Chris T-T

Chris T-T

BandAlternativeAcoustic

Chris T-T's new album, ‘9 Red Songs’, is an overt red menace mini-LP of post-Hoxton, post-Bliar, post-MDMA folk protest music. ‘9RS’ is grubby, energetic folk-roots where piano, cello, banjo and accordion collide with acoustic strumming and single-take “in-a-room” singing.

Biography

Chris T-T is not a man to keep his opinions to himself. And when he voices them, it most often results in someone being offended, outraged or otherwise aghast. His carefully crafted songs about suicide bombers, serial killers, sellotape and sex often get members of his audience riled, and though there have been a few frightening threats, he's never yet been punched.

As The Guardian says, "The genius of Chris T-T's songwriting is his ability to humanise even the most outlandish conceits. They seem instead like brilliant ideas that no-one else could've come up with."

T-T's gift is to tackle life's grand themes, such as war, money, love, sex, and death, and transform them into highly personal, and highly emotional, songs. "I'm an overweight, middle class, white, comfortable, English songwriter," he says. "I've never felt any of these things through personal experience. I've never been bombed, I've never had an Israeli tank driven over me. The only way one can do it is to get into the mindset of individuals."

For a songwriter of such remarkable insight, his upbringing was unremarkably average. He listened to songs like The Floral Dance and Up Up and Away In My Beautiful Balloon on his grandmother's record player. His parents paid for piano lessons and nagged him to practice. He went to a good school, in a good neighbourhood with other good kids.

But, as with most great songwriters, he never really fit in. While T-T was listening to and learning from American rockers like Don Henley, Bruce Springsteen and Lou Reed, he largely missed out on seminal bands like New Order, The Cure and The Smiths until the rave generation had already taken over.

T-T was so oblivious to "cool" that he wanted to be a spy until he heard his first Genesis record. "I was one of those kids that finds the first thing you love about bands is that they're tight. Like when you first love rock guitar and it's someone playing a virtuoso solo. I would appreciate a rock guitar solo at a much earlier age than I'd appreciate someone writing an amazing song." That early passion for intricate guitar meanderings led him away from spy school straight to a career in music.

When T-T approached his parents with the news of his new career path, instead of gently suggesting he become a doctor or teacher, they congratulated him, and gave him money to help fund his first record label. In their minds, the piano lessons were starting to pay off and their support has never faltered. "I can take home a piece of my music that offends my mom, to the point of really upsetting her, and she will still completely support what I do," he says.

After spending three years at Leeds University studying pop music – he has a degree in it now – the inevitable move to London followed. He spent 1999 slogging at a day job, and recorded his first album during evenings and weekends on the cobbled-together not-exactly-state-of-the-art recording equipment in his bedroom.

The result was Beatverse, released in 1999 on his own label, Wine Cellar. It sold fewer than 500 copies, but it taught him not be afraid of being opinionated and brutally honest in his songs. On the album he calls his then-boss a "fat, stupid dickhead" and fesses up to being a serial killer. No one seemed to mind.

Snowstorm Records loved the album and offered to fund the next T-T release. The result was 2000's Panic Attack at Sainsbury's, a mixed bag of pop anthems (You Can Be Flirty), anti-establishment sing-alongs (Dreaming of Injured Popstars) and twisted love songs (Open Books, Exeat).

Dreaming of Injured Popstars captured the anti-manufactured-pop zeitgeist and was played by Steve Lamacq and John Peel on Radio 1 as well as Xfm and others. The album was a critical success. Q Magazine said, “His surreal worldview and faux-naïve vocals define this album,” while the NME wrote, “Those who value the wit and pathos of a singular voice among the Indetikit throng should give Chris T-T their time.”

Over the next few years, T-T became intimate with every venue on the UK indie circuit, driving beat-up vans and sleeping on floors while getting paid next-to-nothing to perform to an ever-increasing base of dedicated fans.

Meanwhile, slowly and almost imperceptibly, London had been seeping into his veins.

His next album, The 253 was the first in a trilogy of bittersweet love-letters to the city. "London is an extraordinary living, breathing entity as a city. London's got that huge identity, it's hugely multicultural. There's so much going on that moving to London was a huge step up in experience," he says.

The album amassed more ecstatic reviews: “Chris T-T celebrates the beauty of small things with lively musical aplomb.” Q Magazine; “Thank God for records like The 253… It is sincerity so sharp it feels like the watery sting in your eyes as the tube rushes past.” Time Out; “His third and best album… The most convincing reason to check out this singular talent.” Mojo. The 253 also

Lyrics

Simmer Down, Simmer Down

Written By: Chris T-T

Settle down, settle down boy
The sergeant's looking over
Simmer down, simmer down, simmer down
Don't wanna make a scene
Do it carefully

Slow it down, slow it down boy
Switch it on and set the timer
Simmer down, simmer down, simmer down
Place the charges underneath
Down where they won't be seen

You're no match for their big machine
My father said with his head in his hands
But his eyes grew wide as we
Unfolded our plans

Look around, look around boy
Policeman bending over
Simmer down, simmer down, simmer down
He's raising the alarm
But it's too late he won't get far

Stick around, stick around boy
The waiting's nearly over
Quiet down, quiet down, quiet down
In a moment we'll be done
And some of them are children

7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 Now!
Everything changes in the blink of an eye
It was all a game until
You watch people die (in a civil war)
People die (in a civil war)

Settle down, settle down man
Take a day to think it over
Simmer down, simmer down, simmer down
Think on what you've done
Because we've only just begun
We've only just begun
We've only just begun
We've only just begun

7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 Now!
Everything changes in the blink of an eye
It was all a game until
You watch people die (in a civil war)
People die (in a civil war)
And people die (in civil war)

Cull

Written By: Chris T-T

Ding dong, the witch is dead
she took a bullet to the side of her head
and she yelled something obscene as she fell down.
Well, fuck me - the war is won
and I didn't have time for a protest song,
nobody can tell who's a hero, who's a clown.

