Friday, 31 July 2015

Scottish Fiction Radio Show - 30th July 2015

There's something pretty special about live music on radio.  It's the aspect of doing this whole Scottish Fiction hoo-la that I enjoy the most.  So it was such a delight to get back to hosting Scottish Fiction Sessions as I welcomed Dec '91 into the studio for a chat and live music.  We spoke about music, travelling, our upcoming Scottish Fiction Presents gig, as well as all sorts of other nonsense.

Making up the rest of the show, there's a new Playlist addition from Tongues, music from Yutani, Turtle, and Holy Esque, and stunning Re-Mixing It Up track from Outblinker via Machines In Heaven. 

Turtle - The Floor
Be Charlotte - Face
Mt. Doubt - Asunder
Dec '91 - I'll Try To Let You Know (Live in Pulse 98.4 Studio)
Shona Brown - All I Have
Akela - Past Sunrise
Dec '91 - Bad Man (Live in Pulse 98.4 Studio)
AROUND THE WORLD - Girlpool - Before The World Was Big
PLAYLIST - CARBS - Life Drawing
PLAYLIST - Tongues - Religion
PLAYLIST - Womps - Live A Little Less
Rachel Sermanni - Everything Is OK
Dec '91 - Catherine (Live in Pulse 98.4 Studio)
Holy Esque - Strange
Damn Teeth - I.D.N.F.I.N.M.
RE-MIXING IT UP - Outblinker - Pink (Machines In Heaven Remix)
Yutani - Mt. Minakami

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Scottish Fiction - 30th July 2015 by Scottish Fiction on Mixcloud

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

T in the Park Diaries - AmatrArt

It might be nearly all gone and forgotten by two weekends ago over 100 artists, 80,000 people, and our good selves descent upon Strathallan Castle for Scotland's biggest music festival; T in the Park!  Once again we recruited some of the finest talent playing across the T Break stage over the weekend to keep a T in the Park Diary for Scottish Fiction.

On Saturday in the T Break stage the job of opening up fell to Glasgow five piece AmatrArt.  The band grabbed the ear of the judges with their pop laced wavey synths, and we caught up with Josh from the band for their T Diary.

Friday 10th July

Our slot was at 12:10pm on the Saturday morning so if we were leaving from Glasgow that would have meant we’d have to leave ridiculously early.  Luckily enough for us Jonathan's folks live in Comrie - about half an hour from the new site - and there was a few acts we wanted to see on the Friday including Jessie Ware, Hot Chip and The War on Drugs.  So we decided to head up on the Friday stopping off there to drop off all the gear.

We sadly missed Jessie Ware as it took some time for us to work out where we were to go to get our artists accreditation.  The rest of the night was pretty good though.  We left before the headliners to get back to Comrie at a decent time where we sat up and had some beers before heading off in the morning.

Saturday 11th July

As we were the first on, and you were to arrive a few hours before your slot, we arrived super early.  The site looks quite bizarre at this time as there’s hardly anyone about.  A few security folk and stage crew.  It also confirmed that the new site was indeed much smaller which could mostly be considered a good thing except from the occasional crush we experienced.  We had a few hours to kill before we were scheduled to play so there was quite a lot of waiting around which we mostly filled by drinking the free beer!

The stage was very impressive and was by far the biggest we’ve played on.  At a lot of the gigs we play it’s unusual to have more than one monitor mix between the band but here we had a dedicated sound guy who's job it was to control the monitor mix for us as well as the guy who did the sound out front.  That was really sweet and the gig was the best sounding for us yet.

The boys from Catholic Action informed us that a bigger stage suits our sound which was nice of them.  The gig itself was super fun, we were all pretty much smiling the whole way through it and we hope it will be the first of many festival gigs.

After our set we watched Catholic Action and then headed over to the BBC Introducing tent to catch Pinact.  Both bands were really good and it was cool to see lots of folk at each of their gigs.

By this time we were all already pretty shattered so afterwards we sat behind had the BBC Introducing tent had some beers with the bands and chilled.  The weather was still pretty decent at this point so were able to utilise the fancy beach chairs they had outside.

Later on we went to see St Vincent who was very impressive.  Probably the best guitar player in the world just now and the choreographed dance moves were pretty captivating.  The sound was quite muffled though and there was probably less people there than were at her ABC show last year which was a bit of a let down but nothing to do with her actual performance which was probably the highlight of the day (except for playing of course!)

We then went to see Alt-J who sounded great but no one could really consider it a very energetic or exciting live performance.  We finished the night catching Ded Rabbit at T Break who in contrast to Alt-J were very exciting.  It was a really nice end to the weekend.

Then began the epic that was getting out of the car park.  We left before the majority of folk but were stuck in the car park for well over three hours.  It wasn’t until half 3 in the morning that we eventually got moving.  It wasn’t all bad though, we helped push cars through the mud, told ghost stories and had dance offs with fellow festival goers.  We’re looking forward to hopefully making a return at some point in the future!

That's My Jam #72 - dune witch trails - Goldenrod Cigar

The savvy advice to all guitar based bands in Glasgow (or further afield) must be to pop into Green Door studios.  The lauded studios in Glasgow's West End seem to be behind the desk for almost all of the promising sounds being made in the 'guitar-band' circle at the moment, and this track from Dune Witch Trails joins that bunch.

Goldenrod Cigar  sets its stall out with cranked up slack guitars which create the bedrock of the track.  Atop sit passionate laid back vocals, with delightful pop harmonies chiming in amidst neat little Dinosaur Jr. style guitar bursts.  The band release this track on their new tape EP being released via Draper Street Records.  Go buy it. 

