Chris T-T

Chris T-T

Chris T-T in the Leaf Lounge at 2000 Trees Festival July 2008
Background information
Birth name Christopher Thorpe-Tracey
Also known as Chris T-T
Born September 16, 1974 (1974-09-16) (age 37) UK
Origin Winchester, United Kingdom
Genres Alternative, folk
Occupations Writer, Singer-songwriter
Instruments Piano, Guitar, Vocals
Years active 1997–present
Labels Xtra Mile Recordings (2007-present), Snowstorm Records (2000-2005), Wine Cellar Records,
Associated acts Jim Bob, Magoo, Timothy Victor's Folk Orchestra, Frank Turner, Something Beginning With L, Le Frange, Thirty Pounds Of Bone

Chris T-T (born Christopher Thorpe-Tracey, 16 Sept 1974) is an English singer/songwriter based in Brighton. He has released eight studio albums and one live collection. He has also been a piano accompanist; a radio and club DJ; written for a range of publications [1] and currently contributes a regular column on the arts to left-wing newspaper The Morning Star.[2] T-T's most recent album is Love Is Not Rescue which was released on 15 March 2010 by London-based independent label Xtra Mile Recordings.[3]

While T-T has not crossed over to mainstream success, his influence as an underground artist is widely felt and his music has been consistently praised by critics through the past decade.[4]



Early life

Chris T-T was born and raised in Winchester, England. After performing in school bands, in 1993 he began an honours degree in Popular Music Studies at Bretton Hall College (Leeds University). During his final year at Bretton Hall, T-T became Ents Officer on the Student Union (a post previously held by activist/comedian Mark Thomas).[1]

Late 1990s

In 1996, T-T joined Norfolk-based band Magoo on bass, as they signed to Glasgow-based Chemikal Underground Records, the label run by the band Delgados. In May 1997, Chris T-T moved to London to work at the Press Association. His first solo gig was opening for Hefner at the Bull & Gate, Kentish Town.[1]

In 1999 T-T's debut album Beatverse was released on his own Wine Cellar Records.[5] The release brought T-T early press and radio interest. BBC Radio 1 DJ Steve Lamacq played the song 'Shit From All Angles' on his first show of the new millennium and continued to strongly support T-T. Following Beatverse, T-T signed to London-based independent label Snowstorm Records.[1]


T-T's second album Panic Attack At Sainsbury's was released in autumn 2000. First single 'You Can Be Flirty', was panned in NME and Melody Maker but in early 2001 second single, 'Dreaming Of Injured Popstars' made an impression across the UK underground scene, with notably vicious, sarcastic lyrics: the song describes named pop stars being brutally injured. 'Dreaming Of Injured Popstars' received strong specialist radio, press and fanzine support, enabling T-T to tour the UK as a headline act for the first time. He gained very positive live reviews in NME and Melody Maker and appeared live on Steve Lamacq's Radio 1 Evening Session to perform a five song acoustic set.[6]

The albums The 253 (2001) and London Is Sinking (2003) followed. These were two parts of a trilogy of albums about London and were acclaimed in the British music press and the broadsheets. T-T continued to use sarcastic humour on singles such as 2002's 'Eminem Is Gay', which attracted wide attention, including in the US.[1] In autumn 2003, with the wider success of London Is Sinking, Chris T-T gave up his full time job and moved to Brighton.

In July 2005, work on part three of the London trilogy stalled: T-T's storyline for the third 'London' album turned out to be similar to the London bombings of 7 July 2005 and he felt it was unreleasable.[1] Instead Snowstorm Records released 9 Red Songs, an album of political folk-protest songs. 9 Red Songs was comparatively overlooked by the press but it became T-T's most widely heard work, gaining an exceptional level of viral grass-roots support. Songs are still performed by other artists and have become standard festival campfire material, such as the a capella 'M1 Song' and the self-critical 'Preaching To The Converted'. In particular 'The Huntsman Comes A-Marchin', which criticises British pro-hunting organisation Countryside Alliance, is remarkably well-known. 9 Red Songs was the final album T-T made for Snowstorm Records.[6]


In 2007 T-T signed to Xtra Mile Recordings and in 2008 his sixth album Capital was released, preceded by the rock-oriented 'This Gun Is Not A Gun' EP. This is a heavier record, with larger-scale production than his previous work. Capital is the third part of T-T's 'London Is Sinking trilogy' of albums, although it is also a stand-alone album. It includes guest appearances from Andy Burrows (ex. Razorlight drummer), Phil Sumner (British Sea Power cornettist), Jim Bob, Jon Boden (Bellowhead and Spiers & Boden fiddler) and Emmy The Great. Two further singles; 'A-Z' and '(We Are) The King Of England' were also released.

