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With each being able to boast a strong musical pedigree, singer/songwriters Ben Parker and Kate Aumonier have come together as Chains, making their own brand of beautiful acoustic/electronic folk. Currently gigging and with an album due out next year, they’ll be taking time out to play at The Rehearsal Room’s live event in November. Ben told me more about the band.

What’s your story?
Kate & I met in 2007 when she was looking for co-writers to work with on her 2nd solo album. I heard her voice and was blown away. She had, and still has in my opinion, one of the best female voices I’ve ever heard.

Describe your sound
We started with folk and the American singer songwriter tradition of the 70′s but have tweaked that to make our own version of acoustic/electronic folk. With a large dose of atmosphere to help paint the musical backdrop.

Is your songwriting collaborative or do you write separately? Where do you write?
We work together but also separately. I tend to write well at home. Usually when I’m pushed for time. When I’m waiting for a cab or about to go out and am running late something will strike me as a good concept so I’ll follow it up by picking up a guitar. Kate writes a lot on trains when she’s travelling around London. We can bring all these together in my studio and knock it all together. We also have a friend, James, who often comes in to work with us on the songs. He helps us get a fresh perspective on our overall angle. Sometimes you’re too close.

What’s your previous experience in other bands and the other types of musical work you also do now.
I was in a late 90′s/00′s band called Ben&Jason. We were signed to Universal and released 4 albums which are out there and I’m still immensely proud of. Now, alongside my work with Chains, I produce & develop new artists and have worked quite a lot in TV & film tutoring actors to play musical instruments or sing on screen. Kate released a solo record in 2003 after being discovered by Glyn Johns (known for his production work with the Eagles, The Rolling Stones etc.) Glyn adored Kate’s voice the minute he heard it and pretty soon he had her in the studio singing with Emmy Lou Harris & Linda Rondstadt on their ‘Tuscon Sessions’ album. After that went on to work with his son Ethan (Kings Of Leon, Ray Lamontagne, Laura Marling). Then she met me and we started singing together.

Does the current state of the music industry make it a more painful place to be?
Being wiser & older (and greyer!) is helpful but it can also make you more cynical. The important thing is look at your creative vision and assess what’s real about it and what you can action. I love that Joel A Barker quote (American futurist/author) “Vision without action is merely a dream. Action without vision just passes the time. Vision with action can change the world”. I think that’s a really important thing when dealing with your own creativity as you get older.

What’s your take on how young bands/ are marketed now?
Hmm. I think there’s a very large canvas young artists can spread themselves (sometimes literally) across. The internet is a swirling void of energy that can do so much for you but you have to treat it with care. I think back to when I started out in a band before the internet. I remember actually posting gig listings to our mailing list. It felt more personal then and now any kind of reminder runs the risk of feeling like spam. But these are exciting times. Best to embrace them and use them positively.

What have you got planned for Chains?
We’re keen to get out across the UK this Autumn. We get such a great response everywhere we play and getting out of London is always good. We just need to start spreading our wings and making friends outside of the playground. The album is made and will be released next year but I think we’re going to try and do as much to build things before the release as possible.

Chains will be playing live at The Rehearsal Room’s first live event, The Rehearsal Room Presents, on November 19th at Tara Arts. See ‘Events’ for more info