Sunday, 31 October 2010

Shambles Miller

Shambles Miller

 Its time for the fast talking folk tastic singer-songwriter from Glasgow the one and only Shambles Miller. 

1. Who are you?

Hello, I'm Shambles Miller; your friendly neighbourhood folky-man.

2. How shambolic are you in real life?

At the launch party the other night for my new EP, I spruced myself up a
wee bit: shirt and tie, waistcoat, pocketwatch, trimmed my beard, had a
wee haircut. I thought I was looking pretty sharp. A girl who didn't know
me personally, asked which one Shambles was. She was told I was the one
who looks a bit of a shambles.

"Oh, that guy then?" said the young lady, pointing at me. I still can't
tell if I should feel flattered or insulted.

Also, I'm quite forgetful and I bump into things a lot.

3. What work goes into writing your stuff?

I always find this hard to answer. It goes a bit like this:

[pick up guitar]
"♪ ♫ ♫ ♪ ♪ ♫ - ooh, nice tune. I need words now"
"Oh, wait, how about..."
"Oh, there it is. Where did that come from?"
[play song]
[go make celebratory sandwich]

The silence-then-arrgghhh part can last anywhere from an hour to three
months. The three months thing only happened once though, with a song
called "AAARRGGHHH!" I hope this answers your question.

4. So you've just released a new EP i hear?

I certainly have, it's called "Shambles Sails the Clockwork Sea". It's the
second in a trilogy of EPs, the first one being "Shambles Vs. The
Dragonwizard", both of which feature some pretty nifty EP art from Neil
Slorance as well as (obviously) songs by me. Both available from all
good...websites that sell my EP. Namely bandcamp and big cartel.

5. How would one sail a clockwork sea?

On a clockwork boat, of course.

6. Which bands/artists do you really like right now around Glasgow?

Well first off I'd have to say my brilliant support acts from the other
night: Andrew Lindsay and the Coat Hooks, Reverie, and Florynce and
Lauryn. I'm also a big fan of the Second Hand Marching Band, Julia and the
Doogans and Kitty the Lion. Oh and I also played a gig recently with Sean
McCann's new project "The Ballad of Alex K", they're definitely one to
keep an eye on. It's a good time for music in this city just now.

7. Favourite moment so far playing live?

The EP launch the other night was really very special. So many of my
friends were there, the venue was the busiest I've seen it and I was
playing alongside some of my best friends, including my band for the
night, currently dubbed the Ramshackle Rascals. Playing the closing track
"Alice's Song", with my friends, to my friends and family was, well, it
was braw. Just braw.

8. Worst moment so far playing live?

Hmmm, there's been a few here and there. I'd say probably the gig in
Failford. (Yes, that is a real place)
There were a lot of children running about at the gig, so I had to cut
half of my songs (apparently singing the word 'fuck' at children is
frowned upon) and tone down the rest of my material. On top of that,
nobody was really listening, I was more there for background noise, which
is fair enough, but not something I was prepared for. Plus, right before I
played my last song, the compere interrupted to tell everyone if they
wanted to get the last bus back to the city they had to leave immediately.
On the video, I think you can hear my friends laugh. And my soul crumble.

9. Whats next?

Lots more gigs, hopefully. I'm also planning to record and release a
single sometime in the near future, and the third EP in the trilogy is set
to be recorded next summer. Apart from that, I'll keep doing what I'm
doing and take this as far as I can. I hope to get to share stages with
some more great acts and perhaps play a little further afield. And there's
the time machine I'm working on, but nobody really wants to hear about

10. Do they definitely not deserve 6 figure salaries?

When they get paid to run services into the ground and take money from
their lowest-paid workers? When they justify cutting the hours of the
core, bottom-line staff, in order to save exactly the amount of money that
the boss at the top of the tree makes in a year? And when millionaires get
paid to make decisions which take money from the poorest in society whilst
the only difference they'll see themselves is longer dole queues? You tell me.
(We'll take that as a no?)

