NHC MUSIC Chats To The Art Revival

Hi there folks, great to have you on our shiny new website for a wee chat! How you guys going then?  You may be a new band, but I know a couple of you have been in bands we've loved in the past, so tell us bit about the new one then?

Donald: Band's going well so far. It's a bit of a modern revisit to some more old-school styles of music, going back as far as the fifties and as recent as the nineties. It's an interesting mix of sounds.

Richard: We're getting on very well! Back in April, I was dying to play drums in a band again, so I done a quick search on Gumtree only to find an ad for a local band needing a drummer! After me and John got talking, we arranged for a rehearsal. We met in a studio in Hamilton and after talking (and accidentally locking them outside) we picked up our instruments and played! As I played, I felt this vibe in the room where we all sort of complimented each other musically which meant we all sort of gelled together really quickly, even though they had all been together previously! Since then, we've been doing our best to get ourselves out there! I've thoroughly enjoyed playing with the lads so far and look forward to what is still to come!

John: It's nice to be home!  If only for a flying visit.  Prodigal son and that.  So far it's going well. We've already posted a free EP online and have our first show booked.  We've had a fair bit of radio play as well. I should give a grateful mention to NHC's own Campbell Stewart. He's had us on his radio show once or twice before and we really appreciated that. The new band is basically the same band we formed three or so years ago but with a permanent drummer and we're writing music together instead of playing Martin's solo stuff. We're still playing those songs as well, but they've been recorded by the whole band. It's very exciting. We have a much more relaxed and fun vibe in the room than ever these days which is great.

Martin: Well after a brief hiatus ( 3 years! ) John, Donald and I out of the blue decided to get the old gang back together, only thing that was missing was a drummer.  After a brief search we struck gold with Rich who in my opinion is easily the best drummer in the world ( eat my dick Dave Grohl! ). We're steeped in 60s, 70s and 80s nostalgia with a giant helping of grunge.

You guys have your debut gig coming up soon (Aug 11th) in Box, any reason you chose that venue over others? I'm pretty sure you guys could rock your choice of Glasgow stages!

Donald: Box holds a special place for some of us due to past gigs there. Along with that, its prime location and good atmosphere as a venue made it a natural choice.

Richard: Thank you! We did sit down and discuss where to gig but John has his ways of finding places, so after sending the Box our demo, they invited us to play! It's ideal as it's just on Sauchiehall Street so it's not too hard to find!

John: In my experience, Box has always provided a low-pressure, free-entry, live-rehearsal type of show to a band just starting out that I appreciate. It's a nice little venue as well and I've always had a decent time of it dealing with bookers from there.

Martin: It's free!

Being from the Bellshill / Hamilton area, do you guys find it a bit more a struggle to get gigs in the city centre? Have you looked at gigging in other cities too, such as Edinburgh and Dundee?

Donald: I wouldn't say so, not particularly. Glasgow is easily reachable and there are a lot of good venues there. Gigging in other cities is something we've talked about and are definitely aiming to do.

Richard: I think Glasgow has more venues that try to bring in new bands whereas the venues in Bellshill / Hamilton look for more experienced bands who have been playing since the beginning of time! Funnily enough, we almost played a small gig up in Loch Lomond for a birthday party! Unfortunately we couldn't do it as it was too last minute and as Don put it "A logistics nightmare".

John:  Nope. Not at all. Glasgow is very easy to get a gig in. It's not always so easy getting a great gig there but there's always somewhere to play. I would like to play in Edinburgh. It feels like home to me, so I'd love to have that experience there.  Beyond that I wouldn't say I have specific cities or towns I'd like to play, but I would like to do loads of festivals. I only ever played one but it was an extremely stimulating day.

Martin: We're very interested in touring the country at some point.

So, 'The Art Revival', what's in a name? Any big reason for it, or was it just one of these thoughts, dreamed up over a few beers?

Donald: Can't say for certain how inebriated we all were but I think the name is representative of our musical style. Also, it's a pretty cool name.

Richard: Well, I wanted ‘The Slum Street Art Festival’ but that was way too long. I think Martin somehow conjured our name from that! From then on it just stuck!

John: Truthfully, I have no idea where our name came from. The other three had agreed on it and I had no place disagreeing. It's not something I'm all that fussed about, to be honest.

Martin: The name came out of nowhere really just an idea but it really expresses that touch of psychedelia that we were all after and I think that's why it stuck.

The debut EP - Sky, sounds pretty damn good, if I say so myself! I can see that going down pretty well with a live crowd, if you could choose any bigger act to support, to win over a crowd, who would it be?

Donald: Can't think of any bands off the top of my head, but I think we'd want someone whose style gelled with our own. Maybe not the same but similar enough to not sound like a random pairing.

Richard: Thank you! I have always wanted to support Neon Indian, or indeed any Alan Palomo based project! We can all dream I guess!

John: Thank you, we're very proud of it! Sky is my favourite song I ever sang live so it was awesome recording a version of it for our first EP with my vocals. It also contains the first song we ever made as a band together instead of a Martin solo track, Charlie Don't Surf. He still wrote everything on it, mind you. I'm not interested in thinking about bigger acts to syphon attention from. If people come to see us?  Great. If people happen to catch us when attending to see someone else or having just shown up for something to do and like us? Also, great. If they don't like us or don't care, I don't mind. No-one owes us anything.

Martin: Can't really think of anybody off the top of my head but I'd be happy to share the stage with anyone that respects that vintage vibe we're going for.

You guys obviously know the trouble with live events these days, and trying to get folk to come out to see new music in general. What, in your opinion, would be a good way to try and encourage more fans out to see live music?

Donald: The obvious answer would be to keep utilising our social media platforms. I'd like to think that providing the early work for free streaming for the early days will inspire some music fans to come out and see the band live.

Richard: I think a lot of things these days are grown upon ‘word of mouth’. I think you create your own sort of ‘reputation’ through friends and family which then builds from there itself!

John: I sort of agree with Don. I'm not sure I'm convinced a social media presence is as good for musicians as it's made out to be, though. I'm sure it does help.

Martin: It's hard for anybody starting out whether after a few years off the circuit or for the first time to get a following, all you can do I think it's play some fucking great tunes and inject a wee bit of personality into the group. Seen a fair few groups in my time that looked bored on stage and for a group of folk out on the town that's just not entertaining.

So what plans do you guys have for the remainder of 2016 then? You going to focus more on the gigging side of things, or do you have some new releases in the pipeline? It would certainly be good to get some of your music instore, or if you are up for it, get you guys in for an unplugged set?

Donald: I believe our plan will rely heavily on spreading out and getting some good gigs under our belt before we start to release more music. But we're writing more music all the time for us to use in the future as well as perfecting our current set. While we haven't discussed an unplugged set I think it's an idea we'd be very open to.

Richard: I think at this stage were just trying to get ourselves out there a bit more! We’re hoping to try and find a few more gigs to play, take every opportunity we get and just enjoy it! John always has something up his sleeve so I’m sure well be kept busy in the next few months!

John:  All of that.  We'd love to play in the shop or at an NHC Music event. Our first EP cost £28 to make and I think with minimal mastering from Martin it ended up good enough quality to convey what we were going for. We already have several new songs and ones we have rough demos of that should be ready to record properly and release very soon. I think we'll release stuff in the form of small EPs frequently for now.  We'll see how the first couple of gigs go first though I imagine. 

Martin: New releases can be expected often we have a very low-fi approach to production that allows us to knock out new tracks fast. As for gigging we plan on playing live as much as we possibly can and an unplugged set would be quality!