by Danielle Holian
For our readers, please describe what you do.
I’m a musician. I write songs. I’d rather be writing and making music that just about anything else. I find super talented and creative people who are also willing to work their butts off to realize my vision. One of the reasons I’m so optimistic about my craft is that I don’t think I’ve written my best songs yet.
Who or what are your influences?
There are so many. Neil Young and Wilco are probably my favorite bands to see live. And I love how unique Neutral Milk Hotel sounds. But my influences are probably more classic – Van Morrison, the Police, Bowie and of course Talking Heads. There’s so much great stuff out there today, and I try to go out to see as many new bands in NYC and the SF Bay area as I can.
What can we expect from your upcoming album?
I’m super proud of my latest, the Redhead’s Allegations. I had most of my life to write this album, as I hadn’t recorded in some time prior to starting on the Redhead’s Allegations. Some of those songs were written a long time ago. For example, the song Shayna was originally conceived in a hotel room while I was living in Mumbai. And working with Jerry Harrison and ET Thorngren as my production team, I really wanted to try different styles and approaches with those songs. On this new album, most of the songs were written over the past year. So there’s sort of an inherent freshness to the whole album. I’ve put together a fantastic band of NYC musicians, and I believe we’ve got four or five strong singles on this new album. I can’t wait to share it with the world.
Tell us a bit about the songwriting process for you.
I really enjoyed reading David Byrne’s book where he describes how he creates. In fact, one of my favorite things is to talk with other artists and musicians about the creative process. Everyone has their own approach when it comes to writing. For me…. I get ideas at the most random times. While walking through the streets of NYC or riding the subway. When an idea strikes, I’m usually able to scribble down a lyric or two or sing a melody into my phone. My phone is jammed packed with these types of ideas. And so when I actually sit down to write something, I’ll often go through those mini recordings. Sometimes, one of those ideas really speaks to me. It might be something that I did months ago and had long since forgotten. But I hear it again – and the initial recording on my phone sort of implores me to make it into a song.
What would you consider to be the incisive moment in your artistic career?
I’ve had a bunch of great moments, and have worked with ridiculously talented people. I recorded my first E.P. at 13 with legendary music producer Jimmy Ienner. I worked on some fantastic songs with Bob Blank, who was a masterful engineer. And then more recently, the opportunity to work with Jerry Harrison and ET Thorngren was probably the highlight. But as I said, I feel as if I’m just getting started.
Where can people view your music?
You can check out my videos on YouTube. I’m also on iTunes and Amazon and Google Music. Chapell’s Website: website, Soundcloud, Spotify, Facebook.
Any last words?
I’m particularly proud of my live show, and its great to see that my shows are starting to get some attention. I try to be as entertaining as I can be, but I guess that every musician feels that way. One music critic described one of my concerts as “a game show hosted by a manic but charismatic leader of a Brooklyn-based religious cult.” I have absolutely no idea what he meant by that, but I kind of like it. And I hope he keeps coming out to see my show.
Interviewed by Danielle Holian (Instagram, Twitter, Linkedin, Facebook)