The Chinaski Effect
The Chinaski Effect are an unsigned band hailing from St.Austell, Cornwall.
An unusual prospect, not settling in any real genre but flitting between many of the genres that make up what is seen as alternative.
TCE use equal parts of punk, grunge, rock and mix them together for a great effect making them an unusual listen but an original one. With almost, Nirvana-esque with a hint of Sonic Youth guitar work at times, frantic punk drumming and a vocalist with the voice not so far from Daniel Johns(Silverchair) it is guarenteed that you will not have a heard a band sounding like this before.
I spoke with Alex, guitarist in TCE to find out all about the band, what they get up to and his thoughts on certain subjects.
Firstly, how are you?
Very good thank you. Excited at what we’ve got lined up because we’ve just come back from a six week hiatus and it’s great to be playing again.
How did the band come together?
Well as our current line up we’ve been together for about 3 years but really you can trace it back to when we were about 13. Dug(bass), Kev(Guitar, Vocals) and myself have known each other for about 20 years and we’ve known Chris(Drums) for about 13 years. We were all mad on music when we were teenagers and played in a variety of bands together until we left college. It was at the end of mine and Kev’s 1st year at uni we decided that we were going to start the band we had always wanted playing exactly what we wanted to hear. I’m not sure what sparked it just a general frustration at the state of music at the time. Unfortunately we were living at different ends of the country so started hooking up when we were both back in cornwall and sending tapes and MD’s to each other in the post. When we moved back to Cornwall properly in the summer of 2002, it was just obvious to get Chris and Dug onboard. As soon as we played together it just felt right and we’ve just kept on going at it since then.
What are the bands influence?;
Musically speaking for Kev, Dug and myself, the week Nirvana released 'In Utero' could be seen as a starting point, I remember vividly buying it on tape in Asda for £7.99. Chris has always been very musically aware because his dad is an avid music collector and has thousands of albums. I always remember being fascinated by my mums record collection when I was young she was into The Beatles, The Stones, Beach Boys, Bob Dylan, The Byrds, The Carpenters and so on. I was always keen on music especially early rock n roll and sixties stuff when I was a kid. Generally you need to point at alternative bands like Therapy? Sonic Youth, Pixies, Weezer but we're also influenced by newer bands like Biffy Clyro and Yourcodenameis:Milo. I'd say another influence is by films and books which often inspire our songs and give us ideas. I’d say our hometown of St Austell is the key influence. It’s a love hate thing. We’re very proud of where we come from and love the clay country but at the same time find it a very bleak and a frustrating place at times. People talk of us being an angry band and I think that stems from the fact we are very frustrated people about a number of issues and it often stems from our surroundings and the state of things in our hometown.
What is the band working on now?
At the moment we’re trying to work on some new material but also get ourselves ready for a series of gigs. We have Castle Rock on the 23rd july and on the 28th are playing a gig in Birmingham. In september we’re going back to Birmingham for a series of gigs and hopefully an appearance on Kerrang radio. As well as this we’re looking to get some studio time with the premise of getting a single or EP together. We want to start pushing on and take things more seriously and spread our name a bit more.
A lot of energy is released in your shows, what mindset do you have going into a gig?
We’re all pretty shy people so often playing in front of people can be a bit daunting. We learnt early on it’s not enough to just turn up and play, you need to interact with the crowd and get them involved because that’ll make things more enjoyable for everyone. The most important thing is just getting psyched up so that you give it 100% effort and play as well as we can. There’s nothing worse than disappointing a crowd and ourselves by putting in a half hearted performance. The way we see it is if we don’t look like we’re enjoying ourselves and giving everything then nobody else will. That’s why if you come to one of our gigs you are likely to go home sweaty, ears ringing, with a sore body but happy. It’s about everybody having as much fun as possible.
What was your best gig and why?
