I caught up with The Levellers Mark Chadwick to ask him some questions prior to his gig at Scream Studios, Croydon.
1. As a struggling musician you did a bit of busking, how did you find it?
Playing on the street can be great, all the practice and hopefully earning a bit of cash, but I did starve once in France where nobody liked my tunes.
2. You’ve always been very open about your politics, do you think is it possible to separate it from your music?
The levellers have always sung it as we see it, our politics are really only common sense, people can be put off by the political tag, which is a shame
3. You left ‘Thatcher’s Britain’ and lived through some turbulent times in Amsterdam in the infamous Havens Oost squats, what were the highs and lows of that period of your life?
Living outside the UK at that time was great because we were surrounded by like-minded people, it was then that we learnt the principals we would put into action as a band DI Y culture free thinking, lows were watching some of the heavy drug culture the odd death highs were collective spirit.
4. The Levellers are a festival favourite, for you, which has been the best festival to play and why?
The best Fest we play is our own – Beautiful Days – because it’s the best Fest of all.
5. Being awarded the ‘Roots Award’ at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards in 2011 is quite an accolade, how did it make you feel? What was it like to be recognised by such a big corporation?
We never win any awards or enter that sort of thing, so the BBC thing was a nice surprise – I’m not really sure we know what it means though
6. One way is still an anthem for the masses, do you get bored of playing it?
We never get bored of playing any tunes – if people are up for it so are we.
7. I think that the artwork for The Levellers is fantastic and it always sticks in my mind, how did you find the perfect artist to represent your music?
Jeremy the bass player does all our art work, he’s great at it, so it’s always there as another side of the band and how we present our image,
8. You’ve got lots of solo dates lined up over the next couple of months, are you excited?
Playing without the band is harder so I get a different thing out of it, but I don’t play that many really.
9. How would you describe your solo music to Levellers fans?
Good folk songs with a twist of something else
10. All The Pieces was definitely not a Levellers album, how did it feel to go it alone after being part of a big band for such a long time?
I only work on my own music when the band aren’t working. Not all the songs I write will work for The Levellers so nothing goes to waste – I’ve made a start on a new one as it goes. It is different working without the band but after 25 years that’s a good thing for all concerned.
11. What one piece of advice would you pass on to artists that are just starting out?
Work hard play hard