Posted in glasGOwest

Swervedriver (post show interview)

Swervedriver returned to San Francisco for a stop on their brief US Tour. GlasGO Pedro sent some questions to Adam Franklin to bring himself and others up to speed on this underrated band. Thanks to Michele and the Swervie Fan Forum for helping out…


Swervedriver formed out of your first band, Shake Appeal, named after the great motor city madness of The Stooges. I recently saw Iggy punish the Warfield here in SF w/ James Williamson on guitar snarl and Steve Mackay on sax assault, while commanding the audience to “Occupy the Stage” which they wholeheartedly did. What was it about this Detroit hi-energy rock’n’roll that got you hooked in quiet, leafy Oxford?

“Well Oxford wasn’t all quiet and leafy in the late 1970s and early 80s. Mine and Jim Hartridge’s journey to school would take us through the old British Leyland car plant in Cowley where a lot of our friends’ parents were employed. I’m not going to say that the sounds of ‘metal-on-metal’ were an influence on the sounds of our guitars or anything – as The Stooges and Black Sabbath have said about their own experiences of being in proximity to factory sounds – but there was certainly something about driving past all of this smoke and car parts everyday. Triumphs, MGs, Minis and Rovers were all created in part there. BL used to do work for Rolls Royce also and the RR and Bentley chassis had to be covered over but occasionally you would see a Rolls Royce skeleton poking out.

 The centre of Oxford itself on the other hand, within the perimeters of the old city wall, can often be a quite beautiful and serene place and is possibly the very definition of the ‘England’s dreaming’ that Johnny Rotten sang about in God Save The Queen by the Sex Pistols. It certainly lent itself well to listening to post-punk stuff like Atmosphere by Joy Division and Echo & the Bunnymen in the days when me and my mates would walk around town in our raincoats with our Bunnymen haircuts.”

 I love the story of your first gig following My Bloody Valentine who ended their set by covering “Shake Appeal”. Did you foresee the impact they would leave on guitar sound and production later on?

“I remember being impressed and intrigued that Kevin had two identical combo amps – Fenders, I assume – either side of the stage with a completely clean signal coming out of one and completely distorted fuzz out of the other. At that period in time I think you stuck together with anyone that you felt was doing anything even vaguely along similar lines as your own band and so we looked out for their progress and bought the Geek! single which came out around the same time. By the time they released Isn’t Anything we had already become Swervedriver and both bands had shifted their line-ups around and the sounds were changing and getting more exciting.”

I believe our dear friend, Mark Gardener (of Ride), was responsible in getting you signed to Creation Records by playing your demo to Alan Mcgee while driving (how appropriate) around LA? When Swervedriver finally hit the states, fans, colleagues, and critics took to your sound and song craft right away. Was the reception that warm back home in the UK?

 “It’s difficult to gauge. Our gigs as Shake Appeal were quite chaotic and although we ended up being well loved in Oxford we confused the hell out of people when we played in London and Brighton. The first Swervedriver show was at the Fulham Greyhound in late ’89 when we performed under the name Junk – or it may have been Rollercoaster. I think the show was with B.A.L.L. as I vaguely recall chatting to Don Fleming and Kramer and them being a little curious about us. I think we still kinda confused people though.

Then McGee signed us and we went out on the road with the House of Love. Graham Bonnar had just joined on drums and his first show was at Liverpool Royal Court in March 1990 where he had reams and reams of prompt sheets for all the songs. Perhaps being put into the context of being a Creation Records band helped people to get a handle on us. I’m sure it did, in fact. It was all about noise and melody back then.”

Fellow live music supporters across the pond, Sonic Cathedral Records, sent us a question: When are you playing in the UK?? (If and when you do, Nat Cathedral is your man..)

“I don’t know when we’re playing – we’ll bear Nat in mind for sure!”

Now for a couple of questions from the Swervedriver Fan Forum:

 Will the new songs definitely be released or is that still being decided?

