We’ve revamped the photo section on the site. Head over to see a selection of photographs from the club featuring our past guest DJs at King’s Cross Social Club and The Albany.
I’ve put them on our Facebook page too. Feel free to tag yourselves and your friends.
We’re back on Saturday night at King’s Cross Social Club. Doors are at 9pm where I’ll be playing a few rarities that usually don’t get an airing at the club.
Pat Nevin will be DJing from 10:30pm to midnight. You can see what he played the last time he DJed for us on the guest DJs section of the site.
If you have any requests for the night, you can post them on the Facebook event.
The second Scared To Dance podcast is now available. This time round we’ve got Pat Nevin to pick some of favourite songs from jangly indiepop to noisy post-punk.
Pat is DJing at the club next Saturday as we return to King’s Cross Social Club. Full details can be found on the club section of the site.
You can listen to the podcast for free on Mixcloud.
Check out our new Tumblr page. I’ve put all of our club night flyers on there for your pleasure.
The visual aspect of the night has always been important. There’s some stunning work in there. It’s hard to choose a favourite. We’ve had everyone from Werner Herzog, Scott Walker, Albert Camus, Harold Pinter, Richard Burton and Sylvia Plath on the cover of our flyers. So many wonderful images.
Credits: June 2009 – December 2010 Alistair McDonald, January 2011 – present Bree Wright.
The former Chelsea, Everton and Scotland footballer is amongst our favourite guest DJs we’ve had at the club so we’re delighted to welcome him back.
The last time he DJed for us he played everything from Camera Obscura, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, The Fall, New Order, The Go-Betweens and Pulp. You can listen to that playlist on Spotify
We’ll be playing our mix of indiepop, post-punk and new wave music. Doors open at 9pm to 2am and you can post your song requests on the Facebook event.
There are only two of you in the band. Has it always been a conscious decision to keep the line-up slim and tight?
Ian: We used to have another guitarist, but yes, I would say so. It makes things a lot simpler from a practical point of view. Sound-checks are much quicker! But more importantly I like the directness of two guitars, bass and drums. I’m into making records with lots of overdubs but I see no reason to replicate that in a live setting. At gigs we like to go for the jugular.
Do you ever see the day when you’d get a drummer or expand the line-up in other ways?
Ian: I’m happy without a drummer. We did consider it early on and there are live drums on some of the recordings, but I think the drum machine is more than adequate for our purposes. We’ve played with guests from time to time (Andrew Jarrett of The Groove Farm, Brad San Martin and One Happy Island, Pierre Sparf of Liechtenstein, Rocker) but I can’t see anyone becoming a permanent fixture. Living in different cities we find it difficult to find the time to practice as is.
You’ve played quite a few gigs in continental Europe. How was Madrid Popfest? What sets it aside from the London shows?
Ian: Madrid was amazing! We were treated very well indeed and the whole weekend was superb from start to finish, in every way. It was great to see Spanish bands like Los Autocratas and Zipper. Because it was the first ever Madrid Popfest the atmosphere was very special. There was a sort of unbridled excitement to it all that reminded me of the first Indietracks festival in 2007. It’s hard to compare it to the London edition as they are both great in their own way. I wasn’t at London this year so can’t really comment, but I guess the main difference would be that Madrid was a smaller-scale event with fewer bands.
Pete: Madrid was an incredible event. There was such a sense of togetherness and joy stemming from the fact that the nine organisers had managed to pull off something unique and magical for indiepop in Madrid. The hospitality we were shown all weekend was quite humbling and to be presented with a momento and two chocolates immediately after coming off stage was a lovely touch. I played on the Saturday as well, with The Blanche Hudson Weekend, who got the full dry ice treatment for some reason!
You put out the compilation Popkids of the World Unite! out in October of last year containing b-sides and rarities. Tell us more about that release.
Ian: We planned it for a while. Ever since we did the Frosty Cat Songs LP in 2006 we’ve released nothing but singles on many different labels and mostly as limited editions. It just seemed like a nice idea to collect them all.
Pete: It feels like a proper LP in that the songs are sequenced to fit together in that order, rather than being chronological. The only song that hadn’t been released before was our Jonathan Richman cover, which was earmarked for a Fortuna Pop! compilation. It seemed the right time to do compile the tracks.
Can we expect an album of new material anytime soon?
Ian: We’re just finishing a couple of tracks for an expanded edition of The Knitwear Generation EP (originally released this year on Fika) that’s coming out on Susy Records. After that we’ve promised ourselves a little bit of a break from gigging so we can concentrate on recording our second album. I’ve had some of the songs written for about 4 years now, so it’s about time we got them on tape! I think they’re my best songs yet. We’ll see!
How much did you enjoy playing Read and Shout recently? How important do you think having a tight knit indiepop scene in London is for these charity events?
