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HOW BANKSY STOLE MANY OF HIS IDEAS FROM A FORMER GLASGOW BASED POLITICAL CARTOONIST

A former Glasgow based newspaper political cartoonist has called out famed graffiti artist and social commentator Banksy for possibly ‘pinching’ her illustration work to use as the basis for some of his most well known stencils and murals.

Canadian born Cinders McLeod lived in Glasgow for four years from 1997 until 2001 and worked for The Glasgow Herald newspaper, where her illustrations featured alongside two regular articles entitled ‘Traveller’s Checks’ and ‘Word Of The Week’.

The latter was written by famed etymologist Betty Kikpatrick – who, alongside McLeod, were considered among the only political two woman duo (words and images) in UK newspapers at the time. 

She believes that the world renowned graffiti artist was directly inspired by illustrations she drew for the newspaper (and perhaps the articles too) for his own stencil work, many of which feature in his popular Wall And Piece book he published back in 2005 – a book that helped him secure his status as the world’s favourite graffiti artist.

And after researching Mcleod’s politiclly themed illustrations and articles with The Herald and analysing them against Banksy’s portfolio there’s little doubt Banksy did indeed take a lot of inspiration (ie steal his ideas) for his own marriage of political commentary and humorous imagery directly – or indirectly – from them.

In much the same way, perhaps, as he did with his ‘rats’ stencils with the work of Blek Le Rat, or as seems the case concerning the work by West Midlands’ based artist Chris ‘Okse’ Oxbury, whose political commentary on Brexit from June 2016 (see below) is remarkably similar to Banky’s Dover mural from May the following year.

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Okse’s illustration from June 2016
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Banksy’s mural in Dover from May 2017

Concerning the work of illustrator Cinders McLeod, Banky’s iconic ‘Deep Sea Lovers’ work, which featured as the album artwork for Britpop act Blur’s 2003 release Think Tank, seems to be directly taken from one of McLeod’s illustrations, published alongside a ‘Traveller’s Checks’ travel piece in The Glasgow Herald on March 15, 1997.

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Cinders McLeod’s Deep Sea Lovers illustration from 1997

The illustration, of two people in a romantic embrace underwater wearing diving helmets, was drawn by McLeod as a dual reference two of the travel stories in the article about a scuba-diving holiday and a wedding in Greece.

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Blur’s Think Tank album cover by Banksy

Secondly, Banksy’s ‘Bomb Middle England’ stencil – featuring three grans with bombs instead of bowling balls –  bears a remarkable resemblance to an illustration Mcleod drew for the newspaper in an article on the etymology of the word ‘turf’ back in April 14, 1999, entitled’ Anarchic Granny’, which depicted an old lady bowling with a bomb instead of a bowling ball.

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Banksy’s ‘Bomb Middle England’ stencil above Cinder Mcleod’s ‘Anarchic Granny’ illustration (credit – Cinders McLeod)

Interestingly here, the accompanying article details the use of the term ‘turf war’ and how it went from being an expression that few had heard of to becoming one which enjoyed a high profile in all the newspapers of the land. ‘Turf War’ was the name Banksy chose for his first major exhibition in 2003 at an East London warehouse.

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A flyer for Banksy’s ‘Turf War’ exhibition

A third illustration by McLeod, ‘Cupid’s Bomb’ – featuring Cupid hugging a bomb decorated with love hearts, appeared in The Herald on June 10, 2000, in a column about the etymology of the word ‘marriage’. This too also bears a remarkable similarity to Banksy’s ‘Bomb Hugger’ (or ‘Bomb Love’) stencil which features a girl with a ponytail hugging a bomb – one which first appeared as a mural in Brighton in 2003.

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Banksy’s ‘Bomb Hugger’ stencil below McLeod’s ‘Cupid Bomb’ illustration (credit – Cinders McLeod)

McLeod also believes that further illustrations (and indeed their accompanying articles within The Herald newspaper) may have inspired subsequent works by Banksy in a more indirect fashion.

Her ‘Hooded Angels’ piece, published in the newspaper on December 5, 1998 in a column about the etymology of the word ‘pester’, is similar to Banksy’s ‘Every Picture Tells A Lie’ mural he created in Berlin in 2003 as part of the Backjumps exhibition in depicting winged persons with smiley faces.

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Banksy’s ‘Every Picture Tells A Lie’ stencil alongside McLeod’s ‘Hooded Angels’ illustration (credit – Cinders McLeod)

The accompanying article details the origins of the term pester and its relationship to pest and attachment to a person who is considered troublesome and/or destructive. Interestingly, in 2009, Banksy set up a handling service who act on his behalf  to answer enquiries about the authenticity of his works under the name ‘Pest Control’ – the ‘pest’ in this case perhaps being the enquirer.

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Banksy’s Pest Control service

While the Bristol artist’s 2004 work ‘Di Faced Tenners’ – where he replaced the Queen’s head with Diana’s, harks back to McLeod’s illustration featured in The Herald on October 24, 1998 in a column on the etymology of the word ‘recession’, depicting a Scottish five pound note detailing Glasgow’s iconic comedy character Rab C Nesbitt.

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Banksy’s ‘Di Faced Tenners’ work next to McLeod’s Rab C Nesbitt fiver illustration (credit – Cinders McLeod)

Finally we have McLeod’s ‘Evolution Of A Shopper’ illustration, depicting the evolution of primates into ‘yuppies’ and lifestylists’ (clutching money and a mobile phone) which accompanied an article about the etymology of the word ‘lifestyle’ in the Herald on October 11, 1997. One which resembles Banksy’s ‘Caveman’ stencil – of a caveman figure holding a McDonalds tray of food and a bone –  which appeared in 2008 in Los Angeles.

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Banksy’s ‘Caveman’ stencil alongside McLeod’s ‘Evolution of a Shopper’ illustration (credit – Cinder McLeod)

And within the article on ‘lifestyle’, mention is made of Princess Diana, who featured in Banksy’s ‘Di Faced Tenners’ work. The mention relates to a letter to the editor, which speaks of Diana’s ‘attempts to break out of her inherited cocoon of unnecessary private wealth’ and how her successes in inspiring the lives of the ‘sick, poor and disabled’ shouldn’t ‘distract from the obscene inequalities and injustices which her “iconic” lifestyle represented. Perhaps a text which (also) inspired Banksy on an artistic level?

The article also finishes with the line, “Rest assured, lifestyle is all around you and will probably soon be ruling the world”, which (albeit very thinly) recalls Banksy’s “Laugh now but one day we’ll be in charge” stencil featuring a chimpanzee wearing a sandwich board.

