The What?
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The What?

London, England, United Kingdom

London, England, United Kingdom
Band Rock


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Recent Quotes"

A funked up David Bowie?...Or a Frank Zappa with one eye on pop friendliness?..grand musicianship and all very interesting.
– Bugbear

"Played "Livin' a Lie" on the radio show on Wednesday, went down a storm!"
- Matt Carr, Norwhich University Radio

"...could be classed as ‘new’ rock...the lyrics and song structure breaks away from the old rock, as we know it."
- David Couchman, Surface Unsigned
- varied


The What? EP 2009
Currently recording full length follow-up



The What? are a formidable trio containing Markus Chakra on guitar and vocals, Ben Thorne on bass and backing vocals and Axel Lewis on drums. The What? have a unique sound and musicianship that is inspiring and powerful. A sound that has been developed over the last three years which has also lead to memorable live shows, notorious off stage antics and a soon to be printed, powerful debut album.

In February 2009, The What? released their first eponymous EP gaining wide digital distribution while slowly and surely attracting the attention of the music loving populous, with rising demand at shows, online and on radio.

The What? on stage, with their look and presence, are renowned by gig goers in the capital. Their shows are energetic and passionate, awash with a neon glow that seems to capture all that is right about city nightlife. This visual presentation originated out of a photo shoot they did with the renowned photographer Andy Fallon and the session he did with them on Hampstead Heath one memorable spring night in 2009.

Over the past year, while still playing regular shows in and around London, The What? have put on their own night of acts. This was a response to the growing trend of anti-establishment feeling for current promoters by acts. To add spice to their night The What? included stand up comedy, acoustic performers as well as their own music. Called The Roll 'n' Rock Cabaret, the night was founded in March and over the past few months has featured some of England’s top rated comedians, sketch troupes and signed/unsigned bands.

Teamed with word of mouth and solid internet presence on The What? website, blog, and Facebook page, as well as in a collection of videos including the hilarious, self made video sketches made for individual fans called Facebook Favourites, the band has an ever growing attendance and popularity.
So you want news? This November, The What? are going back into the studio to record their first full length album at the legendary Fortress Studios in Old Street. Home to everyone from Coldplay to Kasabian, the band are aiming to have a CD launch party early in the new year.

The What? was created out of a series of fortuitous events and dogged determination.

Bassist Ben Thorne grew up playing in a variety of bands, from his early days in Oxford playing the circuit to the bright lights of London where, after being signed to EMI and having the band fall apart shortly after, was left disillusioned and a little annoyed.
It was around this time that he met Markus Chakra at Bradley’s Spanish bar just off Tottenham Court Road while choosing a T. Rex single on the 60’s original jukebox. Ben, after being complimented by Markus on his choice, related the story of the time he drunkenly played out front of Marc Bolan’s former home in Stoke Newington in the middle of the night and accidentally set fire to his guitar with an errant cigarette, although the accident part still remains in doubt.

Markus, originally hailing from Canada, like Ben, also played in several bands and had a successful time as a solo performer before deciding to leave his native land and follow the dream to make it in one of the great music cities in the world.

London didn’t greet Markus with open arms however; the music scene is a tough nut to crack but his determination coupled with his smooth talking manner got him through while all the time working on his musicianship and song-craft, taking inspiration from the contrasts, tensions, and struggles within the capital and his own life. Such an event was when Markus hit an all time low in 2007 while spending Christmas alone with only a piano for distraction. He wrote, the now hailed song, ‘I Will Believe’ that can be found on The What? EP and still maintains its status as a total crowd pleaser at shows. Ironic really.

Following Markus’ run in with Ben at Bradley’s Spanish bar, finding they shared common neighbourhoods as well as musical interests, the duo fell into the night-time street with the notion of a band. The task was to now find a drummer.

This is where another drinking hole comes to the rescue. Axel became known through mutual friends at The Three Crowns in Hackney. Originally from Essex, Axel picked up drumming on the job so to speak, borrowing one mates gear to play in another mates band that was left in the lurch without a drummer. By January 2008, after various members had left for University or work, Axel needed a new musical outlet. His decision to go for a drink at The Three Crowns was perfectly timed. Over drinks, friendships between the boys were quickly forged and after Axel’s fantastic groove and contagious energy blew the other two away at rehearsal, the three musicians knew they were on to something special.

The What? was officially formed.