Tuesday, 22 July 2014

We're Only Here For The Banter - Wozniak


There's not many bands brave enough to let a fan name their EP, but Edinburgh four piece Wozniak are not your average band.  Dwelling in the murky pools of shoegaze and post rock, their music requires attention and appreciation beyond the casual listen.  Which is all a good thing in the vastly increasing noise of disposable music.  I caught up with guitarist and pedal collector extraordinaire Simon Cuthbert-Kerr to learn more.

Hello!  How the devil are you?

Very well, thanks.  We've just finished a few gigs to mark the release of our EP, and they were excellent.  Now we're getting ready for the next phase…

It's the question everyone hates, but could illuminate our readers with a little bit about your music and your influences?

Well, broadly speaking, we usually describe ourselves as shoegaze/post-rock/psych, but I don't think we really fit neatly into a single genre (but who does?).  We've certainly got shoegaze tendencies in that we use lots of pedals to make big walls of sound, and we've got post-rock tendencies in that a lot of our stuff is instrumental and we often build up from a fairly small beginning into a big ending.  I think the four of us bring different influences - John and James both like rock and a bit of metal every now and then, Sarah likes walls of fuzzy guitar and I like abstract noisy stuff, but there's a lot of overlapping influences and none of us only likes a single style of music.  Those different influences come together to form something new with a distinctive Wozniak sound.

What's your song-writing / creative process like?

It usually starts with a riff or some chords, and then we layer it up, often building things around the original guitar pattern.  Even though one person will bring the original idea, it's very much a collaborative effort and we each play a part in creating the final song.  We often develop songs with a particular atmosphere in mind, and often it's a particular guitar sound, rather than a riff or chord sequence, that leads somewhere.  Then we all turn on our distortion pedals...

What could we expect to see from a live show?

Out gigs can be pretty loud and intense.   We put a lot of effort into sequencing our sets, to try and avoid it just being a random selection of songs, and there are a couple of songs that it would pretty difficult to imagine not being played - I always think that Kreuzberg  is the heart of the set and sums up the Wozniak live experience pretty well.  I'd like to think we were pretty atmospheric live, and we're just starting to use a few lights and whatnot to add to that, although our efforts to use our smoke machine have been thwarted so far!  Since our very first gig we've used projections, but not all venues have a projector, but even when we can't do that we try to make it more interesting than just four people standing on a stage looking at pedals (although I'm definitely a bit guilty of that!).   Sometimes we have to suppress our Bono tendencies...

Tell us about new EP Pikes Peak.


I think it's a good statement of Wozniak.   There are five songs on it, and they have a strong artistic and sonic cohesion without being the same thing repeated over and over.  All the Wozniak elements are there - droney guitars, distorted bass, pummeling drums, waves of delay and reverb and it sounds particularly good at high volume.  We recorded it at the Depot in Edinburgh across various sessions from roughly November to April - we went in with a clear idea of the songs we were going to record and how we wanted them to sound, and with the help of Craig Ross from Broken Records, who recorded the EP, I think we managed to get that, and then added a few more things, taking advantage of the studio environment.   For example, after the extended noise section in Kreuzberg,  there's a beautiful little piano melody played by James, and that sort of things gives the EP a depth.  Similarly, there are lots of different guitar tracks, and I'd like to think that repeated listens will reveal things that might have gone unnoticed originally.  Of the songs on the EP, El MaresmeKreuzberg and  Columbo's Car  are all pretty similar to the live versions, but the recorded version of Paper Hat  is pretty different and brings out a new feel to the song.  Gesamtkunstwerk,  the final track is five minutes of glorious feedback - what could be better? 

We're really happy with the reception the EP's had so far, and we've had loads of positive coverage from a whole bunch of countries.  It's always really exciting when someone appreciates what you're doing, and it really feels like the EP has gone down well.  It's available from www.wozniak.bandcamp.com, and also from iTunes, CDBaby and Amazon.   You can see the video (produced by James and John) at Wozniak - El Maresme (single edit).  We also raised funds for the EP through Kickstarter and were overwhelmed that we beat our target.   Look out for our special Kickstarter-only T-shirts featuring Roderick, our campaign spokesrobot.  The EP is named after a mountain in Colorado, after someone who lives there bought the right to name the EP.

What else have you got planned for 2014?

Having completed the launch gigs for the EP, we're now starting to book a few things for the rest of the year, and we've got our collective eye on a few bands we'd like to play with, and we'll hopefully be able to do a Christmas gig again.  We're also starting to think about organising some gigs outside Scotland, so we're in the early stages of sorting a few things out.  Hopefully we'll get back into the studio soon so that we can release something new before the end of the year.

What are you listening to at the moment?

Literally, I'm listening to Pavement at this very moment.  More generally, some of the stuff I've been listening to recently include Mogwai, Slowdive, No Joy, Warpaint, Bo Ningen, Hookworms, Kraftwerk and late-70s David Bowie.

