Nessie stars in love song London band dreams of playing in her Highland homeland
Easier access to your trusted, local news. Subscribe to a digital package and support local news publishing.
A London band which found Nessie muscling her way into a song they were writing have released it as a single – and now they’d love to play the song in Inverness!
Singer Charlie Raphael-Campbell from queer-fronted band Charlescantbreathe explained how the song came to be written, as she and the four-piece’s guitarist were pulling some songs together in the studio.
Charlie said: “We were jamming, playing this really nice chord sequence and singing about love and then all of a sudden, out of nowhere, I started singing about the Loch Ness Monster. And I thought ‘If she wants to be in our song, then I’ve got to let her!’.
“And we thought ‘We’re going to make the song about Nessie’."
The lyrics go: ‘Your long neck, your mystery, I wish that I could see you and feel you, Nessie/ You’re running through my head all night …’. Then in the chorus: ‘Oh baby, take me for a ride, take me somewhere nice’.
Charlie revealed: “In our family we are part Scottish and are originally from around Inverness, my dad says, so since I was a kid I’ve always had a fascination with Nessie. It just came out in the song and everyone loved it.”
The release has already got the grunge-indie-funk band interviewed on BBC London radio stations this week. And Charlie also revealed that a promoter who heard the interview and the song has got in touch to offer them some gigs.
Charlie said: “He puts on gigs at quite prestigious 150-250-size venues and heard our Nessie single and said he thought it was a brilliant song. Now he wants to work with the band to put on some gigs, including a headline slot in Camden over the summer!”
On Friday the band is making a video to go with the Nessie single.
“We’ve got a Nessie prop and we are doing it with a green screen so we can pretend we are there – it’s going to be really fun!” Charlie said.
The band’s drummer Lucy Yates has created the colourful painting of Nessie for the single’s artwork.
“The photos of Nessie tend to be a bit dark and grainy and we wanted to paint her in all her glory and expressing her as something beautiful. Lucy created the painting and we love it!”
The band has already made their own merchandise, creating their own tie-dye T-shirts in a special Nessie design in guitarist Cam McCarthy’s back garden.
Since getting together around this time last year from Charlie and Charles & The Big Boys, they have also been working hard on building their profile including completing the EP Maybe Time Will Allow Me To Outlive My Mind featuring the Nessie song and supporting their friends the Crawlers from Liverpool on tour. They will play Brighton’s Does My Festival Look Big In This next month.
Charlie has been into music since she was a child.
“I’d point at the TV saying ‘I want to be in there!’, but it was more about writing songs and poems at first, though I did learn piano."
Charlescantbreathe started with Charlie and Owen Turner about two years ago.
“We found Cam through Instagram. We asked him to play bass, but he’s a far better guitarist than me and I’m a better bassist than he is, so we swapped! Cam and Lucy met on a dating app. At first she just started drumming with us, but later she and Cam got together – around the time we wrote Nessie. So there was a lot of love in the air when we were doing the song!
Charlie explained that the “queer-fronted” description of the band refers to herself.
“It just seems the easiest way to put it. In a way I started the band to help me come to terms with who I was. I spent a lot of time in school being bullied so having an artist project really helped.”
When it comes to the band’s unusual name, Charlie explained: “About 10 years ago when I was 13, I found out I had a spinal scoliosis – a curved spine.
“You are born with scoliosis but it doesn’t show till you go through puberty. I’d had a weird feeling between my shoulder blades and my spine but thought it was growing pains. Then when I was sitting at the piano, my parents noticed a hump on my back. Less than a year later I had surgery to fuse my spine. Afterwards I needed help to stand up and sit down, it was hard to go anywhere because I couldn’t have my knees higher than my waist and my parents had to help with everything like the shower and getting me out of bed.
“The scoliosis meant putting on a full body piece for 23 hours a day and I could find it hard to breathe. I was trying to come up with a name at the time to use on YouTube and Instagram and thought of ‘Charlescantbreathe’.
“I couldn’t do much except sit and play guitar! But it wasn’t until I had the surgery that I got the chance to think ‘This could be a career’.”
Charlie admits that she suffers chronic pain.
“I don’t have much flexibility in my back, but it doesn’t hinder me. It can be really painful if I jump too much on stage – I go hard!” the singer laughed. “I feel it four days later, but it is so worth it. It’s what I want to do!”
Charlescantbreathe have had thoughts about bringing their Nessie to her homeland and would love to hear from any promoters interested in helping them make it happen with a gig up in Inverness.
Though it is a long way from the band’s North East London base, Charlie said: “We would love the chance to come and play it up there!”