The vocals in your new single, "When you were mine", are commanding and powerful alongside some equally amazing guitar solos. What's the story behind this song?
The Rising: Chantelle: When You Were Mine was created by both of us just watching a lot of movies over lockdown. We grew fascinated with the idea of writing a song like a movie screenplay. Many of our songs come from personal experience. But we thought that it would be nice to try a new approach, a kind of "imagine this" scenario. We stumbled upon the idea of crossing a line with someone close to you, what the consequences would be and how it may change everything with that person. You wouldn’t go back, but for that brief moment in time, that person was yours. Even if it wasn't meant to be.
Chris: The song originally started out as a ballad and was quite soft and reflective. But one day I happened to be tracking another song that had really distorted guitars. So I played the chords to "You Were mine" in a really aggressive way. Chantelle joined in with a Debbie Harry meets Haley Williams style vocal. Then, the version of the song you hear before you was born. A true example of letting the song follow its own path and not settling on the first idea.
How did you two meet and decide to start a band together?
The Rising: Chris: We first met randomly when we happened to be in a Dolly Parton tribute show (things you do for money). I was the guitarist/banjo player and Chantelle was one of the vocalists in the show. The way the show worked we really just passed in the corridor and saw each other on stage, with no real interaction. It was only when I happened to see Chantelle performing one of her own songs at a local open mic night that I found out that she wrote songs. I was really impressed and from then we started co-writing, initially just for fun, then for other artists, and then eventually it was a case of "why aren’t we putting these songs out ourselves". We haven’t really looked back since.
How did your move back to Belfast, Northern Ireland impact your careers? Was it disruptive or disheartening at all?
The Rising: Chris: It was everything, disruptive, disheartening, depressing, and everything in between. But quite simply, we ran out of money and we had to move back in with our parents in Northern Ireland before we got into serious financial trouble. But, we were faced with two choices: quit music and get normal jobs or move back home and build up our resources again with the goal of moving back.
We try to be optimistic about things in life. So we knew that the move would have disastrous effects on our careers. It wasn’t going to be as easy to tour or play live. So knew we had to alter the way we do things. So with lockdowns, we saw an opportunity in harnessing the power of the internet to connect directly with our fanbase. With this, our weekly live streams were born, allowing us to connect with people all over the world and create our own community. In essence, we were thinking internationally instead of locally and regionally. As part of this, we decided that we would release music every six weeks in order to keep giving back to our followers.
What was it like releasing a new single every six weeks? That sounds challenging as well as a great strategy for honing in on your sound and skills.
The Rising: Chantelle: It was challenging in both a good and bad way. It was a great exercise in keeping creative, writing and recording music to a specific deadline, and also the challenge of getting the music out into the world. Streamlining how we market ourselves and our music. The danger in this strategy was ensuring that the quality never dropped and that each song sounded the best it could be and was not rushed. It also meant that Chris and I had creative heated discussions from time to time, but it felt like such a rush to set ourselves little goals, which really worked for us in the long run.
Chris: A few years ago I developed terrible writer's block so I stuck to the strategy of keeping the tap dripping. Writing and recording everything, even if it was just an idea that would get left behind. So this strategy really resonated with me. Although, the idea of writing, producing, recording, and mixing the music was pretty challenging. Requiring quite a bit of discipline when it comes to letting go of the song and saying that it's done. Resisting the urge to keep touching up the song.
Before you relocated back to Belfast you all were living in Leamington Spa in the UK. What drew you there?
The Rising: Chris: It was a natural fit really. My aunt has lived in Leamington Spa for 30+ years so we would always be over there for family holidays, hanging out with my cousins, and generally doing tourist things such as Warwick Castle, Shakespeare, and all that. So I had a love of that part of England built up from the fond childhood/teenage memories. We were constantly going back and forth from Northern Ireland to England and it got to the point where it was costing us more than we could ever make. My aunt then suggested that we move over to their Granny flat situation. So we moved over and paid them a monthly rent, a very generous one at that, and began to use it as a base. Being smack bang in the middle of England we could literally jump in the car and play all the dates we wanted. When we uploaded our music to BBC Introducing Coventry and Warwickshire (the local Introducing Show), we got more support than we ever thought possible. The Team at BBC Coventry & Warwickshire has been so amazing and really do love catching up with the team, it really feels like a family. So that cemented our affinity with the area. We will forever love that part of England and can’t wait to return.
What live performance has been your favorite so far?
The Rising: Chantelle: Playing the O2 arena London for Country to Country, which was my first gig with the rising as the lead singer. Just to be on the same bill as Carrie Underwood was such a dream!
Chris: For me, it would be a showcase we did with BBC Introducing in the Temperance Cafe in Leamington Spa. It was recorded for broadcast so it had an air of urgency. What really made it so special for me was the fact that it was a small, intimate crowd who all went absolutely nuts. They sang along and clapped, and it ended up being a party atmosphere. It's the crowd that makes a show and the crowd there created something that I will never forget.
Interviewed By Hannah Conkin
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