released 'Twisted City' in 2006 and immediately became a GRTR! favourite,
championed by Reviews Editor Jason Ritchie who wrote about the 'glorious ride of
well crafted pop rock tunes'.
the GRTR! Rising Stars Stage at the Cambridge Rock Festival in 2007 and has
promoted his music gigging via buses and Tube stations.
album, 'Lady Gasoline', is released in June 2010.
Photo: Pal Hansen
Could you tell
us please what are you currently up to?
I am currently getting ready for the release of 'Lady Gasoline'. I'm rehearsing
the new songs with my band, The Distractions, for a show in The Troubadour Club
on 10 June and practising wearing a tie.
Could you take us through your new album 'Lady Gasoline'?
Lady Gasoline was recorded, like my last album, 'Twisted City', mainly in my own
studio. This time though I involved more people - mainly a band (so it's
probably got a bigger, more live sound at times than the last album) but also a
couple of other engineers and knob twiddlers. And we finished it off at Abbey
Road where it got a going over by mastering engineer Steve Rooke - the guy
behind the Beatles remasters. The last bit was a lot of fun and full of rock
In terms of the songwriting, unlike the last album it doesn't really have any
overarching concept behind it (the last record was loosely conceived as a tube
journey through London).
It's a more
direct, in your face record, which is about the usual subjects that tend to
inspire most musicians: love, lust, desire, sex, that sort of thing.
The title, 'Lady
Gasoline', is a bit tongue in cheek - it sounds like a 70s porno movie, but I
figure that it sums up the record nicely.
In the end I
started to think of Lady Gasoline as sort of super-muse that walked all over the
songs and left her sexy bootprints on them.
The two tracks
that aren't about ladies, gasoline ladies or otherwise, are 'Lou Reed' (a song
about selfish hippies who fancy themselves as Lou Reeds but don't quite cut the
mustard) and 'Sold the World' (a song about how English politicians like to sell
off things that matter to people - useful stuff like water, transport, energy,
schools, postmen...). Those two songs are weird interludes in an album that is
otherwise basically about girls.
On this new album your band are now called the Distractions. How did they
come together and do the band have a big input into the music?
When I moved to London in 2004, the idea was to do a bunch of gigs promoting
'Twisted City'. So I did a load of auditions for musicians, during which I was
effectively a friendlier version of Simon Cowell.
Eventually I found
these fantastic guys, John, Paul, George - no hang on, Andy, Stelios, John, Zane
and Ben - who I asked to play live with me. And when it came to recording this
album, I wanted them on board for it.
In terms of band
input, if I'm honest, I generally am quite prescriptive about how I want things
done (the band would probably describe me as very prescriptive!), but they play
all their instruments way better than I ever could, so their musical
personalities, skills and taste do end up colouring the album in a very nice
gospel vocal arrangements in particular are really distinctive and probably
represent the biggest new sound in my music. I decided to call the band The
Distractions (it was either that or The Professionals) because it had a nice
Elvis Costello-esque sort of ring to it. And let's face it, they are a
distraction from me. I'm the main man for God's sake.
You've done some novel ways of promoting your music in the past such as
busking on the London Underground, gigging in a bus etc. What have you got
planned for the new album's release?
Hmmnn…no stunts this time I don't think. The tube stuff was fun, and generated a
bit of press - but this time I really want people to make judgments on the
music, not stunts.
Maybe that's the
wrong approach, and I should probably get out there making a tit of myself again
on a bus, but I'm hoping that this time we can build on the buzz we got going
with 'Twisted City', but put more of an emphasis on rock and roll rather than
public transport…as much as I like trains.
What have been the most memorable live shows for you and why?
I think the most memorable live show for me was one I did in The Borderline in
London in November 2005. This was the first show I'd done with the lads and I
don't think we've played better. It was before 'Twisted City' was released and
it was an exciting time. We were first on and we were way better than all the
other bands that came on after us.
Are there any other newer bands out there who have impressed you lately?
I'm too stuck in the past really. I actually don't listen to much new music. Bad
I know - maybe I'm just overwhelmed with the sheer volume of the stuff that's
available now, what with Spotify etc. I just keep returning to my old favourites
- Bowie, Lou Reed, all that sort of thing. It's a good way of avoiding Scouting
That said, I've
really been enjoying Nerina Pallot's new album, 'The Graduate' - she is insanely
talented. Her stuff reminds me of my own in a way - not because it necessarily
sounds that similar, but because I think she loves a clever pop idea. That's
what I'm all about. Cerebral pop, tinged with a rocky edge. Bloody hell, better
not let NME read that description of it.
Have you ever been approached to front another band and if you could front
any one band who would it be and why?
Some dude in Dublin asked me to join a boy band once, when Westlife were big, at
the start of the naughties. I wasn't interested, and I'm too old for that sort
of thing now.
I'd have to join a
man band. If I could join a band I'd have to aim high - it'd have to be Pink
Floyd, the Beatles or the Spiders from Mars. Failing that I would have loved to
have been involved in creating the music for the original production of the
Rocky Horror Picture Show.
Has the internet helped get your music out there or in some ways e.g. illegal
downloads has it made matters worse? Does the whole social networking phenomena
actually get you new fans and sales or just a lot of friends?
The internet has on balance been a good thing for me. 12,000 people have
downloaded the free version of 'Twisted City' so far, and I have a vibrant
little street team who are all plugging my music online.
I'll find out when
'Lady Gasoline' is released whether or not any of those 12,000 listeners will
actually buy it. I hope they do. I know where they live, so I'll send my boys
round if they don't.
Has the upsurge in online and digital rock radio stations helped get your
music out there or are some of them too formulated i.e. they will only play the
classics by any particular band and not anything new.
I'm pretty rubbish to be honest, because I have my head in the 1970s when it
comes to listening to stuff and have not really explored that aspect of the
internet. So I don't know if they're formulated. But hey, even if they are, I'm
pretty formulated so fair enough. I hope they are playing my stuff though and I
hope it helps.
I read quite a bit about music on the net, but for some reason I'm old fashioned
when it comes to internet radio: when I listen to the radio it's still on a
wireless and it's still Radio 1 or Radio 2.
Incidentally I was
in the audience for a Radio 2 show recently, Terry's weekend thing. I suppose
that makes me a Tog. Ringo was on it, and a chap called Boggy Marsh.
Message for your fans...
Download my free album at www.chrissingletonmusic.com and like it so much that
you buy the not free one on 28 June.
Singleton's album, 'Lady Gasoline' is released on June 28.
May 2010 Jason Ritchie
All rights reserved.
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