Tuesday, 29 January 2013

We're Only Here For The Banter - Stanley Odd

bsolutely nothing odd about the success being enjoyed by Stanley Odd, one of Glasgow's finest hip hop collectives, and creators of one of our favourite albums of 2012 in the form of 'Reject'.  An album full of greats beats and hooks which underpin what can only be described as lyrical genius at times from lead MC Solareye, they are leading the Scottish hip hop revolution.  As the band get ready to continue the assault into 2013, we caught up with Solareye for some banter.

Hello, how are you?

Good thanks.  Last year was our busiest year yet and it seems like it’s going to stay that way through 2013.

It's the question everyone hates, but could you tell us a little bit about your music and your influences?

We make live organic hip-hop from Scotland.  That’s it in a nutshell.  It’s not a genre that you’re going to see with it’s own section in any record shops any time soon but it is a very buzzing underground music community at present.   In terms of influences everything from Bob Dylan, to Porcupine Tree, to Arab Strap, to Nas, to Task Force.  Everyone in the band has their own tastes, I’m heavily in to hip-hop and wordsmiths; Scruff Lee loves Norwegian electronica; Admack really rates Errors – hopefully a bit of everything ends up in the tracks.

What's your song writing process like?

We start with someone having demoed up an idea and then jam it and flesh it out at practice.  Then we go in and record the song in the studio.  Once we’ve recorded the tune we chop it up, sample it and rebuild it from scratch – very much a hip-hop sampling ethic approach.  Then when it’s done we need to learn how to play it again!

What could we expect to see from a live show?

Live is probably where we are in our element.  Everyone in the band is bananas at what they do and the live shows are really energetic and lively; both from us and the crowd.  This year it’s been great to see folks at festivals singing along and knowing the songs.

If it were all to end tomorrow, what would you say has been your greatest achievement?

That’s a difficult one, it feels like we’re on a roll.  From playing the BBC Introducing Christmas party last December, to Celtic Connections, to festivals like Insider, Knockengorrach, Belladrum and Wickerman, to releasing our album and touring it – it’s been a hell of a year.

What have you got planned for this year?

We’ve just played the Old Fruitmarket in Glasgow for Celtic Connections, which was on 23rd January.  We played a full set with the Electric String Orchestra – a 12-piece orchestra – which was unbelievable.  Next up we’ll be getting ready for out first trip to the USA to play in New York in April, then preparing for the usual summer of festival frivolity up and down the country.  We’ll also be working on lots of new material and making a start on a new album, which won’t be out until 2014 but fear not there will still be plenty of Stanley Odd new and old throughout the year.

At Scottish Fiction we focus on new Scottish music, how do you as a band view the Scottish music 'community'?

I find the Scottish music community to be rich, diverse and exciting.  It’s an amazing time to be making music in Scotland and between touring and the festival season we have been lucky to discover and share stages with an outrageous amount of talented musical folks.

What other Scottish artists would you recommend to the Scottish Fiction readers?

The Banana Sessions, Hector Bizerk, Kayce One & Toni Smoke, Silvertongue, Madhat, The Girobabies, Bigg Taj, Steg G & the Freestyle Master, Kat Healy, Homework the list goes on…

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

Did you hear about the lonely prisoner?  He was in his sel’

Check out more from Stanley Odd

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Friday, 25 January 2013

That's My Jam #2

As it's Burns day today, in celebration of haggis and 'tim'rous beasties' everywhere my new jam is a wonderful collection of famous works from Scotland's greatest poet, Robert Burns, recorded by Now Wakes The Sea.

"As a child, I had a meaty collection of Burns work that I would read before bed (I'd also read The Broons and Oor Wullie annuals - it was all very Scottish), and as I often try to channel childhood memories and nostalgia into music, I thought it would be fitting to revisit some of this material that is often overlooked by those who so disliked having Robert Burns this and Robert Burns that drummed into them at school."

That's what Now Wakes The Sea had to say about the wee collection of tunes, and being an auld romantic my favourite is 'A Red, Red Rose' a poem that was read at my wedding.  Check it out and feel all romantic and patriotic.

Thursday, 24 January 2013

We're Only Here For The Banter - The Yawns

With male/female vocals, breezy summery vibes and an DIY attitude The Yawns are anything but boring.  You'll know by now that they headline our next Scottish Fiction Presents: AyeTunes vs, Peenko at The 13th Note on Saturday 26th January.  So before what is promising to be a most excellent night of live music, we caught up with Sean from the band for a quick chat.

Hello, how are you?

Hello, I'm good thanks.  It's Saturday evening, and I'm eating a takeaway pizza.  It literally doesn't get any better than this.  Even better than sex on fire.

It's the question everyone hates, but could you tell us a little bit about your music and your influences?

Peter Andre would have to be our biggest influence.  His back catalogue speaks for itself.  I guess our music would sound like the rolling stones if they fell over.

What's your song writing process like?

Start with a small chord produced by one, then jam it out.  Let it find clothes and get dressed.  Take it to the bank.

What could we expect to see from a live show?

Sprinkly drums with wispy guitars and big rolling bass.  Vocals by fragile woman man with bad truth.

