Interview: Chris Tavener
Here’s a recent interview we got to conduct with the singer-songwriter Chris Tavener. Tavener has been featured on this website recently with the review of his song ‘I’m Better Than You’ and will be featured in the future with the review of his new single ‘Super Cool Sadie’ which you can read on this website soon. Before that review is published, however, let’s learn a little more about the musician that is Chris Tavener:
When did you start recording as an artist?
I started recording soon after I started consistently writing. I was 17 when I released a demo album I made at home and then I released a demo album every year subsequently until I was 22 when gigging took over. I also went into the studio twice at 19 and 20 to record two EPs and I felt I needed to produce all that material to get to where I am now; all that early stuff is buried away now. The stuff you can find online now is from two acoustic EPs I recorded later on. My newly recorded EP is due for release in May of this year.
How would you describe the music you create?
I describe my music as satirical folk although I don’t think it adheres to either of those absolutely strictly. All my songs have humour in them and something based in social commentary that I hope the listener will be able to dwell on or find identifiable. They are always written from the point of view of a character or a collective opinion, which is why they have a satirical element.
The music is mostly folk since it’s written on an acoustic guitar although I do have one or two songs that are influenced by or are even closer to blues, rock and jazz. For me, the lyrical content most often informs how the music turns out.
What are some of the themes and messages that come across in your songs?
As I explained a little bit in that last question, my songs are satirical and social commentaries so they don’t often reflect my own views but I talk about subjects like first world problems, football hooliganism, drunken romance, celebrity worship, lazy students, alcohol etc. I don’t really write a lot of political satire; I tend to see my songs as less of the moment than that but I do have one or two. “Ode To The Government” for example is a song about an idealist who feels so disillusioned with politics that he’d rather the government assign all control over to him so that he can see things done his way. In a less exaggerated way, I’ve met a bunch of people who feel that way.
What are your plans for 2016?
2016 has been a great year already! I have released two singles with music videos, both of which have had really positive reactions. I started a 30-date nationwide tour from early March to late April, visiting Hull, Leeds, York, Sheffield, Newcastle, Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham, Surrey and London. I am now preparing for my EP Launch on 19th May at Night and Day Café, Manchester with lots of special guests, a full band and support acts! After that I’ll be releasing the EP and heading straight into the festival season.
Where can people find you on social media?
These are the best links for social media:
Finally, if there was only one album you could listen to for the rest of your life which one would you choose and why?
Tough question and it would be even harder if you asked me to name individual songs. Most recently, I’ve found The Balcony – Catfish and the Bottlemen, Sometimes I Sit and Think, Sometimes I Just Sit – Courtney Barnett and Rock or Bust – ACDC to be my go to albums at present because they're new. But in terms of the rest of my life and although it’s not a massive influence on my music, I think Arctic Monkeys debut album – Whatever People Say I Am That’s What I’m Not is my choice.