interviewed by Calum Donoghue, 18 April 2015
Lachie Chapman of The Overtones
One fifth of doo-wopping boy band The Overtones, Lachie Chapman is a deep voiced ball of energy. QH went to Covent Garden to have a catch up with the Sydney born singer...
When did the band wrap up the album, Sweet Soul Music?
It took a long time to record, we had started recording another album entirely and we got about half through and we weren’t happy with it so we went back to the drawing board. What we were working on (didn’t) know what it wanted to be so we went back and started over. We (then) came up with a clear and concise album concept.
At what point do you decide to scrap an album and start again?
Gut feeling. The songs were lovely and I sometimes wish I could play to people the individual songs because they were so lovely and beautifully made, but together it was jagged.
How is the album being received?
Its going really well. We have been on the telly and done a couple of radio tours and we have started rehearsing for a UK and Ireland tour which will be for six or seven weeks. 28 dates is a big tour to be doing in the UK.
Are you always together when you are recording?
Yes all together, unless you are asked to come in a bit earlier because you are singing the lead. It's a much nicer way, we recorded (this album) all together because back in the day they used to stand around one microphone and sing. We didn't do it on the one mic but we had four microphones in the one room, or with a partition with glass in between so we could all see each other. It was just a really nice way of recording because it is quite organic. I think that’s the way it's meant to be.
Some would say your voice is the most recognisable out of the group.
It's pretty deep. One of the things about our group is that it has the high and the low and everything in-between. I guess it is a distinctive voice but it is really nice to be able to use it in context within a vocal harmony group. A deep voice (is) either going to be singing doo-wops or Rachmaninov. And as much as I like Rachmaninov - which I do, I love the Vespers - standing on stage and performing classic old songs is fun.
How did the band come about?
The band had been together for four years before I joined. Timmy and I used to work at the same promo company, we used to hand out leaflets and chocolate bars and stand on Tower Bridge in the winter at 7am handing out samples of water. Just trying to make a living.
I became friends with Timmy and casually joined the band, doing gigs here and there. Two of the lads had a painting and decorating company (and) if there was a job that was big enough they would all chip in and during work we would rehearse. It was kind of like a free rehearsal room, especially if we were painting over night in an office.
We were waiting to go in to do job and were having a quiet sing outside and a woman started asking questions. (She) was actually in touch with one of the presidents at Warner Brothers who had been meeting with people in America saying 'wouldn't it be great if there was a doo-wop band on the scene?' It was bizarre, right place at the right time.
Where has been your strangest place to perform?
The Queen's Diamond Jubilee on The Mall, that was crazy. We were on a platform and would shout 'wave your flags' and 300,000 flags would start waving. We ended up having cocktails in the palace with Tom Hanks and Stevie Wonder. That was crazy.
Most intimidating performance?
We sang at the Royal Albert Hall for the festival of remembrance and we were asked to sing a Vera Lynn song to celebrate the music of the time. We sang it with a thirty piece brass band, we don't normally perform with a band of that size, we were away on tour so had to fly back to get into London at 5am to get ready to do the show, with a song we had never sung before and the Queen was there. It was a bit intimidating, but it was magical. And she clapped and was smiling. It must have been music that reminded her of her childhood. It was really special.
QH readers travel a lot, for those who have not yet been to Australia where would you recommend?
You need to go and see Sydney, just to say you have done it. It would be like coming to England and not going to London. It is beautiful. It's got big blue skies. If you are in a building in the city centre you can see the beach, (you) could be there in ten minutes jumping in the ocean.
Melbourne is a beautiful city; it's like London in the heat. Melbourne (has) got the art and the culture. Everyone seems to blow their weekly wage on a good haircut but I love them for it.
Where has been your favourite place to visit whilst on tour?
One place that I have come to love is Germany, (it) is an amazing country. There is a time when we were in Germany probably once or twice a week for a year. We just kept flying to Germany. We were touring and doing TV promotions and went everywhere. It was so beautiful, I love the people, I love the food, it is very direct, everything works. It's like England (in that) North, East, South and West are all so different.
Cologne is bonkers. The first night we got there (it was) the last night of Carnival, we walked out of the hotel and there was a dad dressed as a priest, a mum dressed as a hooker and two kids dressed as devils dancing around a bonfire in the middle of the Square. We were like 'what is going on here'. It was Carnival; it's just what you do.
What must QH readers do in London this month?
Go and buy Sweet Soul Music by The Overtones.
Sweet Soul Music is available now on iTunes