If it were all to end tomorrow, what would you say has been your greatest achievement?

Maybe recording the album.  We are pretty happy with that.

You're off on tour in January, what are you most looking forward to about being on the road?

Looking forward to having an excuse not to shower for a week.  Really interested to find out what calibre of body odours we can exude.  I think it will be quite a high calibre and will smell like hot shit in a chip shop.

What else have you got planned for 2013?

We are going to record another album pretty soon after the tour, so that should be fun.  Got a song called 'She's My Dad' that I think could literally explode all over the place.

What other artists (Scottish or not) would you recommend to the Scottish Fiction readers?

Smack Wizards.  Siphon.  Septic Jags.

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

You're welcome!  Of course.  Where do you put rubbish that's already happened?   In the been.

Check out more from The Yawns

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The Yawns plays Scottish Fiction Presents: Aye Tunes vs. Peenko on Saturday 26th January at The 13th Note.  Get your tickets here


Scottish Fiction Podcast - 23rd January 2013

Last night on Pulse 98.4 FM we celebrated our second birthday on air!  As it was a special occasion we had a rather special show, where along with the help of our panelists, Raymond Weir, Carolynne McKendry and Bobby Motherwell, we attempted to compile 'The Greatest Scottish Playlist'.

We each chose ten tracks that we thought deserved a place, and debated the finer details of our choices.  The whole list is unveiled and there's music from the likes of Frightened Rabbit, Belle & Sebastian, Biffy Clyro, The Phantom Band, Amplifico and more!

You can check out the full 40 tracks on our YouTube playlist.

Remember to vote for your top 15 tracks (and your own choice) in our poll!

Frightened Rabbit - The Modern Leper
Aztec Camera - We Could Send Letters
Lulu - The Man Who Sold The World
Rachel Sermanni - Waltz
Justin Currie - If I Ever Loved You
Bert Jansch - Angie
Danny Wilson - Aberdeen
Rod Stewart & The Faces - Bring It On Home To Me / You Send Me
Bill Wells & Aidan Moffat - The Greatest Story Ever Told
Admiral Fallow - Dead Against Smoking
Amplifico - The Comedy Stops Here
The Phantom Band - Folk Song Oblivion
Idlewild - In Remote Part (Scottish Fiction)
Proclaimers - Letter From America
Belle & Sebastian - The Boy With The Arab Strap
Biffy Clyro - Many Of Horror

Subscribe/listen to the podcast via iTunes.

The Greatest Scottish Playlist - Poll

Last night on Pulse 98.4 FM we celebrated our second birthday on air!  As it was a special occasion we had a rather special show, where along with the help of our panelists, Raymond Weir, Carolynne McKendry and Bobby Motherwell, we attempt to compile 'The Greatest Scottish Playlist'.

We each chose ten tracks that we thought deserved a place, and last night unveiled all 40, as well as playing a select few of our favourites.  You can listen to that show again in full right here.

For your convenience we'd made a YouTube playlist of all the tracks, so check them all out!

Now it's over to YOU.  From our list of 40, we want you to cut the list down to 15.  The poll below has all 40 tracks, so simply choose your favourite 15, and in a wonderful show of democracy, the tracks with the most votes will make the final cut.

It wouldn't be Scottish Fiction without there being a couple of twists...

First we're giving you the public the chance to nominate one track NOT included in our pick of 40.  So if you think it's a travesty we've missed X, Y or Z, then vote for it!  The track with the most public votes will be included as track number 16 on our playlist.

Secondly, in a cruel twist of reality radio, each of our judges hold one 'veto'.  So when the top 15 are unveiled, our judges can veto one of the tracks, and replace it with one of the other 25 not chosen.  There's bound to be controversy here!

So set a date in your diary for Wednesday 30th January between 8pm and 10pm on Pulse 98.4 FM (98.4 FM // TuneIn App // online at www.pulseonair.co.uk) and join us as we unveil 'The Greatest Scottish Playlist'. 

Below is the poll, so get voting and sharing!

Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey, the world's leading questionnaire tool.

Thursday, 17 January 2013

What's In A Name?

Not being a musician it's never something I've had to trifle with, but having had the umm-ing and aww-ing of naming two children I've got an idea of how difficult it must be to name your band.  You need something snappy, attention grabbing, yet not ridiculous and that doesn't lend itself to crude re-workings by snidey journalist types looking to slag you off.  What's in a name?  Well it can be a lot!  The good thing of course is unlike a child's name, you can change your band name should it just not be working...  Just ask my daughter, BLooDLuST.

To answer the question, "what's in a name?" we ask three of our favourite (and well named) artists to give their insight.

Campfires In Winter

Tell us about how you came to choose the name 'Campfires In Winter'?