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Banksy’s stencil, which in the early 2000s, could be seen at various locations around Glasgow city centre

While more concretely, the tone of the article itself marries up alongside Banksy’s ‘Out Of Stock’ graffiti which appeared in London overnight in December 2011.

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Banksy’s ‘Out Of Stock’ graffiti

We also find contained within a ‘Word of the Week’ article from 8 May, 1999, an illustration of a dove in flight wearing a Nato bomb, in reference to the article’s suggestion, against a theme of the word ‘bomb’, that “peace has taken a back seat…and has been replaced by war and violence” as the millennium approached.

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C McLeod’s dove illustration from The Herald in May 1999 (credit – C McLeod)

The image of a dove clutching an olive branch in its beak is nothing new – it dates back to early Christian art, but that said dove is carrying a bomb on its body is an altogether more potent form of symbolism.

An idea similar to that expressed by Banksy’s ”Armoured Dove’ stencil – which appeared on a wall in Palestine in 2007 – depicting a peace dove in flight (clutching an olive branch in its beak) wearing a bullet proof vest, while a target is trained on it.

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Banksy’s ‘Armoured Dove’ stencil

McLeod, who returned to her native Toronto in 2001, told Rough Smooth: “The first two are obvious to me. The rest could be argued. For example, it’s nothing new to put another head on another banknote.

“But people who know my work say my style is written all over my cartoons and if Banksy was a regular Herald reader he could have seen, and been inspired by, almost a decade of my regular work,” she said.

There’s more. Another ‘Traveller’s Cheques’ article from Saturday, November 11, 1995, features an illustration by McLeod of Mona Lisa, freed from her frame, enjoying a hot beverage in what looks like a Parisian brasserie.

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McLeod’s Mona Lisa illustration (with the empty frame on the left)

An image which could well have been the source of inspiration for Banksy’s Mona Lisa mural he left on the wall of The Arches in Glasgow when he held an exhibition there back in 2001, one which depicts Mona Lisa, half out her frame, alongside the words “Every Time I Hear The World Culture I Release The Safety On My 9MM”.

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Banksy’s Mona Lisa mural at The Arches in Glasgow

A search of McLeod’s illustrations for The Herald also uncovers a soup can, in a ‘Word Of The Week’ article from December 20, 1997 on the etymology of the word ‘carol’. The illustration depicts dancers leaping out a can of ‘Carols Condensed Soup’, an obvious take on the famous Campbell’s Condensed Soup logo.

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McLeod’s soup illustration

The word ‘soup’ was subject to a ‘Word Of The Week’ article by Betty Kirkpatrick, with an alternative illustration by McLeod of a young orphan holding up an empty bowl (below).

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Interesting here, rather than the illustrations, are Kirkpatrick’s words, which read how soup “may become a great leveller”, with “both rich and poor may be served soup in the streets – the rich at the soup bar and the poor at the more traditional soup kitchen.”

This dichotomy – and the earlier illustration of the can –  between the ‘haves’ and have nots’ might have served as the inspiration behind Banksy’s ‘Discount Soup’ can, featuring a can of Cream-Of-Tomato soup bearing the Tesco label, which he hung in New York’s MOMA in a stunt back in 2005.

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Banksy’s ‘Discount Soup’ print

The reason McLeod found out about the link between her work and his was thanks to the  major (unofficial) exhibition of his work in Toronto, which she attended with her daughter recently. Prior to that, she knew of him, but not a lot about his work.

TONIC YOUTH: HOW ‘BUCKIE’ HELPS FUEL GLASGOW’S MUSICAL OUTPUT

“Banksy didn’t get famous until after I left Britain but, being a political cartoonist, I was aware of him. I should have seen the Blur album cover but I didn’t, I long gave up being current in the arts and music scene after my two children were born in 1993 and 1996, when my focus switched to providing for them.  

“I bought tickets to the Toronto Banksy exhibition to go with my daughter. And the night before I saw an exhibition snippet on TV and thought – oh – that looks like my ‘Anarchic Granny’. And after I did some research and saw the Blur CD cover I went from being flattered that we thought alike to feeling un-credited,” she affirmed.

The link between Banksy’s work and that of Cinders Mcleod entertains the possibility that Banksy himself lived for a time in Glasgow or at least visited often – for example, as mentioned he hosted one of his first ever exhibitions at The Arches back in 2001.

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A flyer for The Peace is Tough exhibition at The Arches in 2001

The artist also left many stencils in the city, such as one still visible outside the Midland Street entrance to the venue, depicting an armed chimpanzee. 

“I would guess Banksy lived in Glasgow for a while between 1997 and 2001 or visited regularly, or had a Scottish lover of went to a Scottish university, “ McLeod confirmed.

“My Deep Sea Lovers illustration has never been published online as far as I know, so if Banksy was to have seen my work in question, he would have seen it in newsprint.”

And McLeod feels that the lack of acknowledgement from Banksy as to finding his own artistic inspiration from her work is disrespectful to women cartoonists, adding to the already gross inequity of pay and recognition. Had she received it, she feels her future as a political cartoonist may have been different.

LONG BEFORE THE POTENT EU POLITICAL COMMENTARY, BANKSY GOT PAID TO PAINT A LAP DANCING BAR IN SPAIN

“The Blur album cover was a commercial enterprise and my drawing was its inspiration. I’m all for sharing ideas, but it’s one thing to steal from dead, wealthy, male artists, and another to steal from living and struggling, political women and mother artists, and not give them credit. I could have done with it back in Glasgow, then maybe I wouldn’t have had to leave the city or the work I loved,” McLeod finished.

Who knows, with that in mind, there may be other illustrations to be found in old Glasgow newspapers which have served to influence the murals and stencils we have all come to know today as bring the work of the elusive artist.

One who, on the basis of the evidence, isn’t the (artistic) messiah, he’s just a very naughty boy. And a rich one at that given the recent news that his MPs as chimpanees painting has sold for £9.9 million at auction.

This coming a day after the graffiti artist unveiled a pop-up installation in Croydon, London entitled ‘Gross Domestic Product’, which critiques global society’s major issues of forced human migration, animal exploitation, and the surveillance state.

A name which, funnily enough, was also used in a (political) illustration by McLeod some years ago. Funny that.

GDP

Interview with James from The Twilight Sad (for Spanish website Mondo Sonoro)

Tell us about your memories of playing Primavera Sound in 2014 

“I think it was between our third and fourth record we went over for the first time. We always knew Scottish bands go down really well over there, Like I remember [Teenage] Fan Club going down really well in Spain and Mogwai and groups like that.

“And then I think the first time we got asked to play in Spain was Primavera in 2013 or 2014. And that was just like ‘wow’ folk here knew who the fuck we are but I’m not sure if half of Glasgow was there as well (laughs).

