Beard & Truths #8: Loch Awe

I thought it was time to bring Beards & Truths back home and so plumped for awesome Edinburgh band Loch Awe. Next week they are putting on their own show at Sneaky Petes in Edinburgh on 1st December (2 days before my own Heavy Xmas Pop Party!) and I for one will be heading along, and I strongly suggest you do likewise! I caught up with the Andre The Giant of the indie world and math-head frontman Matthew to chew the fat over his band…….

Who be Loch Awe?

Oh, are we doing the Q&A in pirate-speak? Awesome.

YARRR, Loch Awe be a rag-tag bunch of scurvy seadogs who make music with instruments and stuff. Our names be Matthew (that’s me), Joy, Jack, Oliver and Brian… you yellow-bellied… something-or-other.

Describe the noise Loch Awe make:

This used to be an easy question. I used to just say “We’re a folk band, yeah?” in a slightly pretentious voice, and that was it. But recently we’ve started playing around with electric guitars, proper drums and CRUSHING DISTORTION-WALLS OF PAIN. Also rapping verses and autotune.

That last bit might not be true.

How did you form?

Joy, Jack, Oliver and I all met at university. We played as a four-piece for a wee while until a certain free Scottish music magazine gave us a live review which basically said “they need a bassist.” Luckily, we had met Brian a few months earlier while recording a session for his radio show, so we asked him to join and he did. Because, as I’m sure you’ll know, Mr Beard, Brian is a complete band-whore.

How many beards grow in the band?

Of the five members only Brian and I have ever had beards that I’m aware of. Oliver and Jack, I think, are able to grow beards but don’t and Joy, being female, has real trouble growing anything. She’s tried really hard, too, but it just isn’t happening.

Current listening pleasures?

I recently rediscovered The Twilight Sad, and have listened to nothing but Forget the Night Ahead since last week. Also, I took up running a few weeks ago and Zomby’s latest record, Dedication, is great for that, so I’ve had that on quite a bit.

Other artists I’ve had on in the last wee while include Wildbirds & Peacedrums, Kate Bush, Paul Simon, Low, Conquering Animal Sound, The Microphones/Mount Eerie, Sweep The Leg Johnny and Adam Stafford

If the band were a noun what would it be?

This is a shockingly hard question. Had you said adjective I’d have replied ‘uncool,’ or maybe ‘uncouth.’ One of the un-words. But since you said noun, I’ll reply: “Hm, ‘Uncool,’ or maybe ‘Uncouth.’”

See, I added capital letters to make it look like they were the names of things. Really hip club nights or something. The kind of club nights that would never, ever, play our music.

You wrote, recorded then released your first album for free within a month. How did you approach the recording process and will the next album you do be free?

We approached the recording process like complete amateurs. We owned two microphones and some crappy recording software, so we just went for it. Listening back, it’s atrociously mixed, there’s too much glockenspiel and one or two of the songs are only half-finished. Saying that, I wouldn’t change any of it. It’s exactly as we sounded in the two weeks after we decided to form a band, which is what we wanted.

In another Q&A I did recently I swore we’d release the next album as a pay-what-you-want download, but that was reliant on the record costing nothing to make again. We’d like to put it out either free, or very cheap, but I also want it to sound good, so we’ll see what happens.

Matthew, you’re forever doing side projects. Which is your favourite?

I hate them all equally.

I’ve actually just started a new one. It might be more than just me recording bad songs in my bedroom this time. (No promises). It’s called “The Meanest Creature Ever Known” and there should be an album or EP or something out next year.

Name some other bands with Scottish place names as their moniker

All of these are real bands and I definitely didn’t make a single one of them up:

Pitlochry Train Station
Drum-based spoken word poetry. In Gaelic. I KNOW, RIGHT?
(I actually asked on Twitter what people thought this band would sound like, and the replies I got ranged from “depressing” to “chuffing shite”).

Knightswood Shopping Centre
Grunge-metal made by Glasgow neds. A real spectacle.

Ben & the Nevises & Sons
You can guess exactly what kind of sarcastic comments I’m going to make here, so I won’t even bother.

Any gigs to plug?

Everyone in Edinburgh (EVERYONE) should come to the show I’m putting on, on December 1st, at Sneaky Pete’s. We’re playing with Adam Stafford and Revrieme. And we’re headlining. That’s what happens when you let bands put on their own shows.

The Facebook event is here: http://www.facebook.com/#!/event.php?eid=129972950435750
Tickets can be bought here for a pound cheaper than they’ll be on the door:  http://www.wegottickets.com/event/133681

Beard Of Truth is a big fan of gig posters. Your poster for the show you’re doing on the 1st Dec is pretty brilliant. Can you tell everyone who designed it?

That would be Joni Langdale. She’s brilliant, and her blog is here: http://joni-langdale.blogspot.com/
I think, with the reaction this poster’s got, we’ll be going to her for all of our posters in future.

Matthew, you’re a notorious Math-Head (like meth-head, except you smoke numbers). What’s your favourite Mathematical equation?

Am I notorious? Great! I’ve always wanted to be notorious. There’s no competition for this one really, it’s got to be Euler’s identity. Google it. It’s beautiful.

What would be the perfect band to open for in your dream venue?

Right now I’m really into the idea of playing shows in unusual venues, so I’m going to say that my dream venue would be either the Banshee Labyrinth Cinema (where I saw Adam & Anna from The Spook School’s comedy group Fresh Bread during the Fringe) or Bedlam Theatre. Some ideal artists to open for would be Paul Simon (I hear he’s touring Graceland next year – I await his call), The Wave Pictures, WHY? or Bjork. You know, the usual people.

Name a classic album / band everyone bangs on about, that you just don’t get at all and why.

The Stone Roses. It’s in my head because of the reunion announcement. I just don’t get the fuss at all. I don’t think they’re particularly bad, I just don’t think they’re particularly good either.

If Loch Awe were a superhero, who would it be?

One of the useless ones. I did a doodle in class once of “X-Men Whose Powers Could Also be Classified as Serious Physical Disabilities”. They included Lamp-Man (his body is a lamp), Cup-Girl (she’s a cup) and Teabag-Boy (you guessed it, he’s a teabag). We’d be one of those.

Pick one label you’d love to be signed to.

While there are a couple of labels who, if they asked, we wouldn’t turn down, I’m perfectly happy with us not being signed. We’re still managing to release music, play shows, and have fun.

To answer the question properly, if anybody at K Records is reading this, HELLO PLEASE SIGN US I WANT TO MEET PHIL ELVERUM.

Favourite gig Loch Awe has played?

We played a show with a band called The Last Battle (they’re great, but the singer’s a dick, HA) and King Creosote to a sold out Wee Red Bar. That was absolutely brilliant.
That and, two weeks ago, we played at the Elephant House to, basically, a crowd of our mates. That was really good fun. They even made us do an encore.

Name a really shit film

I don’t really know much about films, so I’ve not seen that many truly awful ones. When my little brother was younger he used to watch the Rush Hour films over and over again on repeat. I grew to hate those films more than any other films ever made. Also, I’ve just been reading about the Hollywood version of Doctor Who which preproduction is just beginning on, which it would seem plans to completely ignore the TV show continuity. There is no way that will be any good.

Man, I’m a nerd.

To listen to Loch Awe and their wonderful album head over to their bandcamp page http://lochawe.bandcamp.com/  and don’t forget to get yourself down to their show on 1st Dec!!

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