“No and yes. Will I definitely be knocked down by a bus tomorrow? I can’t say for sure on that either or on how long a piece of string actually is. I think the official line was that we’ve been working on new material for probable release later in the year. You can take an educated guess or interpret that any way you want but we have a couple of ideas we’d like to execute, certainly and we’ll see how that goes. There would be various other ‘variables’ to throw in the mix beyond that of course.”

I notice sometimes you use different amps depending on the gig. Is there a reason you use a Matchless, Marshall, or Vox depending on the gig?

“In Swervedriver I always use a Marshall in conjunction with either a Vox AC30 or a Matchless DC30. The Marshall is quiet and crunchy onstage and takes the drier effects pedals but can be cranked loud out front of course. I’ve always used Vox AC30s for the subtler chiming sounds as well as the crazier, wetter more “showboaty” pedals. I can’t always get a hold of an AC30 when I’m in the US but the wonderful folks at Matchless have me on their client list and can always sort me out with one of their DC30s which were of course based wholesale on the AC30, to the point where it went to court I believe. 

Jim has a similar set-up although his combo always seems to change – I have no idea why that is. We have the Marshalls panned pretty out far left and right at maybe 4 or 5 o’clock one side and 7 or 8 on the other, with my Marshall over on his side and his on mine and with the combo amps further in – mine at maybe 10 or 11 o’clock and his at 1 or 2. This means that the stereo effects – such as Jimmy’s stereo tremolo – pan across the whole stage. A creative soundman can pretty much fill up the room with sound with that set-up. People sometimes say they’re amazed that there are only two guitars re-producing all the guitars on the recordings but with four amps all creating slightly different textures you can certainly fool people’s ears into thinking they’re hearing everything I suppose. It’s all done with mirrors really.”

How did you initially come to use the Jazzmaster? Jimmy seems to have a different guitar, (or at least a different Les Paul) every tour, but you always stick with the Jazzmaster. When did you get the infamous sunburst Jazzmaster you’re always using?

“I bought that Jazzmaster for £400 from Andy’s Guitars on Denmark St in London in 1990. I went in and was served by Brendan who was the guitarist in Dave Vanian’s Phantom Chords and I put my money down and left it with Brendan to pick up the next day. As I walked out and was turning the corner onto Tottenham Court Road I bumped into Kevin Shields and Andy Bell from Ride who asked me what I was up to so I told them I’d just bought a Jazzmaster. Kevin wanted to see it of course so we walked back to Andy’s, I asked Brendan to take it out from behind the counter and gave it to Kevin to have a play on. Kevin played on it for a bit and then said “shit, this is a really nice one.. do you wanna sell it?!”

To be honest, what brought me to wanting one was simply because Thurston and Lee from Sonic Youth and J from Dinosaur played them. It didn’t hurt that Costello played one too. They look cool, have lots of mysterious knobs and switches plus there’s the area behind the bridge that sounds like church bells chiming.”

Thank you for pushing past your experiences with the cutthroat record industry biz fiascos of the past and coming out the other end by sharing your art and thought live and on the road. What keeps you and Jimmy forging ahead these days?

“I’ve been forging ahead for years because I get ideas. I had to re-record a demo of a new song a couple of days ago because the original recording was in a different key and I wanted to send it to the Bolts of Melody guys for a show we have coming up. It was only a demo recorded in the middle of an afternoon but it’s all I’ve ever wanted to do really.”

You’ve been playing, recording, and collaborating consistently over the years with a variety of interesting projects and people. From Toshack Highway and Bolts of Melody to Magnetic Morning and the split single release with current tour support, Heaven. Any other releases to anticipate this year?

 “Definitely maybe. There’s the new Adam Franklin & Bolts of Melody album I Used To Live For Music to finish off – we have the drums and bass all down under the original demos so far. There are the Swervedriver ideas, possibly a film soundtrack with a friend of mine plus I’m thinking of making Everyday, Rock ‘n’ Roll Is Saving My Life Vol 3 available, since there have been four albums since Vol 2 and there are some interesting demos/live/instrumental versions of songs as well as unreleased songs and covers knocking around that people might wanna hear and that might help fund the recording of the Bolts album too.”

