Indie trio Chive break into South London’s music scene with EP release – South London News

South London trio Chive have just released a five-record EP, breaking into the music scene with a mix of indie pop and alt-rock.

With Ben Rose, 27, on lead vocals and guitar, Jack Blakey, 28, on drums and flute, and Eben James, 28, on bass, Chive formed during lockdown, having met in 2014 studying drama at Rose Bruford College in Sidcup.

Front man Mr Rose – who appears in the BBC drama This Town and recently returned from tour as Miles Kane’s lead guitarist – spoke to the South London Press about the group’s latest release and how they are navigating the current music scene.

The East Midlands-born artist said: “When we first started we tried to put all our songs into one track – we ended up with four minutes of funk and jazz.

“But acting together and playing together works well and we’ve never been scared of getting rid of songs.”

Chive, clockwise from back left, Jack Blakey, Ben Rose and Eben James (Picture: Freya Parks) 

Releasing their EP, Wet Paint, last month, Chive entices listeners with the description: “Dab to see how wet, don’t lean on it, sit on it right away.”

The release hosts a series of stripped back songs ranging from ballads with minimal adornment to high tempo pop tunes which call to mind bands like the Arctic Monkeys.

Mr Rose said: “Coming up with music together is a process as well as having an end product.

“We released the EP a few weeks ago and we want to build on that – it’s not the pinnacle of everything, we’ve got plenty of time.”

Overall, Wet Paint appears as a tender portrayal of adolescents with lyrics describing the uncertainty, angst and heartbreak of figuring things out. 

Songs sway between all out romance in If Love Wants To Find Me to magpie-eyed anxiety in Worrying, whilst Fiona livens the selection up with a bit of a bite.

Describing the groups influences, Mr Rose said: “We’re like a three way venn diagram – we all have overlaps.

Screenshot 2024 05 16 at 13.36.51Chive recording their EP, Wet Paint (Picture: Chive)

“Our drummer grew up playing trad folk music – he plays the flute so we’ve got that in one of the songs.

“I grew up on indie and rock, listening to David Guilmore, John Mayor, Alex Turner and Lianne La Lahavas, but we all like the same bands and the same kind of music.”

To record Wet Paint, the group locked themselves in an off-grid, solar powered shed in the Yorkshire Dales for two days.

He said: “We already had the songs all written when we went up to the studio, we recorded everything and then added the vocals later.

“I’m really happy with it, the way we recorded it made us feel pretty confident of our takes.”

The EP was then mixed by Sam Lawrence and mastered by Pete Maher – who’s discography includes the likes of U2, Liam and Noel Gallagher, Patti Smith, The Rolling Stones and Nick Cave.

Chive have been performing across South London for the past few months, hosted in venues including the Troubadour in Old Brompton Road, and Windmill Brixton in Brixton Hill. Their latest gig will be at the Amersham Arms in New Cross Road, Deptford, on Saturday night.

Screenshot 2024 05 16 at 13.44.30Ben Rose during a live Chive performance (Picture: Timjpeg)

Mr Rose said: “We have a lot of mates in south east so it means all our friends can come.

“A couple of our friends host an open mic night at the Honor Oak pub which has a great live music community.

“But it’s hard getting bigger gigs – we get messages from directors saying they’ll put us on at venues but they just take advantage.”

Chive are not alone in their struggle. There has been significant focus on grassroots music venues since the pandemic put six of South London’s venues at imminent risk of closing.

At the same time, whilst major artists are netting thousands of fans for their tour performances, fewer people are coming to shows at the small-to-mid-sized end of things.

Even so, Mr Rose is determined to take the hard road, he said: “We’re just trying to chat to people and meet them through music, we’re not asking for favours or getting anyone to open doors.”

Catch Chive this Saturday night at the Amersham Arms in New Cross Road, Deptford.

Wet Paint is out on Spotify https://open.spotify.com/album/08E2FLkOkpMfsZ6mgOjjO3

Pictured top: From left, Jack Blakey, Ben Rose and Eben James (Picture: Freya Parks)

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