To tour Capital, T-T recruited his most stable band lineup to date, Hoodrats, including Ben Murray (ex. Le Frange) on drums, Johny Lamb (Thirty Pounds Of Bone, King James, Lynched Recordings) on bass and long-term collaborator Jenny Macro (Graham Coxon, Robyn Hitchcock, Charlotte Hatherley, Stuffy/The Fuses, Something Beginning With L) on guitars. Through 2008 and 2009 T-T toured Capital in the UK, US and Europe, often alongside label-mate Frank Turner.[1]

In May 2008 T-T joined Frank Turner's touring band on keyboards, occasionally also accompanying Turner in a duo format. He initially joined mid-tour without rehearsal. This stint included appearances at Glastonbury, Reading and Leeds festivals, as well as duo supports with Seth Lakeman, Levellers and Biffy Clyro.[1]

In July 2009 T-T was selected at random as one of 2,400 applicants to take part in Anthony Gormley's One & Other project, occupying the fourth plinth at Trafalgar Square. On Tuesday 28th he performed a live acoustic set on the fourth plinth which was broadcast on the SkyArts channel as part of their coverage of the project.[7]

In March 2010 Xtra Mile Recordings released T-T's seventh album Love Is Not Rescue, accompanied by the single 'Nintendo'. Recorded in rural Norfolk and urban Los Angeles, this has a quieter, more introspective tone than T-T's previous work and focuses on personal themes.

Present day

Chris T-T continues to promote Love Is Not Rescue and a second UK single release 'Words Fail Me' was released on April 25, 2011. T-T has finished an album of improvised piano instrumentals which is planned for a release some time in 2011. He also recently[when?] responded to a challenge by stand-up comedian Richard Herring to attack him "in song", after Herring roasted T-T on the Collings and Herrin podcast and his BBC6Music radio programme.[8]

T-T took a photograph of every toilet he visited in 2010 and published the photographs on Twitter (using the hashtag #loo2010), before archiving them to his Facebook page. This project is continuing into 2011.[9]

In early 2011 T-T wrote the story, scripted and composed the score to 'Imagine A Health Worker', a short animated film commissioned by the World Health Organisation's Global Health Workforce Alliance. The film opened their world conference in Bangkok and was then made available online.[10]

Through August 2011 T-T performed a one-man show, Disobedience: Chris T-T Sings A.A. Milne, at Edinburgh Fringe Festival. The performance comprised A.A. Milne's children's poems set to new music composed by T-T on guitar and piano. In October 2011 he released a studio album of the songs, with no prior warning or PR campaign, initially as a download on the Bandcamp website.

Other work


T-T's tour schedule, playing both solo and with his full-volume backing band Hoodrats, is near constant, taking him across the UK, Europe and North America. In recent years he has gigged with Ben Folds, The Divine Comedy, British Sea Power, The National, Tom Robinson, Elbow, The Walkmen, KT Tunstall, Quasi and many others, as well as performing at CMJ Seminar, South By Southwest and Glastonbury Festival. Most recent tours have seen him playing with Frank Turner, Jim Bob, Electric Soft Parade, Bellowhead and former Delgados singer Emma Pollock.[6]

During the past few years Chris T-T has composed music for an interactive exhibit at the Natural History Museum; written and performed a live re-soundtracking of Battle Royale at London's Other Cinema; taken part in political and ecological debates, including at SOAS and Brighton Live, and curated an evening of political documentaries at Greenwich Film Festival.[6]

DJ work

In February 2006 and through spring and summer of 2007, Chris presented a weekly live radio programme on Phoenix FM. He is also occasionally a DJ for gigs and club nights and has DJd in support of bands such as Dinosaur Jr, The Thermals, Okkervil River and Efterklang.


T-T has contributed fiction and non-fiction writing to a number of books and magazines. In early 2008, Chris T-T began to write a regular weekly column in the Arts section of the socialist daily newspaper The Morning Star which is ongoing. A selection of his Empties photographs has been published in the book Dark Mountain Volume 2. T-T also writes a popular and occasionally controversial blog. He was an early adopter of Twitter, building a following through tweeting primarily unrelated to his music career.[6]


In November 2010 Chris T-T was identified as the instigator of the #IAmSpartacus Twitter hashtag, an act of mass online civil disobedience in the UK to show support for accountant Paul Chambers, after he lost his appeal against a conviction for a joke he had made on Twitter, earlier in the year. Thousands of people copied Chambers' original message with the #IAmSpartacus hashtag and for a day it was the most popular Twitter hashtag in the world, attracting worldwide media coverage to the case.[11]

The tweet, including the 'Spartacus' reference, was also repeated on the floor of the House of Commons by Liberal Democrat MP Julian Huppert.[12]

Personal life

On April 1, 2005 Chris T-T married yogi and complementary therapist Rifa Bhunnoo in Brighton Pavilion. They live in central Brighton.