It was a pretty tedious process to be honest.  We've been together for 8 years and went by another name until 2009.  We decided that was a bit juvenile and didn't really suit the type of music we played so it was time for a change.  We thought about it for months, and I was taking notes all the time from books and poetry, as well as trying to come up with ideas and phrases myself.  Nothing was really catching anyone in the band's imagination though.  I liked the word 'Campfires' but there appeared to be a few bands from the USA already called that.  At rehearsal one night we settled on 'We Gathered In Winter' which stuck for, oh, about half an hour, maybe?  On the way home, Wullie and I sort of had a minor panic that it was shite and thought 'Campfires In Winter' might suit us better.  The image brought to mind searing noise set amidst cool soundscapes, which is how I'd say we sound at times.  We phoned Scott - who had been tearing his hair out over our indecisiveness in the weeks previous - for his opinion.  He said, "aye, whatever, fuckin' do what you like".  That was that, then.

What's in a name?  Does it really matter, or ultimately is it just about the music?

It's ultimately about the music of course, but people might not take you seriously if your name is totally silly or if it clearly doesn't suit your genre.  To use a topical example, do you think Alt-J would have won the Mercury Award had they been called Menstrual Gore?  There actually was a Falkirk band named Menstrual Gore by the way.  Dark, grizzly, death metal stuff.  It kinda suited them.  But anyway, while it's not the most important thing a band needs to think about (having good songs and being able to play well live is the first thing a new band should be sorting out), a bad and unsuitable name could cause problems.

Shambles Miller

Tell us about how you came to choose the name 'Shambles Miller'? 

When I started writing music, I didn't want to release it or perform it under my own name.  Although I like it, I wanted something that would stand out a bit more.  I went for Shambles because a close friend tended to call me it.  Probably because it rhymes with my real name and, well, I'm a bit clumsy.  And lazy.  And late a lot.  I don't look like quite as much of a shambles as I used to though, hopefully.  I've had a haircut since then.

What's in a name?  Does it really matter, or ultimately is it just about the music?
The music is definitely the most important thing, but an interesting name helps.  If you give yourself a name that makes you sound like a generic indie band off of a TV show, some people (me) are going to make less effort to pay attention to your music.  On the other hand, if your music is good enough (if you've got mad skills) then you should be able to overcome whatever daft name you might have (like Mad Skills*).
 * Apologies if there are any bands out there called Mad Skills**.
** Maybe I'll call my next backing band "The Mad Skills". Shambles Miller and the Mad Skills. I like it.

Lovers Turn To Monsters

Tell us about how you came to choose the name 'Lovers Turn to Monsters'?

In all honesty I chose my long winded name whilst staring at the 'make your own profile' page on Myspace.  I'd recorded some demo songs in the weeks prior and decided they weren't fitting for the two bands I was in at the time (thrash emo and indie pop respectively).  I knew my songs sounded Bright Eyes-esque and with an already vast knowledge of Myspace-folks I thought I could lure the fans in with a Bright Eyes reference...  Aand basically 'Lovers Turn To Monsters' was the only song title that stuck out as good band name (prove me wrong readers?!) and it's managed to stick.  'Cause I'm stubborn and don't like change!  True story.  Myspace folk loved it though...

What's in a name?  Does it really matter, or ultimately is it just about the music?

I don't think a name is vastly important when it comes to making music, but it certainly does come in handy due to the fact that at least 99% of the world (even though they've been told not to) judge books by their cover.  So when choosing a name, it is probably a good idea to come up with something eye catching, that sums up your 'vibe' and lets people know what to expect to a certain level.  Don't pick some daft, obscure, six syllable Conor Oberst reference though, cause it'll destine you to piles of reviews that comment more on your epic name you didn't come up with than your music which they are inevitably let down by...  A lot to live up to haha.  Probably happened to Echo & the Bunnymen as well.

Have those catchy names like Shambles Miller and Lovers Turn To Monsters grabbed your attention?  Then come hear their music too at February's Scottish Fiction Presents: Aye Tunes vs. Peenko gig on Saturday 23rd at The Roxy 171.   Tickets are £6 and on sale here.

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

We're Only Here For The Banter - King Post Kitsch

King Post Kitsch a.k.a. Charlie Ward isn't the type of musician to be all over the internet with bells and whistles spouting about this that and the next thing.  Often one finds that bands/artists who promote themselves to the nth degree fail to have the substance behind that.  King Post Kitsch on the other hand, has talent and substance in bags!  So let's shout about it just a little bit!  Ahead of our gig with blogging buddies Aye Tunes and Peenko on Saturday 26th January we caught up for a chat with King Post Kitsch who is on the bill.

Hello, how are you?

I'm very well, thanks.

It's the question everyone hates, but could you tell us a little bit about your music and your influences?

I'm not sure about influences, but there are certain artists and bands who I tend to go back to every year.  Like Richard Hell, Bert Jansch, Can, Captain Beefheart, Brian Eno, Neil Young etc.  Maybe these folks find their way into my music.  I'm not so sure though.

What's your song writing process like?

Melody first, or music first, or just build from a lyric or sound I find interesting.  They all work for me, I don't really have a preferred way.  Though which way I do it definitely has an influence on what type of song it will be.  And if one method dominates, it will shape that particular project/album/EP.

What could we expect to see from a live show?

Good clean fun.

If it were all to end tomorrow, what would you say has been your greatest achievement?

My grandchildren.

What have you got planned for 2013?

Gigs.  Albums.  Gigs.

