I mistakenly assumed the Scottish Enlightenment’s debut’ St. Thomas was named after Aquinas. No more assumptions. Would you be so kind as to spell out the meaning of your debut full length ‘Shouting at Wildlife’.
“I’m afraid we’re going to keep a little bit of mystery. It’s the last three words of the last line on the LP, use the rest of the line it is in and draw your own conclusions.”
I identify all too well with the character in Smash Hits, can I call him a musical snob? Being based in SF, I know who Erase Errata is. Are you actual fans or is it just a musical reference because it flows so beautifully from your lips? Which Scottish bands make you smile?
“That song made a lot of people paranoid. I got an Erase Errata single around the time I was writing the song. They are a very different artistic and sonic prospect to McFly. It seemed like a good contrast at the time. And it has a lot of ‘R’s. As far as Scottish bands go, I’m looking forward to hearing the new Twilight Sad record, and I think that Cancel the Astronauts might actually finish their LP at some point soon, too. I’m looking forward to getting my hands on the vinyl of the new Frightened Rabbit EP. I think the Aidan Moffat and Bill Wells album is bloody magnificent. It’s brilliant to have a new album from Martin John Henry, too as De Rosa were a band that meant an awful lot to me. Their set at their label’s Christmas show in 2007 was one of the best things I’ve ever seen.”
I‘ve just discovered the Pop Cop. I was especially drawn to the Christmas concert listings. I’ve always associated the season with the utter lack of U.K. shows here but never noticed how wonderful the holidays are musically over there. Are these shows different in any way compared to shows throughout the rest of the year? Do you have any plans to attend anyone else’s show?
” Our Christmas Baubles show is a bit different from normal shows because it’s our Christmas Party, too. We chance our collective arm and ask some of our favourite performers to come and do a turn and make it is as much of a friendly atmosphere as possible – tinsel, fairy lights, dancing, drinking and no religious iconography. The first year was brilliant and we had the pleasure of putting on ballboy, King Creosote, Come On Gang!, The Last Battle, Gummi Bako and Cancel the Astronauts. This year we’ve got Slow Club, comedy from Josie Long, Eagleowl, Standard Fare, Sweet Baboo, Martin John Henry, us, and two secret special guests that I think you’d be rather happy with. It’s on the 17th December at Summerhall in Edinburgh and it sold out a couple of weeks ago, which is very pleasing. I’ll be attending the Fence Records Christmas Party and the Song, By Toad Records Christmas Party. If it wasn’t the same night as ours I’d be heading to Glasgow for The Phantom Band’s Phantomime.”
My KC and the Canaverals split single just arrived. The joint song ‘A Homerun and a Vow’ is smashing. How was the collaboration handled? The B-side, your ‘Nowhere Near Half Done”, is as solid as ever. Is it indicative of what can be expected from the second record or do you have something completely different up your sleeves?
“Thanks for buying it. When we found out that we’d been asked to play at SxSW, Kenny asked us if we fancied doing some songs with him over there as he was going as well. We’d been given a setlist of some Creosote Hits to learn and he asked us to do a brand new composition with him. We recorded him playing it on his acoustic guitar on Kate’s phone and we wrote some more music around it and arranged it into a full band piece. ‘Nowhere Near Half Done’ was, at one point, the sound of a band under studio deadlines. We originally recorded it in a session in Manchester after throwing it together in 20 minutes beforehand. We’d been doing so many shows to promote the first record that we’d not had time to write anything. Kate had some lyrics and I had two different bits of music that I put together. I wasn’t satisfied with the first version, as it wasn’t really a finished song. We re-recorded it in Glasgow with Gal, who did our first record, at the same time as mixing ‘Homerun and a Vow’ and that is the much, much better and finished version that appears on the 7″. I’m not sure if it’s an indicator of the second record, it’s got a guitar sound similar to some of the other stuff we’ve recorded for the new album and the overt poppiness of some of the first. We’re not going completely different on album #2, but there’s no point in making the same record twice.”
How was the KC squared tour? Was there a stop that was exceptionally satisfying?
“It was excellent! Everyone had a great time. Personally, I’m finding it difficult to pick a favourite show. If pushed, I’d say either Inverness, Edinburgh or Newcastle. We played a looooong KC squared in Inverness and it was our first time in Newcastle. The crowds were universally great. Actually, I always forget the last show of the tour, because it was also the Fence Records Hott Loggz Festival and that is a separate thing in my head. That was an incredible show. A properly triumphant and euphoric way to end the tour with renditions of ‘You Only Went Out to Get Drunk Last Night’, ‘Not One Bit Ashamed’, ‘Homeboy’ and ‘Twin Tub Twin’ by Kid Canaveral, The King Creosote Band and The Pictish Trail rounding off the night. I lost my voice in Aberdeen. That wasn’t ideal, but we just had a great show at The Tunnels in Aberdeen at the start of December, so I feel like I’ve made amends. It was the best tour I’ve been on.”
