. Trump being gone obviously won’t fix America or the world’s problems but I fear for what would have happened had he won again.”
How’s life after four years of Brexit?
“It’s hard to say at the moment because COVID is dominating every single aspect of life.
I think if we had the vote again tomorrow we would remain. People were lied to and I
think a lot of people who voted to leave didn’t vote for what they are going to end up with. Unfortunately, the shadow of 2 World Wars looms so large over the country still and I think it’s used to manipulate people with this weird Blitz spirit mentality. No other country in Europe acts like this. It’s very, very strange.”
Suppose you were asked to rewrite and put new music to the British Royal Anthem. No restrictions whatsoever. What would be the outcome, in sound and vision?
“Well it certainly wouldn’t mention saving the Queen and it’s definitely wouldn’t mention God. Maybe it would just be a song about queuing. Queuing and tea (ha).”
How hard was/is it to survive as a musician in these surreal times?
“We are all very lucky that we have day jobs and we haven’t lost them during this pandemic. Unless you come from money already I don’t know how you could do this full time now. It’s almost impossible for working class bands to make any real impact in the industry and it’s going to be even worse now.”
A lot of musicians came up with a cover of another artist’s song
during these bizarre times. Which one would you pick to cover?
“We very rarely do covers although we did play a short covers set at our guitarist Pete’s wedding last year. Including a version of Beastie Boys ‘Fight For Your Right’ (To Party) that
What was the best track and album you heard in 2020?
“I really love the last Protomartyr album. They don’t seem to put a foot wrong. My favourite track of the year was ‘Desole’ by Gorillaz. One of my favourite things Damon Alban has released In the last few years. Fatoumata Diawara’s vocal on that song is amazing.”
Prick of the year and hero-ine of the year?
“Prick(s) is/are easy. Every single member of this cold-hearted Tory Government, this
year and every year. The Heroes are every NHS worker, People working on Public
Transport, In supermarkets. They are heroes. People having to home school their
children while working from home. Teachers who had to keep teaching key worker children. People who have lost their jobs because of Covid and have to put food
on the table.”
What made you laugh crazily and what made
you cry your eyes out the past 12 months?
“Being able to get back in the studio with the guys. That always makes me laugh. I think our shared sense of ridiculous childish humour has kept us together for so long. There have been so many heartbreaking stories during this pandemic. People scared and dying alone in hospital. The situation in Care Homes, People not being able to attend funerals of people they love. I can’t imagine what they must be going through.”
Can we expect new CROSS WIRES music in 2021?
“Almost definitely an EP of songs recorded in the same way
as ‘Hall of Mirrors’ and possibly album 2.”
Which song will you play on 31sdt December at midnight?
“Well I’d imagine I’ll be at home with my girlfriend so it will more than
likely be her choice as she says my song choices are always depressing.”
Name three things you really want to see happen in 2021
“An end to this pandemic, the return of live music and
West Ham United to finally win something.”
Thank you Jonathan, thank you Cross Wires.
Have an unforgettable 2020 Xmas and
a new music loaded 2021.
Hello, all music junkies out there.
If you missed the band’s rad debut LP
last year, don’t miss it this year.
Stream/ buy A LIFE EXTINCT here…
CROSS WIRES: Facebook
(band photos received via Cross Wires)