Sons and Daughters Interview,
Wednesday 21st July, Brighton.
There is also the standard question about how the band managed to decide on a name; again this is best left for Adele to explain "It came from a dream that I once had about Bob Dylan, he was playing "a times they are a changing" in my parents back garden and was singing the line "your sons and your daughters will never get married" and I always thought I'll given up family for years and I just didn't know what I was gonna choose so it seemed pretty simple.
Sons and Daughters are one of those bands that is hard to pigeonhole, as they don't easily fall into any particular genre perhaps then it is best for the band to instead describe there music. As vocalist and guitarist Scott elaborates "I would just say it's a mix of all of our different tastes in music. There's elements of country, elements of roots and folk music, there's elements of post punk, we touchings and splatterings of funk even in there, seriously in the bass lines, it's a big melting pot of everything we love, I think it's the hardest thing to describe your own music."
There is also the standard question that appears in all interviews when an artist has a new album out, which goes along the lines of "so why did you name your new album ?." Perhaps now would be a good time to address why Sons and Daughters decided to name their album love the cup. As Scott conveys "When we were recording the album last July in Chem 19, it came in a dream, we didn't have a name for it, I was listening to the last Johnny Cash album that came out The Man Comes Around and a bit in it was can I have a cup of tea or something and I was listening to it and I thought he said love the cup, and there was another incident as well I can't remember actually, it was a wee bit after that that I heard it on another record. I thought someone else said love the cup, it was just something that kinda stuck I guess, I mentioned it to the other guys and I guess it was another tribute to Johnny Cash. Even though that's not what he says."
It is surprising that Love the Cup was initially only available in America on cult small independent label Ba Da Ding, as usually it is more common for a band to release material in there home country first. But as Adele make's clear "We recorded some demo's about two years ago, we sent them out to some labels, I didn't really know how to go about it to be honest, I didn't know who to send it to. One of them was Ben at Bada Bing, because he was a friend of mine and we had been emailing each other and I didn't want to say that I had a band. I'd known him because he used to work at Matador and Arab Strap were on Matador. I eventually told him and he asked if I could send him a copy, he really liked it and decided to put it out. So we got money from the Scottish arts council to make the record which was really good. After that we slid over to Domino. Domino liked the Demo's but they wanted to hear more songs." David the drummer would continue the discussion by saying "it's weird that you could get our record over here but only in specialist shops who imported it." Before Scott continues "that was like expensive, so now it's great having it in the shops and having it at £6.99, cos I like having kinda introductory debuts at kinda cheap. Things like Hatful of Hollow by The Smiths that was £3.99."
At Present there seems to be a lot of good music coming out of Scotland at the moment particularly Glasgow, be it the renewed vitality of established bands like Snow Patrol and Belle and Sebastian, or the emergence of new bands like Franz Ferdinand. As Scott declares "the last year or so, there's just millions of great bands in Glasgow and I think it's because for the last seven or eight years, obviously you had bands like Mogwai, Arab Strap and Belle and Sebastian coming out in the mid 90's and it was really a bit of a birth for music, in Glasgow there wasn't much happening and I think people kinda got sick of that, so they thought fuck it we're going to do music for a bit of a laugh, so because they were doing it for enjoyment so they ended up just doing what they wanted not what was popular at the time. So now your getting all these bands that don't sound anything like each other and they're just really passionate because it's what the kinda music they love, some bands are electronic, some bands are kinda bluesy kind of thing, some of them are rock bands." Before Adele rationales "I think it's unrealistic to have a constantly brilliant music scene, in Glasgow it seems to just come in bursts every few years." There must be an underlying reason for this, Alidih validates that a reason for this may be because "There's a couple of really good supportive small venues in Glasgow, they put on unsigned bands and that really helps." With Scott going onto declare "Another thing I think as well is that in the last couple of years it has got very friendly, all the bands that are coming though now, there had been maybe more backstabbing of bands in the past, and now it's like everyone is starting a fresh, every ones very friendly, helping each other out, doing gig's with each other, lending each other gear and because it's is such a small place Glasgow you get to meet, if anyones remotely into the same music as you you'll meet all those people and you can't help meeting everyone into that kind of music, so if their in a band you'll see there band, there'll see your band, it's all supportive so everyones egging each other on. Going oh come on but that's what makes it so great, it makes you want to be in a better band."