“Do you know it was a really strange…because it was the day after our main headline gig. That headline gig for us was a pretty big thing for us and..we’d never played the festival before, which for me is one of the most prestigious festivals out there and the gig itself went really well and I got food poisoning after the gig and we nearly had to pull out the next day  and it was raining as well at some point and this big dark cloud came over and then you saw the setting and were like wow this is amazing.

“It was so silent when we played and there were so many people there and it was my wife put a ‘throwback’ picture on Instagram and I saw a picture of it and it just reminded me and I was like ‘wow’, man, that was amazing and I remember a lot of people coming up to me and going like, ‘that was really special ’ I did read a lot of people say that was one of their favourite moments. It wasn’t even in the festival!

“It’s one that stands out, to play in the centre of a town and have so many people captivated with what was just a voice and a guitar. It was special. Those kind of moments spur you on, if you ever have one of those down days when you think nobody gives a fuck you just go like, do you know what, it was one of those moments when i was like ill remember this, so that was. And the sun came out. I don’t know what i believe in terms of higher powers but it’s nice to think that sometimes someone is watching over you – when those kind of nice things happen.

“They could look over me at other points but fuck it.”

And then you had Primavera 2018…

“It was another one of those things where a lot of things went wrong on stage. All our new gear broke about 10 minutes before we went on. Emotions were running pretty high. There was a lot of nerves then we just got out there. I don’t genuinely know how well we played i’m just glad we kind of got through it. Obviously we played ‘Keep Yourself Warm’ for the first time at that and that was a real, that’s something I won’t ever forget.

“Primavera seems to have had those moments that will stick with me forever and that was one of them and it was another one of those ones where it was like, should we be doing this, should we not be doing this, we are doing it now and you just saw what it meant to people that was quite a special thing to see. I knew how much it meant to me, I didn’t know how much it would mean to everybody else. And I did see and said like we are playing this from now on .can forever, it was just like that’s it we can’t not play this anymore.

“It was just nice to get through it – i don’t mean get through it but that was just one of those gigs you kind of get through – being away so long. We had a new drummer as well, [Sebastian] playing with us for the first time. A lot of pressure on him and he did amazing – it was just nice to get to the end of it and think ‘We are a band again’.

“It’s always like you know that people who go to that festival are big music fans they aren’t just going on a jolly to get smashed out their faces, they are there because they love music and they want to see us so you’ve got to make a good impression on them, there’s a lot more pressure on you and it’s just nice to go somewhere and be accepted within that kind of community as well. It’s one of those ones that if the offer comes through we’ll bite the hand off every time.”

You also played Mad Cool in Madrid this summer, and from the reports I saw out of Spain it seems the response was great and the crowd was huge. Did you enjoy it?

“We did. People were spilling out of the tent. Which was pretty, I’ve never had that happen to us. It was quite a stressful set. Again on stage we were not sure what as going out was sounding any good. The reaction was amazing. I don’t know if its it was – that was at some points quite a more pop oriented festival although it actually felt they balanced it really well. There was a lot of bands like us and Mogwai then they had some heavier bands and some pop kind of artists, i thought they catered for everybody so i wasn’t sure how many people would come to see us but once again it was great. It was brilliant. Then to watch Mogwai and go watch The Cure after it again young James would be fucking pinching himself constantly. I love going and playing in different countries. And I’ve loved my time in Spain. We haven’t done too many headline shows.”

It seems to be the case that the band is getting a lot of mileage in Europe in recent months and years. Does it surprise you especially given that you sing with a very strong Scottish accent?

“I mean i look at it the way i looked at a band like Sigur Ros, like i had no idea what they were speaking about our singing about but you felt the emotion coming through and the vocals even if you couldn’t understand them and I think that’s what transcends with our music when people from different countries who don’t understand what I’m saying. Even England probably don’t understand us (laughs). Actually see to be honest my wife doesn’t understand half the stuff I’m singing, she’s like whats that your saying. ‘Bread?’ I’m like no it’s not.

“But then I think that’s the thing, you might not know exactly what I’m singing about buying the emotion transcends through that. I mean that sounds really wanky as i say to be honest but there’s no other explanation for me. I don’t know. Obviously the style of music really has an effect on it as well but i think people who relate to the vocals i think its a genuine – they can feel it come through. My only comparison as I said is someone like Sigur Ros or someone like a Serge Gainsbourg or something like that.

“And now I’ve realised that you have to write it down for people so they can go and translate and stuff like that, because I want them to be able to understand what I’m singing about and there are also so many lyric sights on the internet which are absolute fucking wrong and I’m like that’s worse than the actual lyrics! It’s quite nice to be able to go somewhere and play to people who have grown up in a completely different country and a different culture and we can relate through this medium.

“I used to listen to Sigur Ros soundscapes like Mogwai that can transport you to a different place. Like even a lot of music you listen to from countries you’ve never been to, you listen to that it makes you feel like, it makes you crave to go there but at the same time makes you feel like you’re there sometimes. Although I don’t think many people would want to be transported to Kilsyth to be honest! I mean, we didn’t mean it but we sound how we sound because where we are from. Like if we grew up in Hawaii i’m pretty sure we’d sounds we do. I think obviously it’s a subconscious thing that comes through and that’s cool. It’s a pretty cool feeling to turn up somewhere you’ve never been before and someone tells you how much you mean to them.”

Tell us what it is like working with pals Mogwai on their record label Rock Action?

“Everything we’ve asked can we do this, they have said yes. And it’s all realistic, like we’ve never been on a major label or anything like that where money is of no option but also but for us i can see how they worked and how they’ve progressed through their career and how much care and open they were to other artists ideas so i was like i want that. And I’m not saying Fat Cat weren’t like that but like a lot of things, things just come to an end. Our contract finished and it was like, do you know what, it’s time for something new. Stuart [Braithwaite] had said to me since the second record. And then we joked about it loads of times. It was kind of like a given, not to mean i take it for granted but it was one of those things as soon as the deal finished we were like yes cool.

“We didn’t even look anywhere else to be honest – i don’t know if anyone else would have wanted us (laughs). Its proven to be great and it’s been really nice to have the success we’ve had with this record with them and for it to. 

“The Cure and Mogwai are my favourite bands and to sit on Friday there stand at the side of the stage with Robert Smith right there watching Mogwai play ‘Mogwai fear Satan’ and then him just talking to me saying it was great, I was like, this is mental. But that’s the thing with both of those bands, there’s no ego. I mean of course Robert is Robert, he’s got to be Robert but when you talk to him and your just two pals talking about a band that we love and ultimately when you break everything else down that’s what we all are and for me that was so surreal. Surreal because i thought about it a few times but when I was there I was just talking to a mate. And that mate is Robert fucking Smith.”

