There seems to be a few C86 inspired groups popping up in the city, which may hopefully change the opinion that most bands in Edinburgh are predominantly Folky. Leading the pack are The Spook School, who share a similar spirit to last weeks interviewees PET but with a good dose of Twee about them. Creative Scotland obviously saw their potential as they funded the two recordings on their Band Camp page ‘History’ and ‘Hallam’, and with lines about dissecting Jaffa Cakes, polishing shoes and an unhealthy obsession with cups of tea, it’s not hard to see why. Niaomi from the band kindly answered my questions on behalf of the rest of them.
Who are The Spook School?
“Well, in the 1870′s there was a circle of influential artists and designers known as The Glasgow School who coalesced there and were responsible for creating ‘The Glasgow Style’. One of the groups part of this movement were known as ‘The Four’ or ‘Spook School’.
We’re a tribute band.”
When, Where and Why did you form?
“Sometime last year. It was very cold, so must have been winter.
Naomi and I had written some songs and thought it’d fun to play them with some friends, so I wrote Anna and Niall a message on Facebook saying “Naomi and I have written some songs and think it’d fun to play them with some friends”. Then we all played the songs.
It’s an incredible story. Can’t be long ’till someone does a biopic.”
What are your influences and what are you all listening to?
“Naomi – Well, me and Adam grew up listening to a lot of Blur, and I’m pretty much obsessed with David Bowie, so those two probably effect our writing somehow. We like bands that make great music but don’t take themselves too seriously, ones that are fun to listen to, like 1990s, U.N.P.O.C., The Beach Boys, The Buzzcocks, The Kinks etc etc. Niall’s a big fan of Zoey Van Goey, and I like to claim that everything I do is inspired by the Monkey Island computer games. Books, tv and films are a big influence too, hence the song Hallam being named after the ridiculously brilliant film ‘Hallam Foe’.”
Describe the bands sound in 140 characters or less
“Fun music for your ears!”
Who’s into their Jaffa cakes?
“All of us except Niall eat nothing but Jaffa Cakes. This may be why we’re so short.”
Who writes the songs in the band?
“Naomi – Me and Adam write most of them, sometimes together, but quite often one of us will just be incredibly antisocial for a while before emerging with some kind of song-like thing, desperately seeking validation. If it’s half-decent we take it to Anna and Niall and they turn it into an actual song that bears some resemblance to what we originally wrote but is much, much better. So maybe we all write them all, in a way.”
Creative Scotland funded your demo. How did that come about and will you approach them for funding in the future?
“Adam saw a link to the demo thing on the Verden Studios website and applied secretly, like a ninja. They liked the rough scraps of tunes we had and we got to record two tracks at Verden free of charge – which was very nice indeed. Especially seeing as we had just formed, it was a bit of a kick into gear for us.
The opportunity was great, and we’re insanely thankful to Verden and Creative Scotland. We’re going to try and record a few songs ourselves next (because we’re perfectionists and want to see what we can get without the time constraints of a proper studio) but if/when we get to the stage that we want to produce an EP or album then I think we’d be back chapping at Creative Scotland’s door.”
Is it true one of you does Stand Up?
“Three of us do stand up! Not me though (Naomi) which is why this answer isn’t funny.”
“See 1st answer.”
In the 1870′s there was a circle of influential artists and designers known as The Glasgow School who coalesced there and were responsible for creating ‘The Glasgow Style’. One of the groups part of this movement were known as ‘The Four’ or ‘Spook School’. Does this have anything to do with how you got the name?
“See 1st answer.”
Name some bands with either ‘Spook’ or ‘School’ in their moniker
“Well in Edinburgh there’s The Young Spooks and Edinburgh School for the Deaf. Can’t think of many others though, maybe it’s an Edinburgh thing. It is the city of gothic academia.”
How many beards are in The Spook School? (Judging by the photos I’ve seen I may be disappointed)
“None. Although Niall currently has a musical moustache, do we get points for that? It’s not actually musical though, it’s just a moustache.”
Any future releases we should look out for from you?
“We’re going to record another couple of tracks soon – we’ve got plenty of songs written and ready to go, we just need to figure out how to record drums. It’s a conundrum. Hopefully we should have something soon-ish though, fingers crossed.”
Same goes for shows. Where you playing?
“We’ve got a couple of really cool charity gigs coming up. On 16th (September) we’re on at Henry’s Cellar Bar (Edinburgh) as part of a very fun indie-pop line-up in aid of The Sick Kids Friends Foundation (http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=241332742577563).
We’re also taking part in the Oxjam Edinburgh Takeover on 21st October (http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=143470835740286) which sounds brilliant so far.
After this I assume we may feel like good people for a short period of time even though all we’ve done is quite badly strum some guitars.
Then at Christmas time we’ve got our first ever gig in Glasgow as part of Glasgow Popfest (http://www.bubblegumrecords.org.uk/glasgowpopfest.html) which I’m slightly afraid will make Christmas itself seem a bit rubbish in comparison.”
And finally a truth. Name a really really shite film.
“The Lair of The White Worm, or maybe Shark Attack 3: Megalodon. They are wonderfully awful. WATCH THEM.”
The Spook School – ‘Hallam’[audio https://beardoftruth.files.wordpress.com/2011/09/the-spook-school-hallam.mp3%5D
So there you have it. Have a wee dash across to their band camp page, download the songs and then go check them out live! Thanks to the band for their time!