Friday 17 September 2010

Ghosts of Progress interview / Resound Scotland

Occasional writer Stewart McLachlan is launching a new music blog, Resound Scotland, boasting coverage of "real, honest artists playing all over Scotland, with an emphasis on unsigned and underground acts". To commemorate the blog's launch, Stewart's interview with Montrose garage-rock duo Ghosts of Progress will be split across the two websites. The first part is shown here, for the second part, you'll have to visit Resound Scotland.

I'm sitting with Ghosts Of Progress in the basement of Elvis Shakespeare on Leith Walk. It's a bookstore. They're about to play a gig in it. But for these guys it's just another gig- the Montrose-based duo have been relentlessly touring up and down Scotland for some time now, racking up an impressive touring schedule. Real rock n' roll bands work hard, and these guys are a real fucking rock n' roll band. Their brutal, blues-tinged sound is instantly recognizable- and don't start with that White Stripes shit. This music is real blues- it's gritty, loud, out of control and hard as nails, songs about whores and whiskey with none of your sugar-coated lyrical pish. But don't just take my word for it- see them live for yourself and you'll be a believer. Singer Lew Palgrave juggles his razor-sharp vocals with slide guitar and drumming (the guy plays a drum kit with his feet; it's as badass as it sounds), whilst Callum Christie adds guitar noise and some impressive riffing. They're a force to be reckoned with, and having recently signed to Belfast-based, respectably bullshit-free garage rock label Motor Sounds, the hard work's paid off and the future's looking pretty sweet.

First of all, congratulations on signing to Motor Sound. How did that even happen?

Lew: We played at a couple single launches they did last year with a band called The Bonnevilles (Ed note: cool band, worth checking out) who're signed to Motor Sound. They've just been in touch ever since, said when we're ready to put stuff out to give them a shout. So that's cool, costs a hell of a lot to properly release stuff, know what I mean? As opposed to just putting it out yourself. They specialize in the kind of music that works with us too, y'know.

Yeah, it's definitely the right label for yous.

Callum: It helps to get us to places we wouldn't have been able to get to ourselves, media-wise and that.

Lew: Aye, it's a good helping hand along the way. We're no gonna give up our day jobs or fuck all (laughs) but it helps to have that on your side, y'know?

Had you just done as much as you could by yourselves or were you waiting for a label that could handle your sound?

Lew: Not really, we're not the kind of band....I mean you get a lot of bands that are determined to make it, but I think we've always been determined *not* to make it in many ways... It's never really been about that, know what I mean? A lot of record labels just want the rights to everything; we were never really keen to do that. The agreement we had [with Motor Sound] had it right: any time in the agreement they could say "fuck off" to us, and we could say "fuck off" to them as well, which is fine. It's not something we went looking for, so to speak- but you know what it's like in a two-piece, you get paid two ways but your petrol costs and that split two ways as well...

Callum: And what we're doing is so different, we've been through a lot of crap to get here. Playing with the wrong bands, the wrong nights, the wrong venues, just trying to get a foot in the door...

Tell us a bit about your background, how G.O.P came together?

Lew: Uh, we were in a four-piece band years ago, but drummers and bassists don't fucking...they're either shite or unreliable, know what I mean? (laughs) It's hard to get a drummer that's reliable, they're a different kinda people from guitarists and whatnot. And nowadays with bassists as well, you get a lot of them that don't really play the bass, they just plug along on the top string...

....just doing what the guitarist does, aye...

Lew: ...aye, just...shite.

Callum: We're from a small town so, there weren't many options kicking about eh. We went from a four-piece to a three-piece until person number three just took off. It hadn't been going too well until that point, then Lew decided to put the two drums together and it just became fun from there onward.

continued on Resound Scotland...

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