Is it still difficult to see Robert Smith as a peer?

“Well, Robert is Robert, and he has to be Robert, but when I talk to him it’s just two pals talking and at the end of it all, that’s what we are. But I still slip into that I still go ‘fuck it’s Robert Smith’ but he makes you feel like everything is normal and the way he asks you to play gigs like ‘I’ve got this gig if you want to it’ and I’m like Robert that’s Madison Square fuckin’ Garden that not just down the 13th Note or something! That’s the way people should be it should just be pals playing music together. I know people pay to see bands as soon as you take that away from it it loses something. I’ve not seen the Mogwai guys like that before, they were nervous, and I was like so was I. It was good to have those moments – none of those would have dreamt that that would happen.”

Having toured so extensively with The Cure would it right to suggest that doing so influenced the sound of the latest record, even at a subconscious level? 

“Of course. They have always been one of our favourite bands, I could check our previous catalogue and say that ‘it is ripped from that song of The Cure’, and ‘that it is ripped from another. But then you play with them and see them many times and it doesn’t matter if we had thought about it unconsciously, those things get stuck, even the way the song structures went and the way the audience reacted to that and those things.

“I didn’t think about that when I wrote a song, but it was in my head. Melodically I can see the structure of these songs [from The Cure]. Once you get the idea of ​​what the song is about and you get the important melodies, we understand it but then you have to step back and look at it and voila, but how are you going to make this piece of music? In all the rough melodies and lyrics, you have the hooks or the main inspiration statement behind what that song is and then you go, how can I turn this into a song, can’t you just mix everything? Then, after watching The Cure play three hours every night, you see how you make a song.

“We were also sending the demos to Robert and he told us, well he never told us anything, he actually said ‘try this and try this and try this and try this’. He never said to do this. He said go and try that. He rated them all as 10, I think the lowest was a 7 that could be a 9, they were all emails in capital letters. But most were 8’s could be 9’s and ‘this could be a 10’. And then it was ‘if you could try this and try this’ and we did it. We went and tried everything he asked us and I would say that 80 percent of what he asked us to do is on that record. If you have one of the best composers of all time on the other side of the phone or email to say “what do you think” you will not miss that. Because the idea was there, so it would never change. I sent him all my lyrics and he said they were great, I live them, but I was never going to comment because they are mine, and my experiences, but he even said that “I did have to do it, I will not do it because they are great.” The album definitely had a bit of The Cure and I think that was natural for us. ”

One thing I love about the band is how you are really hard to pin down genre-wise, having touched on so many over the course of your albums. Is that something you take satisfaction in?

“I think that’s why we are still here. I love the fact, people ask me like a taxi driver usually ‘so where you been, what kind of stuff is it’ and i’m like eh … then you’re trying to go…guitar…noise…Scottish…folk…post-punk…I’m like I can’t put my finger on it. But it also shows that we are pushing ourselves and trying new things while keeping it…I mean that thing that’s us will always be in every…If we do a reggae album you’ll still get that bit that’s definitely us.

“I’m really proud of that. We could have replicated that first record over and over and over again and maybe that might have made us more popular quicker i don’t know but we didn’t and that’s why we are still here – i genuinely think that. Trying new things and still be scared. I wouldn’t be talking to you write now if we did the same thing. I wouldn’t be in a band i think the fact we pushed ourselves. You have to make mistakes. I’m proud of every single record – the mistakes sometimes are the best things about them. It’s not like a film like mistakes within films and stuff like that. Film and music are very similar but they are also very different in their creation mistakes within music, can be the best thing about it. 

It’s like a documentation. I never write a song like mind that thing that happened to me 10 years ago, it’s what is happening to me now who am i right now. When I sing old songs it takes me back to who I was at that point sometimes that can be a good thing sometimes that can be a really bad thing. It’s a reminder of how far you’ve come or how not. Like I’m still fuckin’ singing this song. For me anyway that’s what it is. I want to be able to look back at my life at some point and even though it will probably be quite hard to look at it through how sad a lot of the stuff is it’s still who i was at that point and it’s something to be really proud of to go that’s how I felt and I put it down and I can look at it now in retrospect. You know what I mean. And a lot of stuff i’m still going through that I’ve done in the first record. I don’t seem to learn a lot of lessons. It’s a nice manner of who I am and who I used to be and who I’m striving to be at the same time.”

As for future records…

“There’s plenty of shit for me to write about yet there’s plenty more to come. It’s a wild one. What am I 35 now. I have a wife and wee boy and those are the best things that have ever happened to my life but as you get older a lot of shit things happen and in this moment in time a lot of really shit things are happening i’m not talking about how shit the world is  that’s also something that everybody is going through but I’ve got some stuff that’s just fucking shite just now and its just like my only way to go through that is to write music.

“I really don’t know what I would do without it.

“Saying that I’ve realised that i need it but also at the same time I find being in the band really hard sometimes. Because of what we are talking about, because I’m having to go through all of this in public at the same time. That’s my choice you know but at the same time that’s not comfortable every day when you are doing a two month tour and you’re singing that every night and talking about it every day. It’s starting to take its toll. I mean things that were happening to me when i was younger that i was going through and I was singing those songs i was still young going out and getting steaming and saying its fine whereas now I’m like fuck man this really starting to take its toll on me yet I fucking love it. It’s the double-edged sword you know.

“It’s gotta come from somewhere. I’m saying oh he doesn’t want to be in a band but when you put personal-should-be-private-stuff I mean it’s still kind of hard because nobody really knows what I’m talking about but i know what I’m talking about and i’m having to go through that every night and it’s just like fuck ‘is this good for me?’. I do know it is because the greatest things in my life have come from this but sometimes you just need to take a wee step away from it now and again. But ill constantly be drawn back to it to it i know i’ll be constantly drawn back to it.

“The fight between ‘is this good for me’ or ‘is this bad for me’ shows you that it’s not about making money or it’s basically I’ve realised that its a nice way of showing by the way I feel like this and i’m pretty sure loads of people feel the way I feel and it’s nice to know that you’re not just going through that alone. And at the same time there’s a selfish reason because I need to put food on the table but I love playing gigs. I love playing small gigs and Friday night [with The Cure at Bellahouston] I loved doing that as well.

“I look at a lot of bands these days and it seems to be that everything is rushed. ‘I’ll put this out picture out i’ll out this performance out I’ll put his video out of me playing an acoustic guitar so I can get more followers’ add more people will see what i’m doing more people will like this and put this rough kind of thing out. It’s like no, concentrate on what you’re doing because it’s worth more than that. If your truly feel that what your writing down and expressing through your music means something to you it’s not about putting your phone on a stand and playing an acoustic guitar and people listening to it.

