Working with numerous big names in the past, singer/songwriter Chris Guard is a musician whose feet are still firmly on the ground despite some amazing experiences.

Chris & Stu, Leapfrogtown

Chris & Stu, Leapfrogtown

Now as part of new duo Leapfrogtown he's worked with Stuart Walton to create fresh material and release a whole body of new work.

We got the chance to chat to Chris about the new group, music and much more - read on to find out what he had to say...

Leapfrogtown came together in 2013, can you tell us a bit about the conception of the duo please?

It's really a two-man band, with extensions! I write the songs, Stu comes up with riffs, together we arrange and produce. Following some nice festivals our last band The Bloogs began to fall apart in 2012, so we started a side project, eventually 'leapfrogging' over the main one. Some of the ex Bloogs play on the album, but we have now taken on a young international live band and are in rehearsal.

What's it like working with Stuart Walton in the group?

We're equal and opposite. Stu is naturally patient and steady, I'm more mercurial. We have the same surreal sense of humour and political outlook. Stu has worked miracles on the production front. We recorded the entire album at my home in West London, including drums, surrounded by family life and dogs, so the buzzwords were focus, tolerance and fun.

You released current single 'Seven' at the backend of 2015 - how did you find the response to that track?

Really warm and positive, especially in tandem with the video by Roger Spy. It's a deliberately nouveau-retro production, and not typical of us, so it was not an obvious choice, but Roger chose it partly because of the animation potential. When Russell Grant saw it, he wasted no time in signing up for the next one!

New album 'Dream in Public' is out now, what should those who haven't yet heard the LP expect?

I'd like to quote from one of several excellent, recent reviews:

Be it showgazing slower and sadder pop ditties or simple bubblegum rockers, all the songs include a careful hook and a nice release point which makes them work superbly. Be it the very close to home, funky opener "Fear", the punk rocking leadoff single "Seven", the almost Voidoids like "Enough is Enough", the epic "Anyone's Game" or the title track every song and every moment, every lyric, every nook and cranny, is well placed and well-intended. The production of Walton may be minimalist as they come, but it's clear and concise and works great. An album you could lose yourself in. -Grande Rock

Where do you as a musician draw influence and inspiration from for your work?

Broad, eclectic mix, as reflected by the album. I like high intelligence in pop, like Lennon and Bowie, Annie Lennox and David Byrne. Left-leaning but commercial is an ideal combination for me. Lyrically I get a lot of ideas from TV and newspapers, then put tricky issues in a pop context. But a simple love-song like Fill the Space is just about missing my partner Cath. The duality of universal and emotional politics works well. I like to be on two levels, but accessible. My recent song 'Animals are Great' is every frustrating conversation I've ever had about the UK's paradoxical attitude to animals whether we're cooing over them or eating them!

I know Bowie has been an inspiration of yours - how did you feel when he passed away earlier this month?

Cath gave me 'Black Star' on the day of its release. It was confusing me. Then came the news of the greatest change of all. And it all came clear. I still feel weird, partly because he's gone but more for his genius for surprise and timing. I thought of Ziggy announcing his 'death' all those years ago at the Hammersmith Odeon. For me Bowie helped to fill the space left by the Beatles split. Pop music was going to the dogs, and there was someone thinking and dreaming and leading the way again. Now he's gone I hope I can help to fill some of the space.

Do you have any definitive aims or goals for your career going forward?

Second album well on the way. Live band sounding exciting in rehearsal. Can't wait to get on some festival stages. A Roger Spy video for 'Animals are Great'. A dark, magical part in a movie or two.

If you could work with anybody on new music going ahead, who would you choose and why?

Mike Garson, Bowie's keyboard player. Sweet man, genius style. Thom Yorke in any capacity, because he's the most innovative rock singer of the last 25 years. Ringo Starr 'cos he still seems like a Beatle!

Should we expect to see you touring in the UK in the near future?

Oh yes - few potential dates in place, but the full picture has yet to come clear. Really happy with the new players. Young and international. And they love our music which is essential. Romanian drummer, Greek bass, Italian keys.

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