The Outside Chancers are an exciting new alt-country music band taking over the scene. The British five-piece consisting of Dan, Jen, Natalie, Dave, and Sian are new to the growing country scene but have a wealth of music industry credits to their names.
Here we chat exclusively to The Outside Chancers to discuss the UK country scene and their upcoming tour:
How would you describe your sonic sound to new listeners?
Briefly, alt-country rhythm’n’blues – dirty slide guitar, girl/boy harmonies, and a muscular rhythm section. From the 1970s careering out of control into the 90s via the 30s before crashing into 2019 and wondering what on earth happened.
You’re new on the Country scene but have been in the industry for a while, can you tell us a little about your backgrounds?
We developed a musical and personal chemistry scraping a living in a couple of sweaty London clubs, playing non-stop requests to keep the dance floor full. Then we realised some of us have previous convictions playing for other UK Americana / Country artists…our drummer Siân toured with The Wandering Hearts and did the odd show with The Worry Dolls, plus she backed Jessie Buckley on The One Show the other week; I’ve collaborated with Guy Fletcher (Mark Knopfler / Dire Straits) and Mark Collins (The Charlatans), written with Irish singer Megan O’Neill, and backed a fantastic Tennessee artist called Logan Brill. But we’re about the songs, really. I’m not interested in a bunch of sidemen doing fiddly grooves and clever fills of sole interest to music students; one Vulfpeck in the world’s more than enough, thanks very much…am sure they’re great! It’s just not what this band’s about though.
How excited are you by the growth of the UK Country scene?
It’s great there’s a sense of identity around it…some of it can sound a bit pastiche, but the stuff that continues that decades-old conversation of music flying back and forth across the Atlantic, developing as it goes, is great. Everyone’s really nice about each other though aren’t they? It’s crying out for a contrived inter-band feud. We should go around challenging Ward Thomas to a pub brawl or something…
Are there any British acts you’d like to collaborate with?
I really like Ferris & Sylvester, Laura Oakes, The Wandering Hearts and William The Conqueror to name but a few…plus, as my guitar parts sometimes attempt a cheap impersonation of him, in the unlikely event the real Mark Knopfler felt an overwhelming urge to play on one of our records, we might just about find a way of squeezing him in. I won’t hold my breath. Recorded at his studio once though, it was fun.
You have a Summer of shows lined up, what can fans expect from your sets?
Someone said “there’s the odd tearjerker”, but it’s mainly upbeat singalong stuff that’ll get you shaking in your chaps. And, thanks to me, probably too many guitar solos.
Is there one festival, in particular, you’re most excited about?
The British Country Music Festival should be fun – not least as Ward Thomas are on the bill, so I’ll probably have to sheepishly explain why I’ve been making flippant remarks about them in response to interview questions. And seeing how our stuff fits alongside Kaiser Chiefs and Happy Mondays at Lakefest (lakefest.co.uk) will be interesting, but I’m looking forward to it.
Being a band, how do you feel your individual personalities mesh to create the sound of your group?
We’ve experienced a bit of the UK country scene as interested observers but we are all outsiders to an extent – so nobody necessarily feels pressure to conform to what the scene expects musically…and I think that can be a good thing. Plus Jen, Nat, Dave and Siân are just phenomenally expressive musicians who don’t feel a need to constantly show off the many technically brilliant things they’re capable of, but when they rock out now and then, they certainly set off a few fireworks…
What are your long term plans?
We have an EP that we’re putting out a song at a time; The Cloud Bursts is the first track off it. There’s a summer of festivals to do, then some more songs to record – essentially we’ll be making a nuisance of ourselves for a while yet…
22 May – Hyde Tavern, Winchester
8 June – Heditude Festival
10 June – Sixty Sixty Sounds, London
29 June – Grassington Festival
27 July – Chiddfest
9 August – Lakefest
14 September – British Country Music Festival
You can follow The Outside Chancers on Twitter @bunchofchancers.
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