If you had to describe your style in a sentence, what would you say?
How did you get into making music together as a band?
We all met at in the same class at university and then started spending all our time with each other, getting familiar with our collective music taste, queuing songs in Mikey’s tiny box of a student room all huddled on a bed. We used to do these things we’d call the Kitchen Sessions, but it would just be us and some friends jamming in the kitchen using whatever we could find – fire extinguishers, sides of sofas for kick drums, tea cups, guitars, scat singing and improvising as we went along. Often annoying our housemates – whoops.
Can you pinpoint the piece of music that made you feel the band was on to something?
Jake and Liam made Dr Marvelo And His Best Friend Corkie within the first 48 hours of knowing each other, which is pretty crazy looking back on it. The first record that we sampled was Klaatu’s 3:47 EST after finding it in the bargain bucket at Dig Vinyl in Liverpool; that was the beginning of everything, really.
None of you are from Merseyside originally, but it brought you all together. How do you think the place comes out in what you do?
Liverpool is a cultural and historical landmark and I think we felt that the moment we arrived. What we love is that people aren’t afraid to experiment and be a bit weird here. It was also all our first time away from home, moving to a new city where no one really knew us. This gave us the freedom to be whatever we wanted to be and that made it easy to get into a really creative headspace.
What’s your earliest live music experience that really meant something to you?
Ricky – Villagers
Jake – Skindred
Michael – The Pigeon Detectives
Liam – Leeds Festival 2016
What do you think is the overriding influence on your songwriting: other art, emotions, current affairs – or a mixture of all of these?
The album sounds the way it does because there is no overriding influence. It’s just a product of our collective experience, subconscious, taste, opinions, influences and a lot of recording into the early hours simply because we were having fun doing it. Our method of songwriting is far too subconscious to directly even know where the ideas are coming from. There have been many songs where we discover after it’s done what it was actually about!
If you could support any artist in the future, who would it be?
Kanye for President 2020!
For the benefit of someone who hasn’t been to any of your house parties, can you explain what makes them special?
We wanted to make a party that we would want to go to. We went to raves, but always felt underwhelmed by the scenery and so we decided to renovate every room in our house and open the doors every month. A couple of our super talented designer friends helped us set it up over a loooong week! There’s a comfy room covered in mattresses, a nature room, a mirror room, as well as a UV painted room for the heavy ravers. Also, each room loosely mirrored themes of the album so we saw it as much as an art installation as a party house; after all, the house was the first real world thing a lot people saw of Chinatown Slalom before our music was fully released.
Why is music important to you?
Jake: I love that shit.
Michael: It makes my feet tap.
Ricky: It’s all I’ve ever done.
Liam: It’s a good tool for getting things out your system.
Can you recommend an artist, band or album that Bido Lito! readers might not have heard?
Chinatown Slalom’s debut album Who Wants To Be A Millionaire is out now via September Recordings.