In celebration of the 40th anniversary of The Clash’s landmark album London Calling, KEXP will travel to London for a 4-day live broadcast and online event, featuring live performances and exclusive interviews. Chemtrails will take the Studio 9294 stage on Wednesday, Feb. 6 alongside fellow UK bands Shopping, Piroshka, and Ghostpoet. Get familiar with the band before their performance below.
London-based garage-surf act Chemtrails make catchy, fuzzy, lo-fi pop music, somewhere between the Pixies, Black Lips and Blondie. Founded and fronted by romantic and musical partners Mia Lust and Laura Orlova, the band has been steadily releasing music roughly every six months since 2016 via beloved Swedish label PNKSLM. Their debut record, Calf of the Sacred Cow, dropped last year and in December they released the EP Cuckoo Spit.
KEXP premiered the lead single off the EP, “I’ll Never Be,” a buoyantly catchy song examining and accepting all the things that likely will not come to pass in their lives. Here's how the band described the song to KEXP:
"One of the themes of the Cuckoo Spit EP is the difficulty of feeling confident in your decisions when they don’t seem to match up with those of everyone around you. There are plenty of moments where I wonder what the fuck I’m doing with my life, but occasionally there are moments that are exactly the opposite: I’m content with who I am, with the fact that I’ll always be an oddball, and that I’ll probably never be famous or have any money. ‘I’ll Never Be’ is our attempt at crystallizing those moments into a fuzzy psychedelic gospel song."
KEXP spoke to Chemtrails’ Mia Lust about the significance of the Clash in a brief interview. Read below.
What does The Clash mean to you and have they inspired your music at all?
The Clash were one of the first punk bands I listened to and some of their songs would be played on repeat when I was about 15. They appeal to me because they play melodic, poppy songs with a rough-and-ready sound, a lot of attitude, and a real message – which is what I’ve always tried to do. Musically, 70s punk and new-wave are a big part of the Chemtrails sound, so The Clash are definitely amongst our influences.
Do you find there to be parallels between the lyrical content and ethos of London Calling and the current state of England?
The anti-fascist message of London Calling might be even more relevant now, in the Trump/Brexit era, than it was back in the 70s. I think a lot of modern bands could take a leaf out of The Clash’s book and have the courage to write such strong political lyrics.
What can audiences expect from your performance for KEXP's International Clash Day London broadcast?
People can expect to hear the live version of Chemtrails – harder, faster and a bit more raucous.
Chemtrails will perform at KEXP’s International Clash Day London broadcast at 11:00 AM PST / 7:00 PM GMT on Wednesday, February 6. Check out the full schedule of performances here. Listen to “I’ll Never Be” below.
Ghostpoet will perform at KEXP's International Clash Day London broadcast on Wed, Feb. 6
Vanishing Twin will perform at KEXP's International Clash Day London broadcast on Tues, Feb. 5