Thanks for speaking with us, would you care to share a joke with us?


Thanks for having us.  Sadly, John's the funny one in Wozniak, so I'm not sure my joke will pass muster, but here goes:

What do you call a woman with a laptop on her head?

Adell.

Sorry...


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Monday, 21 July 2014

Scottish Fiction Podcast - 21st July 2014


Broken laptops, broken hearts, and broken dreams.  All or none of these may have contributed to our brief absence from the land of podcasting and radio.  No time to dwell on that though, as it's right back into the mix with another hour of tunes, tunes, tunes.  On this episode there's music from Honeyblood, Prides, Kill The Waves, Insect Heroes and oh so much more.  It's Scottish Fiction, your one stop shop for the best new Scottish music. 

Honeyblood - Super Rat
Drunk Mule - Hombre Soul
eagleowl - Eagleowl vs. Woodpidgeon
The Meanest Creature Ever Known - I'll Never See Glasgow Again
Kick To Kill - Dreams
Fat Goth - Sin Altar
PAWS - Tongues
Insect Heroes - Pop Music
Prides feat. Lauren Aquilina - Strong Enough
Kill The Waves - Better Days
Alphabetical Order Orchestra - Architect


Subscribe/listen to the podcast via iTunes.


T in the Park Diaries - TeenCanteen

T in the Park bid #byebyebalado last weekend, as the festival moves to it's new home of Strathallan Castle in 2015.  To help us at Scottish Fiction document the last ever T at Balado, and to capture the experience of playing, we asked a number of bands to keep a T diary. 

TeenCanteen played the T Break Stage on a sun basked Friday.  Lead singer Carla had time to commit her thoughts to paper.  Have a read before she notices! 


Friday 11th July 2014


The day starts off early.  I get up at 6am .

1. Because I am looking after a cat called Angel who wants fed.
2. I'm starting to get a bit nervous - is it nerves?  I can't decide.
3. Phone starts going - little did I realise that it wouldn't stop all day.

Get up and feed Angel who immediately goes back to sleep but I can't. 

We had a practice on the Wednesday night in Glasgow and since then I've had over 24 hours to ruminate over what everyone keeps telling me will be 'our biggest gig to date'.  We've had a lot of congratulations and a lot of well wishes.  We've only just released our second single so not sure what sort of crowd to expect as we're still relatively unknown.  I think that's why I was surprised when we got selected to play.  Nevertheless we've practiced hard and tried to put together what we think will be a strong set - potentially this could be the first time a lot of people hear us.  So no pressure at all(!).

Decide I'll go for a walk as it's sunny.

Walk around Edinburgh - I'm the only one who lives here, the rest are all based in Glasgow. 

Head back home for some late breakfast and start to pack up my synth. 

My friends Hannah and Jenna are coming along.  We're being picked up at 3.15pm sharp from my flat.  Hannah and Jenna get here at 2.  Hannah practically falls in the door clutching wellies, cardigans, wet wipes,sun screen, plastic glasses and a box of wine.

"Can I whack this in your freezer?" 

Jenna shakes her head.  Hannah goes to T in The Park pretty much every year.  She is the girl who goes into the Slam Tent on the Friday night and doesn't appear again till Monday morning.  

"If you lose me don't worry.  I'll probably be in the Slam Tent and I'll have made a friend" 

Me and Jenna shake our heads. 

Decide we might as well have a glass of wine to celebrate and calm nerves - one of the TeenCanteen rules is 'one drink before the show' (that pretty much went out the window).  The other rule is 'don't screw the crew'. 

The rest of TeenCanteen pull up outside.

We all pile in the van.  Sita has brought her little brother and sister in tow.  It's stereo Pieracinni the whole journey there - they ALL love to sing and Kenny, our Tour Manager, has made CD for the journey.


Just as we pull into view of the peaks of the King Tut's Tent and the sight of the Ferris wheel Buster Poindextor's Feeling Hot Hot Hot  blasts out.  The Pieracinni's burst into perfectly timed harmonies.  By this point Hannah is pissed and ready to dance.  The sun is almost bursting out of the sky.  Stupidly I have decided to wear a vintage polyester seventies black jumpsuit.  I feel like I'm about to pass out from sunstroke. 


WE MADE IT!


Sita has brought along all her face paints and body glitter from clown and performance theatre workshops she does.  Naturally we all get involved.


Head along to T Break Stage to meet our rep Craig and drop off our belongings.  We're not on till 10.10pm and so have the whole day (we got there just after 5pm) to relax and catch some music.  We're all gutted we missed Haim.


We all split up and go separate ways - some to catch music, some to catch some sun and Hannah goes to the Slam Tent.  Everyone bumps into each other to see CHVRCHES play live.  The tent was packed, the synths sounded massive and Lauren's voice was note perfect.  We were all feeling good.