“Take your time and make something out of it. Once the songs are done and album’s written. Of course go and do your gigs. A lot of people seem to be doing it to get noticed. If it’s good enough people will stand up and take notice. Don’t sell yourself short. Cause a lot of people we are talking about are talented people and amazing people but it’s the way the world is working right now if you don’t keep giving them stuff people will stop paying attention. Fuck that if it’s good enough and if it’s worth anything, take you time and care about yourself and what your putting out there.

“It’s easy to get stuck in that. It needs to matter.”

 

This interview originally appeared (in translated form) in Mondo Sonoro.

To read the original, click here

Did Adele subconsciously rip off BRMC with her mega-hit Skyfall?

Adele is one of the world’s most bankable singers, possessing a voice that has seen her graduate from performing arts student to full on worldwide superstar, thanks to the success of her trio of albums, 19, 21 and 25, which together have sold over 100 million copies.

The 28 year old’s songs surround the themes of heartbreak and relationships, with hits like ‘Hello’ and ‘Rumour Has It’ generating a popularity reflective of her status as what the British press have called “the finest singer of her generation”.

But, amidst all the glory and adulation towards the singer, exists the allegation that she may not have subconsciously borrowed from others in the creation of one of her biggest hits, Skyfall, the theme from the James Bond movie of the same name.

The song in question sold more than 2 million copies worldwide, and earned Adele an Academy Award for Best Original Song alongside a Golden Globe in the same category and the Grammy for Best Song Written for Visual Media in 2014.

But listeners on Youtube have noticed that the song bears a quite strong resemblance to the song ‘Suddenly’ by the American rock-and-roll band Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, a hit from their 2003 album Take Them On, On Your Own.

Lyrically, Skyfall is dark and moody, with a heavy orchestration that effectively captures the real James Bond ‘feeling’ of the Shirley Bassey era theme songs. Co writer Paul Epworth stated that the song is about “death and rebirth”, saying “It’s like, when the world ends and everything comes down around your ears, if you’ve got each other’s back, you can conquer anything. From death to triumph, that was definitely something we set out to try and capture.”

On the other hand, ‘Suddenly’ by BRMC doesn’t speak of all too dissimilar themes; themes concerning dark days, impending judgement, the sky and, most importantly, bitter love.

The James Bond theme was developed as part of a writing duo between Adele and producer Paul Epworth, who himself has produced acts similar to BRMC, artists such as Bloc Party, Primal Scream and Death From Above 1979 – who last year toured with BRMC.

Epworth also worked with The Big Pink on their second album, ‘Future This’, while BRMC’s guitarist/singer Robert Been also worked with the band in contributing to their 4 song EP ‘Empire Underground’.

This isn’t the first time Adele has been accused of ripping off other people’s tracks by people on social media.

Tom Waits fans believe her song ‘Hello’ shares a lot of similarities – lyrically – with Waits’s 1973 hit ‘Martha’.

Meanwhile, fans of Turkish/Kurdish singer Ahmet Kaya believe Adele ripped off Kaya’s 1985 song ‘Acilara Tutunmak (Clinging to Pain)’ with her own ‘Million Years Ago’ track off her 25 album.

Listen to both here and make up your own mind:

Stag and Dagger review

This year’s Stag and Dagger bash offered music lovers in Glasgow the possibility of seeing some of the best live music from home and abroad, without the need for the wellies or the thought of returning to a half-submerged tent, and didn’t disappoint.

 With over 45 bands taking part in the annual all-dayer across 9 venues, the only tricky part was deciding where to go and when.

 London trio Kenneths served up an early treat, playing their turbo-charged brand of punk rock to a packed out Nice and Sleazy’s, with dedications to Travelodge and Glasgow banter aplenty.

 Next up, fresh-faced Glasgow band West Princes offered an antidote to the unwelcomed queue in the rain outside the Art School, as their hip, nonchalant, jazzy groove felt a perfect fit inside the Vic Bar, before the hotly anticipated Haelos blew everyone away with a remarkable performance upstairs in the Assembly Hall.

 With a trip-hop sound that recalls Massive Attack and Portishead, Haelos certainly lived up to the hype, with Lotti Bernadout’s spellbinding vocals on the terrific ‘Dust’ a festival highlight. Bigger stages await for sure.

 Following on from the Haelos high, We Are Scientists showed that, 11 years after the release of their debut ‘With Love and Squalor’ LP, they showed no signs of losing their trademark energy. Showcasing songs off new album ‘Helter Selzter’, the California based indie-rockers powered through a blistering set, with the capacity crowd in the ABC greeting old favourites ‘The Great Escape’ and ‘Nobody Move, Nobody Get Hurt’ with rampant enthusiasm.

 From palm trees and sunny beaches to roundabouts, as downstairs in the ABC 2 East Kilbride five-piece The Lapelles put on a performance to continue the track record of the Glasgow suburb producing first-class music, in this case in the form of sweaty, indie-pop gems that had everyone dancing about.

 With Crash Club and The Duke Spirit following them up on the same stage, two reasons as good as any were found to stave off a Sauchiehall St wander and enjoy what was on offer, and neither disappointed.

 Latterly, with The Duke Spirit, singer Liela Moss was on form as the intimate surroundings played host to a mesmerising slice of alternative, garage-rock in support of new record ‘KIN’.

 Meanwhile, having built up a reputation in Glasgow as the crown princes of revelry, Crash Club made their preach to an already converted public with a high octane set that shimmered with raw energy, featuring impressive guest vocals by Ian Mackinnon of Medicine Men and Tony Costello of Tijuana Bibles.

 In the absence of a quiet night in a dark room to regain composure post Crash Club, Band of Skulls stadium-sized rock provided the perfect end to the day, as the Southampton trio a polished, raucous set that had the ABC 1 crowd in raptures, with Russell Marsden’s virtuoso guitar playing packing a pretty punch.

 

Shakspeare’s influence on modern music.

What does modern music owe to William Shakespeare? That’s a question that has been floating around my head this week, as we gear up to celebrate the 400th anniversary of his death.

We all know our Hamlet’s, our Macbeth’s, our Othello’s and our Romeo and Juliet’s, but how central a role did music play in the works of Shakespeare, and how, in turn, has this fed into, and still feeds into, our modern culture today, with regards to popular music? The answer is enormously.

You don’t have to look hard to see modern references to his work across musical genres, and these are only the obvious references.

From the ‘King Lear’ quoting ‘I Am The Walrus’ by the Beatles to Lou Reed’s ‘Romeo and Juliette’, to ‘Desolation Row’ by Bob Dylan and Morrissey quoting Richard III in The Smiths ‘Cemetery Gates’, to ‘Heart of Gold’ by Neil Young and ‘Exit Music (From a Film)’ by Radiohead, to ‘I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor’ by Arctic Monkeys and Alex Turner’s assertion that ‘There ain’t no love, no Montagues or Capulets’, the list goes on and on.