Ian: It was an honour to be invited, and a great bill. I read a review of it that trashed most of the bands – us in particular – in a really mean-spirited way. Given that the bands played for free to support a great cause I found that deeply troubling, but there we go. Hats off to Matt for organising the day. I definitely think it’s important to have a tight knit community – all the time, not just for charity events.
Pete: It was an event we were proud to put our name to and to support. The Sweet Nothings spelt things out in song: “So be careful what you wish for/And remember what they did/Remember how they tore this land in two/They might tell you different stories but they’re still the same old Tories/And they’ll *always* put the bankers before you”. It’s just as important – maybe more important given the likely effect of cuts on people’s lives in the poorer areas of the country – to have a tight knit community outside London to organise and support voices of protest.
You recorded a split 7” with The Blanche Hudson Weekend on Odd Box Records for their Singles Club. What’s the story behind “Get Cleansed!”?
Ian: Typically for a Horowitz song the lyric is a bit oblique, but it’s sort of about embracing your flaws. “Dear former friends and lovers/I hope this letter finds you well/You said it’s not the fact of falling/But the beauty in the way you fell” It’s biblical shit man! We were delighted when Trev agreed to release it.
Speaking of Odd Box, you’re playing their Weekender on 8th May. What do you have in store for your set?
Ian: I’d like to sneak some new songs in there. But otherwise expect a lot of loud noise!
Miguel, you joined the band by replying to an 18 month old advert by Andrew for band members. Can you tell us more about that?
Miguel: I had just arrived in Glasgow and was looking for people to form a band. I didn’t know anyone here so I just scoured the records shops for adverts. I was surprised that there were not more indiepop or non-mainstream indie proposals. Back then, I thought everyone in Glasgow was like Jim Reid or Caesar. Andrew’s ad was the only one that seemed interesting to me. I found it by chance well underneath a bunch of posters and ads. His had long been covered by adverts put up by people who are probably famous now. Apparently he had given up trying to form a band by then, but thankfully he changed his mind.
You released your debut LP Living and Growing at the end of last year. How has reception to the album been?
Andrew: Although we promoted the album more widely, the reception has mainly been from the indiepop community, with listeners, bloggers and DJs (at least those who have made their feelings known) almost universally heralding Living and Growing as one of the best albums of 2010. We were fairly confident that the album would be well received but I have to admit to being really thrilled at just how highly people think of it. We would ideally like it if everyone got a chance to listen to us but, then again, it’s nice to know the possibility exists that word will gradually spread.
Miguel: I think it’s been a great reception in general. We have received very good feedback from many different sources from different countries. It makes me happy to see that we have not disappointed those who have somehow followed the band through the years, since out first single. As Andrew says, practically all the reception came from the indiepop scene, the mainstream media has kept either disliking or simply ignoring us, but we did not expect anything else really.
The Scottish Arts Council funded the album. They’ve got a great history of funding albums from Camera Obscura to Butcher Boy as well as funding Scottish bands to play SXSW. How vital were they in getting the album released?
Miguel: In brief, this album would have never been released without this funding. Not at that moment at least. I am sure this has been the case for many, probably the most, of the bands that have released records in Scotland thanks to their help. So it’s easy to get an idea of how the cuts in the SAAC, Creative Scotland nowadays, will impact on the Scottish music scene.
Andrew: Had we not been funded, we may have eventually got round to releasing an album but it wouldn’t have sounded as good. I think we would have ended up doing it on the cheap which would have been a shame.
Where was the LP recorded and who produced it? How long did it take to write and record?
Andrew: It was recorded at CaVa by Brian McNeill and we produced it with him. Brian made recording an album really enjoyable and gave us loads of ideas – yet still made the album sound like us. It’s testament to his skills that we managed to record, mix and master the album in 7 10-hour days. One benefit of not having much time was that we didn’t get a chance to over elaborate the arrangements.
Miguel: Working with Brian was great, he got straight-away what we wanted and what we didn’t. He really captured the sound of the band. It was pretty tight indeed but we managed to record it in a week. That would probably have not been possible working with someone else or somewhere else. CaVa is a superb studio where many of our favourite albums were recorded, so it was a real treat to get to record there. However I remember us talking about this before going into studio and we all agreed we didn’t actually want to sound like any of these records. We were slightly concerned about the possibility of not getting to capture the intensity and brightness of our live sets, but these fears quickly vanished I really think that we accomplished what we intended.
I recently caught you at London Popfest. How much are you looking forward to playing NYC Popfest? Which bands are you looking forward to seeing the most?
Andrew: We’re really pleased to be playing and, having never been outside of Europe in my life, I’m personally over the moon to get to visit NYC. I love a couple of songs by Days so I’ll be watching them to hear more.