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Scottish Fiction Radio Show - 23rd July 2015

his week's show sees the welcome return of our Cover Lover feature with Robert Smith covering a recently released single from The Twilight Sad.  Oh and there's an interview with James from the band on the show too.  See how everything links together!

Additionally we add a new track from WOMPS to our playlist, plus there's new music from CHVRCHES, Inspector Tapehead, Earths and dune witch trails.

C Duncan - Garden
CHVRCHES - Leave a Trace
Aquafaux - See The Rain
Stillhound - See The Unseen
Inspector Tapehead - Soldier Boy
Apache Sun - The Rain That Never Came
AROUND THE WORLD - Wavves & Cloud Nothings - Come Down
PLAYLIST - Womps - Live A Little Less
PLAYLIST - Pinact - Everybody Says
PLAYLIST - CARBS - Life Drawing
Rob St. John - Young Sun
Earths - Kangerlussuaq
Shambles Miller - Neil's Song
Poor Frisco - Take What You Want
The Deadline Shakes - Phonecalls In the Bath
The Twilight Sad - Sick
T in the Park Interview - The Twilight Sad
COVER LOVER - Robert Smith - There's A Girl In The Corner
dune witch trials - Goldenrod Cigar
ULTRAS - The Path To Getting Paid

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That's My Jam #71 - Tongues - Religion

The solo project of Kill The Waves frontman Tim Kwant, Tongues has had a 100% hit rate with the tracks released online so far.  And with new track Religion  dropping today he makes it three for three.

The lusciousness of the space in the track is the real standout, mixing Jamie xx production vibes with a cathedral chanting and organs; think of Hozier's Take Me To Church  but done well.  Religion  starts off sparse and works its way into a full blown audio masterpiece.  Like a musical paint by numbers, Tongues fills the canvas with bleeps, blips and drums.

Friday, 24 July 2015

That's My Jam #70 - Stillhound - Think This Way

There's something to be said for mountain retreats when the results they produce are gorgeous electro-pop like Think This Way by Stillhound.  The track is available online now as a free download, and is the second to come from the Stillhound stable. 

Structured synths and match up perfectly with layered vocals as the quartet - Fergus Cook, Laurie Corlett-Donald, Dave Lloyd and  Cat Myers - provide a slice of dreamy electronica which captures the spirit of M83, the vastness of Boards of Canada, and the pop sensibilities of CHVRCHES.  The track is no drab imitation however, and worms into your subconscious like an old friend.

Thursday, 23 July 2015

That's My Jam #69 - Be Charlotte - Face

One of the most exciting things I find about the music of Dundee's Charlotte Brimner, released under the stage name Be Charlotte, is the potential.  Listening to Face,  and other tracks on her Soundcloud page,  I can't help but hear how this could sound in six months to a year's time.  There's room for so much expansion, development, and experimenting, partially due to Charlotte's natural talent - she raps, sings, plays, and writes - and also due to the creative input of other musicians, notably Hector Bizerk's Louie and Audrey.

None of this is to say that Face  is not already an incredible tune.  It is.  It really is.  A funky intro, sharp drumming, relate-able lyrics telling the stories of rail travel, a warm and welcoming chorus, and Kate Tempest-esque raps layered over each other, it's got so much going for it.  It's already one of my favourite new tracks, and Be Charlotte is a name to keep a sharp eye on. 

T in the Park 2015 Review - Friday

With this year being the first in 18 that T in the Park has not been held at the beloved Balado site, I think it's far to say that the question on everyone's mind as they set off for Strathallan Castle is what would the new site be like?

And it's a question with many nuances, for example what will the drive up (and later home) be like, how will parking be, what will the layout of the stages be?  It's also a question that will provide different answers to different people, so for the purposes of our T in the Park reviews of each day, I'm going to focus on the music on offer, while saving my observations on the new site for a separate blog post later on.

Which means heading straight to the Main Stage to catch the band opening the festival and at the same time bagging the ceremonious honour of being the first band to officially play Strathallan Castle.  It's perhaps no surprise to see the polished synth-pop trio Prides adorning the Main Stage.  It's a trajectory they have been on for a while, and what with their debut album The Way Back Up  also released today (10th July) it feels like the stars are aligning for the band.

The crowd who have gathered at the front of the Main Stage get it.  Prides are here for a party.  And you know what, despite the early slot, despite the light drizzle, and despite the distinct lack of festival atmosphere, that's exactly what they achieve.  With tracks like Higher Love,  opener Out of the Blue,  and set closer Messiah  getting the full sing-a-long treatment, the obligatory balloons, and the crowd jumping and clapping along, it's a great start to the festivities.  What I particularly liked about Prides billing was that it was a Scottish act opening the Main Stage (something which was repeated with The LaFontaines on Saturday).  For the three guys on stage, who have collectively been to T in the Park 22 times between them, to open Scotland's biggest music festival, whether you like Prides or not, it shows the festival recognising the talent on it's own doorstep.

Next up it's over to the King Tut's Tent to see The Twilight Sad play practically the same booking they had last year.  With the success and rejuvenation that Nobody Wants To Be Here And Nobody Wants To Leave  has had for the band, it's perhaps a no-brainer to bring them back for another run at the festival crowd. 

Opening with There's A Girl In The Corner  lead singer James Graham is deep into his focused on-stage performance.  Throwing himself about with the belief of a man who knows his band and his music were built for stages like these and bigger.  Much of the set comes from the aforementioned album, but there's always a special place reserved for the ear-splitting I Became A Prostitute,  and the anthemic Cold Days From The Birdhouse,  which closes the set. 

