Interview: CHRONO 87 – ICARUS

CHRONO 87 is a producer and song writer from the west midlands in the United Kingdom. He has been releasing music since April 2022 and specialises in the genre’s of Dance, Trance and Electronic music. CHRONO 87 is already turning heads on the underground indie dance scene and has been compared to big acts such as Chicane, Covenant, Assemblage 23, Depeche Mode to name but a few.

Hi CHRONO 87, how are you today?

Hey! Well it has been a hectic few dayssincethe release of ICARUS, but I am doing very well thank you and it is an absolute pleasure to be here today!

For those that haven’t heard of you yet, how would you best describe your sound and who have been your biggest influences so far?

I write and produce electronic music that has a distinct classic dance and trance vibe. It has been compared to big hits from the late 90s and early 2000s dance scene as this is where most of my influences derive from. I am also a big fan of EBM and Future-pop music, taking inspiration from one artist in particular… His name is Tom Shear (aka Assemblage 23). I was also really into alternative music back then, so I was listening to many different metal and industrial bands at the time. When Assemblage 23 released the album ‘Storm’ back in 2004, I was totally blown away by the combination of dance music and dark, almost melancholic lyrics and vocals. It totally changed my view on music, and helped me to realise that dance music can also be dark and emotional. As I already mentioned, I also take inspiration from many different artists from the late 90s and early 2000s dance scene, most notably is an artist called Chicane as I am sure many people are familiar with. His release ‘Saltwater’ is hands down my favourite trance song of all time… The combination of the uplifting bass line and instruments combined with the beautiful and haunting vocals of Moya Brennan (Clannad) is absolutely fantastic. This is what inspired me to use various orchestral instruments in my music such as string sections and choirs.

Where are you from? And could you tell us how the music scene there has inspired your sound?

I am from a new town suburban area called Telford in Shropshire, England. Telford has a good music scene, especially for rock bands but there are quite a few other dance and electronic musicians here too. As I said before, most of my inspiration comes from a very particular era which I was worried had all been forgotten about. However, since the release of ICARUS it turned out this particular scene of dance music is very much still alive! My sound is impressing new comers, but also those who are still fond of the era and consider it to be ‘nostalgic’ in nature. Back then, much of the music in England was coming from mainland Europe with artists from Germany, The Netherlands, Scandinavia and so on. So you could say that the artists from Europe were the biggest on the UK dance scene at the time, although there were some British artists that also most certainly made their mark in the charts too.

And what has been your most memorable career moment so far?

Without a doubt it would have to be getting placed as ‘Record of the Week’ on BBC Radio Shropshire. This was the first time I had been given such exposure on a mainstream broadcast radio station and I was totally shocked and surprised when I heard the news. I was actually out shopping at the time when the email came through, so I had to call my best friend and collaborator Pippin who instantly tuned into the live show and then confirmed that ICARUS had indeed made ‘Record of the Week’!

We are both totally in shock but over the moon that so many people are enjoying the song. We would like to personally thank the team over at BBC Radio Shropshire and all of the people who have heard the record so far, for all of the continued support! It means so much to both myself and Pippin.

You have just released your new single ‘ICARUS’. Can you tell us how that track came about? Is there a story behind it?

ICARUS is one of those songs that very nearly didn’t make it into the public domain. I became quite unwell earlier on in the year and was struck down by a mystery illness and had to spend some time in hospital under going various tests. Once I had started to feel better again, I decided to launch CHRONO 87 with a demo called ‘Guardian Angel’ back in April 2022. One day whilst doing some ‘housekeeping’ in my project folders, I stumbled across a song I had started a few months earlier but never got around to finishing. This would be the initial version of ICARUS and sounded much much different to what it does now. I wasn’t keen on where the song was going, so decided to re-work, re-write and add in some more layers and instruments. The result was an absolutely epic sounding song with a late 90s and early 2000s dance and future-pop feel.

I then approached my best friend and local singer and songwriter Pippin Henderson to ask if he wanted to write some lyrics and record some vocals. I took the project to him and within just a few hours, he had written these amazing lyrics and vocal melodies. Pippin then recorded and produced his own vocals and the results were absolutely fantastic! We kept the song and collaboration quiet at first, but when we heard the finished product we decided on a flash release of the song the following day. It turned out to be the best choice we could have made because the release has just gone totally bonkers and people are absolutely loving it!

And how would you say it compares to your previous releases?

My first release, which was actually a demo called ‘Guardian Angel’ was definitely the stepping stone towards the release of ICARUS. Some of the feedback I had been given about Guardian Angel was to perhaps experiment with vocals, so I did take that into consideration. I think the differences between Guardian Angel and ICARUS are pretty clear for all to hear. ICARUS has taken thing’s to a whole new level and has certainly set the bar for any future CHRONO 87 releases moving forward.

Can we expect a new EP, or even an album from you in the near future?

Yes absolutely, but I think there will be at-least one more single release before that happens. Although at the moment I am working with collaborating artists on the vocals, in the near future people are going to start hearing some vocals from myself, which I think many people will be pleasantly surprised about, but I will announce these details a little closer to the time!

What is the biggest decision you’ve had to make?

As I have already mentioned, I became quite unwell from about late December 2021 until about March 2022. I was worried I would have to give up music completely and very nearly did so! I think it’s safe to say, making the choice to continue was a very good choice indeed! I am so glad that I did and I think my fans would definitely agree with me!

What is the biggest challenge of being an artist?

Getting your music heard has to be the biggest challenge these-days… Gone are the days when burning your music to CDs or Cassette tapes and then handing them out to friends and fans with flyers attached. Now you need to be quite self-sufficient in social media and self-marketing. The internet is a scary place, especially for independent musicians like myself! I have been caught up in one or two ‘scams’ by people who promise all sorts of results. Be aware! If something does not feel right, then it probably isn’t! Always check the reviews, feedback and results to make sure what is being promised is actually achievable.

How do you structure your day?

I have a fairly laid back lifestyle and don’t tend to stick to any strict or particular routine. Behind the mask that is CHRONO 87, I actually lead a relatively normal lifestyle and enjoy meeting up with friends. I also have a day job just like most others but tend to be at my most creative during the evenings and late nights. I am definitely a night owl!

Do you have any hobbies or interests outside of music?

There are quite a few rural and countryside areas in and around Telford, so I enjoy visiting these places for walks or sight-seeing. The surrounding areas are rich in nature, history and heritage and perfect for finding quiet spots or inspiration. A pint of decent English ale and a quiet country pub are always on my list! I dabble in photography, enjoy the odd game of Call of Duty but asides from that most of my free time now is spent in CHRONO 87.

What are your plans for the future?

I would really like to release an album or EP, especially featuring my own vocals as people are constantly complimenting my singing voice. I would also very much like to get signed to an established record label and start performing at some live shows or even festivals.

And finally, what is the best piece of musical advice you have ever been given?

Slow down and take your time. Releasing music shouldn’t be a competition against others! Do what ever you feel is right and the rest will follow naturally. This is what the song ICARUS is about… It’s about never giving up on your hopes and dreams even when other people doubt you, and I honestly think it speaks for itself! Keep doing what you are doing and one day that particular release could be the one to totally change your career and direction. 

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