For many, Shakespeare is the undisputed king of story-telling, having had an ability to do what the likes of Homer, Tolstoy and other famous writers couldn’t do – tell every kind of story. Whether it be tragedy, comedy, adventure, love, fairy tales – they are all present in his works, and central to these were music.

What is clear is that music played a key role in his understanding of the world around him, with songs and ballads integral to the stories he told, songs which fired the imagination of his audience, delighted them, and entertained and moved them in equal measure.

The most emotive lines in his plays; the expression of such extreme emotions of joy and introspection, have, as their subject, music.

Take ‘A Twelfth Night’ for example. The opening line of “If music be the food of love, play on” spoken by Duke Orsino, obsessed by love, as he orders his court musicians to play long enough to satisfy and dilute his desires.

Or the famous balcony scene from ‘Romeo and Juliet’, which fully encapsulated what we know to be ‘teen angst’, which reads “How silver-sweet sounds lovers’ tongues by night, like softest music to attending ears.”

Of his 37 plays and 154 sonnets, the man from Stratford-upon-Avon made more than 2000 references to music, including over 100 songs and fragments of ballads.

It is clear that he had and sharp and astute ear for the music of his time, and his use of poetic language to give life to these sounds and rhythms has no doubt inspired musicians throughout the ages, music of every style and from every culture and background.

Out-with the musical references, let’s not forget language too, and the role Shakespeare played and continues to do so on the very words that we speak. His ability to use ‘neologizing’ – by expressing new ideas through the invention, borrowing or adopting words and phrases from other languages, means that over 1700 of the words we use today were created by him. 1700.

Words like ‘swagger’, ‘addiction’, ‘bedroom’, ‘lonely’, ‘majestic’, ‘numb’, and even ‘road’ can all find their first usage within Shakespeare’s plays, words that together may look like the ‘cold-turkey’ scene from Trainspotting but words which separately populate popular music lyrics.

And if something has ever vanished into thin air, if you’ve ever been tongue-tied, if you’ve wished someone good riddance, or had a heart of gold, broke the ice, not slept a wink, had too much of a good thing, seen better days, felt love is blind or wore your heart on your sleeve, you again have Shakespeare to thank for creating the expression.

So for what it’s worth, 400 hundred years later, it’s clear that those who love our music, we owe a curtain debt to the man. And to use another word Shakespeare created, if we were to translate his influence into a sound, that sound would be ‘deafening’.

Man of Moon reach for the sky.

Man of Moon haven’t quite got the hang of using chopsticks, as the fresh-faced two piece from Edinburgh, looking decidedly jaded after an early morning return home from opening last night for The Twilight Sad in Manchester, tuck into some Asian inspired vegan food in Glasgow’s Hug and Pint, scene of tonight’s headline show and precursor to tomorrow night’s supporting slot for the Sad at a sold out Barrowlands.

Their mannerisms tell me they are not too sure about they are eating, but it tastes bloody good. Belly’s full and a pint down Chris and Mikey, who formed the band after being paired together during their sound engineering course, are ready to take a breather and look back on quite an eventful 2015, a year that saw both of them blow out just the 20 candles on their birthday cakes.

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So how does it feel being back on the road with the Sad again? “It’s been really good, they are such sound guys. It’s the same kind of crowd we get so people that go to see them dig us I think as well”, said Chris.

“It’s good for them to have us as well because it’s small, us being only a two-piece it’s really easy for them. Its good fun and not a lot of hassle, chips in Mikey.

Has there been anything learned from The Sad that they will bring to their own shows? The answer was a resounding “Oh aye, definitely” from both.

“I guess watching their live show and just seeing the stage presence they’ve got and watching them sound check and stuff. They are such pros. Learning that kind of stuff is so useful,” says Chris, with an air of gratitude for the Sad that speaks volumes.

The band were more than buzzing about tonight’s show, as they cast their minds back to the last time they played the Hug and Pint in April earlier this year, a gig that for them ranks as their highlight for 2015.

“That was an amazing gig. One of my favourites we have played, really really proud of it. The fact that we do so many support gigs, to play a sold out show in Glasgow is such a good feeling,” said Mikey.

Chris followed that by declaring his love of the city. “The crowd was so good. We are quite used to playing loads of shows in Edinburgh and seeing so many familiar faces, but to walk out into a sold out crowd and not knowing any people that were there…that’s when we knew we were doing something right.”

“Glasgow crowds are always the best crowds, it beats Edinburgh.”

Controversial, coming from a band that hail from the capital? Not to Mikey…

“I think just overall it’s a better scene and people are more into and from that we get a better response”.

Not taking anything away from tonight’s headline slot, it was obvious the bright neon lights of the Barras were more than visible on their respective horizons.

“Tonight’s a warm up for tomorrow. That’s the reason we booked tonight in the first place”, said Mikey.

Although I’m trying not to think about it until we walk out”. I think if it was further down South somewhere not so familiar  it wouldn’t be as nerve-racking, but Glasgow, it really is one the best places around”, thought Chris.

With Mikey adding, “The Barrowlands. The biggest gig of our career. Our families and friends are all going to be there as well. It’s such a good opportunity, with the amount of people that are going to be there who haven’t seen us before”.

Are The Sad in the same boat?  Not according to Mikey. “They are playing it cool I think”.

For The Moon, having their sound play out beneath the famous blue and white tiled ceiling is as big a deal as any band could ask for. “If you look at just a list of everybody who has played there. Playing on the same stage as all these legends. It’s just crazy, it’s cool.”

Perhaps the only down point for the band was not picking up the Best newcomer Act earlier this year at the Scottish Alternative Music Awards, although they felt Bella and the Bear were more than worthy winners. How they found out was a story in itself, as Chris shared.

“It would have been nice to get it. It was great to be voted though. I remember bus’ing it through from Edinburgh and the traffic was murder and I got into Glasgow late, so I had to sprint up Sauchiehall Street to try and make it to The Garage in time. When I got to the door someone just told me, ‘Aye you’ve no won’. And true enough, we went in and it turned out it had already been announced.”

What about their debut single, The Road, being heralded by one member of the music press as the best British debut since New Order released ‘Ceremony’ way back in 1981, many moons before Man of Moon came into the world.

“It was great. It’s mental. It was quite a statement. I genuinely don’t know what to take from that but it’s cool to see that someone likes it, said Chris. ”

And how did the song come about? Surprisingly easily.

“The Road was written really quickly. The basis of it anyway. We got it down in about 2 minutes. I mind doing it in Chris’s attic,” said Mikey.

