Guitarist and singer-songwriter Chantel McGregor recently released her highly anticipated album, Lose Control, on her independent boutique label Tis Rock Music. The new album is the follow up to her critically acclaimed debut solo album, Like No Other.

Lose Control not only salutes contemporary rock, but shows her gradual transition from conventional Blues to a harder, bigger and bolder rock sound with progressive influences.

"I’ve always been interested in the dark side of Southern Gothic literature, artwork and media," says Chantel. "I wanted to create an album that reflected the imagery and themes of that genre. I drew inspiration from the TV shows True Detective and True Blood and studied the literary works of Tennessee Williams, Carson Mullers and Mark Twain."

"I also surrounded myself with imagery from artists and photographers such as Walker Evans and Clarence John Laughlin, all to immerse myself in the sinister, dark world of depravation, magic and voodoo, writing most of the songs from the perspective of the disturbed flawed characters."

Lose Control, sees Chantel channeling her guitar playing and song-writing into an exciting pantheon of rock crescendos and riffs, that will not only leave her devout blues rock fan base in awe, but will also lead them into a sonic journey that will take them into new musical territory, whilst sticking to her current obsession with all things Southern Gothic.

"My interpretation of Southern Gothic is the loss of control, either spiritually, physically (through other people or substances), or emotionally," reflects Chantel. "I drew on this theme a lot throughout the album, hence the title Lose Control. I wanted the sound and emotion of the album to reflect the concept, so I juxtaposed heavy, guitar riff-based, dark tracks with haunting, emotive acoustic tracks, whilst tying them together with the lyrical themes of desperation and loss so often seen in Southern Gothic fiction."

The album was recorded, mixed and mastered at Livingstone Brown’s studio in Brixton over the space of 6 months, interspersing studio time with touring. Livingstone Brown, (Ed Sheeran, Bryan Ferry, Robin Trower), played the majority of the bass on the album.

Says Chantel, "I did the vocals, backing vocals, all guitar parts, arrangements and some production. We brought in two amazing string players, Charlie Brown on the violin and Chris Worsey on the cello. I really enjoyed the creativity the studio gave me and loved venturing into the production and arrangement sides of it, which I will definitely be doing more of in the future."

For the album artwork, Chantel wanted to reflect the darkness of the album whist retaining an eerily traditional feel. To make this happen, she contacted a friend of hers, Mark Eliades, who created all of the calligraphy by hand, which Chantel transferred into digital format to design the album cover. In addition to designing the cover, Chantel also did all the photography and visual effects. The imagery is all Chantel - from the voodoo doll, the scratched song lyrics and the gothic old door, all of which tie in into the Southern Gothic theme, reflecting the dark undercurrents and disturbing concepts of the album.

Chantel McGregor - Track By Track

Take The Power
This stemmed from a track that I wrote a couple of years ago that I was never totally satisfied with, so I revisited it, changed the music slightly and re-wrote all of the lyrics and melody. The lyrical concept of the song is about religious and social cults, the idea of control (or loss of) from a higher power or person, which ties in with the title and theme of the album. Musically, I wanted it to be dark and grungy, emphasising the loss of control. I drew on influences from my youth such as Nirvana, Soundgarden and Stone Temple Pilots, who evoke the emotion of performing with passion and losing control.

Your Fever
This was written on a metaphorical level. The initial idea for it being literally written in the garden on a day when we had a heatwave. It was unbearably hot. That was the literal concept, then I started to be creative with it, drawing on the Southern Gothic ideas, twisting it into a world of stifling desert heat, creating imagery of dust, bones, and the feeling of entrapment. I aimed to continue the heavy rock sound, once again drawing on the grunge influences previously mentioned. It was important for the track to be melodically interesting, especially with the lead guitar part. I wanted to create a haunting soundscape that reflected the concept of isolation in a desert amongst the bones of people past.

Burn Your Anger
Continuing the rock sound to the album, this track was very much about creating a chorus that people can sing along to, backed with lyrical themes that people can identify with. I moved away slightly from the Southern Gothic concept as I also wanted to keep the album relevant to modern day life, thus the influence came from reading the book
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. Lyrically, it still touches on the overall theme of the album, centring on desperation and loss, centring on the breakdown of a relationship through infidelity.