So if you fancy picking up a copy of his awesome EP you can go to Bandcamp or Big Cartel or if you fancy just listening to a few tracks head down to his Myspace. And he're a little video diary on Shambles trip to Failford

Monday, 25 October 2010

Loch Awe

 Loch Awe

 Edinburgh right now has a thriving nu folk scene with new great bands popping up all the time. Loch Awe are on of the bands that came out of nowhere to release a well recieved free album. They are one of my new bands to watch for the year a head and they were nice enough to answer a few questions.

 1. Who are Loch Awe?

We are Matthew, Jack, Joy and Oliver.
Although you're only speaking to Matthew and Jack.

2. How did you get together?

We all met at Edinburgh uni. Jack lived above me in student accommodation, Oliver drummed in a friend's band (so we sort of stole him, I guess) and Joy used to have dreadlocks. We thought that was the best thing about her, until we heard her voice. But even without the voice, the dreadlocks would have been enough to get her in the band.

3. If you travel to England do you become lake awe?

Yes, I suppose we would have to. I've already experienced problems trying to tell Scottish people what we're called. It's getting to the stage where I'm considering having business cards printed up. So if we ever make it down south, we'll be doing everything we can to be as understandable as possible.

4. You've just had your first few shows how did they go?

They were great fun! We're still not as tight as we could be, but we know that will come with practice. We actually had our second gig last night. It was an acoustic show at a friend's birthday party, and was dead intimate. We'd love to do a couple more like that. We'll also do christenings, funerals, weddings and political party conferences.
(Also, on that note we should thank you for organising our first gig, shouldn't we? Thanks!)
(pleasure was all mine-SS)

5.You recently released an EP how has it been recieved?

Very well, it would seem. It was written and recorded in my living room, on my laptop with some equipment of rather questionable quality in just two weeks, so all things considered the reception has been overwhelming. Certainly I haven't yet seen anything telling us we should quit music, burn our instruments and chemically castrate ourselves, which is a good sign.

6. What are your plans for the near future?

Naturally we're looking to play as many gigs as we can in and around Scotland (and, indeed, England - keep your eyes peeled for Lake Awe's debut!) We started recording demos for our next release today, actually! It's sounding pretty different. Pretty bluesy, which I'm surprised about. Hopefully we'll be recording this one in a proper studio, too (or somewhere that isn't my living room...) so that should be cool.

7. Which bands do you look up to in the scene right now?

In the Edinburgh scene, we're big fans of Withered Hand, Inspector Tapehead, FOUND, Meursault and many others we've forgotten to name. Glasgow-wise, we like Three Blind Wolves, Y'All Is Fantasy Island, Second Hand Marching Band, So Many Animal Calls, Reverie and Andrew Lindsay & The Coathooks (although I play guitar with him, I don't write any of the songs, so have no problem saying he's excellent).

8. What are your favourite water based activities?

Nude kayaking has always been a favourite. Our first team-building weekend included a challenge where we had to build our own kayak, and we made ours by removing our clothing, tying the sleeves together, inflating them and then sealing them up. It sank like a stone, but we were still pretty proud of our effort.

9. Who would you really like to support?

Jack would like us to support James Brown. I don't think he knows that he's dead, and I don't plan upon telling him. In all seriousness, any of the bands we mentioned in the 'local scene' question would be pretty ace.

10. Parting thoughts?

Well if people don't have it already, our debut album/EP thingy is still available, completely free, from BandcampThat aside, look out for us rocking a Bar Mitzvah near you in the coming months. And if you'd like to know exactly what we're doing and when, you can stalk us on Facebook and Twitter.

So far all those fans of nude kayaking, James Brown, Bar Mitzvahs and damn fine lofi folk i highly suggest you check them out at any of the links above. Go and download their free album, you wont regret it.

Friday, 22 October 2010

Futuristic Retro Champions

Futuristic Retro Champions
Following on the recent pop theme of the blog i bring you one of my favourite pop bands in Scotland right now. This is a band that once you hear are hard to forget, when i got this interview back from Carla and got near the end i was more than a little sad, but i'll let her tell you.

