Category: Interviews


salt river

I CAUGHT up with Glasgow rock outfit Salt River Shakedown (formally known as Magic Trik) ahead of their gig at Classic Grand.

Chatting about touring, Guy Garvey, and their plans for 2019, check out the interview below.

New EP, Road to the Sacred Island, is out now. Listen to it on Spotify.

 

 

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Laura Scott: Tutor at Reeltime Music

REELTIME Music is a charity based in Newarthill, Motherwell, which helps young people from disadvantaged backgrounds learn new skills in music and the media.

Reeltime began in 1997, and provides workshops for many different groups within the local community and beyond. Although based in the local community centre which hosts their recording studio, they also travel further afield, providing opportunities for young people who may not otherwise receive them.

Laura Scott, who works at Reeltime, spoke about how she got involved with the charity, and the impact it has on young people.

 

 

 

Barry McKenna of Twin Atlantic selling copies of The Big Issue

Barry McKenna of Twin Atlantic selling copies of The Big Issue

During the first week of February, The Big Issue and INSP are holding The Big Sell’s #VendorWeek. A few famous faces were on the streets of Glasgow today selling copies of The Big Issue to raise funds and awareness.

Walking down Sauchiehall Street, to get a pair of slippers from Primark (don’t judge) I noticed a lot of cameras, and a lot of people. Not really that much of a revelation, a lot of people in the city centre. But there was actually a reason behind a lot of people being in a street where a lot of people usually are: Twin Atlantic and Lauren Mayberry of Chvrches were selling Big Issues. So, while purchasing a copy, I managed to speak to Barry McKenna of Twin about the cause:

“The Big Issue and INSP asked us to come and get involved and they’ve got a bunch of guest sellers to try and raise the awareness of the fact that there’s people out there every day trying to get a little bit more stability in their lives and get back on their feet so it’s nice to come down and raise awareness. We’ve always been interested in helping people out. We always say being in a band’s quite a selfish thing to do, quite a selfish lifestyle. It’s nice to be able to give something back as well; especially in our home town of Glasgow.”

Sam McTrusty chatting to fans

Sam McTrusty chatting to fans

So what’s next for the band?

“Next coming months we’ve got a bunch of touring. We’re going to Australia for the first time and then we’re coming back here in May to play some shows. We’re playing at the Hydro in Glasgow so we’re looking forward to going new places and then coming back home and playing some more shows.”

You can check out their new single Oceans, right here.

rebel queens

We spoke to Tiffany Beamer, lead singer of all-female American rock band, Rebel Queens.


How did Rebel Queens form?

I have always wanted to be in a band, but wasn’t confident enough. I thought if you were a female singer, you had to sing pretty. I had always liked Joan Jett and had started getting into The Runaways. I was totally inspired by the music and performing style and the vintage-glam fashion that came along with it. I decided I was going to start an all-female rock band and perform some of the Joan Jett and The Runaways music so I put and ad online in November 2010. It was tough finding local women rockers, but I got a couple of responses right away. I did not find the full band until March 2011. It was the first band for all of us so we were eager to get playing. We had our first practice in March, our first performance in April, and have been going ever since.

What city/state are you based in, and what’s the music scene like there?

We are based out of Minneapolis, Minnesota. Minneapolis has a big melting pot of different styles of music. There is hip hop, hardcore, indie, rock, punk, rockabilly and everything in between, and plenty of live music venues to support it. There are also several all-female bands from this city that we have come to know. One of the classics being Babes in Toyland, formed in the late 80s.

What’s it like being in an all-girl rock band?

Mostly fun and empowering, with a ton of hard work involved. There is a lot of criticism from both music industry people and the crowds we play for, There’s always extra pressure being female, you have to work extra hard to prove yourself. I really enjoy playing with all women. There’s just something special about it.

RQ Tiffany

What’s been the best gig you’ve played so far?

One cool gig that stands out in my mind is a Women Who Rock charity event at Guitar Center we played last year. The charity is She Rock She Rock who works to empower young girls and women through music. We had our first performance at their open jam and they will always be close to our hearts. There were some awesome local female bands who played along with us: Mayda, Sick of Sarah, Angry Bukowski. They had speakers between bands and gave out some great swag bags.