It was getting time for us to get ready for a sound check.  Hannah reappeared wearing a trilby hat that she did not have before.

"I made a friend.  He's called George."

I don't know whether she is talking about the man who gave her the hat or she thinks the hat is called George.  Either could be plausible.

Head backstage to do a quick interview with Tenement TV.  Realise the first time I came to T in The Park was with Debs.  She would have been 15 and I would have been 16.  That was 13 years ago.


Tenement TV and the T Break crew wish us luck.  We quickly form a circle and ask Mama Cass to watch over us and then head on stage. 

It's a big tent.  We've got a fairly decent sized crowd.  Start off with Honey  and notice a few people singing along to every word.  Finally start to relax.


It's over so quickly!  Something that has been built up for a few months that everyone tells you about and then BOOM!  Done and dusted.  It's like when the TV cuts out and goes to a tiny white dot in one deft pop.

POP.

Everyone sort of crashed after that - the anticipation of playing, the sun, having friends and family there, and the more than one drink before show rule being essentially abolished (quickly reminded the girls that that rule will firmly be back in place for next gigs - but no harm had been done, we all drink a lot of water.  SensibleCanteen). 

And that was that!

Back on the bus.  Amongst the Pieracinni's and Hannah and her new hat and back home to Edinburgh to feed the cat.

Pull up outside my flat.  Sita's wee brother pops in and throws up all over my bathroom.  Amanda goes back on the Saturday to reappear early on Sunday morning in Edinburgh.

"Can I crash?"

Later that day we go and meet up with the person who will be producing...  A TeenCanteen album!

But that's another diary entry for later in the year.

Happy and proud of all of us. Next weekend we're off to play Indietracks and Wickerman Festival back to back.  Jenna is coming too.  We've named this weekend the 'Girls on Tour Tour', the only exception being Kenny.  Our Tour Manager. 

Many thanks to those who came to watch us play and have supported us and listened to us over the last few months.

Love from,

Carla (And Sita, and Amanda, and Debs)



Sunday, 20 July 2014

T in the Park Diaries - wecamefromwolves

T in the Park bid #byebyebalado last weekend, as the festival moves to it's new home of Strathallan Castle in 2015.  To help us at Scottish Fiction document the last ever T at Balado, and to capture the experience of playing, we asked a number of bands to keep a T diary.  Next up letting us read all their sordid secrets, have a rummage through wecamefromwolves' T diary...



The guys in the band took a day each.  First up it's guitarist Taylor White:

We were already excited about T by Thursday but before we hit the T Break stage we had a chance to warm up with our home crowd in Perth at The Green Rooms.  It would be a good chance to dial in our set and give non festival-goers a chance to see it. 

Support at the gig came from our good friend John Harkus, and the expansive sounds of Return To The Sun.  Their sets were great and we were glad to see a large turnout.  Soon the crowd was roaring and we were eager to play.  I entered the stage and as soon as I laid a finger on my pedal board my tuner fell apart.  Admittedly it was held together with masking tape, so I had it coming.  The set went well despite technical difficulties and there was a fantastic energy in the room.  The crowd singing Bastard Son was a highlight.  It wasn’t the smoothest, due to sharing tuners and an amp failure, but at least we got our bad luck out of the way before T! 

Unfortunately / fortunately we had been being plied with beer and were up for a final jaunt before T.  We were Loft bound!   Excessive consumption of alcohol probably wasn’t the best idea before an early start the next morning but fun times were had by all and the weekend was off to a good start.


Documenting Friday's antics, it's bassist Rob Whytock:

Friday was an absolute scorcher!  28 degrees on the mercury at 10am.  We woke with heavy heads after partying at salubrious Perth nightspot The Loft after our packed out TITP warm-up show the night before at Perth's Green Room.  Harrison, Taylor and I left Perth (city of dreams) to head to Glenfarg to meet Kyle, his girlfriend Nic and our manager Andrew. 


From there we headed to Artist Accreditation at the Festival site.  We collected our performer wrist bands and headed into the site to check out our venue, the T Break Stage.  One thing that struck us was the size of the tent, much bigger than it had been the last time I was at the festival as a punter!  In the delay to get in we had missed Vladimir's set which was a shame as I had been looking forward to hearing them on the big stage after catching them play before ourselves at GoNorth.  We grabbed a beer and settled in to watch the next band, Lyger and to get an idea of what the venue sounded like.  Pretty loud was the answer!  Lyger sounded great, a tight three piece that had the sparse crowd rocking.  We couldn't wait to get on stage due to how great the rig sounded!  We bumped into some of the Fatherson boys and Bruce Rintoul at the end of Lyger's set.  Bruce was doing the sound for Lonely The Brave who were the next band up.  Bruce produced Fatherson's amazing album I Am An Island  as well as being their live engineer.  He was also responsible for our last EP Paradise Place  and we're heading into the studio with him this side of winter to record our debut LP.   He is an incredible engineer and we were in for an aural treat as he had Lonely The Brave sounding huge!  They are a no nonsense rock band who sound like they are influenced by Pearl Jam amongst others.  Singer Dave Jakes sounds like a modern day Eddie Vedder with powerful baritone vocals and eschews convention by taking up position at the back of the stage. 