Perhaps ear-splitting isn't the best description in this particular case, as the noise levels do seem - perhaps forcibly - reduced compared with past Sad gigs I've been to.  Such is the case with festivals slots however, and in all honesty it doesn't take away from what is a impassioned performance.  I had the pleasure of speaking with James afterwards and he extolled the virtues of letting your music do the talking.  As the tent got busier and busier during each track it's clear a lot of people are listening to what The Twilight Sad have to say.

After a brief bit of downtime, and the severe displeasure of having Duke Dumont attack my senses, I gathered again in the King Tut's Tent for Hot Chip.  I've not seen the band in a good few years - okay since they toured in support of 2008's Made In The Dark - so I was brimming with anticipation for this one.  So were thousands of others as the tent was suitably packed for one of the finest, and most consistent, indietronica bands of the last decade.

Yet while it was busy there was is a noticeable lull in atmosphere.  Personally I find it hard to pin that on the band, as they are flawless in their collective wizardry, and synchronized dance moves, dipping into their hit-laden back catalogue for tracks like Ready For The Floor  and I Feel Better.  No instead it feels like the crowd are - depressingly - gathering in anticipation of Fatboy Slim.  And then it hits me.  Over and Over  came out NINE years ago.  Whereas I was front and centre clubbing when the track dropped, for many 'newbies' in the crowd it was a hit from yesteryear.  God I'm old.  That feeling is forgotten though when the cowbell strikes and we all start to get "laid back".  The track is the band's opus and they use it to ignite the crowd into a frenzy with Joe Goddard shouting the infamous T in the Park chant from the stage.  He knows what he's doing that man.

Finishing their set - as they did at Glastonbury - with an incredible cover of Springsteen's Dancing In The Dark  which almost unnoticeably morphs into All My Friends by LCD Soundsystem is a stroke of genius.  At least to me and the other appreciative fans around me.  For many of the fresh-faced youngsters it's a tribute lost on them.  Cé la vie.

If the crowd at Hot Chip not appreciating the impromptu cover of the Boss annoyed me, then it was only a precursor to the feelings I'd harbour as we moved over to the BBC Three / Radio 1 Stage to catch American troubadours The War On Drugs.

With their album Lost In The Dream  earning plaudits the world over - the band found themselves rather bizarrely nominated for a Brit Award - their booking for the festival is well earned.  But while I applaud the DF Concerts team for snapping up the band, questions have to be asked about their scheduling between David Guetta and Afrojack.

The resulting quandary is a crowd made up of those looking to enjoy Adam Granduciel's tales of American woe, steeped in the traditions of Springsteen, Dylan, and Petty, those leaving from Afrojack, and those looking to get prime placing for headliner David Guetta.

Unlike in Hot Chip where the lack of appreciation seemed more generational than anything else, this setting is a straight up musical mismatch.  The apathy, and in some audible cases outright disdain, of large swathes of the crowd makes the whole set rather unenjoyable.  Which takes nothing away from the musicianship and professionalism of the band, who give it their all, either oblivious to the crowd or in defiance of them.  As much as I can pick them out highlights include Under The Pressure  and Red Eyes  both of which induce in me the vast potential of the open American highway.

Which brings me to headliner time.  A tough choice I'm sure you'll agree.  Guetta, Kasabian or Mark Ronson are the acts the festival organisers have booked for the main stages.  Luckily there's always another way.

I spoke already about how good it was to see Scottish acts open the Main Stage.  It was equally great to see Hector Bizerk being given the opportunity to close the Transmission Stage.  The band don't need any introductions around these parts, and in my mind this was lining up to be a highlight of the weekend.

Never ones to disappoint Hector delivered on expectations plus some.  From the moment Louie swaggered out on stage, casually mentioning to the crowd that this is indeed a headline slot at T in the Park the crowd are with him every beat, rap and bassline of the way.

Let's not pretend the tent was bursting at the seams.  It wasn't.  But Hector Bizerk shouldn't see this as a negative rather than a reality of festival puntery.  What should be more inspiring is those who came into the tent and left dyed in the wool Hector Bizerk followers.  Because on the strength of their set, anyone not already converted to the hip-hop band's music, was singing their praises after.

As for highlights?  Where to start.  Tracks Festival BoyRust Cohle,  and Skin and Bone  from their latest EP are fresh and showcase the band in their current thinking.  Older anthems like Bury The Hatchet  and Colombus  also provoke en masse sing-a-longs making it hard to think when the band can ever drop these tracks from their setlist!  There's an unexpected treat as the band perform a 'festival' cover of Blur's Song 2  to the delight of the crowd.

And that is that.  Day one of T in the Park done.  Hector Bizerk have crowned a day of great music, but questionable crowds.

- Words by Neil Wilson / Pictures by Bill Gray

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

That's My Jam #68 - Carbs - Life Drawing

hat began twelve months ago, perhaps just as an opportunity for two brothers to work together, is on the cusp of becoming the most interesting music coming out of Scotland right now.  Brothers Jonnie (of Jonnie Common and Inspector Tapehead fame) and James (Conquering Animal Sound and The Japanese War Effort) make up Carbs, and have been delighting the ears of those lucky enough to see them perform and hear their limited output so far.

Now with album Joyous Material Failure  lined up for release via Save As on 11th September, the duo release their new single Life Drawing.  There's a familiarity to the track, mainly due to the Jonnie Common comparisons which are of course inevitable, but it's pulled into a stronger hip-hop direction.  Think of a Scottish Why? and you aren't too far from the mark.  Dry, observational humour atop intelligent electronica.  More please.

Monday, 20 July 2015

That's My Jam #67 - SEØUEL - Fear Party

The impact that this track has had on my ears over the past two weeks is pretty full-on.  Not a day has gone by where I haven't flung my self about to Fear Party's Teutonic shifts and drops, plus it's been added to the Scottish Fiction Playlist for our radio shows.  The track is the lead from the Edinburgh/Berlin/London based producer's new EP Reykjavik  which comes out on Friday 24th.