With Chris adding, “I had just started using a Wah pedal that Mikey let me borrow and just switched that on and Mikey started playing along. It’s just mental the response we have had from it.”

As for 2016, the band see themselves doing at least a few festivals as they take their sound out to fans across the country.

“Really keen to do Green Man next year. It’s such a good festival and I think it would really suit us”, said Chris, with Mike adding, “I’d love to play Secret Garden Party again but like a different slot. We opened up for the festival pretty much last time and pretty much nobody was there.”

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Fans will be happy to note that the band expect to release a four track EP early next year, which they will be touring at a later date, with Mikey confirming it, “It’s completely recorded, it’s just getting mixed and mastered. I don’t think there’s a real rush to get it out but when it does I think that will give people something to listen to”.

With Andy Monaghan from Frightened Rabbit on production duties, the band felt that he got the best out of them. It was amazing, he would fire ideas at us and we would be like ‘We didn’t think of that’.  He was just really encouraging. That’s what you need,” said Chris.

And even though they have been playing together for the past three years, the band still don’t see themselves as the finished article quite yet.

“I think we are still essentially finding what we are sounding like. We still buying more pedals and expanding our sound. Even now, some of our tracks sound really different from each other, they could almost be put into two different sets,” answers Chris.

As for influences from fellow Scottish acts out with the likes of The Sad and Frightened Rabbit, the band were keen to add The Phantom Band, We Were Promised Jetpacks, Errors and Kathryn Joseph to that list, with Mikey keen to thank them for their support.

“Playing with these bands makes us feel so lucky. Its crazy as well cause a lot of these bands have been playing for years and we are just really starting. For that we are pretty grateful”.

As the band put in their pretty low key rider request with a joint “Tennents” shout, their final assertion, in response to a heady future on making more waves in the music world, was a firm “We are ready to go”.

With some bands making relatively small steps up the music ladder, Man of Moon have been leaving footprints the likes of which others could only wish for. One giant step after another it seems indeed, for a band that, with a night at the Barras soon to be under their belt, have the sky as their limit.

White, your new favourite colour.

2015 has been some year for White. Big ups from Elton John, headline sets at Tenement Trail, and making the floor bounce at Amsterdam’s legendary Paradiso venue spring to mind for the band seen as the best export Glasgow has had to offer the music world since a certain Franz Ferdinand.

To put the cherry on top their proverbial pie, the group walked away with ‘Best Breakthrough Act’ at the recent Tartan Clef Scottish Music Awards in Glasgow. Not bad for a band that have only been on our radar for the best part of a year.

As the band swanned up the attention on the red carpet, frontman Leo Condie admitted that the award represented a nice milestone for the band.

“We are all really excited that we are winning something that makes us feel that we are getting somewhere. It’s always hard to tell because we have our heads down immersed in the music, so it’s really nice that people have taken notice of us.”

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“We’ve always kind of written songs that we want to be immediate, songs were you are able to get them without having heard them and listened to them over and over again.  We want them just to hit you straight in the chest. When you go out and play and you get the right response from that it’s fucking great.”

As for highlights so far, the band were hard pushed to see beyond the Amsterdam gig, as guitarist Hamish indicated.

“The Amsterdam gig was fucking amazing, it was like a rave. It’s probably one of my favourite gigs we have done. We were the last act on at 2am and the room was stoud out and everyone was jumping around. Our friend was in the audience and said the floor was moving when we were playing.”

Although closer to home, headlining Tenement Trail still lingers fresh in the memory.

“That was amazing, we owe Tenement TV a lot. We are a totally new band and there were a lot of bands that have been going for a long time on the bill so for us to be given the chance to headline a Glasgow festival like that was awesome. It put us right in people’s faces. The festival will just get bigger and bigger.”

Hailing from previous groups such as the Low Miffs, Kassidy and Garden of Elks, bass player Lewis is quick to extol the connection between the five-piece.

“The reason why we have all came together in the band is that we all love music, we all love playing together and we are all friends. Me, Hamish and Chris have been writing together for ages so it was great when Leo and Kristin came in and added this other dimension to the band.”

Whereas guitarist Chris was keen to tip his hat off to Glasgow.

“It’s cool to have an eclectic mix like we do in the band. It totally resembles what the Glasgow scene is like just now. There’s a lot of people making music because they want to without holding any unnecessary grudges against other bands.

And with respect to their home city, Leo feels more than happy to see the band mentioned in the same breath as Franz Ferdinand, with WHITE’s upcoming headline show at the QMU a personal triumph for him.

“I remember growing up in Glasgow and it was so exciting how well it was going for them and  it made the eyes of the music world turn on Glasgow for a while, although we were all a bit to young to be in bands to profit out of it. I remember standing outside the QMU when I was at uni listening to them sound check and stuff, so for us to be playing there is great.”

A slot on the bill for Edinburgh’s Hogmanay street party will see them play out the year in some style, as the band look to a 10 date UK tour spread over February and March, with Hamish keen for the band to spread their wings further afield again.

“I’m kind of hoping we become one of these bands that does well in Europe and we can go over and play there all the time.”

To which Leo finished with a smile…

“We will be headlining Hampden next year.”

And, although he was being tongue in cheek, you can’t fault the swagger and confidence the band gives off, as the cry for ‘a new colour in the musical palate becomes as loud as the band’s wardrobe.

WHITE.

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A gem to be found with FOUND.

Cloning, released on November the 6TH, represents a welcome return to action from Edinburgh band/art collective FOUND, which, as the name suggests, offers an engaging post-modern vision that sounds like it has torn a page or two from inside a Philip K Dick novel.

After 2011’s celebrated factorycraft, the BAFTA winning group’s new release sees three become two, with Ziggy Campbell and Kevin Sim continuing proceedings after Tommy Perman’s departure for pastures new, and this long awaited return sees the duo stick to a winning formula of opaque, experimental, synth pop, dowsed in sparkling analogue synth chords.

Opener A Souvenir for Every Hope You Had gallops along like a more sugar coated version of Mogwai’s Mexican Grand Prix, while diverse tracks such as The First Catastrophe and Halfway Cured give a polished, dream-like dystopian sound that ventures occasionally into 80’s horror film territory.

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Standout track Wheel of Apocalypse brings Campbell’s vocal talents to the fore, as the Vangelis-esque synths juxtapose with romantic notions of impending catastrophe: “Futures come and futures go, there’s a future I can’t get to / Now it’s gone, I have to choose, a future where I can’t forget you.”

At eight minutes long, The Second Catastrophe continues the cataclysmic feel with pounding drums accompanying fragile, soaring vocals against an eclectic synth backdrop as Credits offers a strong, brooding finish to a distinctive, yet dynamic piece of work.

