Linear: In Conversation with Chilli Jesson

Former Palma Violet, Chilli Jesson, has a new band - Crewel Intentions. We catch up with him to see how things have changed (Interview by Max Wallis)

 Tell me about the time in your life when you were happiest?
Looking back, true happiness came from a time of naivety and ignorance, as a child your relationships are unadulterated and without judgement. I had a good childhood, but from my teenage years, things started to become more difficult, and tragedy started to seep into my life. I’ve had great moments of happiness, but they were less linear, and more fragmented.

What’s the best thing that has ever happened in your career – and why?
Probably the start of my career, though at the time I didn’t see it as that. I had just finished school and was working in a clothes shop in Wimbledon. A lot of people have a long torturous path of self-discovery. But in my case, it was quick and, in a way, gifted immediately. With only a handful of songs and my first band [Palma Violets], I had somehow managed to sign to my dream label [Rough Trade] after playing one show. This would later prove to be difficult as I felt I was learning on the job most of the time, under the scrutiny of people and the public.

What is the one thing you want to do or achieve in the next five years?
To write some great choruses.

You have been spoken of as part of the renaissance of guitar bands – are they having a moment? And why do you think now?
We have been placed in the underground for a little while, but there have been some great guitar records recently which have charted highly. This year may be the year that the public’s need for guitar music is really at the forefront.

What would you like someone who has known you from Palma Violets to feel and think after they’ve listened to your music from Crewel Intentions?
I took a year out to assemble Crewel Intentions with a vision aesthetically and musically. I wanted it to live in this modern era. My goal was to marry classic song writing with a modern aesthetic. I would hope this coherency and depth can be seen from early Palma Violets fans.

If you could play go on tour with any band, one still around or long dissolved, which would you choose and why?
I recently toured the UK with Johnny Marr, and he taught me so much  – both about life, and about music. I am thankful for the opportunity and I am forever grateful; he is a true rock star .

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