by Mark Mckinlay
How long have you been making music together and how did the band come together ?
The band started in September 2009 after a couple of chance meetings. Laura was meant to be going to my 18th with Jamie (our original keys player) who I had met on a few nights out. I had written a few songs and needed a singer. I also had a microkorg and needed a keys player. Not very rock and roll! Would have been better if fate had conspired and we all randomly during a cocaine orgy backstage at a Motley Crue gig.
We had to stop for about a year as our bassist joined the navy and our keys player went to Leeds for uni. Again, not very rock n’ roll, it was really hard to refrain from making up that our bassist died in a tragic, twister accident after smacking up. We are back now though and that is the main thing.
How would you describe your sound and what other artists influence the band ?
I’ve always tried to write very melodic songs, I’ll come up with a hook and then work around that. The idea is to get the melodies stuck in your head. This is probably influenced through listening to the Beatles. We are all massive Beatles geeks. I don’t think there has been a band, before or since, that have even came close to the Fab Four.
Arctic Monkeys are also up there as a huge influence, especially lyrically. I like the way Alex Turner writes and performs words, mostly in their more recent output. They kind of roll out of his mouth effortlessly, whilst at the same time, sound emotive. It’s not always about the meaning, but the way the words sound and fit rhythmically around the song. I try to keep that in mind when writing and not get too bogged down in the subject matter. It’s good to have a bit of mystery there.
Other bands we like, Late of the Pier, Franz Ferdinand, Mystery Jets, the Cure, David Bowie, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Echo and the Bunnymen. Big into dance music as well, the Prodigy being a favourite. This gives our sound a rhythmic quality. The new line-up has definitely brought the best out of that. The parts they are coming up with work perfectly. Basically, we want people to dance and our sound is defined by that.
You’ve got quite a few live dates coming up, are you excited to be taking your music around Scotland ?
And you’re sharing a bill with Hot Chip in April, looking forward to it ?
Yeah, definitely, very excited. The response we have had so far has been fantastic. The comeback gig at Flat 0/1 was mental. Two folk in A&E by the end of the night. We do love recording and getting involved in the production side of things, but the best part by far is playing live.
There are a few great gigs coming up in the near future. Playing with Tango and the Attic will be class as we have been following them for a while now. Hot Chip are obviously the highlight though. Fantastic band. Our friend Keir who shot and directed our new music videos will also be filming so that has the potential to be another raj gig.
How did you find recording your Rush And Glamour EP ?
It was fun yeah, really laid back. No-one knew we were going to be releasing anything. We had a rough date in mind for when we wanted to put it out there but there wasn’t any pressure to have them finished so we could take our time. It was a similar situation to the first time around. I had these songs lying about doing nothing and decided it would be good to get a new line up sorted. We approached my mate Kev Harper from Little Eskimos and he was right up for getting the tracks down. Was a fantastic decision as he’s a talented bastert’. Think it shows in the E.P how capable he is as a producer. At the heart of it though, there are three great songs on that E.P. that we are really proud of.
Plans for a full album in the pipeline ?
Not at the moment. We want to get to a place where it would be worthwhile releasing one. It seems to be a death sentence for a lot of up-coming bands. That tricky debut, independent album. We are recording our follow up E.P. very soon though. We have the tracks written, just need to set a date for recording. It’s a lot brighter than ‘Rush and Glamour’. We have been calling it our ‘Summer E.P.’ Quite happy to keep recording E.P.’s regularly. It keeps the buzz going and showcases our stuff on an affordable format.
Can our readers expect to see you at any festivals over the summer ?
We are working on a few things at the moment, but it is quite hush hush. Hopefully we will have a BIG announcement in the near future though, so keep yer eyes peeled!
Where do you hope to be in 12 months time ?
Going right for the charts and grabbing it by the throat, knocking Ed Sheeran off of his smug, James Blunt perch and simultaneously sticking the boot into the bland, boring club ‘culture’ this generation has adopted. Think pennies, you get pennies.
