Band Of The Week #0065 - Chapter And Verse
In an industry that is dominated by homogenous and uninventive sounds churned out by mass corporations, there is a small glimmer of hope that is coming from bands who choose to spend a few years on their craft, in order to figure out who they are. Chapter and Verse’s sound has progressed at an incredible rate since their 2016 debut ‘The Wolves Back Home’ and we caught up with them at The Borderline in London to discuss the making of their latest EP ‘Glow’.
It was only towards the end of 2018 that I had heard of a band called Chapter and Verse, but I found myself instantly captivated by the way they balanced their emotionally candid lyrics with raucous and multi-faceted instrumentals. There is a familiarity and lightness within their songs, and when I met with frontman Josh Carter and bassist Jonny Hopwood in a tiny dressing room in the backstage area of The Borderline, it was refreshing to feel this energy portrayed in real life. After moving to London to study and bonding over “loads of pub drinking” Josh, Jonny and guitarist Darren Gosling began casually making music, but it wasn’t until after they graduated that they decided to take things seriously; by starting a new band that would become what we know as Chapter and Verse.
If you do some research on the band, you may come across the phrase ‘The New Breed’, which seems to follow them around. Rather than looking at it as just a name for their fanbase, Josh says that it is best to be thought of as a mindset. “This band is about embracing life for all its good and bad […] it’s okay to move forward and that kind of mindset is originally where ‘The New Breed’ came from.” No matter what subjects they cover in their songs, the message that Chapter and Verse is trying to portray is one of positivity and acceptance. “Love yourself first and hope that flows outwards, so even if stuff is going to shit around you, so long as you’re doing the right things and fighting the good fight, it will go in that direction.” There is an increasing discussion in the world about the effects of toxic masculinity and I think that it is incredibly important for there to be more positive role models in such an influential industry. Jonny adds that “it’s about context and having people know the band’s personality is key because you can latch on so much more if you have an understanding of what the band is like.”
With such a dynamic set of songs behind them, ranging from post-hardcore to more cathartic and melodic sounds, I was fascinated to learn how the four-piece go about writing their songs. Josh normally writes “in a stream of consciousness” and the music comes after, or someone will “present a skeleton of a song, with six sections cello-taped together and then as a band [they] come together to make it structured and detailed.” It is important to note that Josh was never a frontman before the ‘The Wolves Back Home’ EP, so the entire process was a step in self-discovery. When they were writing their second EP ‘Glow’, Chapter and Verse acquired a drummer in the form of Ash Morton, who Jonny describes as ‘a genius’. They both told me that it was a huge difference to have a fourth band member, as they can both be quite experimental when it comes to making music but as Ash is a ‘theory expert’ it was a good dynamic to counterbalance everything. “Glow is about self-improvement – making sure it starts with you lighting your corner of the world.” The progression between both EP’s is undeniable. The raw character of ‘The Wolves Back Home’ is what makes the songs interesting, but the maturity that comes through in ‘Glow’ makes you want to stick around for more.
Chapter and Verse don’t want to be a band that you listen to once and forget about; it is a clear intention that they think about when writing songs and planning out their live sets. “We try to add as much nuance and subtleties as we can humanly manage because that’s the stuff we like.” Jonny makes an incredibly relevant point about the ease and accessibility of music in this day and age, and how it can be difficult for upcoming bands: “we live in a time where everything is so disposable these days and it’s not back in the day where you work your paper rounds and you used to go to HMV and buy yourself a record. You don’t have that emotional attachment to records anymore.” Chapter and Verse recently parted ways with Unified – who were managing them last year – and despite feelings of isolation, they now feel that there’s no desperation to find gigs because they have done much better than they thought they would. Although sometimes it may seem as though everything around you is upturned, it takes a bit of reflection to realise that it was probably a good thing for you, as it may have been the only way for you to progress.
Looking ahead for 2019, Chapter and Verse have already started thinking about their next EP and want to have a good run of festival shows lined up. Josh describes himself as an ‘excitable child’ when it comes to festivals and is a big fan of the community of people that all come together for the same reason. It is clear that as well as being a part of the industry, they are also big music fans, themselves, with diverse tastes that could only be put together on a line-up like Reading Festival where you could “have some obscenely cheesy pop along with some heavy shit.” With a philosophy of ‘life is too short for entertainment you don’t like’, it only makes sense that you should not limit yourself to certain genres. As a band, Chapter and Verse tell me that they listen to way more pop music, than rock, so when I asked which songs they think would best describe their personalities, Jonny says that ‘I Knew Prufrock Before He Got Famous’ by Frank Turner would be his, whilst Josh would either be ‘Sexed Up’ by Robbie Williams or ‘Senorita’ by Justin Timberlake, though Josh prefers the latter as it is the one song that “gets him going.”
What I learnt from my short time with half of Chapter and Verse is that they are a band with many layers and have only really given us a small preview of what they are fully capable of. Their latest EP ‘Glow’ sees them becoming more secure in themselves as a band, and I think that 2019 has great things in store for them.
Words by Tyler Damara Kelly
Photography by Hayley Fearnley