I know you made it to the last SXSW, with King Creosote as well. How was that experience? In particular how was the Scotland Rocks epicenter? Do you plan to come back and retake America on your own?
“We did come to America on our own. It just so happened that Kenny was going to SxSW, too and a few weeks before the festival he asked if we fancied backing him up at the Domino, and one of the Scottish, Showcases. We had our own shows in New York City prior to heading to Texas, and had 5 showcases as Kid Canaveral including the evening Showcasing Scotland Event. Our first stateside shows were an excellent experience and it really was fantastic playing in NY and at SxSW. We went down rather well with US audiences, so in 2012 we’ll hopefully be able to take up an offer to come back to the US that we had to turn down this autumn, due to UK commitments.”
What is your take on why Scottish music, overwhelmingly, rocks?
” It’s a dark, cold place for 7-8 months of every year. Scottish Summer lasts approximately 3 days. Music is something that is primarily done indoors, so there’s a lot of practicing.”
It is that time of year where everyone is reflecting on the year’s best. Do you have a most memorable ‘Kid Canaveral’ moment?
“There’ve been a lot of very memorable moments this year. It is impossible to pick only one… here is a list that is in no particular order:
1. Stepping on stage in Brooklyn, NY for our first North American show and wondering “how on earth do all these people know who we are?!” We were standing in front of a bigger crowd than we could draw in Aberdeen at that time.
2. Selling out of the original pressing of ‘Shouting at Wildlife’ – something which seemed a laughable notion when we were surrounded by dozens of boxes of CDs at the start.
3. Fulfilling a teenage dream and signing with Fence Records – not to mention them bringing out our album on Vinyl! VINYL!
4. Bloody well playing at SxSW.
5. Leading the crowd in a sing-along of ‘You Only Went Out to Get Drunk Last Night’ from the BBC Introducing Stage at T in the Park.
6. Playing to a 600 strong audience at Homegame this year and being able to hear a pin drop during our song ‘Her Hair Hangs Down’.
It’s been an amazing year.”
In terms of records, I’d probably have to go with ‘‘Everything’s Getting Older”. Has any record moved you enough to consider it one of the year’s best?
‘Everything’s Getting Older’ is stunning. I’ve got it on the 3 x LP vinyl edition, which is an aesthetic, aural and tactile delight! ‘David Comes Alive’ by Fucked Up is another album that I’ve really been enjoying this year. It really surprised me – it’s blended harcore punk with elements of indiepop. Magic. ‘Diamond Mine’ by King Creosote and Jon Hopkins is an incredible record, too. “Bats in the Attic” is my favourite song of the year, very closely followed by ‘Glasgow Jubilee’ by Bill Wells and Aidan Moffat. Oh, ‘Gabriel’ by Joe Goddard is a brilliant song, too, but there’s no album to go with that. And FOUND! Factorycraft by FOUND.”
Do you have a recommendation for someone we should definitely be looking for in the New Year?
“If you extend your gaze a little south of Scotland to Yorkshire, I’d reccommend that you check out Sheffield’s Standard Fare. They’re about to release their second album ‘Out of Sight, Out of Town’. Their debut album ‘The Noyelle Beat’ was my favourite record of 2010. I’ve heard the follow-up and it is most satisfying. Closer to home, I’d point you to our label – Fence Records – they’re starting to release a series of 7″ EPs starting with new material from Withered Hand. Very exciting. I feel like I’m a bit out of touch because I’ve been away from home a lot. I finally heard PAWS last night after lots of people had been raving about them. I’m into it. What I’ve heard sounds great, and I hear they’re into Built to Spill – you don’t get much cooler than Doug Martsch.”
Are there any additional details you would care to impart about the next record?
“It’s going to be a double album that will most likely be a cheap knock-off of both Black Sabbath’s ‘Masters of Reality’ and ‘Forever Your Girl’ by Paula Abdul. We set up in the AIA Town Hall in Anstruther over the weekend, to record some rough demos as we’re heading into the studio proper between Christmas and New Year for Album #2 Session #2. It’s all very exciting getting to work on new material. After this session we should have at least three songs close to completion. It’s definitely sounding a bit different from the first record already.
We’ll have a new single out in the Spring and the album will follow sometime in the Autumn.”
The aforementioned last line sounds like “We were so out of it last night, we were shouting at wildlife. “