This is one of the more emotive songs on the album. I wanted to take the listener on a journey throughout the album through the heavy rock tracks, interspersed with the sensitive acoustic tracks, meanwhile weaving the concepts and lyrical themes throughout both aspects to tie it all together. With
Anaesthetize, I wanted to explore the feelings of loss, guilt and desperation caused by substance abuse. This was incredibly hard for me to understand as I have never personally experienced this, so I had to research and attempt to emotionally connect and empathise with people who had undergone the experience, and try to see the world through their eyes, whilst remaining sensitive to the subject. I also drew on a character from the TV show True Detective who had deep rooted emotional problems, and tried to connect to the character in the song through him.

Southern Belle
Anaesthetize, I felt that I needed to bring the mood of the album back to a more rock feel. Southern Belle was my interpretation of debauchery and indulgence. I wanted to tie in the Southern Gothic themes of religion and loss of control, and the idea of rebellion seemed the perfect way to do that through this song. Musically, this is the most ‘bluesy’ track on the album, and probably the most ‘American’ sounding track, this being intentional to the overall theme of the album

Lose Control
The title track of the album, this is intended to really epitomise the concept of loss of control, through possession and being ‘out of your own body'. It can be interpreted on two levels, the literal level, a song about partying and losing yourself to the music, or the spiritual level, being possessed and losing yourself on a metaphorical level. I wanted the music to reflect the excitement of the subject matter, through guitar riffs and distorted vocals, and I feel that it encapsulates the concept.

As well as writing songs with a strong theme and concept, I wanted to write a personal song that I could really reflect on my own life with, whilst using imagery connected to the rest of the album. This song was written about spending time on the road away from home, growing and evolving as a person, and looking back on things which I’ve done. It was important for me to perform this song with true emotion, and I used cellos and violins as well as subtle electric guitar to meander in and around the classical guitar and haunting vocal lines, to give tenderness and depth. Whilst working with the string players, I drew on influences from the iconic artist Nick Drake, who used strings to emphasise the emotion of his music.

Killing Time
At the time I wrote this track, I was listening to a lot of contemporary rock bands, such as Royal Blood, Band of Skulls, Black Keys, who all use heavy rock riffs to punctuate their songs. The concept of the song is about being a serial killer. It was fitting to make it riff based rock to emphasise the viciousness of the concept.

Eternal Dream
The inspiration for this song was an artist who I have loved for years, Jeff Buckley. I’ve always been captivated by his music and his story, and I wanted to put that into a song. I used a lot of techniques evident in his music within the song musically, such as dissonance and falsetto vocals. This is my tribute to him.

Walk On Land
I have always had a passion for Progressive music, purely down to the fact that I love the technicality and intricacy of it. I listen to a lot of Steven Wilson and Porcupine Tree, and both heavily influenced this track. I wanted to create something technically interesting to provide a different angle and texture to the album. Experimenting with different time signatures, interesting instrumentation and backing vocal arrangements has always been a passion of mine, so this song is an important part of the album to me. It was also great fun recording the improvised guitar solo at the end of the track in one take with the drummer, I aimed to capture the excitement and spontaneity of improvisation within the constraints of a very structured song. The theme behind the song is an observation of how live moves on and the world keeps turning, yet somethings in life never evolve or move on. The subject matter reflected the progressive sound of the song.

Chantel McGregor – Biography

Chantel McGregor – Short Biography

The Blues came calling first, but rock was always waiting around the corner. Well it would be, wouldn’t it? Coming from the deep south, it was inevitable, but living in the deep south of a major Yorkshire City, there’s a gritty hard edge to life!

A female guitar prodigy, Chantel was told by a major label that she had a "great voice, but girls don't play guitar like that!" Wisely ignoring their comments, she enrolled at the Leeds College of Music and became the first student in the college’s history, to achieve a 100% pass mark at BTEC, with 18 distinctions. Chantel then pursued further education and left with a First Class Honours degree in Popular Music and a coveted prize, the college’s musician of the year award.

Chantel released her highly anticipated new album, Lose Control, in October 2015 on her independent boutique label Tis Rock Music, this being the follow up to her critically acclaimed 2011 debut album, Like No Other.

After years of touring and festival appearances, Chantel returned with a vengeance with ten new songs that not only salutes contemporary rock, but shows her gradual transition from conventional Blues to a harder, bigger and bolder rock sound with progressive influences.

The single, Take The Power, from her latest album, was playlisted for 5 weeks on Planet Rock radio.

Chantel is currently writing for her third album, debuting some of the new tracks on her 2017 tour which is currently taking place throughout the UK and Europe.