With it's unsettling stabs, it's intrusive synths, and the dark-techno influences dripping from the fangs of killers bites, there's definitely a warning in the name.  Fear and dancing make for strange bedfellows, but it's a feeling which SEØUEL has captured and bottled perfectly. 

That's My Jam #66 - WOMPS - Live A Little Less

hey went to Chicago to record with the legendary Steve Albini as the trio Algernon Doll.  They've returned as a duo called WOMPS.  And whilst it's a re-birth of sorts for Ewan Grant and Owen Wicksted, for those of us who have followed the growth of Ewan's songwriting and musicianship since the first Algernon Doll record, it's also a huge step forward.

With the new record receiving the finishing touches to it as we speak, there's space in the schedule for a AA-side release on 7" vinyl via Damnably Records.  This track Live A Little Less  retains the raw guitar-heavy sound that was front and centre previously, while Wicksted drums with the fury of a thousand suns.  It's clear that the influence of Albini, who has worked with Cloud Nothings previously, has upped the ante of what was there before.  This isn't overly different, but it's injected with fresh impetus.  As always with Grant's writing, there's pop accessibility, and even with the cries of "wallow wallow wallow wallow" this is track demands to be loved.

Scottish Fiction Radio Show - 16th July 2015

This week's show is packed with interviews from T in the Park as I chatted to Pinact (pictured), Prides, Catholic Action, Monogram and The Van T's.  There's also music from Inuit, Phases, Great Cop and Keeping Dirt Clean who play King Tut's Summer Nights this week. 

Be Charlotte - Discover
Ubre Blanca - Taxed
Phases - Bombs
We Came From Wolves - Am I Useful?
Catholic Action - L.U.V.
T in the Park Interview - Catholic Action
T in the Park Interview - Pinact
PLAYLIST - Pinact - Everybody Says
PLAYLIST - Kathryn Joseph - the worm
PLAYLIST - Carbs - Life Drawing
AROUND THE WORLD - Jungle - Busy Earnin'
Prides - Higher Love
T in the Park Interview - Prides
T in the Park Interview - Monogram
Monogram - ANNO
Keeping Dirt Clean - I Spy
Great Cop - Vacancy
Bunny & The Invalid Singers - Ask The Man Inside Your Head
T in the Park Interview - The Van T's
The Van T's - Trip
RE-MIXING IT UP - Grnr x Miaoux Miaoux - Ghost Pal
Inuit - We Don't Go There In Winter

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Scottish Fiction - 16th July 2015 by Scottish Fiction on Mixcloud

T in the Park Diaries - Schnarff Schnarff

Last weekend saw over 100 artists, 80,000 people, and our good selves descent upon Strathallan Castle for Scotland's biggest music festival; T in the Park!  Once again we recruited some of the finest talent playing across the T Break stage over the weekend to keep a T in the Park Diary for Scottish Fiction.

Sporting perhaps the most unique name of the weekend, not to mention the closest name to Thundercats character, Schnarff Schnarff topped the bill on the T Break stage on Friday night.  Myles Bonner from the Inverness quintet kept track of the weekend for Scottish Fiction.

Thursday 9th July

Tin the Park started a little early for Schnarff Schnarff when Thunder, Turtle and I had to head out to the campsite on the Thursday evening.  We waited in two hours of traffic, picked up our passes at West Gate and headed onto the shuttle bus which took us round twice and dropped us off at the West Gate.  We proceeded to walk for 30 minutes until we eventually found a free spot to set up camp for the band and all our pals.  We weren't going to staff camp when so many of our folk had bought tickets so we trekked until we found the sublime BLUE 1 section which ended up being class.  It was close enough to the atmosphere without having a paralytic person flatten your tent… like many sections.  We set up and then made our way back to Glasgow (half panicking that someone would nick our seven tents and gazebo!)

Friday 10th July

Full of excitement and some serious fear, I started the van as we set up on a convoy to Strathallan…  Not before getting a team picture obviously.

We arrived after facing a few hours traffic but we were so buzzing that we couldn't care less.  Upon arrival at the staff car park at West Gate we found our crew member, Jamie Fleming, pissed-as-a-newt, sprawled out on a fold out chair and half a crate of ciders (he had arrived a few hours earlier than we planned). 

With everyone meeting up and getting their performer wristbands, we made our way across the mud to the heights of Blue 1 where everyone soon realised how important it was that we had set up camp the night before…  It was rammed! 

We sat down in the gazebo and watched our family and friends get cracked into the festival drink supplies while we watched as tee-totallers in anticipation for our biggest gig to date.  We don't drink before gigs usually so we weren't going to start now, even though I will admit, it was a very trying atmosphere to stay sober!  Class weather, everyone together, we counted down the minutes until we would headline the famous T Break stage!

We went to see Hozier, among other bands, while we counted down the time to stage time and then eventually separated from the TeamSchnarff to the band wagon so we could get our amps, guitars and drum breakables to T Break.

This wasn't an ideal situation as we moved the equipment from the van, trekked across the mud and then clambered onto a shuttle bus which proceeded to take us round the campsite to T Break stage which was, we found out, 200 yards from where we got on in the first place!  

We sat our gear down in the tent, met with John-Paul Mason and Craig Johnston from DF Concerts while downing free Highland Spring to calm the nerves.   The time flew backstage as we had interviews with Clyde 1 and Tenement TV.  We filled out our PRS forms, told the filters what tracks we wanted recorded and then were summoned to set up out stage after a great set from the lads from Dead Man Fall.

