One of the biggest challenges for any new band is standing out from the crowd, something Kent band Shychlo do with ease – even if they cannot put their finger on how. Chris Price caught up with them.
Rap, metal, soul, pop – Kent’s new kids on the block Shychlo try to cover it all. The six-piece have carved out their own niche in the great tapestry of music, even if they do not know quite what that is yet, or whether it could earn them any success.
“I guess we are trying to make our music popular,” said singer Chloe Morrison, 25, at the house in Canterbury where she lives with most of her bandmates.
“Whenever we play, everyone says how amazing it is. We have a mix of styles. It can take a few listens for people to get used to it. Whenever we get asked what we play we say we haven’t come up with a good response about what kind of music we do. We haven’t been compared to many people because it is hard to compare us to others.”
Perhaps this eclectic mish-mash of music is why the band reached the national semi-final of the UK’s biggest Live & Unsigned competition – the final was held at the O2 – and got a tweet from Radio 1 DJ Annie Nightingale wishing them luck afterwards.
They have already put together an impressive CV, having supported big name acts such as Labrinth at Canterbury Christchurch University’s summer ball and Modestep at Ashford’s Brake Hall, where they performed in front of 700 people.
“We all just want to do this as our career and it is all we have ever wanted to do,” said Chloe, who sings and raps as lead vocalist.
“It is just down to the music. We love it and it’s all we want to do.”
Yet Shychlo’s musical genre is not the only thing few people can put their finger on about the band. Their name is a fairly unsubtle reference to their frontwoman’s awkward disposition off stage. She answers questions in short sentences, never elaborating or saying more than is absolutely necessary.
“It’s just the way I am,” said Chloe. “I don’t know why. Doing things like this are more nerve-racking for me than playing a show and I wish I knew why.”
Born in Ashford, Chloe has lived in Canterbury with most of her bandmates for three years – except drummer Kevin Ridley, who lives just a few minutes down the road.
Chloe started writing songs eight years ago and formed the band with college mates Joe Dawson (bass) and Joel Prince (guitar), adding Joe’s friends Rick Whale (guitar) and Shane Elvy (third guitarist) and workmate Kevin Ridley.
Chloe said: “When I first played live there were no nerves at all. It felt natural to me.”
The band brought out their debut single Mental Confusion in 2010, which was a much heavier and rap-orientated affair compared to their sets now.
They released the single Wake Up last year and From a Dream to the Young Supreme in April. The videos for both were filmed in Canterbury.
“We are still experimenting,” said Chloe. “We are trying to go down a more commercial route. We are not trying to change completely but just move more in that direction.
“We have got the songs for an album but it is getting the money together to record it all.
“We have got three cars but a van is the next thing on our list to get.”
Shychlo perform at The Duke of Cumberland, Whitstable, on Saturday, July 7. Tickets are £6. Call 01227 280617.