2nd April – Stereo, Glasgow
7th April, 20 Rocks, Falkirk
13th April – Chambre69, Glasgow with Hot Chip (DJ SET)
27th April – 20Rocks, Falkirk
Progressing last month’s ‘Future of Shawlands’ meeting was of high importance for the members and residents who met at this month’s Shawlands and Strathbungo Community Council meeting held last week at Shawlands Academy.
Shawlands and Strathbungo Community Council Chair Andrew Montgomery proposed making use of the upcoming Glasgow City Council elections to achieve this goal. There was unanimous agreement to his suggestion that the Community Council write to all parties and individuals running for office asking them what their manifesto would say about Shawlands and the Shawland’s Town Centre.
Montgomery was pleased with the support for last month’s meeting but was keen to maintain the focus on finding a solution. The Shawlands Town Centre Action Plan is due to be finalised by May but there was discussion at last week’s meeting suggesting that the Glasgow City Council early May elections would delay the final document.
Shawlands has been categorised as a Tier 2 or ‘major’ town centre by Glasgow City Council. Montgomery said:- “When you look at it, in the last 10 years Shawlands is the only Tier 2 Town Centre that has had no investment.” He compared it to other Tier 2 town centres in Glasgow which had seen considerable amounts of money invested.
Other people attending the meeting echoed this need for investment. One person didn’t think Shawlands was going to survive without immediate action. Last week three shops shut and three more are set to close soon. Rates and footfall were said to be contributing factors.
A local resident commented that Shawlands was ‘a fantastic area’ and it was ‘what a vibrant urban area should be.’ She had already taken part in many community activities to enhance and clean up the area.
A number of ideas on how to improve Shawlands were said to have come out of February’s meeting. Held on 9 February at Shawlands Academy, the ‘Future of Shawlands’ meeting was attended by Glasgow City Councillors, representatives from Development and Regeneration Services (DRS) and around 90 members of the public. The meeting provided a forum for public concerns and was a chance for the public to comment on the draft Shawlands Town Centre Action Plan. It is thought that DRS are working to distribute the ideas contributed from members of the community.
In addition to Councillor David Meikle‘s report, local police officers delivered the police reports on the Strathbungo, Shawlands and Queen’s Park areas. In response to a resident’s concern regarding the armed robbery at Jim Blair Insurance in late February, the officers said that CCTV footage images had been circulated and they were trying to get a positive identification. They highlighted that there were more officers in the area of Shawlands as a result of this armed robbery and they hoped this would reassure the public.
As part of the Licensing Report an application by Peckham’s V & V Limited was discussed. Peckhams have applied for on and off sales licenced hours in the old Bank of Scotland building at the top of Skirving Street. While there were a couple of people in opposition to this application, many thought that it was a brand that would add value to the area. It was voted that the Community Council would raise no objection to this application.
The next Shawlands and Strathbungo Community Council Meeting will be held on Thursday 5 April, 7pm at Shawlands Academy.
Glasgow’s neighbourhoods continue to dominate the affordable end of the city rental market, according to the latest research from Scotland’s leading rental portal Citylets.
Figures for Q4 2011 show that of the ten least expensive areas to rent in Scotland eight are in or around Glasgow with Govan & Ibrox being the cheapest area to rent, with an average monthly 2-bed rent at £432 a month – a fall of 0.9% since Q4 2010.
Local areas in Aberdeen and Edinburgh predominate Scotland’s top ten list of most expensive rental areas. Only one Glasgow neighbourhood made it in to the top ten list, with the average rent for a two bed flat in the Park and Woodlands area standing at £795, a rise of 3.7% compared to the same time last year.
The rental figures were revealed after Citylets collated average rent levels in Scotland during the fourth quarter of 2011 as part of its quarterly data report, which is acknowledged as the most comprehensive research into the private rental sector.
Dan Cookson, Senior Analyst for the Citylets network which includes major partner brands such as Findaproperty, S1homes and Primelocation, admits that although the same areas tend to make the list, most neighbourhoods in cities across Scotland are seeing steady increase in rents.
