Sons and Daughters interview

It doesn’t happen often. You walk into some nondescript club and the support band knocks you for six. Yet that was the case at Edinburgh’s Venue when Sons and Daughters opened for Nina Nastasia at the back end of last year. The audience inched closer to the stage, sensing that they were in on the early stages of something big. “What’s your name?” called out a couple of people, but the band didn’t seem to hear. I had to approach them as they loaded their gear into a boot in the teeth of a howling gale. “Look at our website”, they said, “It’s sonsanddaughtesloveyou.co.uk”. Somehow, it seemed apt.
Claiming to be “related in every sense but blood”, Sons and Daughters have not just sprung from nowhere. All four members were active in Glasgow before coming together. Adele Bethel (guitar and vocals) and David Gow (drums and percussion) recorded and toured as members of Arab Strap, in addition to their involvement with the Zephyrs and David Kitt. Scott Paterson (guitar and vocals) is the man behind March of Dimes, while Ailidh Lennon (bass, piano, mandolin) studied the classical route at college. “She lends a touch of class to the proceedings for sure!” enthuses Scott.
The music that had so fascinated the crowd that night was difficult to describe, so how about giving it a go yourselves, guys?
Scott: “We play music which draws a lot from Scottish and American folk influences, fused with an array of everything else we love from blues, funk, country, post-punk and rock n’ roll. It’s difficult to nail us down, I suppose. There is a lot of drama involved in the music and lyrics we write – someone described it recently as ‘killbilly’.”
“We aren’t really aligned to any particular style”, continues Ailidh. “There’s a freedom there to do what we like as long as it feels good to play. It’s not like we sat down and said ‘let’s start a punk-folk band.’ We just started writing and rehearsing, and it evolved into what we sound like now.”
Their debut full album, “Love The Cup” appeared early this year and coincided – with the kind of serendipity that even a great band needs – with a sudden interest in all things musically connected with Glasgow. So how do you fit in?
Scott: “I don’t know if there’s a Glasgow scene as such, but there is definitely a vast range of imaginative and eclectic bands around at the moment. More so than any time I can remember. Bands like Pro-Forma, Multiplies, Foxface and Franz Ferdinand all have completely different styles, but could and have played on the same bill. I don’t think any of the bands in Glasgow fit in with anything happening in the wider circle of music, so I guess that’s something you could say we have in common. There’s a real punk ethic about things in Glasgow though, in the truest sense of the word: do whatever the fuck you wanna do.”?
“There’s no two bands exactly the same”, adds David. “Often there’ll be similar reference points, but I think most bands want to be a little different, and that’s where the excitement comes from. It’s not about posturing, it’s just about trying to be musically good and entertaining.”?
When trying to pin down the charm of Sons and Daughters, an enquiry as to their influences explains a lot.
Adele loves songwriters like (Smog)’s Bill Callahan, and Leonard Cohen. “Lyrically they’re both fucking geniuses. I enjoy the black humour that runs through their records. I also love music that can be depressing, but funny at the same time, like the Smiths.” Scott, on the other hand, admires Bob Dylan, Nick Cave, Johnny Cash and Neil Young. “These are guys that have a real grit and passion about them. I also love Shellac and Led Zeppelin.” And just to complete the melting pot, Ailidh cites bands like Parliament / Funkadelic, Talking Heads and Devo, while for David, it’s the Stooges, Ramones, and Mudhoney. “My new favourite band is Comets on Fire. I’m going to see them in Texas and I cannae wait! I love bands that are a bit wrong!”
One thing you can’t miss is Sons and Daughters’ interest in the Scottish folk tradition. David confirms: “We listen to guys like Bert Jansch, Davy Graham, Anne Briggs, John Martyn. None of these people really set themselves limits on what they should and shouldn’t be doing. If a certain instrument or arrangement should be right for the song, then so be it. That’s the kind of spirit and freedom we want to continue.”
Sons and Daughters are accompanying Franz Ferdinand first on a US tour and then on a UK and European jaunt as well. These bands are made for one another. “We first played with Franz Ferdinand in Stereo, Glasgow”, remembers Ailidh. “There was a great buzz that night, and we were playing the best we could, so they wouldn’t completely blow us off the stage, but they did anyway!”?
“Then we played with them one night at Fibbers in York”, continues Scott, “and it was fantastic! We stayed up into the night drinking and having fun in the hotel. We’re good pals now, and can’t wait to get away on the U.K. tour with them and the Fiery Furnaces.”?
The buzz around this band and its unique appeal is palpable, and they are swept away by it, yet down to earth as well. “At the moment, things are just crazy”, agrees Scott. “Every day there’s a new development or something good to look forward to. It feels great to know we aren’t alone in loving this kind of music.”

From LOGO magazine

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Grandaddy interview

My top musical memory of 2003 was of Grandaddy, publicly claiming to have “taken every drug we could lay our hands on”, blasting out their charming hybrid of hi-tech and pastoral prog at unthinkable volume to a field full of wasted but adoring Glastonbury-goers. The synergy was perfect, and it’s a moment Grandaddy won’t forget either, a highlight of what, for them, has been a brilliant year. Speaking backstage at the Ancienne Belgique in Brussels, Keyboard player Tim Dryden recalls: “Glastonbury was one of our best shows, and it was a very special moment for us, because we’d never played in front of an audience that size. It was even a little bit frightening, but it meant a lot to us because it showed we’d come out of our shell a bit more and the band had matured. And the technology behaved itself” (frantic knocking on wood).
It’s all a long way from the gang which grew up in Modesto, in the Santa Cruz area of California, a place of surfers, pelicans and silicon chips. This is definitely a band which is a community rather than a business. “Jason and I were in high school together and pretty much all of us met through skateboarding. We were all friends long before we were in a band, we skateboarded together; we’re not one of those bands that had to advertise for members”.
A band as unique as Grandaddy could only really have emerged from the inherent contradictions of life in Southern California. “I can honestly say that all the music is written because of where we came from and the fact that we grew up together. ‘Sumday’, particularly, contains a lot more personal stuff from Jason about things that were happening to him, but anyone listening to our albums will understand that they came about because of where we’re from.”
So what’s with the “sprinklers that come on at 3 am”, then? Tim smiles before explaining the song “The Group Who Couldn’t Say”: “The song is written about people who are cooped up in offices, in a cubicle with a computer, and they don’t have a different experience, you know, they go home, watch TV and go to bed, and they don’t really experience what’s going on around them outdoors, until finally someone takes them to the forest and shows them what life is really all about. It renders them speechless.”
Apart from being the most artistically and commercially successful year of Grandaddy’s career, there was one frightening moment which occurred during their fall tour of the US: “Jim go run over by a truck.”
What?
“Yeah, he was just walking off the tour bus and he tripped on the steps. He was drunk, of course, everyone in this band drinks too much. Anyway, he just fell into the road. It just happened that he fell under a production truck just next to the bus. The truck was moving and Jim somehow managed to roll out of the way so that the wheels just missed his head and caught his shoulder.”
Grandaddy is a unique and precious band. Let’s hope they learn to look after themselves better.

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