Miguel: I can’t wait to the NYC Popfest, it will be our first gig in the U.S., out of Europe actually, and we have long wanted to go there to play, so we are really excited about it. I am looking forward to seeing Days and The Sunny Street; also, Gold-Bears, Tiny Fireflies, Betty and the Werewolves and The Specific Heats. I think the bill is excellent.
What other gigs do you have lined up for the remainder of 2011?
Miguel: We have been playing steadily since June last year, before and after the release of Living and Growing, both in the UK and abroad. Apart from the NYC Popfest, we will be playing in Copenhagen and Hamburg in May. After that, we plan to take a break from live shows and concentrate in new material on which we are currently working.
And finally, Andrew, did you mum really think you were gay because you listened to Morrissey?
Andrew: I don’t actually know. She did once say to me that she would be happy with whatever sexuality I turned out to be, but perhaps she said that to all her children.
Colm and Bentley used to be in Language of Flowers, so how did the band get together?
Ben: Just an advert on Gumtree or somewhere. I was in another band that never rehearsed or gigged so was looking for something else to do. Bentley sent me a demo of an instrumental of “Cottonopolis” and I thought it was the best thing I’d ever heard.
Where does the bands name come from? Did you take it from the song of the same name?
Colm: I always loved Nancy Sinatra’s cover of Stonewall Jackson’s “Help Stamp Out Loneliness” and was gonna use it for a club night that me and Tara from Language of Flowers were gonna do. It was similar to Jarvis Cocker’s old night Little Stabs at Happiness. I think Ben stole it for a night in Manchester that he did with Andy Rourke and then it seemed too good to pass up on when we wanted to have another band on the go after Language of Flowers split up.
You’ve just released your debut LP on Where It’s At Is Where You Are. How did you get to know John Jervis?
Ben: He came to our first ever UK gig at HDIF in Brixton. We recorded it ourselves in bits and pieces over about a year.
Colm: I was a bit suspicious of John at first, as I had been obsessed by getting hold of Shrag’s “Pregnancy Scene” 7″. I met him at ATP and drunkenly promised to make sure I got one. His eyes were in the back of his head at the time, so wasn’t surprised not to receive it. The thing about John is that he has turned out to almost be my guardian angel and has really looked after me going through a really bad time. If anyone else ever did him wrong I would happily hack them to death with his unsold copies of WIAIWYA 015 and WIAIWYA 024. Whatever they are.
The album has a real sheen to it that would sound perfect on the radio. Who produced the LP?
Ben: Woodie Taylor mostly, with other bits by Martin Coogan, Yves Altana, Craig Gannon and Bentley.
You’ve just released “Record Shop” as a single. Have you decided which other songs will be singles?
Ben: Well we’ve had two singles – “Torvill & Dean” and “Pacific Trash Vortex”, but not sure if we’re gonna release any album tracks as singles – probably something new
You were my absolute standout band at London Popfest. How important do you think these Popfest’s are to supporting indiepop music?
Colm: I’ve only been to the London ones, we couldn’t afford to go over to the New York one even though we were asked. They do seem a good thing and having been following this scene for too many years, it is good to have something going on in so many different places.
You played Indietracks in 2009 and you’ll be back for this year’s festival. What are you looking forward to the most at the festival? What other gigs do you have coming up in support of the album?
Colm: I’m looking forward to kidnapping Dan from Pocketbooks/Full Fathom Down again and handcuffing him again to my hotel bed and force feeding him cheap vodka. That was my highlight. The other highlight was being thrown against a radiator by Bentley in the same room and banging my head against the very same handcuffs from the previous night. After Indietracks we will be playing all the same places that we played before. Hamburg and hopefully New York at some point.
Ben: My highlights from last time were eating the pains’ rider ham and playing Bentley’s “what’s your best dinner?” game (I think the winner was the Teeside delicacy parmo). Next time I’m looking forward to drinking under a train, drinking on a train that goes nowhere and seeing that whole roast pig.
“Cottonopolis + Promises”
A ‘Dear John’ letter to our beloved city of Manchester – a city sadly trapped between sentimentality and hipsterism.
It’s about a woman in LA who puts billboards up of herself all over the show. It’s kind of an indie version of the Bros classic ‘When Will I Be Famous?’
Stalkers, blow-jobs and quite possibly murder-suicide.
“The Ghost With a Hammer in His Hand”
A bizarre love triangle between Joseph, Mary and God …. and Jimmy Wilde. So not really a triangle after all.
A ‘once bitten, twice shy’ ex-lover won’t be fooled again into being filmed on some shitty Eumig Super 8 whilst performing sexual favours in pub beer garden. True story.
A Club 18-30’s romance turns awry when a Northern Irish girl unsuspectingly becomes a drugs mule. Don’t ask.
This one’s all about falling in love with someone whose main characteristics all point towards them being a member of the un-dead.