Previously to this tour Sons and Daughters where the opening act for Franz Ferdinand's recent UK tour, which also had The Fiery Furnaces as support. Of this Scott would comment "I think a lot of fans were expecting Franz clones to be supporting, so we were kinda worried about how we'll go down but it was needless because the age range of the audience was quite vast and everybody seemed to be really receptive, it was a nice reception."
Apart from supporting Franz Ferdinand in the UK they have also supported
them in the USA. Sons and Daughters have also played Music Industry
Festival SXSW, of this Scott would say
Of the future Scott would declare "We're touring just now, doing a tour of England, we're going to go back to America for a few dates in August. Doing Reading and Leeds, going to go to Europe for a couple of shows, plan some more touring for the end of the year. Just writing and rehearsing when ever we can for the next album which will probably get recorded in about December or January something like that."
Love The Cup is out now.
Many thanks to Sons and Daughters and there crew for making us feel welcome and to Alison at Hermana PR.
Lucy: 'Taxidermy' and 'Drink Me' are quite drastically different in their
styles, so what kind of sound can we expect from the 3rd album?
KJG: We don't know yet. We're playing a lot of new material tonight so you'll be able to judge that for yourself. When I'm this close up to it, it's really difficult to tell. I'm on a bit of a negative slant today, but usually with our music I can only hear the bits that have gone wrong rather
than anything that went right. When you reflect back on something it's very difficult to give an objective opinion, and I don't believe in objectivity anyway, I think everything's subjective. I just throw a deck of cards and
wherever they land, that's where she finds herself. I'm not really the one to explain my part in it, you must do that as the observer really, and of course that will reflect your part in the grand scheme of things.
Lucy: Do you enjoy playing live more than the creative process in the studio?
KJG: (Laughs) I don't enjoy any of it. It comes and it goes, ok? There's nothing like when you're writing and you manage to catch something by its
tail; when you're looking for those things underground that are skittering out of sight just when you're about to catch them. And when you catch them it is worth it, but it's a momentary pleasure. I've got so much noise upstairs, and I can hear things in my head that to me are absolutely devastatingly beautiful. I'm always trying to download them and get them
here, but they never get here in the right state, they're always very disabled and they don't even begin to imitate what I can hear in my head.
It's a frustrating process in the main.
Lucy: Your lyrics are simultaneously emotionally expressive and cryptic. Are you looking to be understood by your audience?
KJG: I'm always trying to understand myself, but it's like there's a point in the centre of the room, and there's a hundred windows to look at the same point from. All I can do is give you different angles on the same thing. God, you know, if I could find one conclusive thing in anything I would probably have something to put an anchor down on. But I cant, and I haven't met anyone that can. You can pick out anything you like in my lyrics, I don't seek to be cryptic. I love words for the sake of words, for me they're kind of free standing, and they don't really need to be explained. I think every word has its own character and colour and picture and the result you get with lyrics just depends how you put them together. You could just do it in a William Burroughs esque way, or throw the deck of cards, and you'd probably still find something that our tiny little minds would latch on to in order to gain some kind of emotional understanding. I don't think there's a constant, the only constant that there is for me is that there is no constant. I use myself as my canvas, I gut myself and fillet myself the whole fucking time, I'm always hooking myself out of the water, I'm always cutting my own head off and disembowelling myself, and as you can probably tell I'm quite angry about it at the moment. I'm very tired of it all, of my
process and how I find life, because it always seems to be about living and dying all in one breath. I'm getting pretty fucking tired of that.
Lucy: Do you think drugs stimulate or hinder creativity?
KJG: Well that depends on the drug, because I think most things arrive in the form of a drug really. I know in myself that if anything I am, much to my greater expense, an adrenalin junkie. My synapses don't work well enough to put pills in my mouth, I can't do that, despite popular opinion. I don't need any help breaking down, put it that way. There's not much holding it
together. If there was a drug that could put aline between two polar opposites and make them in to one thing I'm sure I would have it
intravenous, but I haven't found it. I think drugscan be a bit of a lazy way for creativity anyway, you're better off in the cold light of day in the mirror.
