Chrome Hoof talk live shows

Sprawling disco funk orchestra Chrome Hoof have certainly got a monopoly on entertaining, high concept live performances. And there's no one who more fittingly encapsulates the spirit of Relentless.

We caught up with Milo to find out more about the insane stage presence that is Chrome Hoof…

How have your live performances evolved?
We used to do more planning but because we’ve been doing it for a while now, it comes as a second nature to us now really. The line-up changes almost every show, sometimes we need a harpist and full orchestra and sometimes we just have the eight of us. If it’s a smaller venue we’ll thrash out a clubbier, dancier set as some of our music has pretty pounding, 4/4 drums. But in the bigger places like Royal Festival Hall we’ll play with a full orchestra and we can get more detailed with the sonics as there’s not all the chaos and noise around us. We were just having a laugh at the beginning but you get a little bit more self-aware and conscious the more you do things and now when you look at press referring to us as a twelve-piece orchestra but that wasn’t by design, it’s just turned out that way and people probably book us to some degree because we have novelty value but I think it’s good to watch. We just love playing our instruments and I hope that comes across.

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What's with the silver robot…?
It started about a year ago, it’s something my brother Leo made. There’s a bloke inside it, initially it was our friend Sam Drake and now we have Colin who’s a big strong Essex lad who helps us out on tour.

Have you got a favourite personal performance to date?
The third time we played Tapestry in 2007 we did a big burning of the goat/robot and we all marched in line to the top of this hill and got a flame thrower to set it on fire, which was all quite pagan I guess. We burnt it and then made a bigger and better one which has lights for its eyes.

How do you manage with so many band members?
When you have fourteen people you have to rehearse as much as possible but we do actually wing it a lot more than we should, considering how much can go wrong. We place high stakes a lot of the time when we’ve got extra musicians who may only have two hours of rehearsing when they come on stage to play with us because it can be really hard to organise, so most rehearsals not everyone is present. SO it is difficult and it’s a very slow process sometimes which can be frustrating but it’s also got its plus points because when we go away on tour you’ve basically got your own party and don’t need to go on and find one.

Do you ever improvise on stage?
Occasionally, but we have to be pretty locked down with our parts because if you had eight musicians jazzing out then it would be a bit wanky. I like the concept of improve but a lot of modern noise I’ve heard and seen is pretty dire. We’re kind of the opposite as everyone has their parts.

Where do you get the ideas from for your mental outfits?
We make some ourselves but we’ve had about three or four different designers. The original costumes were just basically brown monk outfts but that was eight years ago. It’s only really been over the past four years that we’ve become a more serious band in terms of getting bigger gigs etc so we figured we should up our game in terms of the outfits.

Can you describe your live performances in three words?
High energy, highly visual and high impact…

Chrome Hoof play the Relentless Energy Sessions Festival on Thursday 21st October. Tickets are available HERE

Words by April Welsh

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