Holyesque get spiritual.

It’s a Sunday afternoon, and it’s bucketing it down. The four local lads who together make up Holyesque shuffle in soaked one after the other, some still sobering up post Finnieston flat-party, to sit down to chat about their upcoming double A side single and  Glasgow headline show at St Lukes and subsequent release of long awaited debut album At Hope’s Ravine in February.

Since the band’s inception in late 2010, a steady flow of single releases, celebrated gigs, European support slots and SXSW jaunts have gradually heightened the buzz around a group whose sound, driven by singer Pat Hynes’s raspy, primal scream and industrial guitar, fails to conform to any comparative music out there, and all the better for it.

Celebrated recent shows at Tenement Trail, the SAMA’s and Camden’s Barfly – with a certain Annie Mac in attendance, alongside multiple Radio 1 plays of upcoming single Silences, seamlessly draws a line towards an arrival at the big time, and the band, whose design background seeps into their image – keyboardist Keir Reid and drummer Ralph McClure both study at Glasgow School of Art while not making music – are keen to take full advantage, as Pat himself intimates.

“We are planning on keeping the momentum going. It’s picking up I feel like we are progressing and we going in the right direction.  We are in the best position we have ever been just now and we hope the anticipation will pay off and people are going to be into the album.”

The chemistry amongst the foursome – Pat, Ralph, Keir and guitarist Shug – is contagious. It’s like old pals that just happened to pick up their instruments and decide to make music, and Keir believes that this sense of camaraderie is what drives the band forward.

“When we started the band there was never any blueprint or any kind of set idea or discussions. Everyone has their own inspirations and influences. We were all from different angles and places.

Pretty much all decisions are made as a group. Anything creatively, whichever direction the band is going in, whatever we are doing, we all decide together.”

Although for many fans, the album seems to have been a long time coming from a band that first got our tongues wagging with 2012’s Rose, Keir mentions that the wait for the album wasn’t as a result of a lack of material, far from it.

“With an album generally it’s not about the amount of songs you have, there are so many other factors to take into account. It needs to be right. It annoys us when people think oh ‘we have finally got an album worth of material’. We held it off because we wanted to make sure it was right and done properly.”

With regards to At Hope’s Ravine, the band removed themselves from the goldfish bowl that is Glasgow, splitting their time between Copenhagen and Brighton, a decision, that Keir thinks, paid off dividends, especially with regards to ramping up the creativeness emanating from the band.

“We spent a week and half in Denmark where we got all the basics down and then went for two weeks to just outside Brighton to experiment and work with the songs more.

It was kind of this great atmosphere and we were like ‘fuck it will we try it’. We ended up singing in stables and using wee kids toy pianos, just anything. It was our first real experience of experimentation in the recording process. Trying to tap into something new.”

 

Keir is also keen to detail working with Grammy award winning producer John Schumann, a bona-fide fan of the band, and how it seemed the perfect fit for where they wanted to go as a group.

“We became quite friendly with him when we did the Ravonettes support slot (in 2012), he was into the band and we knew he was a ‘somebody’. I think we rubbed off on him.

He gets it, he understands what we are doing and he is enthusiastic about it. John brought out the best in us and sent us in the right direction.”

And although a few years have passed since their 18 date jaunt around Europe with the Danish indie-rock duo, Ralph doesn’t discount heading back out to the continent on a support slot ticket; although this time they might treat it a little differently.

“Something like that would be perfect for us. The last time we were on a tour we were young and impressionable but we learned a lot (from the Ravonettes). We were stealing their rider and wanting to go out and party every night while they were real pros. We were arseholes. It was an insight.”

The band also seem to have found themselves a niche market in the form of Austin, Texas, with a visit in 2016 not out of the question, off the back of trips out there the past three years in succession. Something Pat is eager to share.

“We seem to have a yearly residency now out there. We have a lot of friends now and we just have a really good time. It’s been getting better every year for us. Especially since we started playing in dive bars and cupboards. I think a lot of people suffer from that but for us it really did help us and turned out to be quite beneficial.”

Casting nostalgia to one side for a moment, Pat gets back down to speaking about their number one concern, the music, and the connection that exists between the foursome.

“The majority of time the best songs are done on the spot there and then. It’s the best feeling in the world for us when we are all playing things and it just comes together and you know there’s something there. It’s like there’s a silent understanding between us.”

Further to this, however, is the design element, which flirts alongside their music to deliver a whole package, something that the band themselves are keen on expressing, as Pat and Keir indicate.

“You need to offer more than just a song. People need to grab onto something. Whatever we are doing we want to make a visual element that worked with the music. I think it goes hand in hand. You spend so much time writing and recording a song and making it sound good, just to give it to a label to put their own thing behind it. For us it’s part of the process. One benefits the other.

I think music is pretty two dimensional. So for us it’s important to pull in these other aspects to it, to open it up for people to take more from it, not just the music.  It’s just another edge to the sword.”

Doing so, it seems, helps the band really develop their own sense of how they see themselves as a band, helping to avoid what Keir regards as “lazy” comparisons with other bands.

“We don’t like being pigeonholed. We have been against that from the get-go. There comes a time when it can become detrimental to a band.”

While Pat agrees.

“Pidgeon-holing. Fuck that. We’ve always wanted to leave things open to interpretation with regards to our music. We’ve always encouraged people to question what we are doing. Why this lyric is that in the song, why those visuals are in that video, for example.”

Meanwhile, seeing out the year by playing at new Glasgow venue St Lukes ,a venue they themselves chose for the upcoming single launch , will, Keir hopes, give them the kind of blank canvas they are looking for to really cement their ambition, purpose and intention to those in attendance.

“I’m interested in the idea of communities and religions and that place has been used as a kind of gathering place over the years. I quite like the idea of us re-contextualizing it in our own way, with our music and with our own visuals. We really can’t wait for it.”

In between all the preparations for the album, the St Lukes gig and the single launch, Pat points out that they haven’t let that get in the way of already looking towards album number two.

“We are already working on it (Album 2). There’s no breaks for us. What else would we do? We are in the studio writing new songs all the time.”

With a drive and determination that may put other like-minded bands to shame, the group don’t seem like they are the kind who would take stock. Indeed, the band seem pretty humble with respect to how much they feel they need to achieve before they have ‘made it’, judging by Keir’s admission.

“We know we will have made it when we come back in here to the pub with fur coats on with enough money to get a pint.”

Jokes aside, it’s refreshing to hear from a band, who, undoubtedly are one of the best acts to come out of Scotland in the past decade, who have their feet firmly on the ground and are just focusing on doing what they do best, making vibrant, intense and unique music.

Here’s to the Holy.