Lucy: As a band, you are distinguished by the extreme physicality of your
live performances. Do you consciously make an effort to put on a show or do
your performances just naturally come to you, and whatever happens, happens?
KJG: It's a bit of both, because you see, I think taking the stage is one of the most unnatural things anyone can do. In a way, just walking on stage actually creates an altered state - its not right, no one's meant to do that, unless you're a priest or a magician, or something like that. To put somebody who's very incapable in many ways in to that position creates a combustion reaction inside me. I know that, and I take the stage knowing that. Obviously there's all the usual things that affect my performance; if I'm on my 45th day of a tour I'm probably gonna be pretty fucking tired, so I'll be dictated by that. If I'm doing new material like tonight I don't
know what's going to happen, because we haven't built the train tracks yet. The beauty of playing live is when my drummer goes in to 5th gear or in to 10th gear, and for some reason there's something that hits me in the base of the spine and I'm gone, and that's Halleluiah for me. During the last few months a lot of strange things have been happening onstage, I think the process is changing. I don't know what's going to happen tonight, I've been having quite a tough time on stage, I feel like something's pulling me under, as if something's got me.
Lucy: So does the crowd influence your performances on stage?
KJG: Yes they do. I'm unkind enough to be pretty impersonal about how I do it, so I use them for me to kick against in effect, or to surf on, (I don't
mean physically surf). If you're in an empty roomand there's a couple of people at the back, it doesn't necessarily mean you'll have a bad show -
they might get the show of their lives. And then again when something's really heaving and going off, I get quite a distorted view of it, because I
can feel quite overwhelmed lose my sense of place in the situation. I lose control of myself. I don't know, I probably wasn't meant to do this, I
wasn't built for this. It wasn't a career option, I didn't start there and go there, I didn't pick up the things on the way. I've sort of gone round
Lucy: As the lead singer of the band, most media interest is focused on you.
Do you feel pressurised by your position or do you enjoy being the centre
KJG: I've been here on this wheel long enough,(and I say this with a little bit of trepidation because I think you have to be really careful with this kind of thing, because the motivation to do it in itself I think is usually pretty corrupt) I'm not doing it for anyone else, I need a cheque through the door like anybody else does, you have to keep eating, you have to keep living. I'm looking for some sense of going home on my own terms, and people's critique of me is not relevant, whether it's positive of negative.
I do need a cheque through the door though, otherwise I'll have to go and be a butcher or something.
Lucy: What is the religious meaning behind the song "For I am the way"?
KJG: If you use the word religion in its truest sense, all it means is communion, it hasn't got any of the attachments to any written word. My
understanding of the word communion is loss of the sense. Another way of looking at it is you've got to get in to get out, and the only thing that I
know to be true is me, is this tiny little dot in the centre of the universe. It's the only thing that I know feels pain; I can see other people's pain and I can feel it in an emotional way, but not in a physical way. I find myself in the unfortunate position of feeling like I am the
centre of the universe and that everything is a projection, made by me - i.e. you two don't exist, you're something that I created. I don't wish that
sense upon anybody because it's not a good one. Through 'For I am the way' I'm saying that you've got to get in, because the only thing one knows to be true is oneself. And on a good day, if you stand on top of a mountain or go to the desert or stand in the ocean, and become completely inconsequential, linear time stops and you become everything and nothing. That for me is
communion, that's how I define religion. I thinkthere's a line in there which goes "Today the only bridge I have I burn" which sums it up really, because it is about cutting all lines of communication in order to really truly commune.
Lucy: Do you think that in the future your creativity will move from the sphere of music in to literature for example?
KJG: It's real hard to say. In a way, that sounds like a much easier life. But for all I know I'm deluding myself. I'm looking for someone to help me frame something at the moment, and someone is actually, someone's being really good to me. I would love to write, but I don't know if I'm good
enough to do it.