The Creaking Chair is the brain child of Andrew AC Cooper. Their sound flows through psychedelic folk into a mellow 60s/70s rock that is surrounded by ideas of experimental electronica. Andrew’s hollowing yet arresting vocals lie above whimsical melodies that take a caressing hold of each ear they hit. I first saw The Creaking Chair do a support slot for The Wave Pictures at the Green Door Store, where they beguiled a captured audience, leaving a long lasting image. I put some questions to Andrew to find out more about him and the upcoming release of Pieceworker.
Can you remember the first album you brought/owned?
Belle and Sebastian – Dear Catastrophe Waitress.
What was the first instrument you played and when?
The Cornet – it’s like a trumpet but smaller. I was five and the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band probably had a big part in that decision.
What drives you to write music?
Because I'm not very good at making visual art.
How did The Creaking Chair come about?
I came to Brighton in 2008, met up with some musicians in that time from which The Creaking Chair started to develop. I moved from Guildford in 2008 to study Photographic Arts at Northbrook College in Worthing. In the second year of that I started to play music, and then moved to Brighton. I was starting to play a kind of neu-folk or anti-folk sound, and it slowly developed as my influences grew into more psych-folk and psychedelic rock.
Is there a story behind the name?
The Creaking Chair is a noir, mystery, thriller novel by Laurence Meynell. I wrote the lyrics “a creaking chair.” in an early song, and I then discovered the book. At the time I liked the imagery and the novel-esque title. I think the “The” is important. We have been known as the 'Creaking Chairs', which is nice.
How would you briefly describe your music?
Somewhere between English folk, world music and electronica.
What inspires your lyrics?
In the broadest sense – history, nature, memories, technology, politics.
How do you approach the writing process?
I hide away and bury myself into a subject or interest.
Do you prefer writing music or performing live?
I like them in equal measure, but I also like composing other pieces for other projects.
Tell us a bit about Pieceworker?
Pieceworker was written on guitar, a few simple chords with an English folk-style melody and vocal. I was writing about the history of workers rising up and demanding more for their output. I'm interested in the idea of 'piecework', especially being a musician. The record has been lathe cut on to plastic on one side only and the artwork by Ozzy Ellis is all unique. I think that's significant.
There is a strong theme on the video for ‘Pieceworker’, where did the idea come from?
The idea for the video, which was directed by Esther Springett, is from a dream I had. I was collecting storm systems, clouds and thunder, like a storm catcher, and selling them all on, on some sort of eBay platform. That's pretty much the video in a nutshell.
What else have you been up to?
I have some handmade cassettes available on Bandcamp. Side A was recorded straight to a Sony TCM-939 recorder and is a song called 'His Name Is Andrew'. Side B is multi-tracked and a version of ABBA's 'The Day Before You Came'. On face value you'd think the pairing is odd, but there are some similarities. 'His Name Is Andrew' was originally written by David Ackles. It's more famously covered by Martin Carthy. I prefer Carthy's version as he brings out the simple beauty of the words and the chord changes. The song is essentially about loneliness and faith. I was hooked on the line 'he works at the canning factory' – such great imagery. The ABBA track was their second-to-last single and I believe it charted poorly. I first heard it on a Grayson Perry playlist on BBC 6 Music several years ago. It's a forgotten gem, in fact it's a masterpiece. Again, it is essentially about loneliness and routine. I like how both songs are quite linear and confessional. 'The Day Before Came' sounds almost like an integration. In ‘His Name Is Andrew' the narrator changes to first person at the end. Definitely worth checking out the originals!
What has been a musical eye-opener?
Realising that music can be addictive – ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ on repeat for 20 times or picking up the acoustic guitar and picking chords non-stop for hours.
What music are you listening to at the moment, any recommendations?
Sorry if this is boring… but I recommend occasional silence. In reality, I mean listen to the world around you. We live in a world of beautiful drones.
What are your future plans till the end of the year and after?
The album is out in September – I might play a gig in Iceland (the country that is).
Order Pieceworker HERE.
Photo credited to Marta Gomez