Monday, 1 March 2010

Sons and Daughters Interview

I spoke to the lovely David Gow.

First of all, have you seen the film Anchorman?

Anchorman, yeah.

When you thought of the title ‘Love the Cup’ were you just naming objects in the room and saying that you loved them?

(laughs heartily) What’s the Anchorman link to that?

When Brick says I love lamp, carpet…

Oh yeah yeah yeah, that’s right.

Well actually that title came from a misheard lyric. We’d been racking our brains for about a week trying to think of a title, it was our first record and we thought we needed something really important. Scott misheard a Johnny Cash lyric, in The Man Comes Around, and I can’t remember what he actually sings but Scott thought it said ‘love the cup’. And it stuck, we kind of liked it because it’s quite obscure.

It’s got quite a rhythmic quality to it. It’s quite solid.

It’s a good name!

I thought so. Said E.P, Love the Cup, was financed by the band…

It was actually financed by the Scottish Arts Council. We applied for funding to do it and won an award, they awarded us money to be able to do that. So we were allowed to use that money for pretty much whatever we wanted really. They are very lenient, so we decided to use it to record.

Good use of the money.

Yeah exactly.

Do you think it’s important to have that kind of independence in a band? Well obviously it’s slightly different that it was from the Award, but still you went out and got the money…

Yeah it’s always been very important to us, I mean we are an independent unit, and we are in control of every single aspect of what we do. That’s why we’re on Domino now, because they allow for that.

They’re a really good label.

They’re the best label in the world I think.

They have some really great bands too.

It’s really ethically minded, really nice to the bands…you know they just do everything right. They’re a great model for future record companies. So yeah, we’ve always been hugely independent and democratic.

You moved from Ba Da Bing! records, was it quite noticeably different?

Yeah, Ba Da Bing! is run by one man, sort of a bedroom label operation type thing…it’s great, you know, the chap that runs it, Bendal Burkes, he’s great, but it’s very much independent, under the radar stuff. The difference now if the large operations, there’s a lot of people looking after different aspects, whereas Bendal was just one man, we split it 50 50 over a handshake…that old school kind of Tony Wilson, written on the back of a fag packet… I mean we went to stay at his house, he put us up for a fortnight, and we played shows in New York and stuff like that. It was great because it was a way of us having a CD, a product, that we could then send out…rather than having a crappy, CVR kind of thing. It was really nice to actually have a finished, really nice record.

I’m asking about Love the Cup a lot, because I wanted to ask you if you believed in fate and magic…… I saw you supporting Idlewild and was really struck by your music and also the general band…and when I got home, your CD had just appeared in my house. None of my friends or family knew who you were…and it was just there, on the side in the kitchen.

None of your family or friends had bought it? Ahhhh that’s cool. (Sounds adequately impressed)

I couldn’t think of anywhere it could have come from…because it was quite early days for the band too. So anyhow, that put a bit of a different angle on things for me.


So do you believe in fate?

I think we do, yeah. We believe in things like ghosts, and the supernatural, definitely. We’re all quite keen on it…Scots are fascinated by it.

Well you’ve got quite a lot of old castles…

There’s quite a close music community in Glasgow, do you think that helped your progression as a band in the early days?

Certainly; well it helps when we’re friends with Franz Ferdinand and Idlewild, things like that; as a close knit community…I wouldn’t say it’s a ‘scene’ because no two bands are alike really, other styles can be vastly different. It’s certainly helped us…Franz Ferdinand asked us to go on tour, very early on, and that was a massive thing for us.

It’s interesting how you say it’s not the same sound, because you get a lot of comparisons to Franz Ferdinand, and I don’t really see that.

I don’t get that either, no.

Maybe it’s because you’re on the same label…or both Scottish?

People might say that if they’ve never heard us, basically. We’re nothing like Franz, I mean apart from our intent and ambition.

You’re a lot darker.

We’re like the Rolling Stones to the Franz Ferdinand’s Beatles.

(Chortle) Not quite.

With better tunes.

If both of them were playing on the same night, in their prime of their careers, and you could get a ticket for either, which one would you go to?

That’s so tough. I don’t know…I think musically I prefer the Beatles to the Rolling Stones, but aesthetically and conceptually I like the Rolling Stones more. I mean The Beatles are very light…they have moments of darkness…it’s a tough one. Maybe if it was the show where they both played together on the TV. Then you’d get the best of both worlds.

I’d love to see the Beatles in the early days when they used to eat cheese sandwiches on stage…

Yeah, and a bag of crisps. Just having a bit of a drink and a laugh amongst themselves.

Read a book…have a bath… I think even though the music industry’s changing, if bands stayed like that it would all be good. You should get some sandwiches.

We could do that actually, and have cups of tea.

I saw Devendra Banhart a while ago and he had a cup of tea…so it’s still alive!

Who would you most like to collaborate with if you had the choice?

Hmmmm…let’s see. We would really like to collaborate with Nick Cave.

That would make a really good sound.

Yeah, like an 8 piece monster! (laughs) It would be interesting to see what happened with a bunch of dirty old men.

Would it be at the age they are now?

Yeah yeah, I mean that’s what they say themselves- they’re far too old to be doing what they do but they’re doing it anyway, and amazingly.

Why not, if you can.

So yeah I guess we’d do that.