After this auditory treat we headed over the main stage to check out Haim.  They have some great songs but the main attraction for me was the weird and wonderful faces they pull as they play.  Bassist Este is the undisputed Queen of this!  Let's hope the wind doesn't change when they play!  After watching Haim, we all headed to check out the artist village and backstage areas.  On the way we bumped into Greg and Ross from Fatherson, they wanted to catch CHVRCHES who were playing in the King Tut's Tent so we tagged along.  CHVRCHES are a great band and the sound was quality, but I wish they had a live drummer.  We left near the end of their set to catch a bit of Ellie Goulding who is a guilty pleasure of mine.  After that we had some time to chill before Biffy so we went to check out the other stages as well as the VIP area and media compound.  After a few beers we took our place in between the middle barrier and control tower.


This was my 14th time seeing Biffy going back as far as the 2003 Leeds Festival.  The lads came out to a riot of shouting and cheers and an intro track which sounded like the three of them taking it in turns to scream.  They opened up with Different People, which along with Spanish Radio is in my opinion the best track from latest album Opposites.  They played a good mix of older songs and particular highlights were Questions and Answers (my all time favourite Biffy track) and 57.  They absolutely smashed it!  After Biffy we called it a night and headed back to Perth via Glenfarg for a triumphant nuggy sharebox and toffee sundae and to try and get some sleep before our early start and T in the Park debut!


Onto Saturday's diary, and it's the turn of lead vocalist and guitarist Kyle Burgess:

On the day of our show I woke up bright and early expecting to be hit by a wave of nerves.  Thankfully the nerves didn’t arrive but unfortunately neither did my voice as I struggled through my vocal warm up.  To my relief, with copious amounts of ginger tea with lemon and honey and an old friend from my metal band days, Difflam spray, my voice was improving.  I was SAVED!  After a quick shower and shave, I got dressed and was good to go.  This was all accompanied by a pre-made playlist of tunes, selected specifically for their vibe capabilities. 

We then got all the gear loaded into the van and waited for our friends to arrive to give them their guest passes, we were delighted we got given a bunch of passes from T to bring the people who have helped us every step of the way to our first appearance at T and they seemed to be pretty chuffed also! 

We got to T and headed through to the artist entrance to wait for our shuttle bus to the T Break tent.  When we got there, it was strange seeing the whole grounds of the festival empty - like some sort of ghost town - but it gave me a buzz in a 'calm before the storm' kind of way.  We then headed to the tent to load our gear on stage and were met by the warmest stage crew I’ve ever encountered at any show or on any tour.

Immediately we were made to feel at ease by the stage manager Chris and his assistant Mike helping us get everything in place and secure, the monitor engineer Adam checking all of our preferences for our mix and the front of house engineer Rob ensuring everything was sounding great out front.  With all the bands they service throughout the day, it would be easy to forget the niceties but we had great banter and it helped us slip right into a comfort zone and a mindset that where we were comfortable on the stage, in the big (at that time) empty tent. 



After checking and setting everything up, we headed to our trailer to sink a few early morning beers (to follow on from a couple of cheeky gins in the van on the way there) and put on some tunes to start getting vibes up…  We then did a warm up together and tried to relax as much as possible before show time. 

At around 12:00 (20 minutes before stage time) I went up to give my guitar one final tune before we took to the stage proper and was slightly disheartened by the lack of bodies in the tent…  We knew it was early, and opening up the day was always gonna be a challenge, so I tried to remind myself this was nothing personal and dusted it of, vowing to give it just as much of a performance in appreciation for those who did make it down.  I went back to the trailer and we all had a wee chat about just that and all decided we were gonna enjoy this experience regardless of the crowd size. 

Show time.


We headed from the trailer to the ramp at the back of the stage, the crowd hidden by the curtain and had a little pre-show huddle.  We usually keep it simple and remind ourselves to enjoy it and give it our all.  We then ascended the ramp and were met by a crowd bigger than we had ever expected.  I won't embellish and tell you that the tent was rammed, that no one could move; it wasn’t, but it was a great attendance - hundreds had made it, there were no large areas of space - all bases were covered and it was a full feeling due to the energy of all those who had made the effort to be there.  We were later told by one of the T Break organisers John-Paul that the tent hadn’t been that full, or active the whole of the day before, so for opening things up we were really chuffed  We also found out from lots of people in the crowd throughout the day and texts from friends that there had been many more trying to get in to see our set but stringent security checks had meant some people had been queuing for hours to get in, missing our set.  Regardless, we were blown away by the crowd size and most importantly, their energy.  Clapping along, jumping, singing our songs back to us, bouncing in time to our breakdowns and having a proper dance at the end of the set to our final number… it was a joy for us to play for them all and we came off the stage knowing the job was a good ‘un! 