  • Disobedience: Chris T-T Sings A.A. Milne (28 October 2011, Wine Cellar Records)
  • Love Is Not Rescue (15 March 2010, Xtra Mile Recordings)
  • Capital (17 March 2008, Xtra Mile Recordings)
  • 9 Red Songs (October 2005, Snowstorm Records)
  • London Is Sinking (October 2003, Snowstorm Records)
  • The 253 (November 2001, Snowstorm Records)
  • Panic Attack At Sainsbury's (September 2000, Snowstorm Records)
  • Beatverse (1999, Wine Cellar Records)

Live albums

  • Live Tonight (live collection, June 2004, Wine Cellar Records)


  • Words Fail Me (April 2011, Xtra Mile Records, download ep)
  • Nintendo EP (March 2010, Xtra Mile Records, iTunes Exclusive download ep)
  • This Gun Is Not A Gun (November 2007, Xtra Mile Records, CDep)
  • 500 Miles EP (March 2002, Snowstorm Records, CDep)
  • You Can Be Flirty (September 2000, Snowstorm Records, CDep)


  • "Nintendo" (March 2010, Xtra Mile Recordings, digital download)
  • "We Are The King Of England" (27 October 2008, Xtra Mile Recordings, digital download)
  • "A-Z" (10 March 2008, Xtra Mile Recordings, digital download)
  • "You Can't Stop The Machine"/"Bored Of The War" (May 2004, Isota Records, 7")
  • "Eminem Is Gay"/"The Headcold Bit Of The Winter" (March 2003, Snowstorm Records, 7"/CD)
  • "English Man" (March 2001, Snowstorm Records, 7")
  • "Dreaming Of Injured Popstars" (March 2001, Snowstorm Records, 7")
  • "You Can Be Flirty"/"Sideshow Mel" (September 2000, Snowstorm Records, 7")

Split singles

  • "Tomorrow Morning" (September 2004, R*E*P*E*A*T Records, split single with Cosy Cosy)
  • "Cull" (August 2004, Wrath Records, split single with stuffy/the fuses)
  • "The Idris Lung/Strings" (May 1997, under the moniker Duckyfuzz, split single with Faded)

Appearances on compilations

  • "A Hole Full Of Submarines" (September 2011, Xtra Mile Recordings The Xtra Mile High Club Vol 3, download)
  • "Touchy Feely" (as Rifa & Chris, November 2010, private release Songs In The Jim Of Bob, one-off birthday present for Jim Bob)
  • "Elephant In The Room" (May 2010, Xtra Mile Recordings The Xtra Mile High Club Vol 2, iTunes exclusive download)
  • "A-Z (piano version)", "A Box To Hide In", "Ankles" and "Old Men" (November 2008, Xtra Mile Recordings The Xtra Mile High Club, iTunes exclusive download)
  • "In The Dressing Room" (December 2007, Xtra Mile Recordings / Big Scary Monsters Lock The Rock, CD)
  • "A Plague On Both Your Houses (acoustic)" (April 2006, Phoenix FM Creative Sessions Vol 1, CD)
  • "You Can't Stop The Machine" (May 2005, Best Of The Singles Club, Isota Records, CD)
  • "Dreaming Of Injured Popstars (live)" (2004, One Man And His Bog - 25 Years Of The Hull Adelphi Club, book/CD)
  • "7 Hearts" (April 2004, Fear Of A Black Kennett - Love Music Hate Racism, R*E*P*E*A*T* Records, CD)
  • "The Tin Man" (duet with KTB, July 2004, Truck Festival 2004 compilation, Truck Records, CD)
  • "Drink Beer" (July 2003, Truck Festival 2003 compilation, Truck Records, CD)
  • "What If My Heart Never Heals? (demo)" (2002, Fierce Panda Records, 2x7" singles/CD)
  • "100,000 Turkeys"&"Decksweep" (November 2000, The True Meaning Of Christmas Vol. 4, Snowstorm Records, CD)
  • "Decksweep" (November 1999, Snowstorm Records Christmas compilation, 2x7" singles)

Appearances on releases by other artists

  • "Dinosaur Planet" (the role of 'Grandfather', MJ Hibbett & The Validators due November 2011)
  • "Little Battles" (piano/backing vocals, She Makes War due November 2011)
  • "England Keep My Bones" (backing vocals, Frank Turner)
  • "Mr Blue Sky" (vocals/piano/keys/drums/co-production, Jim Bob)
  • "Too Slow" (piano, Tom Williams & The Boat)
  • "Tarry Awhile" (backing vocals, Gill Sandell)
  • "Take To The Road, Live 2009 DVD" (piano/vocals, Frank Turner)
  • "Concentrate" (piano, Tom Williams & The Boat)
  • "Long Live The Queen" (video appearance, Frank Turner)
  • "Goffam" (vocals/piano/guitar/percussion/co-production, Jim Bob)
  • "90mph / Too Slow" (piano, Tom Williams & The Boat)
  • "Steve McQueen" (backing vocals/percussion, The Automatic)
  • "A Humpty Dumpty Thing" (vocals/piano/percussion/co-production, Jim Bob)
  • "School" (vocals/piano/percussion, Jim Bob)
  • "Live From London DVD" (backing vocals, Jim Bob)


External links

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