What other artists (Scottish or not) would you recommend to the Scottish Fiction readers?

I haven't really been listening to much new music recently, I'm still on the last RM Hubbert and Randolphs Leap releases.

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

There are 10 types of people in this world; those that understand binary, and those that don't.

Check out more from King Post Kitsch

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King Post Kitsch plays Scottish Fiction Presents: Aye Tunes vs. Peenko on Saturday 26th January at The 13th Note.  Get your tickets here


Scottish Fiction Podcast - 9th January 2013

I'm pretty much back in sync with these podcasts now, and from here on in, the podcast should be uploaded on a Thursday following the previous day's show.  This podcast features the first live show of 2013 and a whole heap of new music.  Included is our usual feature 'Re-Mixing It Up' which was a track of the new Mogwai remix album 'A Wreched Virile Lore'.  Our first 'Featured Artist' of 2013 was Cancel The Astronauts, and we introduced a new featured called 'Cover Lover', where will play a different cover version each week.  Our opening gambit was a Pink cover courtesy of Martin John Henry.  Amongst all that there was gig announcement news, and an exclusive play of a demo track from the headliner, news of our Scottish Fiction 2nd Birthday Show, and new music from Frightened Rabbit, Fat Goth, L. Pierre, Steve Mason, Rick Redbeard, Cuddly Shark and much more!  Enjoy!

Fat Goth - Surf's Down
Chris Devotion & The Expectations - A Modest Refusal
Forest Fires - Culture Shock
The Yawns - I Win

Cover Lover - Martin John Henry - Try

L. Pierre - Sad Laugh
Lovers Turn To Monsters - Rabbits
Shambles Miller - Rapture
Beerjacket - Two Travel (Demo)
Miaoux Miaoux - Stop The Clocks
Machines In Heaven - Mumbo Jingo
Honeyblood - No Spare Key

Re-Mixing It Up - Mogwai - Mexican Grand Prix (Reworked by RM Hubbert)

Safe Houses - Human Behaviour
Cuddly Shark - Trigger Happy
From Paris To Prison - Best Friends Girl Friend
Rick Redbeard - No Selfish Heart
Frightened Rabbit - The Woodpile

Featured Artist
Cancel The Astronauts - Funny For A Girl
Cancel The Astronauts - Country Song
Cancel The Astronauts - Intervention

Steve Mason - Fight Them Back
Carnivores - Scottish Football

Subscribe/listen to the podcast via iTunes.  

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Scottish Fiction Shelter Christmas 2012 EP - Thank You!

At the start of December we unveiled this year's Christmas EP once again in aid of the charity Shelter.  As you may remember for a minimum donation of £3 an EP full of Christmas songs from Scottish artists was all yours.

The contributing artists were Lovers Turn To Monsters, The Orchids, Flutes, Behold, The Old Bear, Esperi, Kevin P. Gilday & The Middle Class Lovers, Siobhan Wilson, and Naming The Saints.  To each of them a massive thanks!

So we are pleased to say that with your generosity we have managed to raise £101, which has been donated to Shelter allowing them to continue their important work. 

If you missed the chance to download the EP then I'm afraid it's too late. But you can still listen to all the songs here and more importantly make a donation to Shelter here.

Thanks again for all your help!

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Scottish Fiction Presents: Aye Tunes vs. Peenko - 23rd February 2013

Returning on the last Saturday of February is Scottish Fiction Presents: Aye Tunes vs. Peenko, for another dose of excellent live music. This time we'll be camping out at The Roxy 171, and it's a singer-songwriter extravaganza!

Opening the show is Lovers Turn To Monsters, an extremely prolific and talented chap, with a penchant for lo-fi alternative songs. Get along early and make sure you catch him play.

Next up will be our favourite bearded singer-songwriter Shambles Miller, who mixes humour and social observations with a healthy splash of folk to deliver one of the best sets you'll catch anywhere in Glasgow.

And headlining this month is the ever wonderful Beerjacket. 2012 was a great year for him, you won't want to miss one of Scotland's best songwriters perform in an intimate setting and hear a sneak preview of tracks from his new album due out this year.

Saturday 23rd February.  Doors from 8pm.  The Roxy 171.   Tickets £6 online or at the door. 

To buy a ticket in advance (with no extra fees) click right here.

We've even got a Facebook event if that's your kinda thing!  See you there!

Friday, 11 January 2013

Scottish Fiction Podcast - 2nd January 2013

This podcast is our second one focusing on a round-up of all the was good and righteous in 2012.  Rather than look at albums, which we did on the last podcast, here we play out some of our favourite singles and EP's released last year.  There's music from The Spook School, Fat Goth, Michael Cassidy, So Many Animal Calls, Randolph's Leap and so much more!  Check it out and remind yourself of some of the great music released last year.

