Tab Interview: CHA CHA
JENNIFER ELLIS interviews Cha-Cha on a Friday night in London…
Its Friday night and there seems to be no better way of spending it than at a gig. With a couple of friends we head out to the East London venue 93 Feet East. Several bands are playing but we’ve got a single one in mind: they are Cha-Cha.
The first time I saw Cha-Cha play live was in the height of summer 2009. Since then, they’ve come a long way. To list but a few successess they have been signed and released their first music video for the song "Phonographic Love". Cha-Cha’s surge in popularity is not hard to imagine. On stage they are enigmatic and their music is catchy and unique.
This time around, I caught up with Cha-Cha backstage. Carlsberg in hand, I introduce myself to Alex who plays guitar and sings, Blain who gives it to us on bass and also sings, and Sam who rocks out on drums and keys. On the way to our outside graffiti smitten seating spot I even meet Pedro, their faithful white caravan of fish market origin. Trying to avoid an inquisition we all sit back, clutch our coats or beers and get chatting.
Alex, Blain and Sam met through mutual friends. They all went to the same music school but as Blain adds, they were four years apart. Not noticing this age gap in the slightest we start talking about the origins of the name Cha-Cha. Turns out the name wasn’t the result of long term brainstorming. Rather: "It was a button on this electrical organ we bought for the band," Sam explains. Despite this organ being Cha-Cha’s birth mother, it is no longer in use. As put by Alex, "It’s sitting there probably dying slowly". Tragic as this may seem, I suggest it’s alternatively undergoing the formative years of becoming a relic. We all agree. The importance of this button is not to be underestimated. It set Cha-Cha’s indie rock pop tunes in motion; strong in beat and uplifting in tone, they get you off your feet. Cha-Cha’s music is a cure for the idle and a partner to the fun.
Cha-Cha’s notes, just like their members are active. Alex is doing European Studies at King’s College London while Blain and Sam are jamming full time. Between the three of them there’s no time for supposing ; a guy who’s ‘not quite their manager but could be called that’ helps them out with gigs. For the past few months though, they’ve, "Pretty much just been getting offers," Blain states matter of factly.
This doesn’t come as a surprise, Cha-Cha know how to get the crowd going. Alex at that point adds that he remembers me from the summer, dancing and singing all the lyrics up at the front. Quite rightly so, but I wasn’t alone.
As far as inspiration goes Alex, Blain and Sam listen to all sorts of music. They sort of feed off eachother and exchange. Peering at them as if begging for some names they mention The Talking Edge and The Strokes. All three are quick to insist though that they listen to a really wide spectrum of music. Ideas come from far and wide. Alex’s mention of them branching out into France and Germany then does not come as a surprise. Their music is transportable to the extent that when they played in Paris, Alex tell us: "The room was rammed".
Cha-Cha’s success, however, has not in any way affected their humility. We speak about the music scene in East London, how some people live and breathe it yet others take it for granted. Alex mentions how there are so many bands, perhaps too many bands and some don’t make it because there isn’t enough exposure. It’s all about helping eachother. After all, that’s the way Cha-Cha got into filming their music video for "Phonographic Love" at a Bethnal Green gallery. Cha-Cha figures that in France they’ll really be appreciated. No doubt, but in England they are too. I suggest that they swing by Switzerland, Geneva in particular, where my parents live. Alex jumps at the Alpine offer and on that note we realise it’s soon time for them to go on stage.
Cha-Cha and I walk back to the general outside drinking and smoking spot. Time to split, but my friends and I will catch them later when they’re on stage. We all know the lyrics. So the band’s prepared for a summer sequel, times four.