After the set we had a quick dry off and change, before we headed to see a small crowd of people who had waited to speak to us and some who wanted some pictures, it’s always bizarre when this happens to be honest, but I appreciate the support of anyone who enjoys our music and its a pleasure and a privilege to oblige.  We then did some interviews backstage, before packing up our gear and getting back on the shuttle bus to our van to drop off our stuff.
  We then headed to the media village to do a few interviews for some UK press and one Australian journalist, we hung there for a while then caught the end of a fantastic set by our pals Fatherson, in a rammed King Tut’s Tent before meeting up with all our friends to enjoy the day.  

We didn’t catch much more music due to buzzing from our set and tearing in about some well earned free beers but did see Twin Atlantic smash their set, The La Fontaines tear up the T Break tent and caught a little bit from The 1975.  We had hoped to see Bombay Bicycle Club’s performance as we are all fans however the heavens properly opened up and we all decided to make the most of our VIP access for us and all our friends by hitting the VIP bar which was like a big nightclub, covering you from the rain but with open sides to still see all the goings on outside, we had a few drinks and decided, with a house full of food, beer and warmth waiting for us (and with the rain unrelenting) we would get ourselves home and properly toast the day.


We headed home in our van and, followed by our friends in their cars (thanks to all the girls for driving all the drunkards!) headed back to the house to kick things off.  For thirteen people, the amount of booze was crazy, but in order to give us any chance of attending the next day at the festival, we didn’t quite finish it all and saved some for Wickerman!  We had some good food and we able to toast to an enjoyable milestone in the road for our band, thanking everyone of our team of friends and family who have helped us in various, invaluable ways along the way so far.  It was great to cap off such a brilliant day with people who mean so much to us, and honestly topped off a perfect day.


Back to Taylor White for Sunday's diary:

I think it’s fair to say that we all woke up feeling far from fresh following Saturday night’s celebration.  After a soothing snooze on the grass in the garden and a fantastic breakfast courtesy of Kyle’s girlfriend, Nic, we headed to T.  We had planned to get there early and catch as much as possible but the way we were feeling we were lucky to make it there at all!  I don’t think it was until we arrived back at Balado that day that the events of the previous day had begun to sunk in – we were all still on a high despite our hangovers! 

On arrival, we headed straight back to the T Break stage to catch our buddies Model Aeroplanes, who smashed their set as always.  Having done gigs with these guys years ago is it great to see them doing so well for themselves in the scene!


We then headed to the media village.  I would be easy to lie and say that this was for a never-ending stream of interviews but in actual fact we had, over the course of the weekend, discovered that it was by far the best place to grab a wee comfort break.  The phrase "I’m away for a quick media pee" is one that we were all familiar with at this stage! 

Rob and I also managed to head back to T Break to see Catfish and the Bottlemen play a rocking set – we had seen them at Stag & Dagger in Glasgow and couldn’t wait to see them again.  We were not disappointed. 

Next up on the agenda for us was heading to the King Tut's Tent to watch Tame Impala with our pal (not really) Newton Faulkner.  They were the only other band from Perth playing the festival, albeit on the other side of the world, so it was a pleasure to catch their set!


After their show we were all feeling fragile and a little bit broken so headed to the VIP area for a breather and a lie down.  We all really needed it! 


Thursday, 17 July 2014

T in the Park Diaries - Call To Mind

T in the Park bid #byebyebalado last weekend, as the festival moves to it's new home of Strathallan Castle in 2015.  To help us at Scottish Fiction document the last ever T at Balado, and to capture the experience of playing, we asked a number of bands to keep a T diary.  Get ready to feel like a peeping Tom as we take a look into the pages of Call To Mind's T diary...

BBC Introducing invited us to T in the Park to play their stage on the Sunday evening.  Having never been to Balado or any other previous T, I wasn't really sure what to expect.  As a band, we've been lucky to play at various festivals around the country before, such as Brew at the Bog, Belladrum, GoNorth, In The City, Rockness, and even over at Iceland Airwaves once upon a time.  It's fair to say though that T in the Park dwarfs all of those in terms of sheer scale.


Before setting off, we fuelled up in the cosy surroundings of The Glad Cafe, over on Glasgow’s Southside.  Cups of tea, scrambled egg and toast were consumed.  The Glad acts as something of a hub for us as pals, a place to catch up, talk nonsense and check out other bands on occasion in the venue.  We launched our album there back in April.


The drive to Balado was sound tracked by our own enthusiasm - general excitement, chatting about bands you saw on the TV highlights last night, bands you want to see, hoping for decent weather but then rubbish weather when we played (every band playing in a tent wishes this!).  The journey there flew past, nipping over the Kincardine bridge, through Yetts o' Muckart, Drum, then Balado.  A beautiful day.  The sun was shining over the site, which looked huge - the sheer size of it all on the drive down into Balado was something I hadn't expected and it took me by surprise.