What bands or records do you recommend we should check out (new or old!)?  

 “Right now I would recommend Kraftwerk’s Ralf und Florian album which is the one before Autobahn; a David Axelrod compilation called The Edge and Jackie McLean’s 1964 Blue Note release Action Action Action. I quite like that Tralier Trash Tracys tune from the TV advert which is called You Wish You Were Red. Heard a nice tune by Beach House yesterday and the UK band Toy have some cool Television-type guitars going on.”

Finally, any questions for us?

 How long is a piece of string anyway?

A guitar string is about 25.4″ (64.52 cm) or multiply the distance from the nut to the 12th fret by 2.
Chrono String Engines were the source of power for spacecraft. These engines drew their power from Chrono Strings.
Ah, the power and ease of the internet. How long is a Chrono String? First to answer gets a personalized Swervie mix tape on good ol’ fashioned cdr…

Live review: The set was loud, b-side heavy, and we managed to snag prime seating for lift off (or, for our old legs) at the end of the bar. “Space-travel rock’n’roll” at its finest. And as one pleased fan said on the way out, ” They played ‘Cars Converge On Paris’ and that’s all I needed to hear.”

Pedro

 

 

Posted in Bands We've Chatted With

Plum

The album launch was on April 7th at the Electric Circus. How was it?

“Fabulous! Loved it. Fantastic support from Megan D (very talented singer songwriter, only 16 and this was her first ever live gig), and the wonderful Capitals, who are always great. I really enjoyed the gig. We had cupcakes with plum jam in the centre, butterfly fairy cakes & rum & plum cocktails.”

What are the plans from here?

“…Gig as much as possible, shoot more music videos, gain more exposure?”

I loved the ordering of the song titles from the bottom up on the cd case; a nice little touch. Whose idea was that?

“Thank you, my idea. It was embedded within the concept to start at the bottom & work up.”

I’ve glimpsed at some of the early press. How pleased are you with it?

“I’m really chuffed with the reviews, they have been absolutely incredible. The concept & the emotional story has been well received. I always intended this project to be meaningful, at least to me, so I’m glad the press have been picking up on that side of it, as well as the production.”

Was just re-watching the video for the ‘Seed’, can you share anything about how that came together. The results are very good.

“Well, the idea came about from discussions between myself & Jim Wolff of LEITH Records. I wanted a stop-frame music video…we discussed options, costs, possible ideas, we wanted to use leads as roots/plants. Then Jim got Greg Hoyna involved (who is a cardboard stop-frame master) and he said I had to be in the video. No question. We had a disagreement about the ending. The consensus was originally to throw the plant pot out of the window & have a happy ending (it was just a dream kind of thing), but that missed the entire point of the album. Then Jim came up with the idea of me being plugged in at the end & I loved it! It took 75m of cardboard, 3 weeks of preparation (turning my livingroom into cardboard), and 2 long days to shoot with LEITH Records & Greg directing.”

Incidentally, who came up with the design for the Plum logo?  It is such an excellent icon.

“I worked with The LEITH Agency on the brand identity, and the man behind the brand identity including the logo was the young & talented Mr Sam Grosset.”

A while ago you made a promotional trip to London handing out fairy dust and other things. Do you have a tale or 2 of some of the encounters this lead to?

“…I didn’t actually hand out any fairy dust in London, lol. I gave away 50 promo copies of the album. I met some lovely people. I also went to the Gotye concert at Shepherds Bush Empire & gave Wally de Backer one of my music boxes. He says he might use it to write a song 🙂 his dad gave him one that plays the Can Can which sounds amazing.”

I wanted to purchase a copy of the album for someone in North America, but the web shop informed that this was not possible. Will this change in the future?

“Yes. I’m really keen to get the music to the states & Canada & everywhere else. It was a problem with my settings in Big Cartel. Fixed now.”

