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Fun and funksters

With his band's debut single, Phonographic Love, released this week, Blain McGuigan can reflect on what has been a hectic year since he first put the band Cha-Cha together.

Anxious to do his own thing, Blain had quit Cat the Dog. "We were on Virgin Records for a little bit but I left fairly early," he says. "I'd had enough. It was good to get out and start writing predominantly my own stuff."

In his search for musicians, Blain went to Brighton where he met guitarist Alex Cameron Ward and drummer Sam Garbutt.

"They were at the same music college as I was," explains Blain. "They fit the bill. It was good to sit down with a couple of guys who wanted the same thing. We mapped it out in terms of what we wanted to sound like but also what we wanted to cross out. We are very disco-based in our influences."

The trio seem to share a similar outlook to The Virgins, Alphabeat and Phoenix. They put the fun in funk.

"It's hard enough getting people to gigs and getting them into the music," declares Blain. "You need a basis for them to go there and that's dancing. It's been a good year."

The trio spent the last year trying out songs live before going into the studio in November. The album We Are Cha-Cha is ready to roll on the fashionably dressed indie label Pop Noodle Records.

"It was always going to be a small album, just ten songs," says Blain. "But we have a lot of other material."

I first got a heads up on Blain's musical talent from his father, Barry McGuigan. The former WBA world featherweight champion and Irish national icon is a big music fan and his father Pat, Blain's late grandad, represented Ireland in the Eurovision Song Contest in 1968, coming a respectable fourth.

But that was then. This is now. And London boy Blain's band appear to be at the centre of an emerging scene. "There are some great bands," enthuses Blain. "Rogue are very good. They're a bit more 80s than us but along the same lines. And there's Goldhawk who are very good. It might be the start of something."

Blain would like Cha-Cha to play in Ireland. "There's a great band from the North called Two Door Cinemas Club that our drummer knows," he says. "We definitely want to get to Ireland and play with a couple of good young bands there."

There's a minor problem that the band hope will soon be rectified. "You type in Cha-Cha and gazillions of things pop up," complains Blain about Cha-Cha's web interface. "But the name sort of represents what we're about in that we're making tunes you can dance to and we don't take ourselves too seriously. We like to have fun." -- EC

Check Cha-Cha at myspace.com/wearechacha