Into the staff car park, we headed off to sort out our passes for the day.  The BBC Introducing stage was a few bus stops away, so we hitched a ride on the backstage shuttle bus, which did a loops around the outside of the festival over the weekend, getting staff and bands where they needed to be.


We popped in to say hello to the folks running things (tip to other bands: always be nice to your sound, lighting and other technical people, as well as your artist liaison and anyone else involved backstage - they invariably want to help you out and make your performance as good as it can be, and moreover they love to see you enjoy the experience of playing.  We absolutely pride ourselves on this aspect, and typically everyone we meet is brilliant), and with a handful of hours before we were needed back to set up, we went off to see some music.


CHVRCHES were just about to start playing a surprise set in the BBC Introducing tent, so we had timed it well and were able to catch most of it.  The Bones of What Your Believe was my tip for The SAY Award last month, and it was nice to see the band in a live setting (a first for me) – the crowd were fantastic as well.  This turned out to be the first of two appearances on the day for CHVRCHES, as they stepped in to replace London Grammar (who had to cancel due to illness) on the Radio One stage.


Hot-footing it over to the King Tut's tent, we headed to catch The Twilight Sad, one of the few bands we were all in agreement about getting down to see.  Maybe The Twilight Sad had an inkling of the German success to come later on in the World Cup final that evening (Andy from the band was wearing a Germany top).  It was great hearing them on a big stage, with the full force of a sizeable PA behind them - they sounded utterly epic.


We bumped into Vic Galloway during the Twilight Sad's set and once they'd finished we decided to venture outside in search of a cold beer.  Sunday saw the sun shine almost all day and well into the evening, in stark contrast to Saturday's driech downpour!  The pancakes from the stall in the background below were outstanding by the way.


Back over to the BBC Introducing area (while on the way trying really hard to keep the Kaiser Chiefs’ Ruby from crow-barring its way into my brain), behind the stage there was an interview tent.  On the wall within this there was space for each band to sign their name or put a message.   This had already been written on by the bands who had played BBC Introducing stages at Glastonbury and Radio One’s Big Weekend, with messages, lyrics and band logos, and a few choice drawings, so we added our own scrawls to it as well.


A wee seat in the sun for about half an hour leading up to our set was nice.  With no sign of rain, we were thinking the crowd coming to see us might be somewhat minimal, but by the time we headed in to set up on stage a crowd of 200 or so had gathered inside.  Likely 200 people who hadn’t heard us before, which makes for an exciting prospect.


One of the big differences for us with this gig was the TV cameras dotted around the stage and also down at the front - it was difficult to try and not notice them there.   For the first few songs the gap between the stage and the crowd barrier was filled with a handful of photographers snapping away.  I spotted a topless chap (who’d clearly had too much sun) busy clapping in and out of time at the back of the tent; he was having a great time.  These things made the first half of the set feel a little bit surreal.   The trouble with having a half hour slot is that you’re only really starting to get into it as the set begins to wind up – the time flies by – certainly with us, as much of our music builds up slowly, it sometimes feels a little forced when we have to squeeze things into 30 minutes.  The crowd were on good form and we really enjoyed playing for them.


Our bass player Andrew unfortunately couldn’t make it to T, so we had drafted in our friend Dave to help out.  He formerly played in Barn Owl and has recently been playing bass for our Olive Grove pals The Son(s).  It was great having him along – huge thanks for helping us out sir!  As soon as the set was done, we were keen to get our gear off the stage as soon as possible – the line up had been running like clockwork throughout the day, so we didn’t want to let the side down.


BBC Introducing is an invaluable channel for us in terms of national airplay, basically a modern-day John Peel in effect, and to be invited to play at T in the Park was a pretty humbling experience, even more so due to the exposure that has come with it.  Social media interest in the weeks leading up to T generated welcome attention, with Facebook likes, retweets, and even sales of our music benefiting from a halo effect.  Festival appearances seem to do that for bands in general, and we are very much indebted to the likes of Vic Galloway, who has been championing and playing our music for a number of years now, and Ally McCrae, who has supported us on the back of our last few single releases.

From 1 September, unfortunately the BBC Introducing show on a Sunday night will no longer be broadcast, which I find a little unsettling.  Granted there will be a BBC Introducing ‘slot’ during Huw Stephens' show throughout the week from 10pm - 1am, Monday through Wednesday, but it kinda feels a bit like the beating heart of new music at the BBC is fading a little.  Throughout the day the turnouts at the BBC Introducing and T Break stages only underlined what a pivotal role these mediums play in pushing lesser known often unsigned acts to the mainstream public.  So keep supporting radio shows and podcasts, keep listening to them, keep texting and tweeting in...  Ruby, ruby, ruby, ruuuby.