I’ve been trying to follow up on people’s recommendations. I have to admit that I have not been doing a very good job of it. This morning I noticed you linked a Capitals song on your facebook page. Until today, it was a band name rolling around my head. After watching ‘Ode to End’ I became very intrigued.  That video led me to ‘Hello World’ and they’ve instantly become the next band I want to seek out. What more can you tell us about them?

“Keir MacCulloch from Capitals helped produce my album. He is a world class producer & was also signed to Benbecula Records under the name Araya. Angus Carbarns, the singer is a fantastically talented songwriter, who used to play with The  Cinematics.  Both from Inverness in the Scottish Highlands. They are brilliant & I wish them every success.”

I noticed that, at the moment, you and I and 292 other people’ like’ the Gothenburg Address. What is wrong with the world?

“Luke Joyce is a friend of mine who is always doing really interesting projects including surround sound gigs etc. he also writes music under the name I Build Collapsible Mountains. He’s another very talented songwriter.

…I’m not sure what’s wrong with the world. Perhaps not enough people like yourself willing to listen to & promote genuinely good music.”

T&P

It is rather nice to see one’s name on the inside flap of the finished product along with all the other sponsors. It has been an enjoyable experience seeing this project come to fruition. When the press kit files came I gave them a listen in the car a few times but my download must have had some corruption. At the time I was also asked to write a review. Since then I’ve pretty much decided that not only do I not want to write ‘traditional’ reviews but that I really can’t. The world would be a better place if I didn’t. Even worse, I was not really sure if I would have been able to recommend it.

When the physical album arrived I dutifully put it into the stereo proper. After one listen my reaction was of astonishment – I didn’t remember it being so good.  ‘Electronica’ for lack of a better label – and it really only speaks to instrumentation on this record not its heart – is not my neck of the woods.  I still have not listened enough to fully absorb the lyrics and still marvel at the little touches that I discover every time I listen to it.  I’ve walked around outside, up and down the hills, with it playing in my ears and it is becoming one of my favourite records. This is obviously an exceptional example, but I truly love how ‘my’ music is becoming more personal again.

Posted in glasGOwest

Comets and Cartwheels

Growing up in Southern Ontario, I was fiercely loyal to a small independent Toronto label called Ready Records. It was only in existence from 1979 to 1985, but considering I was 15 in ’79 it was disproportionally influential. With a refreshing (at the time) focus of promoting and developing local artists, the label quickly developed a strong presence; if it was on the label it was probably worth buying. I’ve transferred some of that independent label loyalty to Chemikal Underground. Looking a ways down the road, what can both artists and music fans come to expect from Comets and Cartwheels?

“We hope that a few years down the line we’ll be known as a label that puts out great bands and works hard to get their artists out there. We’d love to build up a good list of acts and get a few album releases under our belts, as this is where the great reviews and attention really seem to come in. From early teenage-hood right up to now I’ve been obsessed with the ethos surrounding great labels like Saddle Creek, Bella Union, Fence, Sub Pop, Arts and Crafts etc… to whom I would consistently  return to discover fantastic new music. If we could be known as a label like that one day I think we’d be sporting some smiles on our faces. I guess just being known as a collective family of musicians and creatives would great too. We’re also really look forward to building up our catalogue of music promo videos. We were lucky enough to work with a very talented London based director called Mat Sheldon on Quickbeam’s debut single Seven Hundred Birds, and it turned out stunning. I’d highly recommend checking out his short films at crushfilm.com.”

How did you conjure up the label name?

 “It’s nothing too profound. Paul and I just decided to pick one word each, I don’t know why I chose Comet, but Paul chose Cartwheels cause it’s his favourite Reindeer Section song.”

Currently you have 3 artists: Endor, Quickbeam and Partwind Partwolf.  It is a nicely balanced bunch. Do you have a strategy, perhaps better said – a philosophy, for how you intend to seek out or attract other artists in the future?