The stage was incredible was everything I wanted.  Great equipment, lights and it was big enough to roam about - something I do because I enjoy it and it helps me engage the crowd more.  I like to pick out the whites of people's eyes so I know they are listening!  In a flash, we were on-stage and it was time.

We opened the set with our set Desk  and the crowd who had decided to choose us over David Guetta, Mark Ronson and Kasabian got into it straight away.  The tent was not rammed by any means but it was busier than we can possibly have expected considering being relatively unheard of but competing with the Friday big headliners!   

It was incredible, we did ourselves proud.  Only had a few niggles in our 30 minute set but we all left feeling like we earned some new fans who, less face it, were probably there just because of our random name!  We hugged each other, got a photo with a few new faces who loved the set and then were ushered out of the tent with our gear, still high as kites from playing the amazing T in the Park!

That high that we had worked so hard for was quickly extinguished when some crossed wires led us to a bus stop which was no longer active because the roads are closed each night at 11pm (WE FINISHED OUR SET AT 10.50pm!) 

We weren't allowed to store our amps so stood in the pissing rain with £4,000 worth of equipment.  With no help anywhere, we were blessed to bump into our good pals Hector Bizerk who, along with the legends who work backstage at the BBC Introducing, quickly ran over to help us save our stuff.   Audrey from the Hector Bizerk emptied the back seats of her van and quickly filled her Fiat until everything was protected.  We begged for access to the staff roads and eventually managed to get to our Renault Traffic with our beloved equipment intact!  Audrey, you are a legend!

The feeling of being a T in the Park headliner had quickly dissolved when we were left in the rain BUT the excitement soon grew again once we had loaded our amps and gear, and sat, enjoying a cold beer as a quintet!  It finally sank in; we played FUCKING T IN THE PARK!

We met with the rest of the group, phoned our parents and loved ones and got clean on it into the early hours of Saturday morning.

Saturday 11th July - Monday 13th July

We camped, we drank, we sung, we shouted and we saw the most incredible bands smash T in the Park's first year at Strathallan.  Everyone was so up for it that the weekend was mashed into one big blur of bands, hilarity and fun!  It was just class. 

With the stress of setting up camp, playing such an important gig and then saving our equipment, we could now relax and have a complete blow out.  Wolf Alice, Catfish and the Bottlemen, Everything Everything and Annie Mac were stand-outs for me.  Here a picture of our bassist Thunder, our crew member Jamie, and myself enjoying the rest of our muddy, camping, incredible weekend.  It was that good that I am still coughing!

Friday, 17 July 2015

T in the Park Diaries - Be Charlotte

Last weekend saw over 100 artists, 80,000 people, and our good selves descent upon Strathallan Castle for Scotland's biggest music festival; T in the Park!  Once again we recruited some of the finest talent playing across the T Break stage over the weekend to keep a T in the Park Diary for Scottish Fiction.

Be Charlotte, a singer, writer, rapper, producer, and all-round talented musician, played the T Break stage on Sunday 12th.  Here's how the festival went for her.

Friday 10th July

So it’s the first day of T in the Park 2015 and it’s fair to say I’m pretty buzzing!  I didn’t really have a definite plan for today apart from pick up artist passes and see some friends headline the Transmissions Stage (casual, I know)…  I just couldn’t wait to get that festival feeling.

After a bit of driving around the new site we found the Production/Charlie Gate.  I collected my passes and received my artist wristband.  Now it did feel like T time!  First on my to-do list was to suss out the new site, to me it felt a lot more spaced out than Balado.  After this I made my way to the Media Village where I took part in a live interview with Tay FM talking about how I was feeling pre my debut T performance and caught up with some other familiar faces in there too.

Then the hunger was starting to kick in so went exploring for something to eat, there was quite a lot on offer but eventually settled on a margherita pizza.  It did cost £9 buuuuuut in the pizza's defence it was very tasty!

The mud by the way.  So glad I wore wellies!!!

Anyway…  Music wise I managed to catch a bit of Slaves who I absolutely loved.  Also Sam Smith was truly incredible, his voice is just insane live and he seems like such a genuine artist.  Very inspirational!

To finish off my first day at T I ventured over to the Transmissions Stage in the BBC Introducing tent to see my friends/faves Hector Bizerk headline.  I basically didn’t stop dancing from the moment they started till the end of their set.  I’ve seen them perform quite a number of times now in various venues all over the place but there was something special about this one.  It was the perfect way to finish my first day at T.

Saturday 11th July

Today I decided to head through to T a little later.  I wanted to make sure my voice is at its optimum for my performance tomorrow, sometimes I have a tendency to get carried away and sing along a bit too much, so decided to give my voice a break for most of the day.

I left Dundee around 5pm to join in the second day of festivities at Strathallan.  The nice thing about my experience so far was that I was getting to share this moment with quite a few friends and tonight for me was all about Our Future Glory and Other Humans.  The lovely guys of OFG invited me to perform their last song with them and it was an absolute honour.  It was so lovely to watch both Other Humans and Our Future Glory put on an amazing show to a packed out tent.  I could feel their emotion and excitement, it was one of the best feelings to see them enjoying their moment so much.

So…the aim was to have an early-ish night in preparation for tomorrow but its now 3am and I’m just getting into bed.  Up in 5 hours.  Buzzing though.

Sunday 12th July

Good Morning!

Okay, today is THE day.  I’m actually playing T in the Park..  TODAY!!!! 

I had time for a wee slice of toast and a cup of hot honey and lemon before heading out the door.  We left Dundee around 9.30am just to give us plenty of time to load in/soundcheck.  I had the usual pre-gig feeling of excitement and nerves.  Soundchecks as they go are known for being quite a stressful process (well I think so anyway) but this one wasn’t too bad at all…  The sound engineers were amazing, very grateful for all their help!

