Who Are The Cha Cha Heels?
So, firstly, can you tell us the story behind your name?
Our name comes from a scene in the cult John Waters movie Female Trouble; the character Divine doesn't get the black ‘cha cha heels’ she desires for Christmas and from then on her/his life spirals out of control. Also there's the Grease reference – ‘Cha Cha', the bad girl from St. Bernadette's, is "the best dancer, with the worst reputation." We think it's a fun name and represents us really well.
Who are the Cha Cha Heels?
We (Cragg Stromo and Miss Marks) are Cha Cha Heels, along with our guitarist Castor, and together we play with other musicians. We've had longer standing members but periodically change the unit to keep it fresh and rolling.
How did you meet?/ How long have you been together as a band?
We met studying performing arts in Edinburgh, both got pretty disenchanted with the assembly line and jumped sharpish. We've written little pop songs for own entertainment for years, and a couple of years back we started collaborating with other musicians, including key member, our guitarist Castor. Together we merged our various influences together to get our distinctive sound.
Tell us about your music.
Our music is a mix of our different influences and tastes all blended together. It's very new wave, power pop (amongst other things) and we've been compared a few times to Blondie and The B-52's, which is a brilliant compliment and really cool!
What other Scottish bands influence you?
Tough one. Our Scottish influences would be acts and artists like Annie Lennox, Associates, Shirley Manson of Garbage - oh and Simple Minds - even simply for Don't You Forget About Me from The Breakfast Club. Scotland and indeed the UK has such a rich heritage of brilliant acts. There's just so many!
Do you think it’s important for queer or LGBT musicians, bands, and artists (as well as other people in the public eye) to be ‘out and proud’?
We don't think it should be an issue anywhere in life, and that people should be able to express themselves freely. There have been some amazing out performers over the years like Freddie Mercury, Beth Ditto, George Michael... And some of the most exciting and controversial songs and music videos have caome from LGBT artists like Frankie Goes to Hollywood, and the video for Relax. It's 2012, and we believe people really should be focusing on other things rather than someone’s sexuality.
Do you think performance is an important part of what you're about?
Totally! We want people to have fun, and music in itself is about escapism, so adding a visual element to that keeps people entertained. We like to follow our original ethos of a gig being more like a show than another generic set. We want to make people smile and to take something away from our shows. Whatever it is.
You're playing at the Olympics?
Yes! It's a brilliant opportunity and we're really looking forward to it! We're playing in the Olympic stadium in London on August 6th. We don't really know much about the other performers but we think it's different artists from various cities showcasing their talents. It's a fantastic opportunity and a great life experience. We're ready!
Your shows are known for leaving the venue covered in glitter and feathers - will we be seeing similar stuff in this set?
Of course! It'll be our biggest show yet!
How did you get this opportunity?
We've been working with a youth initiative this year and they filmed one of our shows. We finally got approved to play by the LOCOG (The London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games) in late June.
Is this a sign you've sold out and become mainstream?
No, not at all, any exposure for us is great! It's great to be invited by the LOCOG to perform our music and showcase our band at such a prestigious event. We're really honoured.
What's next for Cha Cha Heels?
We're releasing a remix EP later this summer, which will be free to download. We've got some great remixers, including a few brilliant Scottish producers. It's a great way for our music to be heard by fans of different genres of music, who wouldn't necessarily hear the original. We're also doing another video, single release, and mini tour. Get on board, things are gonna get exciting!