The Spook School - I Don't Know
Stanley Odd - Marriage Counselling
Michael Cassidy - Battleships
Frightened Rabbit - State Hospital
Aggi Doom - Cakewalk
Fat Goth - Debbie's Dirty Harry
Father Sculptor - Blue
Holy Esque - Tear
Julia And The Doogans - Diamonds
Martin John Henry - Span
Mitchell Museum - The Closer We Got The Harder We Fell
The New Fabian Society - Hate Fills The Day
North American War - Geraniums On A Spit
PAWS - Sore Tummy
PET - Wear Black
Plastic Animals - Yellowcraig
Quickbeam - Seven Hundred Birds
Randolph's Leap - Hermit
Rick Redbeard - Now We're Dancing
Saint Death - Thompson's Daughter
Shambles Miller - Confessions
So Many Animal Calls - Traps
The Son(s) - Roaring Round The House
RM Hubbert feat. Aidan Moffat & Alex Kapranos - Car Song

Subscribe/listen to the podcast via iTunes.

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Scottish Fiction - 2nd Birthday Show

At the end of this month, it'll have been two years since I started broadcasting at Pulse Community Radio.  During that time the show has evolved into the Scottish Fiction show that you all know and love, and it's been truly a ball being able to play music I love, talk nonsense and welcome guests into the studio. 

Last year I welcome in Michael Cassidy, Julia Doogan and Shambles Miller to help me celebrate for a star studded show, which you can still hear right here.

This year it's a Pulse 98.4 FM extravaganza as I welcome three of the stations prized presenters onto the Scottish Fiction show to help me, and you, decided the best Scottish playlist ever.  Tough task?  That's why we need YOUR help!  More about that in a minute.

First let's meet the panel:

First up, is 'El Chairman', the esteemed head honcho here at Pulse Towers, Raymond Weir.  Making up the eye candy is the delightfully cheery Carolynne McKendry and completing our panel is Bobby Motherwell who brings a wealth of experience and musical knowledge.  I'll be overseeing everything and keeping this lot in check!

Each of our panel, myself included, have been asked to pick their favourite ten Scottish tracks.  On Wednesday 23rd January at 8pm on Pulse 98.4 FM we'll run through our choices, playing some and discussing the merits of each and what constitutes the best playlist.

Then it's over to you.  On this blog there will be a poll of all 40 tracks chosen by our panel, and for one week only you'll be able to vote for your favourites.  And on Wednesday 30th January at 8pm on Pulse 98.4 FM we'll reconvene to annouce the best Scottish playlist as chosen by you!

There'll be tantrums, laughs and a few surprise elements along the way.  Join us and join the debate!

We're Only Here For The Banter - Fat Goth

It's time to start up our 'We're Only Here For The Banter' feature again, and what better way to kick start things than with three piece Dundee band Fat Goth.  Fresh from a Vic Galloway session late last year, and with album 'Stud' due to drop on 28th January, the band are on the ascendancy to riotous fame!  Grab a cuppa and have a read, as we spoke to Fraser from the band.

Hello, how are you?

Hello, Scottish Fiction!  My name is Fraser Stewart and when I'm not selling my soul to a popular UK retail giant or out chasing skirt, I like to spend as much of my free time as possible playing guitar and singing for Fat Goth, the band I play in with my two dear disciples, Mark Keiller (drums) and Kevin Black (bass/vocals).  I'm currently doing okay, thank you!  It's late afternoon on Sat 5th January 2013 and I must confess I've been sleeping for most of it, which is obviously nothing to be proud of in the grand scheme of things.  However, I believe an exception can be made here when you consider Fat Goth played Aberdeen last night and we didn't return to our native Dundee until around 1am.  I work early morning shifts and had to haul my rancid carcass out of my 'sin alter' at 5am so it's been a day of feeling generally fatigued.  Not to worry, though!  I'm now presented with the task of answering your queries so I'm sure this process will energise my brain box and get me back into the land of the living.  Praise be!

It's the question everyone hates, but could you tell us a little bit about your music and your influences?

Ach, away with that sort of chat!  I like being asked questions about the music I'm involved in.  I did a fair few interviews over the course of the last year and I'm always astonished and flattered people are actually interested in what we do and want to know more.  It's kinda weird but a lot of fun at the same time.   Anyway, getting back to your question.  I suppose it would be fair to consider our music as hard-hitting rock of the left-field variety, meaning that we try to experiment and explore within the confines of a basic three piece setup.  We're big advocates of loud, visceral and aggressive metal, punk, etc, and it features a great deal in our own music.  However, our listening materials are diverse and we don't really have any rules when it comes to writing.  Anything goes as long as it's good, which I believe makes for a more interesting and rewarding experience for the listener.  Bands and artists like The Melvins are prime examples of this mentality and continually pump out awesome music while proving to be an excellent source of inspiration.  They're definitely a big influence on Fat Goth along with the likes of Mike Patton, The Jesus Lizard, Mastodon and countless other off-kilter, noisy types.  In addition to all of that, I've also been enjoying more 'pop' orientated stuff recently like Teenage Fanclub, Trashcan Sinatras and Redd Kross so it'll be interesting to see how that affects the shape of our creative orifice.  Time will tell…

What's your song writing process like?

