Tuesday, 4 December 2007


Introducing... feature for The Skinny

Exactly a year ago, The Skinny wrote about a young Edinburgh band called The Rushes, who were creating a little buzz around the city after winning support slots with acts like The Fratellis, The Kooks and New Young Pony Club. Back then, frontman Daniel James Abercrombie said: “Next year I want us to succeed and for people to enjoy what we’re doing.” Just months later, The Rushes ceased to be, but that isn’t the end of the story. “That petered out,” Daniel says now. “We hit a brick wall with it about a year ago. We scrapped all the songs and started again: new name, new outlook. We’re a new entity, something completely different”, he asserts.

Despite running out of fuel while doing reasonably well as The Rushes, The Artists Now Known As Chutes are full of optimism for their new project. In just a few months they’ve already played to a packed T Break tent at T in the Park, and recorded BBC radio sessions for Steve Lamacq and Vic Galloway. Daniel is encouraged by the capital’s eternally burgeoning music scene: “We’re doing gigs with other Edinburgh bands that are challenging each other, playing together and inspiring each other. We’ve been part of the Edinburgh music scene for ten years, and there’s never been a better time than now. I often just walk around the place, I find it really inspiring.”

But he remains level-headed about the chances of succeeding in a music industry still trying to get to grips with the revolutionary effects of the internet: “There’s so many bands up on MySpace that are not going to get anywhere. You have to be realistic - to get to that level of success you need to be well marketed and there has to be a marketplace for you. You can make an album that a couple of thousand people really love but that’s not enough to pay your bills. There are bands like Aereogramme that never broke through to that next level but have made some amazing music.”

Chutes are at the comfortable state where they can pick and choose the gigs they want to play. When we meet them, they're supporting trendy New York afro-beat combo Vampire Weekend, and do a much better job of animating the crowd than the esteemed headliners. They clearly know how to write a hook, and Daniel looks like he’s been a frontman all his life. Their tunes are razor-sharp and call to mind local heroes Idlewild and Geordie upstarts Maximo Park. A year ago Daniel said “We need to get a wee break to progress to the next level.” Tonight he says “We’ve pretty much taken it as far as we can on our own, the next thing is getting involved with the industry.”

That's the same final step Rushes faltered at last year. Perhaps in a year we'll be writing again about a new incarnation of Daniel and his band-mates, back on their feet again after another re-think. As it is, Chutes are positioning themselves for the ever-anticipated Edinburgh boom around the corner. It may never come, but if it does, the least Chutes can expect is to be carried onwards and upwards in the slipstream.

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