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

We're Only Here For The Banter - AmatrArt


At the start of the month, Glasgow four piece AmatrArt officially moved into the 'scene' with the launch of their debut single Souls  at The Old Hairdressers.  A quirky electro track with a dark, haunting vibe (see The xx), we featured the track on the show a few weeks back.  To find out a little more about the band, we caught up with them for our regular 'We're Only Here For The Banter' feature. 

Hello! How the devil are you?

Yeah, we’re all pretty good. 

It's the question everyone hates, but could illuminate our readers with a little bit about your music and your influences?

We’re still not very good at defining our music but we shall try.  I guess in terms of influences there are the usual culprits for bands like us; Talking Heads, Pixies, Radiohead, Arcade Fire, Bowie, Zepplin...  It’s a bit of a never ending list.  We just look for people who are or were doing something interesting or a bit different.  They all have a ‘sound’.  We’re into that.

In terms of what we bring…  Well that's hard to say as we have a lot of different songs in a lot of different genres, but I guess the main ones would be electronic alternative.  There's a couple of funk rhythms involved in other songs; Niall's a shredder on bass so we had to write a few funky numbers to let him flaunt his feathers a bit.  There are certain people who we guess are responsible for us all playing music together and who deserve a lot of credit, although they haven't directly influenced our sound as such.

What's your song-writing / creative process like?


It changes quite a lot.  Usually it starts with someone will bringing a riff or an idea for a song to the table and everyone will pick an instrument and see what they can get from it.  We like to record ideas early on, usually guitars and some sort of drum machine and then see what else we can do with it.  There is a lot of computers involved and a lot of recording in our various bedrooms.  However, our most recent song Alexander, which we’ll be closing our set with, came together quite differently.  We came to our first practice in a while, because of uni work etc, and Josh and Jonathan had two riffs that worked pretty well together.  The rest of us just jammed it out and it sort of fell into place as a really cool groove, it actually was a lot more laid back than our normal process.

What could we expect to see from a live show?

Us and our instruments.  Also egg shakers, a sneaky fifth member, lights, dancing, drums, falling, and laughing.  Hopefully the audience will have a party too.  The first 100 attendees will get a free iPad.

Tell us about new single Souls.

Well it’s the first one, which is exciting.  It was all recorded in Josh’s bedroom too and it came together pretty quickly.  It’s also been fun because its the first song we’ve got to do others things for besides writing and recording music.  We’ve been out and about filming short teaser videos for the songs and editing tiny remixes for each trailer.  It's also a love song, about our love for the colours green, red, blue and yellow; in that order.

What else have you got planned for 2014?

We’ve just about finished recording a few more songs so should release our first E.P soonish but our main plan is to be playing a lot more gigs and partying with new pals.  We also need to seriously up our computer game playing.

What are you listening to at the moment?

St Vincent, Sylvan Esso, Adebisi Shank, Hundred Waters, A Hawk and a Hacksaw, DVA.

Thanks for speaking with us, would you care to share a joke with us?

How can you tell when it's a drummer at your door?

He doesn't know when to come in.


Check out more from AmatrArt

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Tuesday, 8 July 2014

T in the Park - 12 acts to see


With the news that this year's T in the Park would be the last to grace the hallowed Balado turf, the festival is set for a bittersweet party from Friday 11th to Sunday 13th July, before it moves to Strathallan Castle for 2015's festival.  It's perhaps fitting that this year's festival marks the 21st year of T in the Park, with 21 traditionally being the age at which young adults go out and seek their place in the world.  The festival, for my tastes, has lost its way a little over the last few years, and one wonders if a new site can let it find its feet a little bit.

That all being said, those heading up this weekend will not be thinking of the future, but of the three days of great music that lay ahead of them.  So if you're will be one of the 100,000 joining in the last Balado cries of "T IN THE PARK", here are Scottish Fiction's tips for the weekend.


The Twilight Sad

The Sad at Balado.  Oooh baby!  The Twilight Sad are undoubtedly one of Scotland's best live bands, as proven by their 10th anniversary shows last year.  Unknown to some, cult following to others, and post-punk/indie Gods to others, The Twilight Sad play early doors on Sunday in the King Tut's Tent, right after Earl Sweatshirt (so head along early to catch him as well).  Prepare for ear-grinding, face-dissolving, heart stopping noise, with some of the best penned lyrics this side of Frabbit.


Atom Tree


If you like your electro chilled out and spacious, a la Jon Hopkins, then Atom Tree is tip for you.  Producer/musician Shaun Canning, has padded out his project with the addition of Julie Knox on vocals and Michael Robertson providing the drums, lifting the band from Canning's bedroom to the clubs and venues of Scotland and beyond.  Recent release See The Light,  turned heads and made many do just that.  Join the following and catch the band playing Saturday evening on T-Break Stage.



