What I love about goNORTH is that essentially it brings all the people from Glasgow who are really working hard in the industry together and then gets them drunk and let them see a bunch of emerging acts. I headed up on Wednesday morning with Calum K West (Common Records), Barry Carty (Walker Smith Jnr), Kyle Wood (Lovers Turn To Monsters) and Ewan Grant (Algernon Doll) and we all arrived in Inverness pretty much just in time to miss all the conferences... Oh well!
After throwing our guitars in the hotel we hit the pub for a few hours and watched Countdown before taking in all the bands. I think I saw 7/8 acts including good friend Shambles Miller, who went down great during his set. Highlights for me were; Book Group, an Edinburgh alternative indie pop group with great pop hooks with just the right amount of dirtyness to it, ALARM BELLS who were ridiculously good, groovy math core-ish stuff featuring old members of Danananakroyd and were crazily tight with a real Mars Volta vibe about them and Black International who played just before Algernon Doll at Blackfriars on the Thursday night. They are a great, no fucking around, noisy twopiece rock with some great vocal hooks and the best drum faces on the planet. Fact.
Stuart is also a member of Algernon Doll and drove up from Gourock right after work all the way to Inverness, sat down for a bit, played the set, which I like to think was pretty darn good, and then made his way back to Glasgow right after the set which is like 350 mile round trip AND still made it to work in the morning. The guy is a machine.
COMMON RECORDS (label/family)
Andrew from Common Records was nice enough to answer a few questions for us so you can find out a bit about the label. Common recently released our single 'Keanu Leaves', which you can still get online and at shows, and is about to release 'Citalo-pop' by Algernon Doll and 'Skeletor' by Lovers Turn To Monsters.
1. How did the label start? - The label was founded when Calum 'Kanye' West and I, along with a bunch of Levites and Hebrews, were traveling through the Egyptian desert after having a bit of a rotten time of it back in Cairo. During this movement of jah people, Calum disappeared behind a rocky outcrop and came back with a basket of unleavened bread and the words 'Common Records' carved into a stone tablet.
2. How do you select the bands on your label? - Well, along with 'Common Records' there were ten instructions on said tablet. We've only managed to decipher a few of these because, to be honest, Calum's stone masonry leaves a lot to be desired. But they do include demands such as 'Release Where We Lay Our Heads single 'Keanu Leaves' because it's bloody brilliant' and 'Hamish James Hawk is ace' etc. So we base the artistic direction of the label on this largely unaccountable and not necessarily correct plaque.
3. How important is a feeling of community within an indie label? - The feeling of community is very important, that's why we're commited to building places of shared veneration and benediction to all things Common.
4. What are your expansion plans for the label? - We have quite ambitious plans for the label, hoping to spread it throughout South and Latin America and large swathes of Africa mainly through force and culture assimilation.
5. Do you think being musicians yourselves helps in understanding your role as a label? - Definitely. We are followers of a humble carpenter musician and so think it is important that we too are humble among the legions of musicians except we'll have more robes and fancy hats and vulnerable children.
6. Which labels do you look up to? - Sony, Columbia, etc. You know, the big earners.
7. In which ways is it better to release on an indie label than self release? - Being on a label can give you great guidance and hope, that's why people turn to them in their times of greatest need. I'm afraid this new strain of militant self-releasism spearheaded by the nasty Richard DIYkins shows the worst aspects of modern life.
8. What's your favourite episode of Friends? The one where Rachel and Ross finally get together. Adorbs!
Common have a very special gig on the 13th of this month at The 13th Note for Algernon Doll's album launch featuring Lovers Turn To Monsters, Now Wakes The Sea and ourselves. It should be a hell of a gig and I do hope you all come down and see us.
There should be another post online this evening.