1. Who are futuristic retro champions? 
Futuristic Retro Champions are four friends Sita, Carla, Ceal and Harry.

2. How did the band come together? 
We started in 2006 as an art school project to soundtrack a film. Then we just kept going from there!

3. You seem to be a band who are proud to be pop, who are your influences? 
It varies greatly for all of us. I can say that mine are The Vaselines, George Harrison, Secession, Kylie Minogue, Jackie DeShannon, Phil Spector and Evan Dando.

4. You recently released a double a side, tell me a bit about it? 
May The Forth/ Settle Down was a very different direction for us in terms of sound. We were keen to put out something that we could all be proud of and felt it was the right choice musically and lyrically. We were lucky to get Martin Creed to do the artwork for it which made it that bit more special for us.

5. Which bands are you into right now on a locally? 
Ace City Racers, The Machine Room, Miaoux Miaoux and Hidden Masters.

6. Would you rather play a gig for the queen or the remaining members of Queen? 
For the queen.

7. Whats been the highlight of being a retro champ? 
There has been many but I'll always remember dueting with Eugene Kelly for the memorial gig held for our late tutor Paul Carter at the Wee Red Bar at Edinburgh College of Art. Paul had been very important in the formation of our band. It was an equally sad but happy night.

8. What can we expect from you in the near future? 
Bit of an exclusive for you. In December we will be releasing a Retrospective featuring all songs recorded to date. We will be doing a show in Glasgow and Edinburgh to launch this and also to say farewell! FRC will not be continuing into 2011 and so we hope everyone can come along and party and dance with us for one last time. Myself, Sita and Ceal will be continuing on under a new name with a new sound and Harry has gone on to focus on producing.

9. If the band could collabarate with any other artist who would it be? 
Tough one. For me - Phil Spector, Candi Staton, Billy Idol or Danny Kaye.

10. Parting thoughts? 
Just to say a big thank you to everyone who has supported us through out the years. We really couldn't have done it without everyone. A big special thank you to Eugene Kelly, Manda Rin, Martin Creed, yourself, Murray our manager, Paul Carter, Jenna Anderson, Hannah Danson, Fraser Bone, Colvin Cruikshank, Graham Dey, Ace City Racers, and anyone I have forgotten to mention. We hope that everyone keeps tuned for our new launch and sound in the new year. Lots of love and lemonade to all. It's been a rollercoaster of a ride. 
Futuristic Retro Champions will always be on my player when i need a good pick me up and i'll hopefully get to catch them atleast a few times before they lock theirselves away and come back as something new. For now though don't forget to listen to them on their Myspace and catch them at King Tuts on October 28th and playing one of the final slots at this years Define Pop Festival. Everyone had better pick up their Retrospective in December, i know i will be.

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Vendor Defender

Vendor Defender

Following the theme of great pop acts around Scotland comes a band i knew in name for a long time before bothering to listen to them as i had the pleasure of supporting them and their groove laden indie pop stayed in my head the next few days which lead to me going to the launch of their last single "Dreamphone". With their new single "Golden Shivers" just released this week it seemed the perfect time for an interview.

1. Who are Vendor Defender?

We are Zak Frazer and Suse three people who love to listen, make and play music together.

2. What are your preferred methods of defence?

Suse likes firewalls, Zak wears chain mail and Frazer uses numchucks

3. How did the band come together?

We met at uni in first year, half on the internet, half in real life in halls. Frazer and Zak were at a party, Zak and Suse were on thesubcity radio forums...

4. Tell me a bit about the single?

Golden shivers is our take on dubstep but done with a band. We came upwith it one miserable day last year in our old grotty rehearsal roomsin Dalmarnock, perhaps the song reflects that it's quite dark. It'sbeen described as 'gothic'...?? It's not gothic...

5. What are golden shivers? and are they often followed by silver shakes?

Usually yes, if you've had enough to drink.

