It has been around 2 years since the self-titled debut. Is the second album a continuation or is this incarnation of the band a substantial ‘reboot’ ?
” The new line up has certainly injected more energy into the music. The live sets contain a few favourites from the début album and the addition of an extra guitarist has meant we can add that evasive punch that I always thought was missing before. There wasn’t a concious plan to start the band again, but situation, circumstance and pure fate meant that some things need to be given a chance and I’m glad that I did with this.”
My first exposure to ‘post-rock’ was from some American band whose name I am forever trying to remember. It was interesting – not my cup of tea – but listenable. Then Mogwai came on. It was a revelation. One of those rare moments where everything is seen/heard from a whole new perspective. I can only assume you have a ‘Mogwai’ story or two.
” Mogwai are a huge influence on myself and the other guys. I think there is no avoiding their influence if you are playing this kind of music. I still argue the fact that just because we have no singer means we are some how hanging on to coat tales, but it comes with the territory. I saw Mogwai a few times when I was growing up, and then around the end of the 90s I saw them supporting the Manics on a UK tour. I think I went to every date on that tour just to see them and that was definitely a week in my life that moulded all those to follow. I came away from those shows with peaked emotions every night. I knew that was my building block, to make people leave the normal for an hour or so and just immerse.”
Your teaser promos are almost vague about the music. Is this intentional? In terms of generating excitement it has been very effective. Always interested in the recording process, can you share any technical tricks Mabel (the cat) had you perform in the studio?
“The vagueness was very intentional. I remember that I saw an interview with Billy Corgan once where he was explaining their approach to generating interest in to what ever they were releasing at the time. He had one very basic rule and that was all about keeping the outcome at arms length. Its really just the old cliché of ‘leave them wanting more’. Instead of a gentle gradient, we want to feed the snippets out to those who are interested and then hand over the eventuality in a sudden moment.
Recording began with myself recording demo’s in my home studio. We then considered recording everything ourselves but the realisation that we just didn’t have the skills meant that we did the wise thing and sought out an engineer. Robin Sutherland has been making a real name for himself working with bands such as Verse Metrics and Stapleton and we were all in agreement that he was the man for the job. The way he works is really refreshing, mixing as he goes along so you can hear the final record forming as all the pieces are put together. This was also our first experience of re-amping, which is just a god send for finding that perfect sound.”
What can we expect from a new full length? Do you have any single release details yet?
” The new single ‘The Hessian’ Is coming out in December with ‘All These Bad Judgement Calls’ gracing the b-side. We are planning on releasing a mini album in Early 2012.”
Certain media blurbs mention ‘Ex-Arab strap’ members. I always chuckle when I read that because I seem to see it a lot. I think it is approaching the point where stating that we were not in Arab Strap might be more meaningful. Nevertheless, where any of you in the band when they played 2 nights at the Café Du Nord here in San Francisco?
” Ok let’s get this sorted for the record. The previous line up had two members who both used to be in Arab Strap around 2005, I think . Initially, what was thought a good idea ended up being quite annoying as it seemed to be the main thing the band was associated for. It helped with getting the name out there but even today its still there peeking around the corner. Even getting a member of the Smashing Pumpkins to play on the record didn’t seem to trump the ‘strap’ connection. The new line up has no connection what so ever.”
I’m intrigued by the name choice. I’ve noticed that at least half the population of Sweden is either in a band or has a relative that is. Are any of you secretly Swedish?
” HA! No. The story goes like this .. I received a postcard in the mail one day and the picture on the front had no connection to the text written on the back. So after much confusion in my head, I noticed the postcard was peeling away from itself. It turned out that it was two cards stuck together and the hidden address underneath was for a house in Gothenburg. Voilà!”
Are there any realistic prospects of seeing an America tour in the future? (realistic – meaning not just the east coast)
” We are all desperate to get over there to tour. Its why we do what we do. Drawing experience from my own aspirations to get over to America with my solo project, I am well aware that the process is fraught with struggles. The costs of visas etc. is just too out of our reach right now as we do everything DIY with no outside help. Here’s hoping.”
What are your Scottish influences and do you have a hat-tip toward someone we need to go and check out immediately?
” There are many bands that are always talked about during rehearsals etc. Here’s a few – Bronto Skylift, Your Neighbour The Liar, Verse Metrics, We, Light Guides, Mogwai. I recently saw Light Guides play in a small shed up north, and for a first experience of their music, it was a mightily blinding one. I think special mention needs to go to the Glaswegian band Trapped In Kansas; who have just released their new EP. It’s easily one of my records of the year and essential for any music lover.”
We’d like it if you’d ask glasGOwest a question.
” I recently went into Greggs (bakers) and discovered a haggis pie. Much like the macaroni pie, it was a perfect spherical piece of pastry about 4 inches in height and contained equal layers of Haggis neeps and tattys. If you could order any kind of Pie, what kind of pie would you order?”
I’m going to have to reach for the Frank and Walters for this one. “Bake a sad sweet cherry pie. A song that makes us cry and weep and wonder why.” To answer it literally, I think this is one area that America just might have the upper hand: an apple pumpkin pie (with enough cinnamon).