If you want to be a singer-songwriter you need to have something special. You have to captivate the audience with not only your voice and music but with mesmerizing, relatable lyrics. Chris Reardon does exactly that with his new single ‘Bends’, a track packed full of melodic riffs, soothing percussion and keys, powerful vocals and heartfelt lyrics. Chris has also released the music video for the single, involving an epic garden party that we can only wish to have been a part of! A fun video that perfectly suits the chilled feel of the song.
Chris will be playing at London’s The Good Ship on the 26th May. You do not want to miss out on seeing this talented young man live who is well on the way to becoming one of the UK’s rising singer-songwriters.
To discuss his latest release, Chris spoke with Gig Soup‘s Tara Atkinson.
Congratulations on your new single ‘Bends’, how does it feel to release it into the world?
Thank you very much. It feels amazing. I’ve been in the studio writing and recording for the past year, so it feels amazing to finally put some music out.
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Tell us a little bit about the inspiration behind the song?
‘Bends’ was written over the course of 2 years. The verses were written when I was living in Camde just after the break up with a long-term partner, someone I had been with since university. The chorus and outro were written much later. It was a tricky tune to get right, the song moves continuously from two time signatures so getting the song to flow was a fun challenge.
I produced ‘Bends’ with my friend and drummer Simeon Boys-Laten. I really wanted to capture an organic sound and we spent time working out how we were going to achieve this. The song is about longing and loss, and about the strange and disorientating ability to make you hold on to pain for too long. There’s a sense of realisation that this is part of the journey and not the whole journey. I tend to let the subconscious drive the writing of songs and then consciously mould it from there, so sometimes it’s hard to know where the songs come from. I don’t like to think about it too much even though I spend a long time trying to get it right.
How would you explain your sound to someone who’s never heard any of your music before?
Singer/songwriter, 60’s inspired blues/folk/rock.
What’s involved in your creative process?
The creative process is very mysterious and multi-dimensional. What I mean by this is that it happens on many levels and is an ongoing and always moving process. Sometimes songs just fall out of the sky and happen – in the moment, of its time and it has usually been building underneath to the point where you can feel the song coming. Those are the ones I really love and the songs I continually strive for. I think this process is a build up of what you’ve been consuming at the time: books, films, art, music and what you’re going through on a personal level, then it’s all internalized and something happens one day when you’re messing around on the guitar or walking down the street. A lot of the time it happens just before I go to sleep in a kind of meditative state. I go with the flow and follow the song.
The composition, lyrics, melody and arrangement usually happen all at the same time. I then mull the song over and mould it in my head to how I want it. I spend time going back to the lyrics making sure I’m saying what I want to say and getting the balance right between the sub-conscious writing from the initial moment and consciously sculpting. Writing a song can take from 5 minutes to a couple hours, days, weeks, months, years; it really depends, but it’s that mysticism in the process and the ever-changing puzzle that keeps me excited to always write and search.
Can you explain your backstory into music and who some of your main influences are?
My parents have great taste in music and always played music around the house. They have quite eclectic tastes but I remember always hearing James Taylor, The Beatles, Carol King and a lot of 60’s rock n roll. My Dad gave me ‘Led Zeppelin II’ when I was 11 years old and that changed everything for me. From that moment on, all I wanted to do was play guitar and listen to music with any guitar in it.
After leaving school I went to Bournemouth University to study Business. Music was still very much a personal thing. I never thought it would go anywhere but it was the thing I spent all my time doing; songwriting, teaching myself music theory and production. Then a friend and I posted an Ed Sheeran cover on YouTube thinking nothing of it and the video kind of went viral around the town. Promoters and bookers started contacting us, and within a week we were booked to support Maverick Sabre! I decided to quickly form a band and put out an ad at the university bulletin board. We named the band ‘The Cramatics’ and off we went to play the show. We played a mixture of covers and a couple songs I’d written; we were pretty awful but we were lucky enough to be invited back as the resident band.
Towards the end of my time in Bournemouth I discovered the music of Gregory Alan Isakov. For me it was like the time my Dad gave me that Zeppelin album when I was a kid. A serendipitous and special connection, which is hard to explain (and always sounds horribly cringe when I try), but it’s strange why people connect with certain artists, it’s something no one can explain. I think what I take mostly from it is digging deep, allowing yourself to be vulnerable and relying more on subconscious writing. I think the whole journey influences your music, writing and who you are.
Having spent your childhood in Hong Kong, what’s one thing you miss from back home?
The food. I don’t really look at Hong Kong as my home anymore but definitely the food.
You’ve also just released the video for ‘Bends’, what’s the concept behind it?
I just wanted something really fun and feel good, and to get together with my friends and family (both my sisters are in the music video) and have a laugh. After spending so much time writing, recording and mixing the record, I just wanted to do something fun and celebratory.
Do you have any memorable moments from filming?
We filmed the video in January and it was absolutely freezing! There were a lot of funny moments but I think my mate falling in the pool has gotta be up there. It was absolutely hilarious!
What can we expect from you over the next few months?
I’ll be releasing a lot more music throughout the year, some cool B-sides and alternative versions of singles and a lot more shows coming up. I’ve also been putting together a series of ink drawing illustrations that will be released later this year. Some of my friends are amazing artists and photographers too; I’d love to put on an exhibition and live music, that would be really cool.
‘Bends’ is out now via Strange Comfort Records.