That’s a hard question. I think everyone would maybe pick different shows for different reasons. I enjoyed it when we played at the walkabout in newquay last summer for a charity event. The energy was great, we played well and the crowd was one of the largest and most responsive we’ve played to. Also, when we played a gig at O’Callaghans in St Austell supporting Baby Astrolab. The venue itself is very small and intimate and it was the day of the St Austell beer festival. We had a whole load of people dancing and screaming along and it was such a fun vibe. There were a couple of people heckling us before we started but by the end they were fully into it as well. It was just so great to see so many happy smiling faces and the glasses shaking above the bar because everyone was jumping around like lunatics and it was so loud. I’m not sure how impressed the manager was but it was real good fun to be playing.
What is the craziest thing one of your band members done?
I don’t know, to be honest we’re not really crazy people. I mean we have our moments but mostly it’s more stupid stuff like finding myself whipping jon from baby astrolab’s(Cornish punk band) naked ass with a stick outside The Swan Pub in Truro. Another one I remember was this, Dug was talking to the girlfriend of one of the guys from this great new band called Blindfold Garden and Kev walks up to him like "Check it out! Dugs pulled and she’s well hot!".
In fairness, we like a drink and a party but we don’t really do what I would call crazy things, the most that normally happens is someone falls over or burns their mouth on a pizza or something, we’re hardly Motley crue!
Why haven't you been signed yet?
That’s a good question. I think there are a number of reasons to explain this. Firstly we can point the finger at ourselves because we haven’t been flooding record companies with demos and really pushing ourselves. We’re not particularly good at self promotion like some bands are. I guess it's because we are not very exuberant, self confident people. We spend a lot of time worrying about being as real as possible and as far away from arrogant as possible.
Secondly, we don’t have a massive following locally. We have a small group of people who like us alot but not what I would call a large following. I think this comes down to our sound as much as anything. We don’t really sound like anyone and people find it hard to place us. We’re pretty heavy at times but we'r not metal and we’re pretty punky at times but we're not really what people expect from a punk band. I think our music requires a certain amount of effort to get in to and just take it for what it is. Thirdly, I don’t think the local scene is particularly helpful in regards to getting bands noticed. Lets face it, A&R men are not going to be hanging at a pub in Redruth on a Saturday night looking for talent. It’s like if you’re not playing Camden then you don’t matter, which is very disheartening. So many bands end up moving to London just to get a chance when it is so often your surroundings that shape your sound.
What did you think of the local music scene?
I think in terms of bands, we have a great scene. There is a large variety of styles and loads of bands springing up all over the place. When I hear bands like Baby Astrolab, Mentaporta, Hasbeing and Dead Without Issue, I know that they’re just as good as any of the stuff I’m going to be fed on MTV or by the NME. However, we have a real problem with venues especially since the closure of the Green Room. There just aren’t enough to go around and because of the nature of Cornish transport if they’re not in a popular area it’s hard for people to reach them. The council do not seem to be particularly in favour of live music venues either which is a shame. Many venues have a lot of pressure put on them to make gigs over 18's only but a large majority of the people that want to go are under 18's and what is annoying is that there is no alternative put forward. This just seems crazy to me, I mean at a time when people seem to be worried about groups of youths on the streets, here are kids that want to be part of something positive and creative and aren’t allowed to be. Cornwall is famous for and proud of it’s arts and culture which receives a lot of support but despite that fact, we have a great collection of young bands under our noses nobody seems to want to know.
I’d also say that awareness is a problem. All the time I see kids walking around in band hoodies and t-shirts but yet you always see the same faces at the shows. I honestly think that a lot of people that would be really into the local scene have no real idea about it . If we could get some real local support from all areas then I’m sure we could get some more notice taken of us without having to move to London and that maybe it would encourage local venues and the councils to open up a bit more.
So there you have it, TCE are obviously a band that are not afraid to be brutally honest about any issue and they show this through not only opinions but also through their music, not choosing to change their style to be popular but just playing because it's what they enjoy. This is what makes their music so brilliant, so brutal and loud but yet not, it's this sort of honesty that have given them extremely loyal fans and that fanbase will only continue to grow.
The Chinaski Effect are playing at Castle Rock on the 28th of July and Prince of Wales in Falmouth on the 3rd of September. You can listen to The Chinaski Effect via their Myspace page - www.myspace.com/thechinaskieffect
For more information on Dala visit www.dalla.co.uk or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Words by Craig Broad