You guys are influenced by The Runaways, do any of you have similar personality traits/styles to members of the band?

For myself, I’d say my singing/performing style and personal style is a mix of Cherie Currie and Joan Jett, but my personality is more like Joan. She was the one who felt the band was her baby and stuck it out despite the hardships and changes in line-up. She is creative, driven and hard working. Our drummer is pretty similar to Sandy West, as she is sweet and easy-going, but fiercely talented. She also has a great voice. Everyone that’s been in the band has been very different from the other, which I think is good and keeps it interesting.

Would you say it’s harder for rock ‘n’ roll bands nowadays to break through the mold?

I think these days a lot of musicians want to conform to playing the type of music that is popular and are afraid to go out of that box. Especially for cover/bar bands. They are all playing the same songs as everyone else. We have had pressure to conform, but stuck to our guns and have no desire to change our style. That is something I am most proud of with this band. We also tend to shock people who see us loading in our gear and expect us to play current hits or music by only female musicians. We have a pretty balanced set list of both male and female artists, but it’s all rock ‘n’ roll!

What’s planned for Rebel Queens in the next few months?

We took some time off to train in new guitarists who are ready to hit the ground running at our upcoming summer shows. Expect new songs and a fresh dynamic with our new players, along with some original music. We hope to keep growing our audience and growing musically and see where it takes us.

Do you have any advice for people who want to start their own band?

Educate yourself on all aspects of the music business. Marketing, branding, booking, management, book keeping, social networking – just a few examples of things you need to know when running a band. Also, checking your personal feelings at the door is an important thing to remember in a band situation. Remember that everyone is thinking about the best interest of the band. If your playing is off and someone points it out, it’s not a personal attack, it’s to help make everyone sound the best they can. That is a hard thing to remember but it definitely comes in handy.

When’s your next gig?

Our next gig is 14 June at ‘Freedom Rider’s Rally’ which is a motorcycle rally in Mountain Lake, MN. We have a substitute bass player for that gig as our new bass player had another commitment when she joined the band. The first gig with our full line-up is 27 June at Palmer’s in Minneapolis, MN. Palmer’s was actually just on Esquire’s list of ‘Best Bars in America’ and we will be playing there monthly starting in June.

Are there any plans to come to the UK?

I would love to do a UK tour if someone would get one set up for us! I like to travel, but have never been out of the USA; #RQtoUK

 

 

Interview: The Kooshtie

Playing at the Garage earlier this month

 

We spoke to Falkirk band The Kooshtie ahead of their headline gig at the Garage earlier this month.

 

You’ve just released new single Freak Me, what was the inspiration behind this song?

Jack: Well, Oliver wrote the song.

Jenny: You wrote the song, we came and played it.

Oliver: It’s kind of a tribute to Nirvana, the lyrics are anyway, the music isn’t. I found a cool chord, and that was it. We had original lyrics, and it was lovey dovey, and I didn’t like it, so we changed it. I was reading Kurt Cobain’s journal; it was inspired by Nirvana, but it wasn’t. I don’t sit down and intentionally write a song, it just sort of happens.

Jack: It’ll start with a guitar lick, or a vocal melody or something, and it just kind of builds. The inspiration and the foundation could be anything and it builds from there.

Oliver: Jack writes songs as well.

Jack: None of them have been used.

Oliver: But he does write them.

Jack: There will be some songs by me soon hopefully.

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Jack

 

You’ve also recently had a line-up change?

Oliver: We’re about to have another one; we’re losing Kieran as well. This is Kieran’s last gig actually. But the line-up change with jack was quite plain and simple. Jack was actually the first guitarist.

Jack: That must’ve been last year, then I left.

Oliver: And then he phoned me and said “I wanna come back”.

Jack: Nah, I got a phone call, maybe April…

Oliver: No, no, get this down straight.

Jenny: It was February.

Oliver: It was January, and Go-Get’er just came out, and you phoned me and you said “I wish I could’ve been in it”.

Jenny: Oh yeah, ’cause he phoned you when we were there.

Oliver: and I said “that’s cool man”, and then George left, and I went, “Jack do you want to come back?”

Jack: Yeah, and then a week later we played a gig at Record Factory, so yeah, within a week of joining the band. Kieran was the same.

