Five minutes with Chip Wickham \\ “I want to make five albums in five years”

25th June 2019
Musician, producer and remixer Chip Wickham plays Love Supreme Jazz Festival this Summer.

Madrid based flautist Chip Wickham has created some serious tunes over the last few years. Ripe with a 60s Soho swing, tracks such as ‘Snake Eyes’ and ‘Barrio 71’ are ripe for a dance floor as much as they are in a live setting – he performed at Corsica, a favourite for world-class DJs, during 2018’s London Jazz Festival. 

Chip’s tracks aren’t only written with swagger but remixed with creative flair, too, choosing to work with talented producers from Reginald Omas Mamode IV to Max Graef

Ahead of Chip Wickham’s appearance at Love Supreme this Summer, we talk to the musician about his aspirations to release five albums in five years and how he approaches his writing. 

\\ You’ve written some BIG tunes that vibrate both live and in DJ sets; how intentional is it for a lot of your songs to be danceable?
I’m always pleased when a DJ tells me my record is in their bag! But I don’t set out to write a big tune. It’s Jazz! I think that just happens, right? I do like my heavier tunes to be DJ friendly its true, as I do like Jazz Dance tunes. I like to live in gap between live jazz and DJ sets. It’s a comfy place for someone like me. I see my albums as serious bodies of work musically and it’s important that they flow from track to track; that’s the musician in me. I want the album to sound complete and not like a compilation! I try to capture a classic analogue sound but still keep it relevant to today’s DJs. That’s where I’m happiest!  I do push the production harder than most to get something more DJ friendly in there without killing the spirit of the album. I think that’s why I have sold so much vinyl – DJs react to it. 
DJ Format wrote about La Sombra: “This album is absolutely incredible from start to finish! Timeless British Jazz released in 2017 by Chip Wickham but I swear if it was from the late 60’s people would be easily paying three figures for a copy. It’s encouraging that there’s so many exciting jazz musicians/bands coming out of the UK right now but this album takes the crown (in my humble opinion)”. 

\\ Your work has a great selection of remixes; tell us about how some of these collaborations have come around?

The remixes are really important! I enjoy remixing myself and see it as a chance to give the songs new life and get my music into different scenes; have some fun with the tunes! I love that idea of the tunes being able to live in different worlds. My label Lovemonk are super hip when it comes to the remixers as they are all DJs and deep into all sorts of music. We put together a long list of artists like Carlos Niño, Max Graef, Andres, Reginald Omas Mamode IV and Ishmael Ensemble. Quite a mixture of styles and sounds from around the world but they all work.

\\ Tell us something that you’d like your UK fans to know about the Madrid music scene. 
Madrid is home. It’s an amazing city full of life, clubs, music and a big going out culture. Sunshine and only two hours away from the UK!  But like all other countries they have their own style and flavours that take time to understand and appreciate. There has been a big explosion in soul and funk and more recently with neo-soul and broken beat. They’ve started opening more music colleges teaching Jazz and contemporary music which has seen a lot more great young musicians entering the scene who want to explore music more; it feels more like the UK at times! Like all culture, it never stays still. It works just fine for me living in Madrid as I can get the best of both worlds. 

\\ Where are you creatively at the moment? Are you writing currently?
I never stop, creatively! Making the next record is everything to me. I want to make five albums in five years. I’m currently editing and mixing the next record; My third album in three years. I recorded it in April in the UK at an analogue studio called Big Noise Studios in Essex – fantastic studio with lots of old tape machines. I’ve recorded enough material for two albums, so we are going to have to make some tough choices as to what goes onto this one. I had the same problem with the last album as we had to leave out three amazing tracks so that it all fitted onto the vinyl. The plan is to get the next album out before the end of the year! 
The sound of this new record is deeper into spiritual Jazz than the last album. I have used the sound of the Rhodes piano, Jazz harp and percussion as textures this time. It’s sounding amazing and we are all very excited about this release – hopefully there will be a big tune for the DJs! 

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