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Charlie Big Time - Interview

  by John Clarkson

published: 22 / 12 / 2016

Charlie Big Time - Interview


John Clarkson speaks to Matthew Pendlebury from Bolton-based indie pop duo about why his band have always proved more popular in America than Britain and their forthcoming appearance at a Pennyblackmusic Bands Night in Manchester on February 18th in support of the Chesterfields and Karen

Despite coming from Bolton, indie pop duo Charlie Big Time are better known in the United States than they are in Britain. The group, which consists of vocalists and guitarists Matthew Pendlebury and Chris Tiplady, have now released three EPs, ‘A Bit of Charlie’ (Cloudberry, 2007), ’Disshevelled Revellers' (Matinee, 2012) and ‘Sale or Return’ (Jigsaw, 2014) and an album ‘The Tall Storeys of Charlie Big Time’ (Series Two Records, 2008), all on American indie labels. The duo, who were joined by former Aberdeen and Trembling Blue Stars’ singer Beth Arzy on additional vocals for ‘Disshevelled Revellers’, write music that has a catchy sound but often melancholic undercurrent. They are currently working on new material. They will also be playing their first gig in four years at a Pennyblackmusic Bands Night at Gullivers in Manchester on February 18th in support of the Chesterfields and Karen. Pennyblackmusic spoke to Matthew Pendlebury about Charlie Big Time’s musical career to date and their forthcoming Bands Night appearance. PB: You have released all four of your previous releases on American labels. Why have all your labels come out over there rather than on labels here? Why do you feel that you have such appeal in the States? MP: We have been lucky with American labels as each label was a follower of our music and always gave us a heads up. So, it wasn’t a case of “Please listen to Charlie Big Time’s music". I think we tried a few UK labels but the American ones have always been much more open to us. We get lots of airplay in the States because radio shows seem more willing over there. It's nice! PB: You have drawn comparisons with the Smiths in particular and also the Trash Can Sinatras, the Go Betweens, Paul Heaton, Lovejoy, Harper Lee, the Montgolfier Brothers and Trembling Blue Stars. Is that the sort of music that can be found in your record collections? MP: Some of the bands you mentioned we do have a soft spot for. I’m a fan of melody and lyrics. I guess that it’s like a soup bowl. Take music from all eras and genres, stir it up and a Charlie Big Time song comes out. We have no intention to have a certain sound. It just seems to come out that way. PB: Charlie Big Time released its first EP 'A Bit of Charlie' as far back as 2007. Were you and Chris in any previous bands before then? MP: Chris and I have been writing tunes since 1990. We have played in different bands but always together. We played live loads in the 90's - Manchester University, the Boardwalk, everywhere really. We are kind of like Ant and Dec. We would be a bit shit without each other. PB: Beth Arzy joined the band for the 'Disshevelled Revellers' EP in 2012. How did you meet Beth? MP: We met Beth through the love of certain bands, sent her some demos, worked out who was singing what, met up, recorded in a day and then went out for a few drinks. It was quite simple really. PB: It’s been two years since your last EP ‘Sale of Return’. Your second album has been promised since 2014. Why has there been such a delay? MP: We have another crop of songs that have been half mixed. We took a break after ‘Sale or Return’. Chris became a dad for the first time and his music room got turned into a nursery! Chris and I have had some health problems, so it been a case of taking it easy. There is no rush. PB: The new album is out next year. Who will be releasing it? MP: The new release should be on Jigsaw Records in Seattle. PB: Your previous music has had a largely melancholic but melodic sound. Is your new music going to be in the same direction? MP: As for the new songs they do sound like a new Charlie Big Time record. We will reel you in! PB: You're playing your first gig in five years at the gig on February 18th with the Chesterfields and Karen. What can we expect from that?   MP: We are looking forward to the gig. We are doing an acoustic set of our favourite Charlie Big Time songs, some new ones and maybe a cover. PB: Thank you. Tickets for the Pennyblackmusic Bands Night with the Chesterfields, Karen and Charlie Big Time are available for £7 in advance from http://www.wegottickets.com/event/380230 and on the door for £9.

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Charlie Big Time - Interview

Charlie Big Time - Interview

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