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Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Void Pleasantries Unsigned Band Spotlight

You have probably seen the name John Mckellar on this website before, as he has penned some great articles for New Hellfire Club Glasgow over the last few months and is pretty much considered part of the team now, which may or may not mean we own his immortal soul, I'll have to check the invisible small print. That's not all Mr. McKellar has on this blog though, not even close... boys and girls, I bring you, the mighty...Void Pleasantries!! A five-piece old school style rock band hailing from Bellshill, with two great sounding and entirely frickin' FREE E.P's on the go already, and a third on the way!

(links to download are at the bottom of the page)

Do yourself a favour and take a visit to their facebook or ReverbNation page and give 'Be The Hunted' a listen to. Then listen to it again but this time, when it starts, I want you to close your tired, heavy little eyes and picture any training montage from any of the excellent late eighties or early nineties action movies you have committed to memory...and enjoy!! Now if that isn't a song made to fit a classic training montage perfectly, then I don't know what is, every time I hear it I now think of Rocky Balboa training in the snow, getting himself ready to whoop some Russian arse!!

It's like a huge shot of caffeine for the soul, which I then top up with dangerous amounts of real caffeine... After that my day is usually sorted, Cheers guys!

The Official Line...

Void Pleasantries are a five-piece alternative rock band based in Bellshill, Lanarkshire and formed in 2006.  Drawing on primarily 80s and early-90s American alternative influences ranging from R.E.M. to Kyuss, we have recorded two EPs, both available exclusively online completely free .

Here's one of our now (in)famous Q&A sessions with the band, check it out!

If you were only allowed to listen to one album for a whole year, what album would you choose and why?

Ross - The Jacksons' album Triumph is a belter. True songwriting genius.

John - Out of Time by R.E.M.. I just don't think there's a single thing on that album that isn't flawlessly placed.  Mike Mills and Michael Stipe's voices have never complimented each other so perfectly together on a single record, before or since.

Connor - Probably Songs for the Deaf by Queens of the Stone Age. In my opinion, this is one of the best albums ever made. It's obvious that there was a lot of time put into making the album perfect.

Has your music evolved much since you first got together as a band? And if it has, what direction has it evolved in?

Ross - When we started out, I only listened to one style of music and didn't care for any other, but now that I have a more varied taste I feel the music has a greater appeal as I've gradually drawn from more influences.

John -  We were initially a completely different band. When we first formed, we were a five piece called Sirus that employed a much more haphazard approach to making music. We had this philosophy of "let's write a song a week", with really little to no regard for the actual substance and structure of these songs. We weren't tight at all, and we dealt with a revolving door situation when it came to rhythm guitarists and drummers in those days.

Over time - with primarily the help of Ross's experience studying songwriting in college - our music has become much more digestible and straightforward.  This gives us a better structured finished article more often than not. Lyrically, I don't think I make any more sense than I did in the earlier days, but I have a better grasp of what word to put where now.  I'm still learning.

Connor - Being John and Ross's brother, I've heard the band evolve over time. Since the band was 'Sirus', I've listened to everything and I believe the music has changed for the better.

Do you remember your bands first ever show, and if so tell us a bit about it.

Ross - First gig was at the Bellshill library building in March 2007. Although it wasn't my first gig personally, it was the first for my band and the first at which I was playing my own music. This made me nervous, and it wasn't helped by not being able to hear my guitar and the fact that the guy we had playing rhythm for us back then had his guitar too loud. This sort of drowned my lead guitar out completely. Despite all this though, it was an enjoyable experience, as is evidenced I think by the fact I'm still doing it.

John - I remember being very nervous! My whole life, I'd never been one for crowds, and definitely had never been comfortable with public speaking or performing in any way. I had just never done it. It was alien to me. I remember playing PS2 an hour or two before it with Thomas the bass player and him saying "John, it's time we got a move on" and just thinking, "Shit. Can I really get up in front of a roomful of people and do this?".  I was very nervous. I think we played as well as we could have that night, considering the weak material we were working with that early on. We got a really nice reception at the end of our set, which surprised me but it felt good to come off knowing I did in fact have it in me to sing on stage.

