Interview: The Creaking Chair

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(Image by Esther Springett)

Echotic chats to Brighton act, The Creaking Chair.

Who is The Creaking Chair?
The Creaking Chair is me! Andrew A C Cooper. Along the way great people have helped out.
I started playing guitar and singing in 2008 with Daniel Williams. Dan contributed tremendously and at that time we wrote together. Daniel moved on and I recruited the help of Esther Springett (keys and clarinet) and Sam Clarke (Bass).
My main collaborator with the live sound is Ryan Bollard. He is a very talented and unique drummer and he brings his love of free jazz and improv to the table (or chair). The songs I write often ‘breath’ considerably after Ryan jams them.
Ryan also plays in the excellent REDS.

If you could describe the sound of The Creaking Chair in 3 words what would it be?
Experimental, Folk-tinged, pop…no, occasionally motorik folk…or, contemporary folk soundscape. No I can’t, sorry!

What/who are your influences?
Some musicians that I would cite as influences are in a way post-rationalised. In that I see musicians like Nick Drake, Syd Barrett, Pink Floyd and Robert Wyatt as influential although having only been introduced to them by people after they’ve heard my music.
I was brought up on Simon & Garfunkel and Paul Simon, The Beatles, in particular Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.
I have recently become interested in Clockwork Automata and have an interest in time and photography after studying photographic arts at University. Somehow all of that slips into my songwriting.

What kinds of things inspire you during the songwriting process? Do you like to write in seclusion or in a more collaborative fashion?
I write mostly in seclusion. You have to start something to become inspired. Occasionally a piece of music will come like a ‘virus’ (as Robert Wyatt once said). I find spending hours playing a mechanical finger-picked guitar part over and over again eventually tells you where to go. Lyrics always come simultaneously or just after the music. Then I let things percolate – sometimes for too long!

If you could work/collaborate with anybody (dead or alive) who would it be?
Robert Wyatt. But if he’s busy then take me back to the 60s/ 70s and I’ll collaborate with John Barry and write a Bond theme.

Are there any other acts/artists you recommend people check out?
Connan Mockasin. He’s a very pure artist and his new album ‘Caramel’ is effortless and beautiful. He’s got soul. Think 60s Canterbury scene, rolled through a blues/ funk machine.

I’m am very proud to live in a city full of incredible artists and musicians. I sometimes feel ‘starstruck’ when I bump in to them in the street. Check out the Anti-Ghost Moon Ray Collective, Dog in the Snow, Hour Hands, Man Ray Sky, Ham Legion and Speak Galactic to name a small few in a sea of talent.

What are The Creaking Chair’s upcoming plans?
I have a new album that only exists in my head. So I intend to record it. You’ll hear it in the new year along with a small tour. I plan to play shows before then as well.

[Helen Brown]

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