He said: “It’s interesting to see that neighbourhoods in Glasgow remain some of the cheapest to rent in Scotland. This kind of result shows that despite the increased demand for private rental property it is still a very competitive market. However with Park and Woodlands amongst the top ten most expensive areas to rent it shows that tenants are still willing to pay good prices to rent in what is perceived as a desirable area.
“It is no surprise that Aberdeen and Edinburgh’s West End areas are continuing to top the list. There is always a clear demand for properties in these areas and tenants may not always consider price when choosing these types of places to rent.
“It is good to see that while urban rents have increased gradually over the year there are still areas that can offer value for the tenant in each city. This is important as it is evident that the ‘generation rent’ trend continues with many people not being able to afford a deposit for their first step on to the property ladder.
“Affordability is clearly important to many people when choosing rents. However it is not straightforward to say that people are purely price driven, many are driven by location and consider this as the deciding factor.
Aberdeen’s West End is the most expensive area in the country to rent, with the average monthly rent for a 2-bed flat currently stands at £972, compared with the national average 2-bed rent of £626. Following closely behind was Edinburgh’s New Town (average monthly 2-bed rent £946) and the capital’s West End (average monthly 2-bed rent £889).
Aside from Glasgow, other low rental areas in Scotland include Bo’ness (average monthly 2-bed rent £436) and Falkirk (average monthly 2-bed rent £464).
The ten most expensive areas in Scotland in terms of rent levels are:
- West End (Aberdeen) – £972
- New Town (Edinburgh) – £946
- West End (Edinburgh) – £889
- Hillside and Calton (Edinburgh) – £873
- Grange (Edinburgh)-£871
- Cornhill and Kittybrewster (Aberdeen) – £835
- Holbun & Ferryhill (Aberdeen) – £813
- Bieldside, Cults & Peterculter (Aberdeen)-£798
- Park & Woodlands (Glasgow) – £795
- Bruntsfield (Edinburgh) – £792
(All values indicate average monthly rent for a 2-bed flat)
The ten least expensive areas for monthly rents are:
- Govan & Ibrox (Glasgow) – £432
- Bo’ness – £436
- Clydebank (Glasgow) – £445
- Paisley (Glasgow) – £455
- Johnstone (Glasgow) – £461
- Parkhead & Tollcross (Glasgow)- £462
- Falkirk – £464
- Shettleston & Carntyne (Glasgow) – £475
- Royston & Springburn (Glasgow) – £477
- Mount Vernon & Uddingston (Glasgow) – £479
(All values indicate average monthly rent for a 2-bed flat)
www.citylets.co.uk was launched in 1999 and is Scotland’s most successful lettings portal. Its quarterly report is the country’s only detailed and independent barometer of the rental market, based on over 50,000 annual lettings from more than 300 agents. It is now a respected tool among investors, landlords and letting agencies.
The next Citylets quarterly data report, showing the rental figures for Scotland during the first quarter of 2012, will be published in April.
The ticket sales, which opened in early February at the Tramway, have proved popular.
National Theatre of Scotland (NTS) Executive Producer Neil Murray said:- ”You always hope you are going to sell out. I think early indications are that it’s going to be very busy. Alan Cumming brings a little bit of stardust and the piece, Macbeth, in Scotland, is always an attractive title. But yeah, we’re very optimistic it’s going to do well.”
Macbeth is the first Shakespeare that NTS have staged in their six year history. The play reunites the burgeoning creative partnership of actor Alan Cumming and director John Tiffany, who previously worked together on the NTS production of The Bacchae which premiered at The Edinburgh International Festival in 2007.
Murray continued:- ”We wanted to have a really good reason for doing Shakespeare.” When Cumming approached the NTS with the idea that he would play all the characters in ‘The Scottish play’ it was the perfect marriage of performer and play for them. Murray added: “It had to be the right idea, it had to be the right person, it had to be the right time and all those things have conspired together, which is great.”
The NTS has chosen to premiere their radical reimagining of Macbeth at the Tramway, rather than in a more conventional theatre. This exciting and experimental South side space has seen many seminal productions staged there, including Peter Brook’s The Mahabharata in 1988. Murray said: “There’s something more exciting on this occasion to do it at that big, rough, kind of hewn space, maybe play with that, play with the dynamics of it.”
