I’ve always been pleased that I saw you open for Ballboy, as part of Ganger, at the Great American Music Hall. While checking to see that my memory coincided with reality, I discovered you were actually in Ganger 2.0. As it turns out I may have only thought I saw you. Nevertheless it did lead me directly to your next project. My first Aereogramme show was at Bimbo’s 365, opening for the Delgados. It truly was a special night. Stewart Henderson (there he is again, fresh from Ganger 1.0) was beyond jubilant. I don’t suppose you could shed any light on his continual pronouncements about that being the best night of his life?
“Ganger 2.0. I like that. Yes, I had left Ganger just before that American tour, but Aereogramme toured the U.S. and parts of Canada four times over the years and I have fond memories of San Francisco. My memory is pretty hazy of that night at Bimbo’s though, although I do remember walking around the market just down the road from the venue as the sun went down. I have spoken about that tour with Stewart quite a bit and I must admit I have no idea why he was in such a jubilant mood that night. It might have had something to do with the vast amount of alcohol that was being consumed most nights, but it also could have been a busy gig which would have made them happy and eager to play. It was a real pleasure being able to tour with the Delgados then. They were a fantastic live band and Stewart’s patter was usually just as entertaining.”
The second time I saw you play was at the Independent with about 12 other people (one of whom is my wife). Your stoicism in playing full out will always be spoken of with admiration. It wasn’t until I got the Chemikal Underground vinyl box set that I fully appreciated the tribulations of that tour. There are no questions to be asked there, but could you sum up what it was like touring and working with the C.U. folks during what had to be a more optimistic time?
“We have stayed with Chemikal Underground this long because they are honest and very likable people to work with. I have a lot of respect for the hard work they do in keeping Chemikal Underground going. Aereogramme were never really an optimistic band though, we were realists to a fault so when things didn’t start working out for us, we continued playing and recording but we just got angrier and angrier and more pissed off. Chemikal Underground are the type of label that let you do exactly what you want, so they never once stepped in and asked us to do anything we were uncomfortable with doing and never tried to steer us in any direction. It’s that hands off approach that was very appealing to us especially at the start when we were very head strong.”
The Unwinding Hours, understandably, was met with great anticipation. Knut is such a great opener – for a few minutes you could close your eyes and wish things were still the way you wanted them to be. While I assume that the sparse repeated lyrics “We can, we will, we must get up” mean exactly what they say, the rest of the album takes a quieter more introspective tone. In what direction will the new record take us? Is ‘Dogs’ representative of the new musical direction?
“I won’t correct you on the lyrics because I always find it interesting when people hear something other than what I am singing. I think it’s great when someone interprets the words in their own way. “The Dogs” is not what the new album will sound like at all. It’s just a wee experiment we tried out with Brendan Smith who filmed the video. We have another video to upload and it is acoustic but that will be the last acoustic song to release because I don’t want people to think that is what the next album will be like. It’s just easier to film acoustic songs. Like you say, the first album is very quiet and introspective and when we came to play it live, we felt it was very difficult to play shows other than our own because it was only at our own shows that people were interested enough to remain quiet and attentive and even then it was pretty obvious that the set leaned more on the quiet side. The new album will readdress the balance and I’m very happy with how it’s sounding and can’t wait to play the songs live.”
I almost hate to ask, would you even consider coming to the States again? We promise that we’ll make it over there, eventually, so no pressure.
“I would love to play the States again. I have had some incredible experiences playing there and would love to make the journey again. Unfortunately, there just isn’t the demand and so there is no budget to get us there. Some people will surely wonder that if we don’t play, how will people know about us? Unfortunately, we tried it that way in Aereogramme for eight years and it didn’t work. I started to hate what I was doing and it started to affect my life in negative ways. Now, with the Unwinding Hours, we have to be a bit smarter when and where we play because sleeping on a bass drum in the back of the van in the middle of France when you are touring on a tiny budget just isn’t an option anymore. Thankfully.”
Can you provide any additional details about the next record? Will you put this one out on vinyl as well?
“It will be out late 2012. I’m studying at the moment, so we need to record it and release when I’m not at uni. Chemikal are very much into the idea of vinyl, so I can’t think of any reason why it won’t come out on that format.”
Pedro and I attended a Biffy half hour set at a local festival last summer. We gravitated to the one fellow wearing the Biffy tee. Thinking he had to be a fan of you as well, we were astounded by his blank look. How is it possible that someone that flew in from Scotland specifically to see Biffy did not know who Aereogramme was? Is Martin still running things for them? We would love to hear your take on Biffy.
“Martin still does the odd show for them but has another full time job at the moment. How is it possible that guy hadn’t heard of Aereogramme? Can’t answer that I’m afraid! The last album came out four years ago though so the only mentions we get these days are from people recommending us to their friends, which is always lovely to hear about. What’s my take on Biffy? I think they are excellent and deserve all the success they have. You would struggle to find a harder working band, and they have achieved a huge amount of success completely on their own terms. Whats not to like about that? Lovely guys as well.”
Lastly, we’d be honoured if you asked glasGOwest a question.
“What’s your favourite malt whisky?”
I once asked the owner of the lovely ‘Scot’s Corner’ in London, Ontario what his favourite scotch was, and have been fond of Oban ever since.
After listening to Knut again, I can now report that I think Craig is singing…the same thing. According to someone else, it really is “If we can, we will / We must get out”. Honestly, I prefer and will stick with my own interpretation. Afterall, the Unwinding Hours appear to still be well in it.
T & P