(we need a cull)

Move along, you're getting in the way:
Another fat American shouting all day
and when the food comes out we have to say grace.
A dumb foreigner sleeping in your bed
It all happened like the old man said
But I'm so scared I'm a national disgrace

And when the bad guys win the battle
And when they burn your castle to the ground
And when they steal all your money
I hope they stand on your roof and throw it down to the crowd.

(we need a cull)

The world is owned by 500 men
and everything is organised to benefit them
the rest of us scrabble around for what they throw out
So when you look at the civilian dead
and there's a price on the president's head
Don't even bother to ask what it's all about.

And when the bad guys win the battle
And when they burn your castle to the ground
And when they steal all your money
I hope they stand on your roof and throw it down to the crowd.

And when the bad guys win the battle
And when they burn your castle to the ground
And when they get the Lord Chief Justice
I hope they stand on your roof and throw him down to the crowd.

It's all gonna be the same in the end:
a moment of glory to show off to your friends
But when it's gone, the motherfucker's gone.
We all go home and we all ignore
millions and billions and trillions more
There is no end to this song:
It goes on...

And when the bad guys win the battle
And when they burn your castle to the ground
And when they steal all your money
I hope they stand on your roof and throw it down to the crowd.

And when the bad guys win the battle
And when they burn your castle to the ground
And when they get the Lord Chief Justice
I hope they stand on your roof and throw him down to the crowd.

(we need a cull)

Uh... The Press (for Paul Dacre)

Written By: Chris T-T

The father of the bride is on the run
No-one's really sure what he may - or may not - have done
But the press... uh... the press will have a field day.

The supermodel woke up with a junkie in her bed
A headache from the birthday party, wishing she was dead
But the press... uh... the press will have a field day.

Squeal squeal squeal little piggy
Squeal squeal squeal
Squeal squeal squeal little piggy
Look at what you've done

The Minister is standing on the bridge
Preaching to the soldiers how God loves all the killing they did.
And the press, already knew what he was going to say.

But if the editor of the Daily Mail had fucked the girl next door
And given her a job as an intern so he could help himself to more
You know the rest: "Your secret's safe with us" they'd all say.

Squeal squeal squeal little piggy
Squeal squeal squeal
Squeal squeal squeal little piggy
Look at what you've done.

It doesn't really matter, never really matters
Chicken or egg, the damage is done
A Gypsy Queen or the Mayor of London

100 Palestinians died today
But a pretty girl on television cried today
Can you guess, which one made the front page?
Uh... the press, know just when to look the other way.

Discography

Currently receiving play on BBC Radio 1, XFM and 6Music in the UK as well as numerous regional British stations. Sessions for 6Music, Resonance, The Selector and Radio1 lined-up before the end of 2005.

DISCOGRAPHY
ALBUMS
9 Red Songs (Snowstorm Records, 2005)
Live Tonight (Wine Cellar Records, 2004, mailorder / gigs only)
London Is Sinking (Snowstorm Records, 2003)
The 253 (Snowstorm Records, 2001)
Panic Attack At Sainsbury’s (Snowstorm Records, 2000)
Beatverse (Wine Cellar Records, 1999)

SINGLES & EPS
You Can’t Stop The Machine / Bored Of The War (US 7”, Isota Records, 2004)
Tomorrow Morning (split 7”, shared with Cosy Cosy, Repeat Records, 2004)
Cull (split 7”, shared with Stuffy & The Fuses, Wrath Records ‘Super Sevens’ singles club, 2004)
Eminem Is Gay / The Headcold Bit Of The Winter (7” / CD single, Snowstorm Records, 2003)
The 500 Miles EP (CD EP, Snowstorm Records, 2002)
Dreaming Of Injured Popstars / Cutler (7”, Snowstorm Records, 2001)
English Man / What Can I Say To You? (7”, Snowstorm Records, 2001)
You Can Be Flirty / Sideshow Mel (7” / CD single, Snowstorm Records, 2000)
Headfirst EP (split 7”, shared with Faded, Wine Cellar Records, 1998)

COMPILATIONS
Snowstorm Christmas EP 1999 (double 7", Snowstorm Records, 1999) - 'The Decksweep' *
The True Meaning Of Christmas Vol. 4 (CD, Snowstorm Records, 2000) - '100000 Turkeys' *
Vet Sounds (double 7" / CD, Fierce Panda Records, 2001) - 'What If My Heart Never Heals? (demo)' *
Truck Festival 2002 (CD, Truck Records, 2002) - 'Drink Beer'
The Selector For The British Council (CD, Selector, 2003) - 'The Moment (live)' *
Truck Festival 2003 (CD, Truck Records, 2003) - 'The Tin Man (duet with KTB)' *
Fear Of A Black Kennet (CD, Love Music Hate Racism / REPEAT Records, 2004) - '7 Hearts'
Best Of Isota Singles Club (CD, Isota Records, 2004, US only) - 'You Can't Stop The Machine'
One Man And His Bog: 20 Years Of Hull Adelphi (book / CD, Hull Adelphi, 2004) - 'Dreaming Of Injured Popstars (live)'
Follow Your Bliss: Blissfields Festival 2005 (Bliss Records, 2005) - '7 Hearts'
Fruit Machine (CD, Blang Records, 2005) - 'A Hole Full Of Submarines' *

* recording not available elsewhere

Set List

Mix of original songs, taken from his 5 albums. Very rarely performs cover versions. Set length is anywhere from 30 minutes to 90 minutes, depending on alloted time.