Generally Kevin or I will bring an idea to practise and the three of us will just jam it out.  I tend to bring more fully-formed or large chunks of tunes to the table whereas Kevin has an endless supply of smaller ideas/riffs, which come in handy when we start assembling sections of new songs we've been working on.  Sometimes this happens very quickly, others times it takes months.  We have some ideas that have been hanging around for years!  It's just a case of waiting for the penny to drop: that eureka moment when it all becomes clear and you know exactly how things should be arranged.  I remember our friend, Gordon Matheson who performs as The Strangers Almanac likened the song writing process to fishing - you sit there for hours waiting for something to bite and you frantically reel it in while the opportunity is there.  It's an analogy I can certainly relate to!  We enjoy playing around with song structure and as a result, our tunes usually end in a completely different place to where they start.  I love songs that suck you into their world and take you on an adventure. That's not to to say everything should be a 10 minute+ progressive epic (although we do have a few of those in our back catalogue) but I think it's important to maintain the music's intrigue, appeal and longevity as much as possible.  That way, people will hopefully keep coming back and still find more to enjoy even after X amounts of previous listens.  Ultimately, we try to make music that has a long shelf life.

What could we expect to see from a live show?

We practise a great deal and always strive to be a tight and cohesive unit onstage.  The nature of our music doesn't really allow a large margin of error in terms of performance so we have to work at it pretty hard.  I'm probably the least musically gifted member of the band so it can be extremely tricky at times but I like rising to the challenge and pushing my abilities to the limit.  It just means it's extremely rewarding when we play a good show and both the band and the audience have enjoyed themselves.  Folk who come to see us can expect to bear witness to anything from 30 minutes to 1 hours worth of visceral, aggressive and intense rock with a few quieter moments thrown in every so often.  We try to give as much bang for the punter's buck as possible!  One thing we do not do is get naked on stage.

If it were all to end tomorrow, what would you say has been your greatest achievement?

I would say everything we've done so far has been a total achievement, even the few gigs where we've played to a handful of folk or have been told we can only play for 15 minutes due to promoters with poor stage management skills.  It's all experience and although Fat Goth has only really become regularly active in the last year since Kevin joined, we've achieved so much in that time and we're proud and grateful for all of it!  I hope we can keep making music together forever but if it were to end for whatever reason, I certainly wouldn't feel bitter or cheated, just sad.  If I was to pick one instance from the last year that stood out for us, I reckon our show at The Wickerman Festival would be it.  About an hour or so before we were due to leave, I accidentally sliced open my right thumb on a plate that broke in two while doing the dishes.  I had to go to A+E and ended up with 3 stitches.  It took 4 hours to get to the site and the whole time I wasn't sure if I could actually play, which would of been a nightmare as we had been looking forward to making our first festival appearance for months.  Thankfully, the onsite medic cleaned my newly acquired gash and pumped me full of some formidable painkillers, which did the trick so major kudos to that particular gent!  To avoid that potential disaster and play to so many receptive folk in unfamiliar surroundings was a blast and a half!

What have you got planned for 2013?

Well, we're due to make our first appearance at Glasgow's King Tuts Wah Wah Hut on 11th January along with Black International, Poor Things and Chris Devotion and The Expectations.  It's part of their New Years Revolution Festival, a showcase featuring 75 Scottish bands over the course of 15 nights so it should be a lot fun.  Following that we release our new record, 'Stud' on 28th January through our own Hefty Dafty label.  Needless to say we're pretty excited about that!  We'll be playing some shows in support of it and so far we have bookings for 1st February at Edinburgh's Electric Circus with Vasquez and Hagana and 9th February at Dundee's Non Zeros with Cuddly Shark and Carson Wells.  Folk can keep up to speed with that sort of thing via our Facebook and Twitter pages.  I think the general consensus is to get out there and play as many decent shows as we can.  2012 was excellent in that respect so we're hoping we can maintain the momentum and maybe even manage an actual tour at some point.  We've also started work on new material and the plan is to head into the studio and make another record before 2013 is out.

Were you ever, or did you know, any Fat Goths?

There have been occasions when I've found my waistline expanding due to over-indulgences at various points in my life but I've never felt compelled to don any black eyeliner or Matrix-esk trench coats.  I suppose in many ways I am a Goth and harbour all the usual mental traits you would associate with those individuals, minus the theatrics.  I dunno, Goths may well have low self-esteem but they certainly have a lot of balls when it comes to how they present themselves and you have to give them credit for that!  The gothic look is so striking and works so well in the right visual context, be it film, photography, painting, etc.  However, to see a grim-faced figure shrouded in black and decorative chains cruising up your bog average city centre high street in front of a Poundland window display doesn't seem to work as well and will probably provoke unintended reactions, like hilarity.  That said, they're doing their own thing and not causing anyone any harm so fair play!  Thinking about it, I reckon 'Fat Goth' is the perfect name for our band: something that initially appears quite ridiculous, bizarre and somewhat comedic but with undeniable dark undertones.

What other artists (Scottish or not) would you recommend to the Scottish Fiction readers?

