The following interview was initiated last week and completed on the very cusp of Chroma’s high-energy performance at last weekend's LOUD WOMEN Fest 2022. Not for Chroma the backstage temptations of lounging around, stuffing their faces with vegan cake, and discussing intersectionality: the band were dealing with promo right up until stage time.
hello Chroma, welcome to LOUD WOMEN! Where are you now, and what are you up to, other than answering these questions?
Hey LOUD WOMEN! We’re currently sat in a rehearsal room getting ready for LOUD WOMEN Fest.
You have a brand new EP out now on Libertino Records; tell us all about it!
The EP is called ‘Llygredd Gweledol’, which is Welsh for Visual Pollution or Visual Corruption. The title comes from the idea that the songs are loud and in your face, filling the void around you as if we are visually polluting the listener. The title was given when we were recording our debut album (🤫) in Giant Wafer Studios in Mid Wales. The sky is so clear there that you can see everything so clearly, quite the juxtaposition to the title of the EP.
You’ve released an album’s worth of songs already on various singles/EPs, and have been working on your debut LP proper. Have there been any changes to your sound and approach over the last few years? When can we expect more Chroma releases?
We’ve always been well aware that you only get to do your debut album once. We wanted our debut album to be as accurate and “finished” as possible to what CHROMA is today.
We’ve been a band for over 5 years but it took until around 2019 before we found our feet and firmly solidified them in our rock roots. Not much has changed in our sound, except the confidence in the new tracks that we believe is the best current phase of the band.
The album is expected in 2023.
Chroma make a big noise: are you used to the audience’s surprise that a threepiece is producing so much sound from only vocals, bass, drums – even if they have literally just watched you do it? I thought I heard guitar on a couple of your recordings, but it’s entirely possible that I’m ignorant of the possibilities of a bass pedal..
Correct. We are just a three-piece with vocals, bass and drums. However, Bev (bass) runs his bass through a multitude of pedals that splits his signal through a guitar cab too. Bev has a very lovely custom made bass from the folks at Kingdom Guitars that has some modified pickups that allow his bass to sing at higher frequencies, allowing the illusion of guitar.
You write and perform many of your songs in Welsh. Was that always part of your vision for Chroma, and from your perspective is there a political element behind the decision, or is it simply part of who you are and how you think/express yourself? Being one of the main indigenous languages in Britain, is it about time the rest of us learned it too?
Totally. We’re all Welsh language speakers first and it always just felt right. We’ve always been a bilingual band and will always be a bilingual band. We write to what feels right at the time, whether the song ends up being in the Welsh language or in English language.
We definitely encourage anyone who has some time to learn Welsh to do so. It’s a beautiful language.
Is it true you’re all from Pontypridd, and do you still live there? I was at a gig at Clwb y Bont once, put on by the local Communist Party: not many in! What’s the music scene typically like in your part of the world?
We’re all from the Rhondda Cynon Taff Valleys, with Pontypridd being a base for Bev and Zac. Katie now lives in Cardiff.
There isn’t much that remains of the music scene here in the valleys, but Cardiff is our second home town that is full of vibrant bands, small and large, that are making a real impact on the local scene and afar.
What bands/artists are you listening to at the moment, whether classic or new?
We’re always listening to a melting pot of various bands and genres. It’s always hard for us to answer these types of questions as our eclectic music taste is so varied!
How’s your LOUD WOMEN Fest experience been so far and who would you recommend for future line-ups?
Pink Suits and Queen Cult were so good. It was an absolute pleasure sharing the bill with them. It would be so cool if you could ever get Lauran Hibberd on a future line up!
What can audiences expect from a Chroma performance? Are your singles still part of the live set, or are you focusing on newer material from your upcoming album?
Grab your earplugs. It’s going to get LOUD! We’ll be playing a mixture of singles, the EP and upcoming album material. We’re loving being back on the road and playing live again after what feels like a lifetime of being told we can’t. Let’s make it a party!
‘Llygredd Gweledol’ is out now on Libertino Records