Connor - I was actually in the crowd for the first show. Of course, I enjoyed it as it happens to have been the first gig I ever saw.

After being spoon-fed dirty big platefuls of x factor and Britain's got talent I truly fear for the future of music, how do you feel about the music industry now, and where it's going?

Ross - I think that X Factor and all that are ruining the music industry as they give these people the false belief that because they win what amounts to a TV game show that somehow this is tantamount to being a talented musician.  It's also dishonest to the public, as Simon Cowell and his people are trying to sell this farce as being truly representative of what it takes to make it in music. They give every Joe Bloggs and his granny the platform to live out their delusions, for the purpose mainly of humiliating them on national TV, while ensuring that the most marketable - not the most talented - contestants succeed.  this takes the soul out of music and has skewed public perception of what creativity in music actually is.

John - I'm going to throw my naivety right out there. This very concept of the music industry is an oxymoron to me. When I think "music", I think art. the greatest form of art in existence. Industry is the same as saying business. Art and business are like oil and water.  I'd just as soon make EPs, put them online and let people have them for free, play gigs for free and just make and share our art with everyone that'll listen. I couldn't care less about the industry.

From a music fan's standpoint, I absolutely despise Simon Cowell and the likes of him and this culture of neutered melodyne pop and pseudo-rap that's emerged the past few years. It's un-listenable, and yet the public buys into it because it's all that's really being pushed.  It's sickening to think that robotic, formulaic crap has now become suddenly the measuring stick for what musical talent is, and all because it makes the suits a quick buck.

Connor - For talent shows, there doesn't seem to be much talent. I'd rather see a display of virtuosic talent, most people can sing better than these contestants. I don't believe that the industry can't be saved but it gets nearer to impossible every year and I fear that eventually music will become a money-making machine entirely.

I know from personal experience how difficult being in a band can be sometimes, what would you say is the biggest obstacle new bands will come across as they progress, and what has been yours?

Ross - The biggest obstacle we've had to face as a band would be personnel issues. It seems like every time we've taken a step forward, it's been cancelled out by two backwards due to someone - usually a rhythm guitarist or a drummer - leaving the band.  It's really been like a revolving door situation. Especially with drummers.

The biggest obstacle for a new band these days is I think trying to get themselves out there, and seen as more than just "another band".  It seems like unless you pigeonhole yourself into fitting some label, be it punk band, metal band, indie band, you risk putting people off as for some reason, no-one seems to want to hear creative, heartfelt music anymore.  Unless you conform and play what the promoters want to hear, or form a cover band, you really have little to no chance of getting anywhere.

John - I think the biggest obstacles a new band faces are the ones that have the least to do with what being in a band is all about. Money, and more specifically the money to be able to afford to rehearse, to travel and to feed yourself while pursuing this stuff is a real problem.  I also think promoters by and large are ridiculous in their demands and expectations. I'm not into charging my friends 6 quid to see my band, I'd just as soon do this for free. I don't care about making money, I care about making and playing music.What's worse is that the promoter will take more than half the money you bring in, and it's almost like, "what's your priority here really mate? Making money or putting on good bands?", even though it's meant to be the promoter's job to promote. It's kinda in their job title. I'm very naive when it comes to being in a band and making music, and definitely with the money side of it. I hate money. Not everyone does though, so I think the monetary side of things would be a real obstacle for most new bands.

I agree with Ross that our biggest challenge as a band has been keeping a lineup together for long enough to grow as musicians and gel together.  It's been very frustrating at times in the past. We have a great setup right now though, so I'm looking forward to the next while for the band.  Fingers crossed.

Connor - I agree with the guys, I haven't been in the band very long but I've seen how line-up changes have stressed them out through the years.

2009's Void Pleasantries EP - http://www.mediafire.com/?5vovqk5k08l94tq
2011's From Afar - http://www.mediafire.com/?dwleow5bdgwcgr2



  1. brill info site on new bands...will be back

  2. Glad you like it, hope you visit us again We upload at least two new articles every week, and as of next week we will have three different gig listings (updated monthly) for your perusal as well, all for unsigned bands!