If you have ever attended a music festival, chances are, on the lead up to the event you will have scoured the line-up, on the hunt for your potentially new favourite band. Before heading to The Fest in Gainesville last October, I stumbled across Brooklyn-based four piece Chumped, who play hook-laden indie punk with plenty of punch.
Evidently, a great deal of other people had done the same, as Chumped seemed to be one of the most talked about bands before the Fest weekend. Their set in Florida was well-received, with a great crowd singing along and creating a party atmosphere.
A few months on, we spoke to the band during their north-east US tour with their “beautiful and amazing” friends Adult Dude to find out about their pre-gig rituals, who they look up to and their long-term plans…
There was a good amount of hype surrounding you before your set at Fest. Were you aware of any of it? Were you surprised by the attention at all?
The fact that anyone came to see us at Fest (besides our friends that we paid to be there) was a total shock. We were really surprised that anyone even knew who we were, let alone wanted to come and see us play. So we were humbled by all of the people who mistakenly showed up thinking they were watching Andrew Jackson Jihad…
There are split opinions on whether female-fronted bands should be/need to be described as such. What are your views?
Anytime you label something, you risk pigeon holing it. Tagging a band as “female-fronted” can be helpful for people who want to specifically seek out music with female lead vocals. I like listening to other women sing and I appreciate being able to more easily find bands headed by ladies (even though that means a million different things sonically).
However, there are still a lot of people who won’t listen to “bands with girl singers”. Those people probably might not even give a record a chance if it was labelled “female-fronted”.
The label, like every label, is limiting and complicated and not exactly necessary but if it means I can find and support other women playing music without pulling teeth than I’m proud to be in a “female-fronted” punk band.
Do any of you have any pre-gig rituals?
We borrow our roommate’s old Volvo hatchback to go to a lot of our shows. The only CD he had in there for like, three months straight was ‘Queer Salutations’ by Teenage Cool Kids. So by default (and choice) it kinda became ritual for us to listen to that record and air guitar to it while en route to shows. We wish Parquet Courts would just die so that band could get back together already.
What are the long-term plans/aspirations for the band? Do you ever think about where you’d want to be in one, two or five years’ time?
Right now, we’re trying to balance doing this band thing more with “real life” (the proverbial band story). It’s hard to imagine us doing anything different as a band but hanging out, playing songs and being goofy five years from now. I guess our long-term plan is to play music until we’re sick of each other which will be never because we love each other too much, so Chumped forever?
If you could pick four albums to take with you to a desert island, what would they be and why?
We decided to all choose one album:
Doug: Graceland, ‘cause it rules.
Drew: Sam Cooke – Live at the Harlem Square Club, because it’s got the party tracks when I feel like sipping piñas and the sad tracks when the realisation of being stranded on a desert island sets in.
Anika: Death Cab for Cutie – Transatlanticism, because I’d like to die pretending it’s my freshman year in high school.
Dan: I’d want music that fits with the atmosphere so maybe, like, Jimmy Buffet – Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes.
What is the most fun/important aspect of playing in a band for you?
Playing music together is something we look forward to doing every week and helps us forget about all the other shit we hate. It gives all of us a reason to hang out and be dumb with each other. We mostly do it for the free beer but friendship is cool too.
What bands do you look up to in terms of music style and how they conduct themselves?
We’re really into Kenny Loggins or Billy Joel before he got a DUI… Also, we all agree that Superchunk, Swearin’, Pixies and Jawbreaker have all influenced the way we sound. In terms of who we look up to, Bomb the Music Industry, Bikini Kill and Paint It Black are three bands who we respect whole heartedly and if we could be them when we grow up, we would.
With sales of physical music plummeting, what do you think is the best way to get fans to pay for music?
We’re way more concerned with people listening to our music than buying it. We like that people can stream it all online whenever they want.
People are going to listen to music on the internet without paying for it but a lot of people are willing to support you by throwing you some bones to take something home. There’s still something really special about bringing home a record.
What does 2014 hold for the band?
We’re trying to release a full length, tour more, make it over to Europe and learn the theme song to Pete & Pete.
Listen to the band’s six-track self-titled record here: http://chumped.bandcamp.com/