Friday 24 May 2019

Chapter and verse

The credit crunch came close to sinking one of the country's finest prospects

Fans who enjoyed the chapters rocking out at Oxegen probably had no idea how close the global economic crash had come to scuppering the band whose debut album Perfect Stranger has been earning rave reviews.

"We'd been talking to an investment company who were setting up a new label in Ireland," explains frontman Turlough Gunawardhana. "We'd done about 30 demos and we were ready to record the album. Then the whole thing crashed completely. They had investments in other areas and were with a certain bank which collapsed. Come the recession, that was us gone."

With their deal all but signed, The Chapters were already discussing the project with top international producers. "They were all into it," says Turlough.

One of the names in the frame to work with the band was Ethan Johns. "They had asked us to pick producers we might like to work with," recalls Turlough. "We went on the influences we had. Artists like the Kings of Leon, Talking Heads and Ryan Adams. We wanted someone who was on the same wavelength."

Despite this serious setback, The Chapters resolved to keep going. The band has been together for five years and as Turlough says: "We hang out together. We care about each other like brothers. That's probably why we've lasted."

Having built an reputation for excellence among their peers, The Chapters weren't without record company interest for long.

"We realised that we had the songs and were ready to record an album," says Turlough. "It was through The Coronas that we signed with 3u Records. We'd been friends with the band and Danny, the lead singer, introduced us to Joe O'Reilly who runs the label. He liked one of our demos and said he wanted to do the album."

The band's Trying to Get Ahead is released tomorrow as the second single from Perfect Stranger. "We worry that people mightn't pick up on the album," confides Turlough. "But there are strong singles on it. The label thinks we have six singles, which seems crazy."

With further high-profile gigs lined up for Arthur's Day, Castlepalooza and as support to Ocean Colour Scene at Indiependence, The Chapters seem set to ride out these recessionary times.

This evening they play an acoustic set on the DART as part of the transport system's 25th anniversary celebrations.

"Ourselves, David Kitt and Jerry Fish are appearing," reveals Turlough. "It's going to be hilarious."

Having survived, The Chapters now have to contend with people telling them how well they're doing. "We oblivious to that," says Turlough. "Admittedly, we're getting nice radio play from 2fm, 98fm and some other stations. But for us it's important that the music is progressing." - Ec

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