Oliver: Yeah, we’ve kind of been all go.

Jack: It makes for a good environment, you don’t get that chance to sit back and analyse it, it’s just constant. It makes it a more professional atmosphere I would say; the fact that everything’s just been going.

Oliver: It’s been a bumpy road so far, to say the least. We’ll have a really good gig and then the next one will be average. I think we over-do it sometimes, but it’s been good since Jack joined. The dynamics of the band is going to change, we’re going to write a whole new set list. Kieran’s leaving ’cause he doesn’t like Jack. He came up to me and said “I don’t like that guy”.

Kieran: It’s just his hair.

 

Describe your sound in 3 words

Jack: It’s very f*cking good.

Oliver: Clichéd. I was going to say something negative like “Really f*cking sh*t”, but you bet me. Modern rock…

Kieran: Punk.

Oliver: This is why Kieran’s leaving the band.

Jenny: Red raw.

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Kieran

 

   

    You guys are from Falkirk…

Oliver: Yeah, but Jenny’s from Clackmannanshire.

Jenny: Yeah, Alloa.

Jack: We’re based in Falkirk.

 

 

 

What’s the music scene like there?

Oliver: Sh*t. Non existent.

Jack: It used to be quite good.

Oliver: Five years ago it was quite good. Don’t quote that.

Jack: There’s really good bands in Falkirk, but there’s no venue.

Oliver: Yeah, there’s no venues to play live music anymore, there’s like one or two, but even then,

Jack: People don’t want to go out and listen to music anymore, listen to rock ‘n’ roll anymore. It’s a shame sometimes when folk would rather pay £6 to go to a nightclub than see a band.

 

Where do you see yourselves a year from now?

Oliver: A year from now we’re going to play T-Break, that’s the dream.

Jack: Yeah, that’s the goal

Oliver: Once we’ve got a secure line-up, that’s our first goal.

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Jenny

If you could perform at one place, anywhere in the world, where would it be?

Jack: Madison Square Gardens

Oliver: Wembley

Jack: As long as there’s a lot of people there, anywhere.

Oliver: What was the place Rolling Stones played?

Jack: Hyde Park?

O: Nah, mind when they held that gig in the middle of the desert?

Jack: There’s tonnes.

Oliver: A rooftop.

Jack: Abbey Road; all these random places that it’d be cool to play.

Oliver: The moon. The first band to play on the moon, and if we’re not too old, we’ll play Mars.

Kieran: When we’re in the area.

Oliver: We’ll just swing by

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Oliver

 

What influences the band?

Oliver: Well, women.
We’ve been compared to so many bands it’s hard to narrow it down on influences

Jack: It’s like a kind of mix of influences.

Oliver: We all listen to different types of music.

Jack: It’s such a wide variety of stuff we listen to, but I think it’s just the want to play music.

Oliver: Yeah, I like playing my guitar; there’s no greater feeling than having your songs sung back to you. We’re only a young band, so we’ve got a lot to look forward to.

 

The Kooshtie will be playing at Glasgow’s Pivo Pivo on Saturday 4 July. Check out new single, Freak Me, right here.

 

 

 

 

 

You can listen to the show every Thursday

You can listen to the show every Thursday

We speak to Tommy Clark of radio show The Third Class Ticket, and ask his opinion on all things to do with unsigned music.

Can you tell us a bit about The Third Class Ticket?
The Third Class Ticket show is a weekly Internet based radio show on MESi Radio.  It is solely for the promotion of new and unsigned bands that probably don’t get much airplay anywhere else.  It came about as most music projects do as a hobby in my bedroom.  I messed around with mixtapes and wee half hour ‘radio shows’ then posting them to my facebook page.  The guys at MESi heard them and asked me on board when the station kicked off last year.  At the time the show was mostly a mod type show but as more unsigned bands sent through their stuff to me the ‘Ticket’ show was re-born.  Now each week the show plays in excess of 30 songs.

