Welcome to our latest installment of 10 Questions, the incisive series of interviews where we ask the various musical personalities who orbit our Desert Mine sphere some probing questions about their art/craft.
This week we tracked down the roaming troubadour Chris Helme. Chris, formerly of the UK rock group Chutzpah, has built up a reputation as a nomadic minstrel delivering songs of fire and passion into the hearts of audiences across the nation. And this year he teamed up with Desert Mine's Sam Forrest to record his second solo album 'The Rookery' which is due out later this year.
The recording for this album took place in a hectic two week session in a gothic mansion set amidst the Yorkshire Dales and will be reviewed on this webblog upon its release.
So without further ado, we put Chris in an iron chamber, surrounded him with barbed wire and force-fed him these questions:
1. When you write songs, which bit of the song do you write first? The beginning or the end?
It all depends on my mood, and where Sagiarius is in relation Tesco's but on a tuesday I start in the middle and work outwards in a brisk circular motion, leaving the outer edges slightly ragged and creased.
2. Have you ever tried playing guitar and singing at the same time?
Yes. It's very liberating, for both parties.
3. How does it feel to be publicly acclaimed as 'the saviour of nu-folk'?
I wouldn't know. Ask Benjamin Francis Leftwich. He gets that all the time.
4. Why do you either stand or sit when you play live?
I forget which one I decided upon in the dressing room. So I panic...
5. Can you sing faster than you can play guitar?
Yes. And no. It's all relative. I prefer to sing slower, leaning towards a backwards trajectionary of 37 degrees. It's a time travel thing. You'd never understand, so don't ask.
6. If you were giving advice to an aspiring singer-songwriter, at which point would you tell them to 'stay true to themselves'?
Probably somewhere amongst: ' Its a shit business, I was in a band once you know, Creme Bruile, here have a tape, it's my new demo.... promises are written on the water... I've heard they attract bears..... Carpe Diem!.. Don't be scared, just imagine they are all naked..... smile and the whole world will smile back atcha, kid, you're a star, you are the one and only...one in the hand is worth two in the bush......now there's the pot calling the kettle black....where there's muck there's brass ... be careful what you wish for....many a mickle makes a muckle...he who laughs last doen't get the joke...
7. What is the best tantrum that you have thrown onstage?
There's been so many. I was magnificent every single time. I'm very consistant in that area. However, modesty prevents me from expanding on the matter. You were there. You are always...there.
8. Does it matter that if a song makes absolutely no sense either lyrically or musically?
Nonsense is the language of the free.
9. What is the furthest distance that you have ever carried an amplifier?
http://g.co/maps/bwzjd It took forever, but it was worth it. My left arm drags on the floor a bit now, so I'm looking forward to the return journey, for purely aesthetic reasons.
10. If you had to wear either a) leather trousers b) ear-muffs or c) a cape onstage, which would you select and why?
If I had to? I would wear ear muffs, if only to dampen the cutting shrill of the choir of godless and unforgiven souls who ceaselessly tear at my flesh and scrape at my bones with their tales of misfortune and woe. Anyway, my my arse is too big for leather pants. Apparently Jim Morrisson's leather pants smelt of cheesey mushrooms. Capes are a bit pointless really. What use are they? They don't keep the wind or cold out, do they? Super heroes should have worn snorkel parkas or cagools. Harder to draw but never the less a damn sight more practical, if you ask me...which, correct me if I'm wrong.... you regretfully did.