“At present we are really open to receiving demos from anyone and there are no real rules as to what we would and wouldn’t consider signing, since our tastes are pretty eclectic. At present everything is still within the indie/rock/folk vein but that’s not to say we wouldn’t want to branch out in the future into other genres. Ultimately as long as the music affects us and we feel it has artistic merit then we will be willing to work with the artist. I’d like to think that those bands looking for labels will judge whether they want to work with us based on our previous releases and the previous success we’ve had with our roster. Ideally I’d like to put out a mix of singles, EPs and albums, with the latter of course being released in physical formats too. We’d like to secure a distributor in the next year and continue building our relationships with press/radio and music video producers in order to continue offering our artists a full release package. I’m really excited at the prospect of possibly working with some international artists going forward as well, particularly because we have strong music links with Canada through friends there.”

The first release on April 9th is from Quickbeam and it is digital only. How soon can we look forward to a physical release? Will vinyl receive any special attention or emphasis?

“I think we’ll avoid 7″ singles, but I’d be very interested to release an album on vinyl/cd and digital. Endor are currently working on new material for their second album and if we get the funding together I think it’d be great to release that on vinyl if the band were up for it. We’re keen to offer high quality physical product that has real aesthetic value, and vinyl definitely ticks those boxes, and widens the scope for working with visual artists on designs for album artwork.”

Pedro and I took in the Creation records documentary the other week. When is someone going to make a Chemikal Underground documentary?

“Give Forest of Black a call, they make awesome documentaries. I know I’d watch it! Our friend Hubby (RM Hubbert) signed with Chemikal last year, and absolutely everyone should listen to his second album, it’s incredible.”

I’ve fairly recently re-discovered vinyl.  The appeal is obvious. I’ve also noticed a smattering of cassette tape releases. My personal experience with the format was quite horrible. Is this purely a novelty or is there another dynamic I’m missing?

“My band actually released an album on cassette last month. I’m not really sure what the motivation behind it was but it seemed to garner us some really good press attention! I have a cassette player but the catch on the tape deck is broken and won’t stay shut. So I can’t listen to it. I’d vote vinyl any day over cassette, though I do love the portability of those iPod thingys.”

If I could wish upon a Comet and Cartwheel, I’d wish for the re-emergence of an A.C. Acoustics record. Isn’t it about time? What would you wish for?

“I’d wish for a Reindeer Section reunion show!”

T&P

I’ve just downloaded the new Quickbeam single ‘700 Hundred Birds’.  Up until now I’ve only listened to snippets and practiced my  translations skills on a few German reviews. It is a lovely delicate song that even though it runs for 3:46 seems to end all too quickly. ‘Empty Space’  continues in a more  plaintive and melancholic vein. I can’t wait for the full length. Hopefully they’ll go well north of 10 tracks. Don’t forget to take advantage of the earlier free release of ‘Tide’.  http://quickbeam.bandcamp.com/album/seven-hundred-birds

Posted in glasGOwest

Donovan

Scottish folk troubadour, Donovan, will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on April 14, 2012. Pedro who has particpated in their summer institutes decided he would try to secure an interview before then.

You are from Maryhill in Glasgow, Scotland. What was it like growing up in post-war UK?

Streets torn up and sewers running down the alleys, diptheria and polio everywhere, the greed and violence of the worst of human folly called war, left we poor kids playing in a war zone.

I like your description in Rolling Stone of coming “from a very ancient, acoustic root”. What is your earliest recollection of music sparking a light in you?

My father reading me poetry of noble thought and social change struck a chord in me, a call to remember my past life as a Celtic Bard.”

Session musicians on your early recordings read like a who’s who of fellow inductees. Did you foresee the likes of Jimmy Page, Jack Bruce, and John Paul Jones making such an enormous impact on music later on?

I knew that my quirky unique songwriting and musical genres were fun for me to play when I wrote them but didn’t know so many players would be attracted to want to be part.”

The tambura on Hurdy Gurdy Man is as iconic as the sitar on Norwegian Wood. I believe Mr. Harrison gave you the instrument as a gift? My lovely wife is about to embark on her first trip to India for work and has agreed to bring me back a tamburi for my birthday. Any tips in selecting one?