“Me, Sola & C”
A kitchen-sink Othello. A girl is convinced by her ‘friend’ that her man is a cheat. Tragedy and Martini Vermouth ensue.
Forget vinyl – audio cassettes were the best format. This is an ode to an ode – the original ode being The Smiths’ ‘Rubber Ring’.
It’s about taking loads of ketamine, jumping in the Bridgewater Canal on a hot summer’s day, forgetting how to swim and not giving two fucks.
Scratch n’ Sniff.
A glorious anthem for the sexually repressed sun-kissed swingers from Cheshire set.
You first used the Butcher Boy title as a pen name when submitting poetry to newspapers. I’ve always assumed you took name from the 1917 Buster Keaton short film. Why did that appeal to you?
The band name mostly came from the Patrick McCabe book, to be honest… I read it when I was 18 and it really moved me – very funny, but very sad too. That said, I had the film at the back of my mind too – though mostly for the Fatty Arbuckle connection!
I first became aware of your music in 2007 at How Does It Feel to Be Loved? who released your first two albums. The new LP is due to come out on the Damaged Goods label. How did the change come about?
After we released React Or Die Ian Watson, who runs HDIF, and I had a talk about the band and the label… we’d been fortunate to have a lot of good press with the record but we hadn’t really been able to do anything with it. It was partly down to us – we’ve all got work commitments and can’t play many shows – and partly down to a lack of a substantial promotional budget for HDIF. Ian said we could release another record on HIDF – but the problems we’d had with React Or Die would happen again. Ian suggested we have a look around and see what options were available – and we were very lucky to find a new home with Damaged Goods.
Tell us more about the forthcoming new album. In terms of the sound, is it much of a departure from Profit In Your Poetry and React Or Die?
I was thinking about this question today and I think it is! After React Or Die we wrote a score for a film called Chick’s Day, and we performed it at the Glasgow Film Theatre last June. I had an idea we would never go back to it – that it would only ever exist for the people who were there – but I loved the challenge of doing it, and the discipline that was involved, and we ended up taking some of the strands from that work and have used them for this record. So we have a few instrumental pieces… a few themes! The last song on the record is an instrumental called “Every Other Saturday” and I think it’s the best song we’ve ever recorded. It’s certainly the one I’m most proud of.
Can we expect a new dancefloor hits like “Carve a Pattern”? It’s one of my favourite records to play at the club.
I hope there are at least a couple! The first single from the record is going to be a song called “Imperial” and I think that should fit the brief.
I really enjoyed the video for “A Better Ghost” from your last album. It was partly film at the Britannia Panopticon Music Hall in Glasgow. Who filmed it and will there be more promotional videos for the new LP?
It was filmed by a friend of a friend called Jerry Kelly… I sketched out a story that fleshed out what the song was about and I asked my friends Keith and Alison to be in it. It was a lot of fun to do, I’d definitely like to do more! We were asked last year by a chap called Bryan O’Neil if our song “This Kiss Will Marry Us” could be used on a film Bryan was making… we agreed to a swap! We’ve let Bryan use the song and Bryan is going to make a video for us in return… I’ve given Bryan free rein to do whatever he likes with any song from the new record!
At the end of the last year you organised your own Christmas Fayre at Mitchell Library. Is the closure of many libraries throughout the UK something you feel passionately about? How did the Fayre itself go?
It’d be a brave frontman of an indiepop band who said he didn’t care about library closures! The Fayre was really good fun – it was difficult to organise but the library staff were incredibly helpful to us and our friend Jude did a fantastic job of making sure everything in the Fayre itself went to plan.
I’m writing this the day after you’ve been announced as part of Indietracks 2011. How excited are you about playing the festival again?
We’re very excited! We played in 2009 and had a fantastic time – and this time we’ll have the opportunity to hang around and enjoy the rest of the festival too. We’ve had a bit of a run getting up to speed with our new songs – depending on the mood and the weather we’ll do our very best!
Is there anyway fans can get there hands on the elusive The Eighteenth Emergency EP?
The physical copies are long gone… I don’t even have one! We pressed about 200, and they were only on sale at the Glasgow café shows we did in 2007. The four songs are on iTunes though!
You used to run the legendary National Pop League in Glasgow. Is there a time when you could ever see bringing it back?
I miss the NPL a lot – especially on days like today in Glasgow, when it’s sunny and it’s blowy. I made some fantastic friends through it, and sometimes I feel guilty about it ending. But in the end, it was the right thing to do – it’s right that its history and I would never go back to it. I still DJ from time to time around Glasgow – I had a small NPL side project called Little League, and I tend to put on three or four of these a year. These are good fun… I was absolutely dedicated to the NPL and it was run with military precision but the Little Leagues are a little looser… I’m able to make the odd mistake with it!