How would an artist go about submitting their music for your show?
Bands interested in joining the Ticket family can send their tracks to me at thirdclassticket@hotmail.co.uk.  Mp3 or WAV files are preferable.  Also they can reach me at www.facebook.com/thethirdclassticket or at www.mesiradio.com

Do you have any hot tips for us to check out?
Now isn’t that the million dollar question.  So far on the show I have been lucky enough to play some of the best music going on.  Bands I would suggest to go in the Glasgow area alone are Rank Berry, Soldier On, The Begbies, The Coffins, Cabey, Sonic Templars, Jim Dead, Craig Hughes, The Apparells, Stonehouse Violets, Enemies of the State, The Revolt, The Beat Movement, Button Up or any of the singer/songwriters on the ACRE records label.  From further afield listen out for The Found, The Panoramic, Electric Stars, French Boutik, The Arrivals, Echo Raptors, Pretty Cartel, The 45s, The Universal and The Lemontops (who are coming soon to Kilmarnock – don’t miss them). Apologies to the hundreds of other great bands who have featured on the show but I cant list you all.  All in all tune into the show because every week you could hear your new favourite band.

Unsigned artists played on the show

Unsigned artists played on the show

What do you think makes a radio show like The Third Class Ticket so important for unsigned music?
The Third Class Ticket show is sometimes the first time that some bands are heard on radio so it can be the spur to push harder.  I have found that as word spreads about  the show  more bands who are friends of bands played or have been on the same bill are contacting the show.  I look upon the show and the wider ‘ticket’ family as a community who spreads the word of what’s bubbling under what’s bubbling under the surface.  Also it gives bands in Ayrshire hear what’s going on in Newcastle or Portsmouth or Las Vegas.  They can get new ideas, new contacts and even more importantly opportunities to get opportunities to play with like minded bands from across the country.  The motto of the show is ‘WE ARE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER’ and if we all work together we become stronger.

What’s your opinion of the music scene as it is today?
The music scene is vibrant right now it’s just the audiences that need to get better.  And to be fair bands need to get a bit better too.  If you are first on the bill at a gig night stick around and support the other bands.  It could be you playing to the small crowds next. Rant Over.  Musically though there is a wealth of talent and innovation out there.  X Factor hasn’t ruined music it’s just made bands work harder which I don’t think is too bad a thing.  Please support live music because if we don’t it wont be there when we want it.

 You can listen to The Third Class Ticket show every Thursday on MESi Radio from 9pm.

Interview: Chris Croken

Interview with singer-songwriter Chris Croken ahead of his gig at 13th Note in Glasgow this Thursday.

Chris will be performing this Thursday evening.

Chris will be performing this Thursday evening.

Can you tell us a bit about your upcoming gig at 13th Note?
I thought I’d get a few friends together, play some new songs, some covers and more or less have a good time with good music.

You have a demo up on SoundCloud, which includes the amazing track Slow, what’s the story behind this song?
I don’t really know. The passing of time, and enjoying the finer things and dragging through the rougher ones. I’ll let whoever listens to it decide.

Do you have anything planned for the rest of the year? New music? Any gigs?
I have lot of ideas, I am in the middle of gathering material for an album, I also want to have a band again. This will more than likely be my first and last gig of the year asides from open mic’s.

Who inspired you to get into music?
I honestly don’t know, I think it was my dad with U2, ELO and the like. Then I guess I found my own way; Clapton, Mayer and the into the classics of American music.

If you could perform at any venue in the world, which one would it be and why?
Red Rocks amphitheatre it’s outdoor and it just looks amazing, especially at night.

Chris will be performing at 13th Note this Thursday alongside Darren Hendrie and Amy Lyon. Gig starts at 8pm – tickets are £3 (available at the door) and it’s an over-18s event; get along to it if you can!

You can also check out his music on SoundCloud here.

Interview: Elvira Stitt

We talk to singer-songwriter Elvira Stitt, on the eve of the launch of her first solo EP, The Transparent Man.

Can you tell us a bit about how you came to choose the stage name Elvira Stitt?
I got the name from a psychological thriller film from the early sixties named Whatever Happened To Baby Jane?. Funny thing is Elvira Stitt is actually the maid who gets killed by getting hit over the head. I feel I can relate to the film in a lot ways. It’s fairly personal. I was hoping to use the name Baby Jane however it was already the name of a band.