Macbeth will open this June and the tone of the production is big and bold. Murray said: “We’re not making a small intimate piece. It’s going to be a big statement in terms of the design of it and the space we’re using. Partly because the Tramway is a big wide performance space; you need to really fill and take ownership of that space.
“And then similarly, when we go to the Lincoln Centre in New York, that’s a very big stage, so although the piece is really Alan with two other performers as well, it’s not going to be populated by lots of actors. So the concept of the show has got to be really big and bold I think: that’s what we’re aiming to do.”
Cumming is now in training for this role. Murray said:- ”He’s excited and terrified in equal measure, I think. He’s getting himself very physically fit to do it. Macbeth is a demanding part if you do it as part of a big company, but when you do all that text yourself and all those roles, who knows what it will do to him. He’s kind of up for it. The great thing about Alan is he’s an amazingly brave and committed performer.”
The NTS Glasgow season of Macbeth starring Alan Cumming runs from 13 – 30 June, 2012 at the Tramway Theatre.
LAMONT STAYS SILENT AFTER YET MORE BULLYING ALLEGATIONS
As Johann Lamont prepared to address her first Scottish Labour conference as leader this weekend, further questions were raised by the SNP over her authority as her party’s discipline crumbles around her.
In recent weeks, Ms Lamont has stayed silent as the list of allegations about the behaviour of Labour candidates and elected members grows.
• Johann Lamont has yet to make any response to serious
allegations of threats and bullying against Councillor Anne Marie Millar of
Glasgow City Council. These allegations have since been compounded by
the actions of the City Building Board in Glasgow, which summoned Councillor
Millar – the victim – the explain herself, while continuing to take no
action against the alleged perpetrator, Councillor Gilbert Davidson
• On Tuesday 28 February, Labour made a late candidate
selection in the Garscadden/Scotstounhill ward in Glasgow. John Kelly –
the election agent of Margaret Curran MP – was selected, despite being
the subject of another complaint about bullying by a Labour member in
• Former MSP Frank McAveety is being promoted by Labour as one
of its leading candidates for the local elections in Glasgow, despite
being the subject of an ongoing police investigation
• Although she was elected as leader of Scottish Labour MPs,
MSPs and councillors, Ms Lamont took no action in response to the
arrest of Eric Joyce MP, leaving Ed Miliband to suspend the Falkirk
MP. It took Ms Lamont over a week to make any response to the Eric
Joyce case. She has also stayed silent on comments by a Labour HQ
source that Labour would “rather have a nutter than a Nat” in Falkirk
James Dornan, SNP MSP for Glasgow Cathcart, said:-
“Johann Lamont will address her first Labour conference as a leader without control or credibility, presiding over a party whose internal practices increasingly reveal it to be unfit for office.
“I have now written twice to Johann Lamont, asking her to take action following the alleged acts of bullying and intimidation against Councillor Anne Marie Millar, which were witnessed by myself and many others in Glasgow City Chambers a few weeks ago. She has not had the courtesy to reply and has said not a word publicly to condemn this behaviour by
one of her party’s elected members.
“Not only that, the party has gone on to select yet another candidate against whom a complaint of bullying and intimidation has been made. And while over a third of their council group was prevented from standing again for Labour because they were deemed not good enough, a former MSP who is subject to an ongoing police investigation is apparently entirely suitable as a Labour candidate, as is Alistair ”Taj Mahal” Watson”
“It’s quite clear that in Glasgow Labour there’s one rule for some people and one rule for others, and if you’re one of the favoured clique you can rely on Johann Lamont to stay silent, no matter how you behave.
“As Labour’s roll of dishonour grows ever longer, voters in Glasgow and across Scotland can clearly see that there is something rotten at the heart of the Labour party – and that its leader Johann Lamont apparently has neither the will nor the inclination to do anything
“Glasgow and Scotland deserve better – if Ms Lamont is unwilling or unable to get her own house in order, how can she ever seriously be considered as a potential leader of the country?”