Hmm, who do we like in the Scottish scene?  Well, we draw a lot of influence from our contemporaries and I guess some are more obvious than others.  We certainly rate the likes of The Hazey Janes, Vasquez, Min Diesel, Monde Green, Super Adventure Club, Cuddly Shark, The Shithawks, Kaddish along with tonnes of others.  There are also plenty of bands from these parts who are sadly no longer going who we still love.  Kevin's old band, Laeto is definitely up there along with Glasgow's Macrosmica and Lapsus Linguae.   In terms of stuff from further afield, you really can't go wrong with the likes of The Jesus Lizard, Melvins, Torche, Tilts, Mike Patton-related stuff, etc.

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

Thank you!  I had fun answering your questions and hope my answers are of some interest to you and your readers.  A joke you say?  Hmm.

How do you turn a duck into a soul singer?

Put it in the microwave until its Bill Withers.

That one always works a charm whenever I'm out on the sniff.

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Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Gig Review - KTNYR13 - Miaoux Miaoux, Roman Nose, Machines In Heaven

irst gig, and gig review, of 2013 and it couldn't be any other place than at King Tut's Wah Wah Hut and their mammoth run of gigs as part of King Tut's New Year's Revolution.  Back for another run in the January gig wilderness (insert gig plug here) helping us gig goers and music lovers ease our way back into things after Christmas and New Year, KTNYR sees some of Scotland's finest musical talent, including Fatherson, Honeyblood, Chris Devotion & The Expectations, and tonight's headliner Miaoux Miaoux, take to the infamous Tut's stage amongst some new joys to discover such as Secret Motorbikes, Fat Goth, Campfires In Winter and one of tonight's support acts Machines In Heaven.

The night began with a veritable feast courtesy of the fine chefs of King Tut's treated a select few, of which I was a grateful guest, to a smorgasbord of delectable delights.  Mini burgers, meatballs, mini burritos, fish and chips, Greek salad.  Yumity yum.  Should you be heading along to any of the other KTNYR nights, or indeed to Tut's at any point, pop down early and grab some of this new nosh from their menu.

So onto the music and with Organs Of Love having to pull out, it was a last minute call for Electronic wizards Machines In Heaven.  Fitting right into a bill with Roman Nose, and fellow electro whizz kid Miaoux Miaoux (and once collaborator in The Great I Am), Machines In Heaven make rather interesting music, full of bleeps, whirls and beats, often going off on seemingly outlandish tangents only to wrap the whole thing back up with a blistering thrash of guitars or gleeful synths.  Consisting of two guitars, two keyboards and sometimes bass, their set was like a journey along the interstellar expressway littered with euphoric beats along the way.  I really enjoyed the set and can forgive the odd mistake made, and the slight detour in some songs given that this was a really last minute gig, and the band (in it's current line up) have only played a handful of gigs.  Given time and space to find their feet live and develop a set, Machines In Heaven have got the promise to be a show stopping band in future.  On this occasion they end with some highly energetic robotic jerking from the bassist and an almighty crash of feedback.

If Machines In Heaven sound tracked the journey through space then Roman Nose was landing on uncharted territory.  Three masked men behind an array of wires, laptops, drum machine and all sorts of gizmo's and gadgets, shrouded in smoke and blackness.  Imagine if Skeletor had decided to leave Eternia, and took a detour via the late '80's acid house scene.  That kind of begins to explain what you witness when Roman Nose take the stage.  As the strobe lights blast, the music blares and the ground literally shakes, it's truly an otherworldly experience.  I have to be honest and say that the music is not my cup of tea, however there's no doubt that Roman Nose are exquisite at what they do, and plenty others seem to enjoy the set.  A tad too 'dance-tastic' for me, but certainly good at what they do.

Time for the much celebrated Miaoux Miaoux to take the stage, with an almost Zen and minimalist set up in comparison to Roman Nose.  I've oft made the quip that Julian Corrie moves about on stage with the energy of a Duracell bunny, but it's hard not to be encapsulated by his graceful movement, from synth to keyboard to FX pedals even at one point bounding off stage to retrieve a capo.  Early tracks dropped include 'Autopilot', minus an unplugged keyboard and the pop-tastic 'Better For Now' as well as old favourite 'Kintted'. Watching Corrie work, is a joy to behold and at times it seems that the music, the euphoric beats, the shimmering riffs and playful chords flow directly from Corrie as he feeds on the energy of a progressing and evolving set.  Tracks seamlessly segue into each other as 'Cloud Computer' with its hypnotic feel and sexy little guitar riff, morphs into the uplifting and pulsating 'Hey Sound!'  During the moments where Corrie takes a seconds rest and converses with crowd, he tells us that as the world was supposed to end 2013 is just "borrowed time".  And he wastes not a second of that, as he débuts a new, and unnamed, track with a glitchy beat, looped vocals and refrain of "hold it down, make it better" taken straight from the book of electro pop hits.  Time passes far too quickly during a Miaoux Miaoux set and before we know it, a thumping bass drifts into a highlight track from album 'Light Of The North', released via Chemikal Underground last year, 'Stop The Clocks'.  It's one of the lighter tracks in Miaoux Miaoux's repitoire as Corrie's soft vocals proclaim "I will sleep when I am dead".  Expect plenty more joyous music from this man then.