We finished soundcheck about 12ish so I had just enough time to get changed into my T outfit and throw my hair up into its signature big bun, oh and put some glitter on my face (essential)!

I genuinely had no idea what to expect with having an early stage time, it’s difficult to predict what the crowd will be like or if you’ll have one at all.  I tried to not to think about this though and just focused on giving the best performance I’ve ever done.  Throughout the first song I could see more and more people filling the tent and by the end of the set the crowd were really involved and singing along… it’s a feeling I will never forget.  I loved every minute of being on that stage, I felt as though the whole tent was behind me and I could totally be myself.  So much so I even threw in a few unprepared Be Charlotte dance moves… I say unprepared I mean, I have been practising them for years!

After the set, I couldn’t quite believe what had just happened.  It was more than I could have ever dreamed of.  The whole moment didn’t feel real.  I was quite emotional when I came off stage, I didn’t really expect to be but I just felt so overwhelmed by the reaction from the crowd and so happy to be surrounded by such a great team.  After ditching the happy tears for a smile it was time for some interviews backstage with Tenement TV.

I spent the rest of today on a high, meeting lots of different people, catching up with friends and doing a few more interviews.  Towards the end of the day I was in the T Break tent watching one of my other favourite bands Crash Club when a girl came over and asked if I was Be Charlotte.  She said she was really nervous to come over but wanted to asked for a picture.  We had a lovely little chat.  It was a surreal feeling for me, that’s never really happened before!

WOW…  I must of said this so many times today but the whole day has been so surreal.

Much love to T in the Park, T Break, and everyone who filled that tent at 12.30.  I hope I kick started your Sunday with some damn good vibes.  This is just the beginning.

Be Charlotte x

Photo credits:
Robert Adam - T in the park on stage
Ruth Trotter - Promo Pic

Monday, 13 July 2015

Album Review - Hector Bizerk - The Waltz of Modern Psychiatry

This year has definitely been another great year for Scotland's favourite alternative/ hip hop groups, Hector Bizerk.  They have continued to go from success to success, leaving everyone asking can they do no wrong?  The unique blend of musicality, incredible percussion and cleverly written lyrics is what makes Hector Bizerk stand head and shoulders above other bands of the moment.

After the buzz surrounding their last album Nobody Seen Nothing  and their series of EP's released throughout 2014 and 2015, Hector Bizerk took a bold decision to release their latest creation, The Waltz of Modern Psychiatry,  as a complimentary soundtrack to the stage play Crazy Jane. 

The album begins with an incredibly well written instrumental track Overture for Jane.  This piece of music conjures up the imagery of an old fair ground complete with with an accordion and piano.  From there it's straight into the title track of the album which begins by sounding pretty sinister thanks to some lovely percussion courtesy of Audrey Tait, and a beautifully gentle guitar.  Frontman Louie builds his rap alongside the dramatic build-up of the instrumentation and the lyrics tell a story of people struggling through their day to day trying not to crumble under life’s pressures.

Dr. Charcot  as you might expect from the title, tells the tale of a character called Dr. Charcot and his views on society and human behaviour.  The lyrics are incredibly well written, although we would expect nothing less from Louie, and musically, this track has one of those bluesy chilled out beats that you can’t help but move your head along to.

Welcome to the Nuthouse
  has to be my favourite track from the album.  This track is written as a commentary of someone taking a tour of 'the nuthouse'.  It is so cleverly written and inspires great imagery as you imagine all the scenes being described to you.

Escape to Dreamland  is another standout, which begins with a spoken piece which sets the scene for the whole song, describing an amazing dream land, where you can see people who are no longer with us and crowds are enjoying euphoric moments and everything you had always dreamed of comes true.  It goes on to describe the tale of a female and what she can see in this dreamland, and all the while the music is so atmospheric and builds throughout the middle of the song and then fades towards then end leaving just a voice as it began.

In contract to the previous track, The Salpetriere  begins with lively music and a very catchy beat.  There's a similar sinister feel to the title track of the album and the drums and percussion on the track are second to none.  Moving swiftly on, According to the Pervert  tells the story of a girl dancing in a club and how the males in the room perceive her and are completely transfixed by her actions.  It's a track which is key in demonstrating the range of influences Hector Bizerk can showcase, with more of a rock feel to it in comparison to some the more bluesy tracks on the album.

Yes, I Do Have Autism  has quickly become a fan-favourite and it's easy to see why.  An extremely well written track, told through the eyes of someone who has autism and what is going through his mind and the anxieties he is facing in day to day life.  Complete with a catchy chorus and a great beat and you've got yourself not only a great song, but an anthem.

Penultimate track En Pointe  is a very chilled acoustic affair which tells a collection of stories of all different people who may be struggling or misunderstood.  It's a nice change of pace as the album draws to a close with They Told Her She Was Crazy.  The closer delves into one female's incredible story about fighting to succeed and battling against other people’s expectations of her.  The percussion on this track is amazing and really has you marching along to her beat.  The lyrics and instrumentation on this track are spectacular, with the band maintain such a high level throughout the whoe album.  .

- Martina Salveta

Hector Bizerk - The Waltz of Modern Psychiatry  is out now and available to buy on CD here.

Scottish Fiction Rado Show - 9th July 2015

After focusing on the BBC Introducing Stage on last week's show, this week we focus on the artists playing the T Break stage at T in the Park, as well as rounding up the rest of the Scottish artists playing across the weekend including Hector Bizerk, The Twilight Sad and Admiral Fallow.

SE­­ØUEL is added to the playlist, there's a stunning remix of The Great Albatross from Tongues, plus new music from Akela, Nieves and Tetra.