Good answer. Who would you least like to share a tour bus with, if you were on a bus that drove onto a deserted island and got stuck on it…?

Probably…I don’t know…that’s hard…

They’d have to be fun at first to give you the imperative to be sharing a tour bus with them in the first place.

Maybe Scouting for Girls…because although they are probably lovely chaps, that song ‘She’s so Lovely’ is a band favourite.

And you wouldn’t want to ruin it?

Yeah exactly. Good answer! (laughs at self)

Hahaha. What’s your favourite song, and how do you think it’s influenced you in your life?

I’d say ‘I’ve got it bad---‘ by Nina Simone…it’s just heart breaking, heart rending, beautiful. In terms of influence, I’m not sure if it’s really influenced me. I mean Nina’s band at that point were very good kind of jazz-pop. In the making of the last record we listened to a lot of Nina Simone. But that song is just outstanding; it’s one of those rare things- it’s a sad song but it’s so uplifting. When I hear it my eyes well. I mean, I cry at movie trailers, if the movie looks good, I just well up. So that song perks me up when I need it.

So you wouldn’t ever cover it then, you’d just get all teary…

Yeah I don’t know…I think when you cover something you have to aim to better it.

You can’t do that if you’ve put a song on a pedestal.

I don’t think we could touch Nina.

I don’t think anyone could really.

Unless we radically reformed it into something else…

That’s the problem with all the classics…like Ella Fitzgerald- she made the jazz classics her own, and the same with Nina, and once they’ve done it, no one else can! Their version becomes held in everyone’s head as the standard.

That’s what happened with that song; it’s by Juke Ellington, and Ella did it as well, and it’s good, I mean I love Ella Fitzgerald too, but she’d already taken a Juke Ellington song and twisted it. But Nina Simone just hit it on the head.

Some songs as well just really work for one person.

Yeah exactly.

You do the Stranglers cover…

That one didn’t really work. We just loved The Stranglers. We listened to Nice and Sleazy a lot when we were making the record and just decided we’d have a go at it. I think we just made it a little bit too faithful.

I think covers do especially work when you have a girl singing where a boy did, or a boy where a girl did. You should try doing ZZ Top or something…

We have actually just done a much better one for the B-Side of Gilt Complex, Dancebeats killer, that Seal sang. We were trying to work out a Temptations song, and we were playing that and then just kind of realised that it was Killer as well- so we thought why don’t we just try it, so we played it. It felt good to play, it sounded really good and it was totally us. And we stuck it on in the studio so Adele could write down the lyrics, and there was a line… I mean it’s pretty much a protest song about racism, very cleverly written, not just a Pop song. There’s this section in the middle where it all breaks down and Seal sings “all your sons and daughters know how that feels, yeah yeah yeah”, and we were like, no way! Serendipity and all.

That’s the good thing about old pop songs…big on lyrics, had a lot more meaning.

Exactly. Pop used to mean something else; you could be artistic and intelligent, but still accepted. That’s what we’re trying to do.

Well your music’s definitely artistic and intelligent in my opinion. Kind of on that note…to do with the band name- are you concerned with the Child Benefit scandal that’s going on?

Child benefit scandal?

Yeah, 25 million personal details have been lost by the government, of everyone who’s ever applied for child benefits. All the bank details, names, addresses, got lost in the post.

So where have they ended up then? No one knows? The postal system in this country is a joke. It’s a joke! My postman doesn’t come until like half-past two in the afternoon.

Really? So you don’t get anything till then?

No, no. And you know how you get those parcel things? They come like two weeks after the parcel’s been sent, stuff like that. It’s an absolute shambles. The UK should never have privatised it.

The railways as well.

There’s too many parts, it’s just collapsing.

The band name, and obviously also your musical influences, reflect the traditions of folk singing..families, call and response…Would you want a family-based music group, if you had the chance?

Well, my sister actually plays piano, yeah, could see that happening. Adliegh’s got two sisters, they’re all very very alike- just as beautiful as each other- they’d be an awesome 60s girl group or something like that. And Scott’s brother, he plays in a band called ERROR/AIR?? In Glasgow.

So you could all just collaborate as one massive band…like the Polyphonic Spree.

Why not, yeah. Just call ourselves ‘The Siblings’. Adele’s brother plays bass in a band as well, so yeah, that would work.

You’d have doubling though, of all the instruments; It could work really well if you played alternate notes…

Just be like a massive P-Funk outfit.

Please try it…just once...maybe at Christmas. Last one, at the request of my friend Phoebe- Who would play you in a film about yourselves in which you were robots?

Errmm…Guy Pierce, Hugh Grant, Natalie Portman and Adleigh would be the girl who was in Dawson’s Creek who was in Brokeback Mountain…

Oh yeah! I see that.

They look quite a lot alike.

I think it’s the hair.

Yeah, it’s the hair. That girl.

Good choices. Would you ever make a film where you were all robots?

I forgot about that aspect!

Robots of the music industry…if you ever decided to go really commercial…

If the script was good, yeah.

Who would you like it to be written by?

Probably David Lynch or something like that.

If you decided you wanted to make another kind of music…just to experiment, what would you go for?

Personally, I’d love to be in a Jazz-Rock outfit. I love that band Holy Fuck.

Interview &Words- Ali Hewson

No comments:

Post a Comment