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Interview: Chailo Sim

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Bethan Elfyn Bethan Elfyn | 11:14 UK time, Monday, 14 February 2011

This Saturday night we've got another special session on the way from west Wales. The relationship between the radio and Chailo Sim is a fairly new one, but they sent their music in and instantly captivated the hearts of the production team.

They're also making fans around the music industry with their gentle folky sound, including labels like Bella Union admitting to being fans. Ahead of the session this weekend, I spoke to the band's frontman Nayfe.

Chailo Sim

Chailo Sim

Hello Chailo Sim. Who are you, and how many members do you have?

We're five friends who write alt-folk songs for nice people.

How long have you been together?

A few years ago I strolled into a rammed café to find a keyboard player and drummer playing a wildly complex yet calming set of music to a captivated audience. It took less than half a song; Tom Luddington and Matt Badger immediately inspired me to ask if I could collaborate with them. I had spent a decade searching for what seemed to be an unfindable band line up, so after meeting mandolin player Darren Gibbs barefoot at a fire on the beach, we all decided to get together for a musical hello.

We started with a tentative version of our first song Latch being written and evolved in what was then my lounge, complete with cups of tea and an appreciated view of the sea. Andy Holcroft joined soon after with his electric guitar and violin to complete the balance of acoustic reticence and electric prominence. We took over the same cafe for a year or so after it became derelict and created a fantastic writing environment.

A period of experimenting with different instruments led to the embrace of string-work with the material, and this helped to define the fundamental sound of the band. A set's worth of songs later, we galvanised what was a never-ending process of early demo creation into our full length début album Replete which we self-released in November 2010.

How would you describe your sound?

Personal and cinematic at times. Big sky in a small room music.

What are your main musical influences?

Midlake, Sam Beam, Band of Horses, Fleet Foxes, The Leisure Society, Sufjan Stevens, Wilco, Gomez, The Band, Elbow, South San Gabriel - are all pretty amazing bands. The level of consideration they put into their songwriting is admirable.

What are your songs about? And for that matter the name of the band is rather interesting...

Our songs represent an effort to capture fleeting emotions and perceptions. Like trying to capture the sky by clapping your hands - you can never really manage it, but it still feels good to try.

The name of the band is rather interesting...

Chailo Sim means 'I am replete', and a travelled family life inspired use of the Romany phrase. We applied it to the band when we felt happy to have found a meaningful and collective identity.

What's been the band highlight so far?

We had an launch party in November to celebrate the release of our début album and the culmination of all our previous efforts. The album has since received critical acclaim from some incredible people in the music industry, inspiring conversations with a few of our favourite record labels.

What are the plans for the year ahead?

We're actually still learning terminology like booking agents, promoters and managers, so generally speaking, we are focusing on playing live shows and applying to UK festivals like Green Man and End Of The Road to get out and let people hear us, and to promote our music. We're also using the amazing momentum gained off the back of our album release to write some more songs, and to get together as often as possible.

Chailo Sim on the web:

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