6. What process do you go through to writing your songs?

Normally one of us has an idea and we all work on it together and develop it in a full song.

7. Any plans for an album? Whats in the pipeline?

Not yet. Writing recording playing is our main priority just now. Whenthe time is right, it will be done.

8. What would be better a gig on a boat or gig in a castle?

A castle definitely, Suse is scared of water and everyone would be seasick.

 9. Who would be your dream support slot?

We like playing with our mates' bands, but we've love to support Yeasayer, Rilo Kiley, The Strokes, Battles though.

10. Parting thoughts?

Good-day and thank you. Go buy our single on CD at our bigcartel, now. It's also out on iTunes and other good internet-music-outlets.

Thanks alot to the band for answering the questions, their single "Golden Shivers" is out now so why not give it a listen at their Myspace. You can catch them in glasgow on the 26th of November supporting the awesome We Have Band at the Captains Rest in Glasgow.

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Miniature Dinosaurs

Miniature Dinosaurs

Some people see pop as a bad word, I for one am not one of those people and when i think of great new Scottish pop acts Miniature Dinasaurs are never far from my mind. Their EP Chatterbox was on repeat on my CD player for some time after getting a copy and new single "Cold Shoulder" has all the great pop hooks of that release and gets me excited to hear more from them, so I invited Barry Dinosaur to answer some questions...

How did Miniature Dinosaurs come about then?

It was a Tuesday night at a Stirling Albion match, on a cold winter's terracing in Arbroath.  I met Alban at half time, we discussed our love for Pulp and as soon as full time came about we went back to Stirling to jam away the defeat...

Did you always know how the band was going to sound?

Alban and I put a few songs together that we used to get started, and then when we met Sam at Stirling Uni and Craig at the Tolbooth the songs really came to life.

Whats been the highlights so far of being a Miniature Dinosaur?

Personally I enjoyed playing at Forthbank Stadium before Stirling Albion lifted the Championship Flag!  More recently, being part of Being Victor on MTV has also been exciting.

Do you fear bigger dinosaurs? like Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs for instance?

I embrace them!  Perhaps we should ask them to remix one of our tracks?  Dinosaur overload!

Would you prefer a huge gig where a few people liked you or a tiny gig where everyone liked you?

If you mean that only a few people in the room like us before we play then I'd take the huge gig.  We love nothing more than being presented with a room full of people to win over.  At our level that is what we really need, and this is why we love going to new places, and then coming back to build on it.

Tell me a bit about the single?

Well, not long after the afforementioned Arbroath game Alban and I decided to start playing a few open mic nights around Stirling.  Love them or hate them, we had so much fun.  One of the covers we mixed in with the originals was 'Toxic' by Britney Spears.  Some of the melodies that we wrote for our special little re-arrangement are what went on to become the basis for the Cold Shoulder tune.

Whats next for you guys? Anything people should know?

We're going to play a few more gigs in November to promote Cold Shoulder and then go into hibernation for winter.  Perhaps hibernation isn't the right word as those months are looking like being very busy for us off-stage.  We really want to get ourselves together for a big push next year, starting February.  Some of the things that have been talked about are very exciting..!

Ice Age or Jurassic Park?

I took a vote.  Two say Jurassic Park and two say Ice Age.  I'm not sure what to do now..?

Parting words?

If you get a chance to come and see us we'd love it if you came along.  Thanks for even reading about us!

You can buy their single here, you can listen to more songs online at their Myspace and dont forget you can catch them live in Glasgow in King Tuts on November 3rd supporting the awesome Mitchell Museum, just contact the band on myspace or even their Facebook.

Thanks alot to Barry for answering the questions and keep your eye on the blog for more interviews to follow.

Sound Surrounds, x.

Friday, 15 October 2010

Testing 1,2,1,2....

Hello and welcome to Sound Surrounds.

A new blog keeping you up to date with cool bands from and playing in Scotland and just whatever i feel like to be honest, it will be a mix of interviews, releases and an occasional rant.

Hope you enjoy what you read.

Sound Surrounds