Prides - Messiah
Ded Rabbit - Scarlet Cardigan
Nieves - Black Tie
Errant Boy - Imaginary Song
The Duke, Detroit - Summer's Come
Schnarff Schnarff - Desk
AROUND THE WORLD - The Libertines - Gunga Din
PLAYLIST - Catholic Action - The Real World
PLAYLIST - Pinact - Everybody Says
PLAYLIST - Kathryn Joseph - the worm
PLAYLIST - SE­­ØUEL - Fear Party
AmatrArt - Forgot About The Last Time
Admiral Fallow - Holding The Strings
Mt Doubt - Leap
Dec '91 - When You Come
Wendell Borton - Adjusting
The Van T's - Growler
The Twilight Sad - It Was Never The Same
Akela - Past Sunrise
RE-MIXING IT UP - The Great Albatross - Roots (Tongues Remix)
Tetra - Whistle By Wolves
Vukovi - Boy George
Hector Bizerk - Rust Cohle

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Scottish Fiction - 9th July 2015 by Scottish Fiction on Mixcloud

Friday, 10 July 2015

T in The Park - Nine acts not to miss!

Boots have already trudged the ground, tent pegs and guy ropes put in completely inappropriate places, and cans of Tennents lager cracked open to the cries of "T IN THE PAAAAARK".  Yup, Scotland's biggest music festival is about to begin, this year in it's brand new home at Strathallan Castle.

While the site will be new, there's a few things that will stay as loyal fans to the festival have always known.  Food and drink will be plentiful, the weather will be unpredictable, and there will be over 100 acts playing across three days and six stages catering to all tastes.

There's some big hitters on the bill this year, but as always here at Scottish Fiction we have our eyes on the home grown talent, and so present to you our top tips of acts not to miss during this year's festivities.

Catholic Action

One of the hottest tipped bands about at the moment are Catholic Action.  Fronted by former Casual Sex, and current Pinact, member Chris McCrory the band are prolific with recent single The Real World  released via Fuzzkill Records.  Check them out on Saturday on the T Break Stage.

Man Of Moon

I was very impressed last month when I caught Edinburgh duo Man of Moon performing at the BBC at the Quay event.  Their single The Road  is catchy as anything, with chuggy guitars and crashing cymbals creating a steady pulse throughout.  The band are playing the BBC Introducing Stage on Sunday.

The Twilight Sad

The Sad of course need no introduction, and are primed to play their fourth T in the Park set to date in King Tut's Tent on Friday afternoon.  The band have progressed up through the stages, T-Break to BBC Introducing to King Tut's Tent, and of course this summer's festival appearances come fresh of the back of the critical success of fourth album Nobody Wants To Be Here And Nobody Wants To Leave. 


Exciting times surely lie ahead for Stillhound, a Glasgow foursome, who play only their second live gig to date on the BBC Introducing Stage on Saturday.  Their brand of artful, electronic pop harks to the soundscapes of Boards of Canada, but is more accessible with instant appeal making them potentially the discovery of the festival for you.


The duo of Corrie Gillies and Chris McCrory released one of our favourite albums of the year back in May via Brooklyn label Kanine Records.  With a well-honed, energetic, and passionate live act, plus seriously infectious melodies and a raucous guitar/drum combo, Pinact are a band to lose yourself to.  They'll be on the BBC Introducing Stage on Saturday.

The Van T's

Another band with real promise on the T-Break stage are twin sisters Chloe and Hannah, better known as The Van T's.  Their grungey, garage rock style twists in surfer-pop, and reverb soaked '90's alternative rock for an altogether enthralling sound.  It's completely plausible to see The Van T's follow in the path of Honeyblood or PAWS, and their set on Sunday will be a good marker for that.

Hector Bizerk

Conflicted over whether to see headliners Kasabian or David Guetta?  It's not a problem for Hector Bizerk, who were a late addition to the bill and take up headliner duties on the Transmission Stage on Friday evening.  Guaranteed to be the top pick here at Scottish Fiction, their set can be guaranteed to be full of energy, sing-a-long raps, and body draining bounce alongs.  NOT TO BE MISSED.

Miaoux Miaoux

Someone call Daft Punk and Pharrell.  Miaoux Miaoux has taken the 'sound of summer' mantle from them with his new album School of Velocity.  The new LP, out now on Chemikal Underground, was made with sun and good times in mind, and hopefully that's exactly what we'll get from the band's set on Sunday in the BBC Introducing Tent.  Prepare to dance, sway and vibe.


Last but not least is Monogram, another electro-pop act from Glasgow who strive to make infectious tunes that extract dancing from listeners.  Fronted by Liam Rutherford, and backed with Gordon Skene and Ben Singer, the band have been working hard to bring their polished studio sounds to a live environment.  Catch them on Sunday in the BBC Introducing Stage to see how well they've managed it.

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

We're Only Here For The Banter - Dec '91

The lo-fi and melancholic stylings of Dec '91 have long been pleasing my ears here at Scottish Fiction for a number of months now.  Craig Ferrie, the man behind the name, operates with a prolific nature but thankfully seems to have so far avoided the pitfalls of poor quality going hand in hand with abundant quantity.  There's an honesty that resonates through Dec '91's music, which is one of the reasons why I'm delighted that he will be popping up on our latest Scottish Fiction Presents gig.  Time to find out more from Craig.

Hello!  How the devil are you?

I'm good thanks.

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

Hah, probably not...  I'm a Scottish singer/songwriter, currently living in Glasgow.  My favourite is a band called Sparklehorse.  My Dad first showed me them when I was like 15 -  at the time my favourite bands were Slipknot and Nirvana - and I dunno, that's when I started to properly open my mind I think.  In terms of work ethic I really empathise with people like Lou Reed, Mark Kozelek from Sun Kil Moon, John Frusciante and all of his solo stuff, and of course Daniel Johnston.  I love how these guys just created and allowed themselves to change, whether its super lo-fi, inaccessible stuff like Frusciante's or proper mainstream like Sally Can't Dance.