If its Delhi ask the Internet for the professional Indian instrument store in Delhi and then buy the best you can afford.”

We are based in the great city of San Francisco. I recently took my art students on a fieldtrip to the Fillmore to view its Poster Gallery and experience Bill Graham’s contribution to the arts first hand. Are there any stories from your time playing at this living landmark? What was your impression of the city by the bay?

“I love the seaside city, it reverberates through my youth as I listened to West Coast Jazz and Poetry, the romance of the Orient and the beautiful hills rolling up and down with the fresh breezes of Carmel and tales of John Steinbeck, Kerouac in Vesuvio Cafe …the city of dreams.”

I saw you perform acoustically once, back when I was an art student. It was at the (sadly, long gone) Tower Records in New York. I enjoyed your storytelling, particularly of your travels with Gypsy Dave. Tell me about Gypsy Dave’s influence and sculpture work.

I think tis best you buy and read my autobio, The Autobiography of Donovan: The Hurdy Gurdy Man, for all things Gypsy Dave and Donovan.”

Your involvement with the David Lynch Foundation for Consciousness based Education and World Peace seems like a natural extension of your life-long commitment to meditation and mindfulness. The school I teach at has adopted mindfulness as a practice for the classroom this year. It’s exciting to see our students embrace silence and apply it in their lives beyond the classroom. What has meditation done for you and what do you think it can do for our future leaders and thinkers?

 ” Meditation to me confirms the transcendental world that we all come from. It is essential now for every student to overcome fear, doubt, and anger. It is the boom that The Beatles and I brought back from India for the west to rediscover.

It is the access to the limitless potential of happiness and fulfillment. It is the saviour of the lost nations of the world. Those practicing meditation are the first to develop the evolution of consciousness that humankind is growing towards full    enlightenment.”

I have been honored to share my teaching practices on integrating music into the classroom at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame + Museum’s Summer Teacher Institute. Do you have any insight I can pass along to fellow educators on 21st Century Learning for our students?

“Well done on your work, and yes ask the educators to visit the Maharishi University in Fairfield, Iowa to see meditation in action with all students, teachers, and staff meditating.”

Your recent work includes wonderful recordings with Rick Rubin (Sutras) and Danny Thompson/Jim Keltner (Beat Cafe). Can we anticipate any further collaborations/recordings for 2012 and beyond?

Check out my website for RITUAL GROOVE double mail order `CD. http://www.donovan.ie”

We feature a variety of new artists leaving their mark in Scotland and beyond. Any folks you recommend we should check out?

I have to catch up on Scottish artists soon.”

Pedro

So, my tamburi was found and purchased at the great Rikhi Ram shop in New Dehli, where Ajay has sold many fine instruments to many fine Beatles throughout the years. How my better half managed to point out this rock-historical side note from the road driving for 2 hrs in Indian traffic, I’ll never know. But I’m glad she did and thanks to Ajay for the good price! 

Posted in Behind the Scenes

The Wedding Present Live Review

What does the Wedding Present have to do with a San Francisco based Scottish Music blog? –  Pretty much everything. In large part, it is why we are San Francisco based and, in small measure, it explains the Scottish focus.  

Back in early ’96, unable to find anyone willing to take the trip to Toronto to see the ‘Mini’ tour, I began asking in the WP mailing list.  I was a relatively new fan having only been made aware of them with the release of Watusi. Eventually one lone soul responded that they would love to go – the only catch being she was in Australia. In the end, I drove 2 hours each way for a 1 hour set. It didn’t disappoint. They played my Favourite Dress!  I bought a signed cd and t-shirt to send to Australia. It was the least I could do.  Speaking to Dave at the merchandise table, I also asked him for a recommendation. He offered up BIS. This led me to purchase ‘The Secret Vampire Soundtrack’ and begin my love affair with Chemikal Underground.  Apparently a mutual love for Gedge is enough to spark a potential long distance relationship. Email turned to phone calls which turned into the idea of meeting in person. You don’t need to have listened to nearly 2 decades of the Wedding Present to know how it  turned out.

