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The Weekender Sounds

Maps - James Chapman

Maps - We Can Create

After years of hard graft and near-death experiences, Maps has finally made it to his first seminal moment. On the eve of his debut album's release The Weekender caught up with James one more time.

audio Maps - We Can Create album sampler >
audio Interview with James on the album >
video On tour with...Maps >
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James Chapman has sacrificed so much to reach this point. Many dream of being a music hero, very few make it. Most find the lure of minimum-wage jobs irresistible and the slippery slope to life as an office angel not far behind.

Chapman resisted the temptation, locked himself away for large periods of the past four years and emerged with one of the year's defining albums. Under his musical moniker Maps he's produced We Can Create - a true masterpiece.

Maps - We Can Create
Maps - We Can Create

It's eleven tracks of soaring soundscapes like nothing you'll savor from his peers this decade. It takes the current musical climate into a whole new direction, mixing the wall of sound created by My Bloody Valentine and Spiritualized with the more delicate and inventive approach Low and Four Tet employ.

What began as a few bedroom demos got the country's A&R men wet in all the right places. Thankfully for James his label of choice Mute Records were amongst those salivating and agreed a deal.

"It's taken a pretty long time to come together," says James. The process has been mixed throughout, with parts of the album recorded at home while others captured in Iceland with Valgeir Sigurdsson at his studio.

"It Will Find You is straight off my 16 track - we just added a bass line down at Mute. But Glory Verse we started from scratch in Iceland,” explains James. "My demos had a certain vibe and we wanted to capture that with the album".

The whole process was closely watched by Mute. "They got pretty hands on," confesses James, "but the end result I'm really pleased with."

The end result has not only led to an amazing album, but also a media frenzy too - including an impressive 8 out of 10 review from the NME.

Maps press cuttings

"I'm overwhelmed. When I started reading the NME when I was a teenager I'd often go on them reviews and if it got an 8 out of 10 I'd often buy that album."

The public's reaction has also been measured over recent weeks. Album track Elouise was made iTunes Single Of The Week in their free download section in April receiving a very healthy 30,000 downloads.

But it's the first single It Will Find You - released 7th May - and the album We Can Create - released 14th May that will show just how far Maps has come since he released three limited-edition 10-inch EPs last year - they all sold-out in weeks!

With short UK tours with The Longcut and The Whip already under their belts, Maps follow their next live performances at Brighton's Great Escape and a UK tour with Blonde Redhead. Festival dates will also be included this summer.

Using musicians he's met along the way James is keen for the live show to be something different to what you hear on record. It's not been easy translating the 16-track recordings into a performance; then again, none of this has been easy. But as the title suggest, when you put your mind to it, we can create.

last updated: 15/05/07
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