The Correspondents interview

Some of the FAULT team went to see The Correspondents again last Saturday.  The entire venue was packed to the rafters – we actually don’t have any pictures of yet another amazing(ly sweaty) performance from Mr Bruce (Ian) and Mr Chuckles (Tim) as there wasn’t enough room to position our hips, let alone our cameras. To make up for that we decided to post our interview with them from FAULT Issue 6, along with some of the exclusive photos and extra content that didn’t make it into the issue.

To get your copy of FAULT 6, check out the issues page –

To see a clip from our filmed interview, go to the FAULT Film section –

Shot 7 in 72dpi (Custom)
All images ©Ben Johnson for FAULT Magazine

FAULT: Tell us a bit about how the Correspondents dream was born?

IAN: The dream? I think it all happened by accident…

TIM: We grew up in the same area, and did little bits and bobs, then after university we moved back to Wandsworth, and brought our separate skills together.

IAN: Chucks was in Leeds and I was in Edinburgh, I was working as an MC and Chuckles was working as an array of hip hop with jazz and swing samples.

How did you decide to fuse these things together?

TIM: We just messed about, got bored…

How did you decide upon the name?

IAN: The name came from the shoes I was wearing, they’re known as Correspondents. Actually, it’s more than that – I personally see it as the way that we work, in the sense that Chuckles will make something, pass it over to me, I’ll have a little look at it and think about writing some lyrics, give it back to chucks, and there’s this sort of correspondence going on all the time between us.

In terms of your style you’ve been variously described as an electro, electro-swing, swing-hop…It’s pretty clear that your style fits in with the current ‘vintage scene’. Do you see yourself as participating in any particular movement of music and or style?

TIM: Sort of, I mean you could class a lot of what we do as electro swing, but a lot of it isn’t. I think genre names are sort of handy for everyone apart from the bands. It’s a justifiable thing to give everything a genre and it’s easier to market and create nights for it and that’s fair enough.

IAN: The UK love doing that…

TIM: I think we just make the music we like. People are probably surprised by the music that we’re going to start putting out because it’s not going to be really swingy or vintage because we don’t really listen to that type of music.

IAN: Chucks has been very busy making music that I can’t even describe. It’s kind of boogie-woogie-crunky electro. We try to resist categorization; we used to do a lot of cabaret stuff, nightclubs, and you know, things will happen as they happen.

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Tell us about your influences?

TIM: Musically, the great hip hop producers. Cut Chemist is the one guy I constantly try to emulate and fail, basically. A lot of ‘glitch’ hip hop, like Danny Brakes, and Mr Scruff obviously. I listen to a bit of everything really; I’m influenced more by music you hear on the off-chance, and I think ‘oh God, I wish I could make that’ and then you try and emulate it.

IAN: I was obsessed with drum and base from the age of 15, and now I listen to pretty much anything that comes my way. I really got into the Flaming Lips, I’ve been seeing them a lot at festivals and their live stage shows really blew my mind. I’ve really enjoyed the XX, too.

Because your own influences are so eclectic, a lot of people have dubbed your music as just ‘good to dance to’. Are you happy with that sort of tag?

TIM: I would say it’s completely fair enough at the moment, because we haven’t released any music and the only times people hear it are when they’re dancing to it. Our first release will hopefully have a bit more depth.

IAN: I think no-one has actually had the chance to listen to Chucks’ production; you listen to our songs on a big sound systems and it sounds great, but there’s going to be a real difference when you sit down with a pair of headphones and properly hear the production, and the lyrics as well. Maybe it’ll change people’s impressions of us, but I don’t really mind what they think.

Tell us a bit more about the EP?

IAN: Well it’s a real mix of old and new. There’s a track like Washington square which has been around for ages, our first and only music video was for it, then we have more recent ones, like ‘What Happened to Soho’, and then a track that Chucks has literally just made. It was really last minute in the studio adding lyrics to it.

TIM: That’s ‘Bad Rags and Boogie’; it’s quite complex and glitchy.

IAN: I hope it’s going to be a bit of a ‘marmite’ track.

So there’s no real standard methodology to what you do Mr. Chuckles, it’s just a case of as and when you’re going to work with something?

TIM: Yeah, it depends how the mood takes you. I think as with most creative people, I do a lot of musical doodles, and then you see which ones work and can go with them, and it depends what sort of music I’m listening to at the time, what I’m bored with.

IAN: It’s quite difficult with the influences, I mean we’re both really into Janelle Monáe, and it is tough when you really like something, you play it over and over again, and you start to phrase things like that person, and then you have to twist it until it becomes your own.

Tell us about the collaborative projects you’re involved with, with Hin and Monkiki?

IAN: We owe a huge amount to those boys! Hin came and saw us and told us that he’d like to help us rebrand. Henry is a graphic design genius, and Hin helps with everything. He’s doing this promo video for us and he’s done a website, MySpace, all sorts. In terms of our online presence I don’t know where we’d be without him. Probably a lot poorer.

Who would you most like to collaborate with?

IAN: I think musically its tricky because part of the charm of the Correspondents is our interaction on stage. Getting a big band would diffuse that. With really big gigs I’d love to get a horn section, get some backing singers and dancers. Basically, though, the idea is to keep electronic, as its quite an important part of our identity.

Shot 12 in 72dpi (Custom)
Top row (l-r): Sinbad Phgura (of the Twilight Players), Hin Chiu (of Hin Studio –, Jimi ‘The Quiff’ (of Twilight Players), Fred Rigby (prop designer), Henry Ho (of Monkiki –, George Hamilton (music Video Director); bottom row (l-r): Isobel Webster (costume designer), Tim & Ian (The Correspondents), Carly Hague (costume designer)

 What has been your most memorable performance?

IAN: They differ so much. We’ll do something like Bestival main stage, which has been our biggest gig to date, when we’re playing to about 20000 people, and its huge. We had the Twilight Players with us, the conveyor belts, everything, a full-ish stage set up. A lot of planning went into that as well so it felt like a properly organized show. That was great, it was the first gig where we played entirely our own material. Normally when Chucks is DJ-ing he’ll intermingle different pieces by other artists.

However, later on we did a much smaller gig at Bestival, in the cabaret tent, and it was completely raucous, I performed on a table but fell off, sadly.

TIM: That was great… I feel that you get the most existential satisfaction out of the smaller gigs. People talk and it’s memorable with someone. It’s intimate.

IAN: Some of the best gigs are when something goes wrong.

What are you looking forward to for the future?

IAN: Doing some travelling, keeping it going. We’ve done a lot which has been quite London-centric. It’s nice to do something for audiences that don’t know you. Breaking in a new crowd is fun!

TIM: I’m looking forward to putting our new music to scrutiny, all our music out there is three years old, when we were just starting out.

When is your album due to be released?

TIM: Our EP, which is like a mini-album of six tracks, was released on February 14th.

IAN: Take your lovely lady friend to buy our EP!

What is your FAULT?

TIM: I’m too much of a perfectionist sometimes. I work too hard, probably; I don’t know when to relax.

IAN: We’re not too good at saying no to stuff, we get absolutely knackered! Perhaps some little breaks.

TIM: Too much gigging, definitely. It means it’s really hard to record some bloody music!

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