It did, however, set up the decision of meeting in San Francisco or London. The obvious choice led to a 10 day trip to England. The chemistry didn’t survive reality but the gigs were pretty decent:

Dave Graney, the Frank and Walters, The Divine Comedy, Mogwai and Urusei  Yatsura twice, Richard Thompson, and Pooka. While there,  I was even asked by a young Stuart Braithwaite what I thought of BIS. Unaware of the family connection, I wisely said they were pretty good

One of the other highlights was listening to Everything Must Go on a Sunday in a Chelsea record shop before the next day’s release. My own life had suffered a horrible self-inflicted blow.  The transition from the Holy Bible to the follow up was deeply personal. I once saw Richard Thompson open up for Crowded House with my ex-wife and at that time thought I never wanted to see him after a break up. It is, of course, exactly what I did that  year; at the Royal Albert Hall no less.

I was quite impressed by the Divine Comedy as well. Casanova was just out and Liberation and Promenade were picked up at the show (avoiding the eternal which was better controversy). When I got home the Manics finally made their way to North America.  I even joined the Divine Comedy mailing list where one day someone asked  what the Manics were like.  The chemistry was right this time. She was from San Francisco. I moved, we married and in between a Cinerama tour that  started and ended here we adopted a cat and named her Sally. It would seem that I had to go to London to get to San Francisco.

Thanks for the wedding Gedge.

Review? They played Seamonsters in its entirety!

Posted in Bands We've Chatted With

Tango in the Attic

A few years ago, I had contacted you while trying to locate a copy of your first release ‘Bank Place Locomotive Society’. You kindly sent me a digital copy and said “enjoy”.   Getting the music out there, obviously, isn’t a uniquely Scottish characteristic, but as a whole you do seem more charitable than many in that regard.

“There’s not a lot of money to be made from selling albums so it’s more important to get your music out and create an audience.”

“Off to States” are words that fill me with anxious optimism. Situated out here on the West Coast, it more often than not translates into disappointment.  I saw that the dreaded visa difficulties foiled the Viper Room show back on the 5th of March. Do you have any other U.S shows after you hit South by Southwest?

“We were concentrating a lot on getting the new album (Sellotape) finished before we got out so it gave us a couple more days to get stuff done. We’re just coming home after SXSW; Our gig schedule here’s been pretty packed which has made up for things a bit.”

I once arranged to be in LA for the first North American Hope of the States show. Sadly, visa issues scuttled that experience as well . How cumbersome a process is it actually?

“It’s pretty cumbersome to be honest; we got caught out by some small print…we were quite lucky it only cut a couple of days out of our trip.”

The new single is now out.  In the process of searching for it before it was released, I did uncover a live version of ‘Swimming Pool’. Is it on the new record as well? Is it indicative of a ‘new musical direction’? It certainly sounds like a purposeful change.

” I think so, we’ve definitely tried to be sonically purposeful with this record.”

Can you provide some details about the album?  I am looking forward to actually purchasing this one.

“It’s called Sellotape and its out on the 23rd of April, I think. Were really excited about it.”  (now pushed back to May)

We are always interested in what Scottish artists current bands consider to have been influential in forging their own musical sensibilities.  Do you have any stories to share?

“I’m not too sure about any stories. The Strokes came out when we were all at that age of discovering music…I’ve always seen that as good timing.”

Finally, is there an emerging act that you’ve stumbled across that you feel we must investigate?

“Both “Davey Horne and the Golden Pipes” and “Tomas Bird and the Blonde Spirit” have e.ps coming out in the next month or so. We’re mega excited for both of them.”

T&P

When I sent these questions, I had not been able to listen to the new single ‘Paw Prints’. Thanks to Claire from Badge of Friendship, we did manage to ‘catch up’ with them while they were still at SXSW. Consequently, the answers are much briefer than I would have hoped. Once the album is released we’ll try to follow up properly.  Having finally heard the single a few times, I’m not so sure the music will have changed altogether that much. I’m certainly looking forward to hearing the entire album.