Call To Mind

What do the Highlands sound like?  You'll not get a better answer to that question than Call To Mind, who play T on the BBC Introducing Stage.  Atmospheric, rich and poignant, the four piece swell and swoop in live shows, their instrumental moments engulfing the crowd in one big hug.  Be warned, if you are looking for guitars and quiffs look elsewhere.  If however you're open to music from the most beautiful album this year so far, then Call To Mind are a must see.


CHVRCHES

Last year's T saw Lauren Mayberry and co. played to a heavy crowd on the Transmission Stage.  With the festival taking place before their album, The Bones Of What You Believe  dropped on 20 September, their ample crowd was based on buzz and hype.  Now the goods are out there, and their top 10 and 20 placings in the UK and US album  charts respectively means the masses will be out in force this time.  Personally I don't think CHVRCHES are as good a live band as they could  be, but there's no doubting the crowd love them, and their set this year could prove a real highlight.


Deathcats

We've blogged about Deathcats extensively for the last few months, and with good cause too.  They've spread faster than ebola, and are a lot more fun too, rapidly gaining a reputation across the country as an incredible prospect live.  Grungy, garage rock guitars, layers of fuzz and reverb, youthful lyrics and ultimately not giving one iota of a fuck, Deathcats' set at the T-Break Stage on Friday is the let loose rock out you need to complete your weekend.


Fatherson

Headliners Biffy know all about plugging away and building success, and fellow Ayrshire boys Fatherson have paid attention and taken notes.  Fatherson have been around the Glasgow/Scottish music scene for years, gigging relentlessly, and taking their time with releases in a build up to their album I Am An Island,  another nod, intentional or not, in Biffy's direction.  Fatherson are their own band however, and they switch with ease from ear bursting guitar rock, to stripped back melancholic indie anthems.  Catch them playing in the King Tut's Tent on Saturday.


Blood Relatives

Previous session guests on Scottish Fiction, Blood Relatives have an ear for a catchy melody and witty lyrics.  Unashamedly pop, they splice in influence from the likes of Camera Obsura, Phoenix and elements of Belle And Sebastian, to present a more intelligent package, which knows how to dance.  With tracks like Dead Hip,  Duck,  and Deerheart,  all taken from their 2013 debut album, you'll be leaving the T-Break Stage on Sunday evening with sore cheeks from smiling and sore ankles from dancing.


Medals

Medals is the side project/part time hobby/alternative band of JP Reid, him of Sucioperro and Marmaduke Duke fame.  Whatever the aim is, Medals has proved a worthy outlet, with album Disguises  gaining plaudits last year for it's rock/pop uplifting sound.  Medals play on the BBC Introducing Stage, and which hopefully will see them play to a plentiful crowd.



wecamefromwolves

Perth four piece wecamefromwolves have pop punk vibe, with elements of Biffy whizzed in there too, able to craft rock songs with teeth and pop sensibilities.  Fresh from releasing their Paradise Place EP  in April this year, the band have been edging down into the central belt with a handful of gigs now clocked up.  I've not yet seen them live, but on the strength of the tracks on their EP, you can bet their set on the T-Break Stage will be one to catch.  Set your alarms for early doors on Saturday morning.


Biffy Clyro

Hail the conquering heroes!  Biffy Clyro and T in the Park are like Frodo and Sam; always together, and relying on each other.  In the past Biffy have used T to build their profile, fanbase, and live shows but you get the feeling this year T are using Biffy as their trump card to sell tickets.  Arguments will rage whether 'old school' Biffy were better, but bearing in mind that latest album Opposites  topped the charts and was short listed for the Scottish Album of the Year Awards, they ain't doing to bad these days either.  Fans from back in the day will also have the pleasure of rocking out to back catalogue favourites, as the band don't shy away from dropping their early work into festival sets.  Headliners on Friday night, you can't say they won't put on a great show.


TeenCanteen

All girl harmonies and dreamy pop hooks?  Check.  It must be TeenCanteen, who pretty much capture that summer feeling with their sound.  Another band who have previously appeared as Scottish Fiction session guests, their whimsical everyday dreams, and tales of love lost and found, all backed up by cheery melodies will perk up any festival goer who is in need of it.  Check them out in the T-Break Stage on Friday night.



Fat Goth

Dundee trio Fat Goth cannot be explained.  They cannot be described, nor can you prepare yourself for them.  Fat Goth can only be experienced, in pure visceral, unadulterated, unfiltered and uncensored glory.   T-Break Stage, Saturday night.  Be there.



Other selected highlights, including non-Scottish artists, across the weekend would include; Pixies, Slaves, Earl Sweatshirt, We Are Scientists, Tame Impala, The Amazing Snakeheads, Eilidh Hadden, Tuff Love, Birdhead, Kill The Waves, Secret Motorbikes and The LaFontaines.

For full line up, and more information about T in the Park, check out the official T in the Park website.