The King Hats

One of my principal tools for finding something new is to google bandcamp-glasgow. Each time I end up with a band called Glasgow who appear to be from New Orleans. It has become somewhat of a ritual to go through that extra step. One day I might even check them out. Tonight I found you. I preordered the new EP ‘First Lights’ on the strength of the non-EP songs that I’ve heard. Is the new material different in any way?

“It’s different in that it’s a development of our sound. We recorded the EP ourselves in our flat, so it definitely has a sound that’s different to what we’ve recorded before. That has a lot to do with the recording techniques we had to employ due to the limitations of recording a rock album in a flat (our neighbours loved us). The great thing about recording in the flat is the time you have to work on things. This is the first stuff we’ve recorded where we’ve had the time to really work on a lot of vocals. There was many a time where we’d be up all night drinking whisky and doing all the gang vocals (hence why our neighbours loved us). I’d say the overriding difference though is the size of the sound. We really wanted the recordings to sound wider, and we think we’ve managed that.”

‘The King Hats’. Would you care to relate the tale of the name’s origin and significance?

“Haha. It’s actually a short story. Basically, one night at a party, our mate Greg was very drunk and kept referring to a picture of a crown as a king hat. We asked him if he meant a crown, and he just said “yeah, a king hat”. It made us giggle, and it stuck.”

I just purchased the ‘People, Places, Maps’ record as well as I noticed they are sharing the bill for your EP release this Sunday. It is looking like it will be an excellent night at King Tut’s. Are you familiar with them?

“We’re actually not that familiar with them. We’ve been listening since we saw them on the line-up though and we’re liking what we’ve heard. We’re looking forward to listening to them and all the other bands playing on the night. It should be a good one.”

It never ceases to amaze me that whatever rock you turn over , you’re bound to find another band you like in Scotland. I’ve spent enough time scouring for new bands to know that Scotland, like any place, is also full of music I would generally dislike. Nevertheless, there you are. What do you think accounts for this almost unbelievable quality and quantity of ever emerging Scottish Acts?

“Well, we dunno to be honest. We’re very lucky in Scotland in that music is so ingrained in the culture. It just seems to be what so many people do. I’d say one reason (and it’s certainly why we picked up our instruments) is that Scotland is a small country with a lot of small towns. Growing up you don’t have much to do, so you pick up an instrument. We think Mogwai put it best though. It probably has a lot to do with the weather; you can either go out and play football, or you can stay in and play your guitar.”

What’s your take on the 30th anniversary of ‘In a Big Country’ this year? I’d say from my vantage point, that they really broke the ground for Scottish acts to sing in their ‘native’ voice. (if you ignore the 20 years in between)

“Is it? To be honest we didn’t realise. Big Country were a little before our time. Our biggest influence with regard to singing in our native voice is probably Idlewild. Their first album was a massive influence. There was also our physics teacher in high school, Mr Crawford. He actually used to play with the Supernaturals. He listened to the band Carlo and Alan were in back then and just asked why we don’t sing in our native voice. It had never really occurred to us to do that. At the time we were young and listened to a lot of American music, so that had a major influence in our sound and how we wrote songs.”

What’s your favourite in use guitar at the moment? If you could obtain anything what would it be? For some reason, I think I need a tele thinline. Probably has something to do with those early Manics videos I’ve been watching.

“Bert has the guitar he wants. He plays a Strat with a Seymour Duncan Humbucker. Carlo likes just about any acoustic guitar cause he just likes to hit it. Russell has the bass he wants, he’s got this really nice Rickenbacker, but it’s out of commission at the moment since he smashed it in a moment of exuberance. Alan really wants a guitar that can play itself.”

I’m listening to ‘Happy New Year’ for the third time. I just realized the reason I like it so much: it reminds me of A.C. Acoustics in a way. What is the meaning of the song?

“It’s about the night before New Year (Bert’s birthday). Alan had been up all night and was in a bad way after taking a lot of things he shouldn’t have. The next day we were getting ready to go out for New Year and he surprisingly wasn’t feeling well. So his then girlfriend ran him a hot bath to make him feel better, but he collapsed before he could get in. His girlfriend found him naked on the bathroom floor. The song is a thank you for saving his life (metaphorically).”

Since we can’t get to the shows there all that easily, could you share an experience of a memorable one in the last little while?

“I guess we’ll need to come out there a give you all a show!

Well, we’ve not been gigging that much recently cause of all the recording. A really memorable night though was our single launch. We sold out King Tuts; it was possibly the busiest we’ve ever seen it. They didn’t even have room to put the barriers up at the front. It made it nice to have the crowd that much closer in. Added to that, it was really special to hear them all singing along to our songs. It was just a really great night. We’re hoping to replicate it on Sunday.”

Not that we can really keep up, do you have any artists you think that we really need to look out for?

“Wow, there’s loads, PAWS, Carnivores, Lady North, Boycotts, Fangs, WeCameFromWolves, Naked Strangers we could go on all day, but that’s certainly a good start.

A good place to look for the best, new Scottish talent is definitely Glasgow PodcArt. They always find the most amazing stuff, and you can tell how passionate they are about music. They got to officially announce the line-up for Tut’s New Year Revolution.”

T&P