I feel like its all legitimate if you are honestly expressing yourself, and in that way it means you can kind of never fail because you're not really trying to be something you're not, if that makes any sense.  Or even if you are trying to be something you're not, it should be because of your own shit, not because of some external pressure like a label or fan expectancy.  Maybe many people don't see the importance of that distinction but I do think there's one to be made.  I recently saw Damien Rice live for the first time and it absolutely blew my mind.  I think I'd like to be able to do what he does live.  Would loved to have seen Jacques Brel live.  I hope to capture that same kind of raw intensity that these guys capture when they play.

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

Real constant.  I write a lot of music.

I almost always write alone, sometimes things come from jamming with other people but usually not.  I use voice memos a lot but even then I often work off the principal that if you can't remember something, its probably not worth remembering.  Saying that, my memories pretty terrible.. 

I don't really demo for recording.  I used to but the demo was almost always better than the final recording.  I think its good not to be too precious.  The problem that I think a lot of musicians can have, myself included, is the tendency to be a perfectionist.  I think that in itself is not unhealthy but problems arise when you start to worry or, perfect, all the things that don't really matter.  The idea of spending years, or even months on recording seems kinda crazy to me.  By that point I'll have moved on, written more songs, or at least I'l; probably be in a different place.  But I know not everybody works like that.  I just think perfectionism tends to manifest itself in a way which actually obstructs what you are trying to achieve.  Some might accuse my writing of being too shallow if I'm saying that it changes like that, y'know not dealing with the root of the issue but I don't think its like that at all.

My Dad has never understood why I write what I write because I can be incredibly specific but I think Sun Kil Moon summed it up pretty much perfectly.  His new album is called Universal Themes,  something which I think might be a bit of an inside joke but its perfect.  This is one of the most specific songwriters I've ever heard, the first song is called The Possum  and is about him watching a possum die or something.  How many people have watched a possum die?  I've never even seen a possum, and yet he calls his album 'Universal'?

And I think its because you gotta deal with the details in order to properly touch the important foundation of the issue and he recognises that.  Its not enough just to say, "I miss the girl" or "I hate death."  You gotta say who/what died, how they died, when, and why.  You know what I mean?  I mean, that possum song is great man.

Tell us about your recent album Quebec.

Quebec  is a collection of music that I wrote and recorded over the course of about a month when I was traveling round Canada and the USA at the start of the year.  I was visiting my friend Catherine whilst I was there and she's studying to become a doctor which meant I had a lot of time during the day whilst she was at Uni to write music or play Mario Kart.  They're pretty much inter-changeable...

Anyway, it was a pretty difficult period, had a massive falling out with one of my closest friends, and it was totally freezing and harsh outside.  I sorta grew this weird fear of leaving the flat and I was having a lot of issues with managing expectation but it was by far my most creative period to date.  That all definitely comes through in the album I think.  Its' a bunch of pretty intimate, low key songs which I recorded using my phone and Catherine's little Yamaha keyboard, 'cause I didn't have any other equipment.  It's the first album I've ever made and it made for a real good lesson.  Sometimes I think people are at their best, artistically speaking, when they have to work within these kinds of limitations.  But yeah, I'm really happy with it.

What could we expect to see from a live show?

Just now I have been playing a lot as a two piece with my friend Innes, who also plays with Polarnecks.  He's a great musician and we work a lot together.  At the beginning of the year we played a show with six of us which was great fun but to be honest, I mostly play alone.

I remember watching an interview with Idlewild once and they were talking about bands who go on stage and play the same songs, in the same order in the same way every night, and just how that's total bullshit, and it is!  If I'm having a bad night then I want you to know I'm having a bad night and equally if I feel great then you'll know!  The point is that I don't believe in treating your music/performance like a product.  It's an expression right?  So go on express yourself, that's what I think, and let your surroundings/exterior factors influence that, y'know.

So I try not to prepare set lists too much, or whatever.  I'd love to think you could come along to a Dec '91 show and just have no idea what to expect.  Could be a six piece band, could just be me with a piano or it could be like a punk rock show.  And all are totally good, I'd hope.  It's that thing of, if a song works when you strip it down to its bare bones, then you have a good song.  That means you can kind of get away with dressing it up however way you want as long as you are honestly expressing yourself.  That's what you get with a Dec '91 show.  Honesty.

What else have you got planned for the rest of 2015?

Good question...  Hoping to get back up north around August to play more shows around Skye, Inverness, Ullapool and hoping to get as far as the North coast, maybe over to the Hebrides.  Have started doing these little jaunts up north with a few friends of mine, Jason Riddell, Jamie Flynn; who also plays in Made As Mannequins; and most recently Lukas Clasen from Polarnecks.  We call ourselves the FOREMOTHERS.  I really love going up and just putting on little nights, people are really open and responsive to original music and look after you really well.  It makes a great change from playing in cities. 

Towards the end of the year I'm planning on heading back to spend a few months in Canada but to be honest I try not to do too much scheduling...  I'll most probably be releasing some more music as I go and maybe put on a show or two in Glasgow before I leave.

And of course I'm chuffed to be playing alongside Mt. Doubt and Deadly Rides at The Hug & Pint on 4th August for your good selves!

What are you listening to at the moment?

I can't get enough of this new Sun Kil Moon album and I recently rediscovered Fleetwood Mac.  Man that song Tusk  is a belter.

Check out more from Dec '91

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