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”. 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.”

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