Chloë Alper has been involved in music for over 20 years – and she’s still only 34. But then she did form Period Pains, a riot grrrl outfit, when she was 13, before becoming the singer-bassist with “astral folk/new prog” band Pure Reason Revolution. These days, she’s one half of Tiny Giant, a double-act with Mat Collis.
The line‑up expands to a five-piece live, where their now‑frenzied, now‑ethereal shimmers and surges multiply the power of their studio incarnations.
When asked what the link might be between her various groups and phases, Alper says, “I’m not sure there is a connection other than that I’ve grown up in bands, in music. I started when I was 13 and music has consumed my life since then.”
As to why she chose the name Tiny Giant, it was one of the first songs she and Collis wrote. In a broader sense, it applies to the fact that “we’re stylistically unafraid to move between unassuming and overblown. It’s an interplay between nothing and everything that suits us in ethos, outlook and physicality.”
Sincere and serious, these days Alper writes “to demystify and sanitise myself and other people”. A Tiny Giant song, she explains, tends to be about “love, time, loss and regret.
“I’m terrified of regret – regrets make my heart beat faster,” she admits. “And loss fascinates me because death is the great leveller.”
Influence-wise, she “lives on” Cocteau Twins, Talk Talk, Roxy Music, Genesis, Toto and King Crimson, whereas Collis prefers Weezer, Biffy Clyro, Battles and Queens Of The Stone Age. As to whether she’s PC – prog-credible – that’s easy.
“I essentially grew up in a prog band,” she declares proudly. “I was in Pure Reason Revolution for 10 years so of course that legacy is going to influence me. It’s in my blood. Mat has a progressive background too – he’s worked with the likes of Steven Wilson and Katatonia. Besides, our approach to music-making is ‘progressive’ in that it’s not afraid to be unapologetic or ignore pop music standards.
Prog is about a progressive way of thinking, as opposed to flashy chops. Our music can be complicated, but it’s honest.
“When I left PRR I had a gut punch of sudden comprehension that music can be a test site for daring ideas, without being discriminative,” she continues. “I think prog bands can lose themselves to technique sometimes, but in my opinion, ‘prog’ is about a progressive way of thinking, as opposed to flashy chops. Our music can be complicated at times, but it’s accessible and honest.”
So far, Tiny Giant have only played a handful of gigs, but there are a series of releases, starting with the Joely/How single and a vinyl EP due in July, followed by a debut album at the end of the year. And already in place in the TG mission statement – or rather, non-mission statement.
“I didn’t set out with a brief or a goal – I never do – yet I obviously have an artistic intent,” says Alper. “I want to write music that resonates with people. If what I write with Mat resonates with people, even just a tiny bit, then I’ll have achieved what I need from it.”
Chloë Alper (vocals, guitar), Mat Collis (guitar), Luke Burnett‑Smith (bass), Paul Glover (drums), Nick Willes (guitar, keys, synth)
Bat For Lashes having a battle with Battles
The single Joely/How is available now digitally, and will be followed in July by a limited-edition vinyl/download EP