New Leeds psych band Chessmen have all the right moves

A belting big sound - new Leeds band The Chessmen.

A belting big sound - new Leeds band The Chessmen.

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The last time Harrogate gig-goers probably saw The Chessmen was probably when they were a perfect little Mod group.

This Leeds three-piece played The Blues Bar a few times in the guise of the Vandettas but now they’ve got a new name, new line-up and a new sound – and it’s big.

Lead singer Luke Holdsworth said: “We pride ourselves on having a massive sound. Every time we play live or go into the studio we have to get the engineer to take the treble off the guitar and make the sound fuller.”

The proof of the success of that switch comes in sensational debut single and video, Gonzo which sounds a little like Oasis if they’d been influenced by psych-garage bands from 1966 rather than Slade.

Since forming last year, The Chessmen have been working on material in Embrace drummer Mike Heaton's home studio, as well as recording with George Riley at The Penthouse Studio in Leeds.

Luke said: “We’re trying to create our own sound. It’s not set in stone. Ryan, our bassist is into punk. Scott the drummer is into modern stuff.

“I’ve just been getting into the 13th Floor Elevators who are really good but I’m willing to listen to anything from soul to Stone Roses. I do love Oasis, though.”

The band intend to tour on and off for most of the rest of the year promoting their first single and their travels will take them to North Yorkshire towards the end of the summer.

Like most three-pieces, The Chessmen are pretty full on live. Well, like most three-pieces, they have to be.

A hard-working bunch, they’ve got enough material written for an album but that's for the future rather than the short-term.

Luke said: “Recording album isn’t really in our horizon yet. We’re just trying to build up a fan base and create a national reputation.

“I think it’s important people can see you’re enjoying yourself when you play live – and we’re fantastic at that.”

The Chessmen will play North Yorkshire as part of the Great Northern Mod & Ska Festival at Bedale which takes place from August 26-28.