Get a hold of Miaoux Miaoux's wonderful album 'Light Of The North' here

Thursday, 3 January 2013

That's My Jam #1

What better way to start a new feature called 'That's My Jam', with a classic Slow Jam Mixtape?  Skillfully crafted together by Glasgow two-piece Midnight Lion, their 'Slo Jamz Mixtape' is a recap of some of their favourite songs of the year.  Makes me want to winch somebody.

Did you get all the tracks covered on there?

If not then let me inform you that it goes seemlessly from Usher to Solange to Jessie Ware to CHVRCHES. The journey doesn't end there as the duo also cover Kendrick Lamar, Taylor Swift and Haim, before ending where they began; with Usher's 'Climax'. Top notch lads.

Blog Sound of 2013 - Results

The Blog Sound of 2013 poll is a survey of UK music bloggers to find out what emerging artists they think are best.

The votes have been counted, the results are in and the winners can now be revealed.

Congratulations to the winners Haim, who narrowly held off runners up CHVRCHES by just 1 nomination!

The 5 artists that received the most votes by the 49 UK music blogs that took part in the poll are:

1st -  Haim


Joint 3rd - Savages

Joint 3rd - Pins

5th - The Neighbourhood 

The Blog Sound poll was run by Robin Seamer from Breaking More Waves and Andy Von Pip from The Von Pip Express asking 49 UK music bloggers what emerging acts they were particularly excited about.  The poll wasn’t intended to criticise the BBC’s Sound of list, but to simply represent the tastes of the voting bloggers.

The 2013 Blog Sound long list contained 7 acts that were also then revealed to be on the BBC Sound of List (AlunaGeorge, Chvrches, Haim, Laura Mvula, Palma Violets, Savages and Tom Odell) and 8 that weren’t (Curxes, Daughter, Mo, Pins, Randolph’s Leap, Rhye, Seasfire and The Neighbourhood).

In total just over 170 acts received at least 1 vote in the poll, but Haim and CHVRCHES were way ahead of the chasing pack when it came to the final count.  Pins and Savages, tied for third place with The Neighbourhood, the second US act on the list after Haim in fifth.

Of the five most voted for acts all of them are bands and four of them have lead female vocalists.  Two of the bands (Haim and The Neighbourhood) are from the US.

The winners Haim have been one of the most talked about bands of the last few months and were the second most blogged act by UK Hype Machine listed bloggers in 2012.  Haim consist of three sisters from California and were originally in a band with their parents called Rockinhaim.  They signed a record deal earlier in 2012 and will release their debut album in 2013.  Their sound fuses elements of classic rock, r ‘n’ b and pop and they have been compared with the likes of Fleetwood Mac, TLC and Wilson Phillips.

For us here at Scottish Fiction it's great to see CHVRCHES take a strong position, effectively the top UK act, and further boosted by their 5th place position on the BBC Sound Of 2013.

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Scottish Fiction Podcast - 26th December 2012

You've read our Top 20 Albums of 2012 post haven't you?  Well why not now listen to the latest podcast, which was an end of year special where I run through my favourite 20 albums released last year, playing a track from each.  There's been some amount of special music released in 2012.  The majority of it features on this show.  Enjoy!

French Wives - Younger
Cancel The Astronauts - Making Dynamite
Lightships - Sweetness In Her Spark
Olympic Swimmers - Knots
Gav Prentice - How Are You Sleeping?
The Unwinding Hours - Wayward
Meursault - Lament For A Teenage Millionaire
Jo Mango - The Black Sun
The State Broadcasters - The Only Way Home
Human Don't Be Angry - The Missing Plutonium
The Yawns - Summer's Wasted
Admiral Fallow - The Paper Trench
Errors - Earthscore
Miaoux Miaoux - Hey Sound!
The Twilight Sad - Alphabet
Rachel Sermanni - The Fog
Stanley Odd - Antiheroics
RM Hubbert feat. Aidan Moffat & Alex Kapranos - Car Song
Django Django - Default
PAWS - Sore Tummy

Subscribe/listen to the podcast via iTunes.

Scottish Fiction Presents: Aye Tunes vs. Peenko

Right now that all the merriment and festivities are over with, and the impending dread and doom of going back to work is hanging over you, let me lighten the mood a little by reminding you all about this little doozy of a gig.

New year, new venue. Same bloggers, same mission.  To bring the finest Scottish live music to the stage on the last Saturday of each month.

This time round we've moved to The 13th Note and are bringing along three fantastic acts on Saturday 26th January.

First up are Plastic Animals who are a Edinburgh five piece who are responsible for a wonderful EP called 'Automaton' released earlier this year.

Also heading along the M8 from Edinburgh is King Post Kitsch, for what I believe will be his maiden Glasgow gig.  Equipped with his band expect a glorious array of fast paced garage rock and songs from new EP 'Repulsive Sunsets'.

Headlining are four boys and one girl who call themselves The Yawns.  Nothing yawn inducing about their self titled début album, for which the band are touring to promote the physical release.  The album has earned it's place as one of our favourites of 2013, and a live rendition is not to be missed.

As always be great to see you there and tickets are the usual £6 with entry at the door or online.  Saturday 26th January with doors at 8pm.

Tickets are available online right here.

See you there!