Your new EP The Transparent Man is being launched tomorrow night, how does it feel getting an EP out?
Last year I brought out an E.P with the band Evora. I wrote the music and had great fun releasing it. However, I’m really excited about the release of my solo E.P because I feel more comfortable being on stage myself. It’s a really good feeling releasing an E.P and I’m hoping to get this one on Itunes, Spotify etc.

What was the recording process like?
It was quite a stressful experience when I had to book in recording slots for Cumbernauld College as many people wanted them for graded purposes. This is where I recorded a track off the E.P named Woodland Pillow. This meant that I could use it for personal music ideas as well as for my graded unit folio in college. I also recorded with my friend Dennis at his grandmothers house which was great fun. He’s a very talented sound engineer and piano player and it was great that I could finally get the idea’s I had in my head fully recorded to a track.

Elvira will be performing at her EP launch in 13th Note tomorrow night.

Elvira will be performing at her EP launch in 13th Note tomorrow night.

You’ve also released your first single from the EP, the brilliant Headstrong (Under the Weather) – what was the inspiration behind this song?
Thank you so much, I really appreciate that – To be honest, Headstrong was one of the first tracks I have wrote in a while that was done really quickly.. I wrote that song in ten minutes! The recording of it was made to sound like an old vinyl record. The song is for anyone who has been in a situation with someone who is tearing them down and who doesn’t appreciate them as a person but goes back to them. It’s about putting your everything into something and getting nothing in return. The chorus is basically saying that at times in the situation you may feel positive but you’re ignoring the fact you’re “under the weather” and that you would “pay your ways” to be unappreciated by them because that’s all there is to be offered.

In a zombie apocalypse, what would be your weapon of choice?
It would have to be my guitar. I could whap the zombie over the head with the guitar body then quickly write a song on it. Fast thinking!

Elvira will be launching her new EP at 13th Note in Glasgow tomorrow night (29th April) with support from Ryan Morcombe and Neil James Parkinson. Tickets are £5 and the doors open at 8pm. Be sure to go along and check her out!

Interview: Homeward James

homeward james

Race horses and a mental hospital; Craig McDonagh of the brilliant Homeward James gives us an interview.

How did you guys come up with the name Homeward James?
I’ve been told that it was the names of two random race horses mixed together, Homeward Jeeves and King James or something to that effect.

You played on the mainstage of Lanarkshire festival B in Beltane last year, how was it?
It was the best experience we’ve had as a band, managed to pull a great crowd and it was crackin’ to see people actually singing along.

What can we expect to see from Homeward James this year?
Bigger better gigs! Videos, new, very different songs!

Heartwood was the first release from your self-tiitled EP, what was the inspiration for this song?
It’s a kind of play on words about the old Hartwood mental hospital, we’ll let people interpret it themselves.

Last but not least, if you were a superhero, what would your super powers be?
Jim once said he has the superpower of not being a paedophile… Which is entirely true.

If you fancy catching Homeward James live, they will be playing at Walkabout in Glasgow on Friday 12th April. Check out their self-titled EP, Homeward James here.

Time Spent Breathing

Fiesta Minor’s EP, Time Spent Breathing, is due out in Spring 2013

With the release of their new EP due very soon, I interviewed Ewan McAleer, singer and bassist of  Glasgow band Fiesta Minor.

If you could describe Fiesta Minor’s music in one word. what would that one word be?
Miserable.

Your new EP’s called Time Spent Breathing, can you tell us a bit about it?
It’s a completely different (and better) record than our last one. It’s far more intense and a lot louder and heavy than anything we’ve done before. We’re all really proud of it and can’t wait to get it out.

What’s been the best gig you’ve played so far?
Probably our record release show last year. That show was nuts. Our friend Dan put it on for us and packed the venue out, people were crowd surfing, stage diving and singing along. It was the first time that had happened for us and we were really taken aback by it. That gig was humbling as much as it was fun.

Who is your biggest musical influence?
That’s a really hard question, we all have varied tastes. I think we’d be here all year if we were trying to decide on our biggest influence.

And finally, Iron Man or Captain America?
Iron man. Obviously. No question.

Fiesta Minor are playing Bar Bloc in Glasgow tomorrow night – 4th April. It’s free, so get yourself down there! The band are also supporting Grader and Midnight Souls on Saturday 11th May at Audio.