An Interview with Hayley Gee


Hi Haylee, so where ya from & where ya at, geographically speaking
Born in Edinburgh grew up in Livi. Right now in Dykes Road – that’s not joking, that’s where we live haha.

What inspired you to become a rapper
I didn’t grow up wanting to be a rapper I wanted to be a firefighter but got a criminal record for silly driving chases from cops etc. I’ve always wrote poems and songs from a very young age. Was on the way to Glasgow when I met my first Scottish rapper. he told me to spit some bars, I did, he was impressed and then a week later he pushed me to freestyle over eves greatest hits cd. took the wrong turn to Carlisle but was worth it.

What do you think of the Scottish hip-hop scene
The Scottish hip hop scene… I’ve met the good the bad and the ugly. There’s amazing support in Edinburgh and Glasgow etc but there is a lot of jealousy and ego causing drama so I now tend to not get involved anymore with people like that. It’s the same with real life. Just sticking with the ones who are real and stood by me. Learned the hard way haha but there is a massive rise in emerging talent from Scotland. It’s very refreshing to see.

Who are your musical inspirations
My main inspiration is Marilyn Manson I went to see him at 12. Well Eminem was who I went to see and refused to watch Manson cos my granny just died – she was Catholic and he burned crosses in videos. I thought he was the devil but little did I know at the time until I saw him dedicate a song to a girl who committed suicide and I fell in instant musical love. His performance was so bold and entertaining. I got home and next week I went out and bought any album I could get my hands on. He taught me to embrace the real me.

What subjects motivate you to write your lyrics
My songwriting. Used to be about exs now its politics, frenemies and story telling of things that I see or go through. It helps me to understand the life I’m living. It helps me cope.

How do you find being a female rapper in a predominantly male field
I love being a female rapper in a predominantly male field cos I’m one of the boys. You get a few lassies doing their thing (some are brilliant), you get others who just enjoy male attention a bit too much – but that’s not me. I thrive on the bad energy that comes my way and embrace the good. I got a lot of stick for being myself but it’ll never stop me. I should been born male. My mum said the doctor said I was a wee boy trapped in a girls body I think that was the inner rap man wanting out, big balls an all!


Can you tell us about your band, Devils in Skirts
My band are my entire life. I have had many devils over the years but these at the present are the greatest I have had the honour to make music with. We are rap Rock, punk hop and anything we can get our hands on to add our devilish twist. All are talented in their own way. Two music teachers in the band and some fresh new personalities. Devils in Skirts is named because we’re mental – all of us! The name sorta is a statement about being a female-fronted band in rap, about women calling all the shots. We’re very Scottish, and I use my Scottish accent proudly – that’ll never change. Fundamentally, we’re just about being shamelessly ourselves.

What are yours & the band’s plans for 2017
2017 is going to be a very busy year for us. We’ve already done about 20 gigs so far this year, with plenty more planned for Scotland and beyond. The next big one for us will be in London in just a couple of weeks, then the week after Isle of Arran with our best-band-pals. We’re looking at investing in a campervan, just need to make sure it’s good enough to drive around the Devils. Lastly, we’re planning our tour for Amsterdam and Berlin. We’re lucky to have met some brilliant artists who are leading the way to help get our name outside of Scotland

An Interview with Stazy Chant

4 Frantic Chant colour pic.jpg

THE MUMBLE : Hello Stazy, so where ya from & where ya at, geographically speaking?

STAZY : Awrite, Mumble. We’re from a lovely wee village on the east coast of Scotland called Leith.

THE MUMBLE : When did you first realise you were a musician

STAZY : I think I’m still waiting to realise that I’m a musician. I’m more of an ideas man with hear vision. No bad at rhythm guitar. We all played different instruments on the new album but dunno if you’d call it musicianship. I just watched that Take That special and Jason Orange was tapping a tambourine.


THE MUMBLE : How were your influences in the early days, & have they changed over the years

STAZY : The band as a whole has got too many influences to mention, and not just musically speaking. Every day is an influence. I’ve got an old Top Of The Pops on the telly just now and I was thinking that this was probably a big influence on me as a wee skid mark. Thursday at half 7, couldnae beat it. Rod the Mod is number 1 this week.


THE MUMBLE : So can you tell me about Frantic Chant?

STAZY : There’s a song on the Ride It Like A Shark album called Surf Daft and the chorus goes “We do what we want and we don’t give a fuck”. That probably sums up Frantic Chant. If you like us, sound. If not, sound. All our album sales pay for the next one, so as long as that keeps happening we’re happy.

Our drummer, Col, runs the label as well. He’s still sending out copies of our last two albums, Oscillator and Ride It Like A Shark, to happy customers every week, so hopefully that continues with this album.


THE MUMBLE : You’ve just released your seventh album album, The Glass Factory, there’s a hell lot of songs on it, what’s that all about on a song-writing level and can you tell us how it was recorded?

STAZY : The plan was to do 9 tunes but over time and space that escalated to 21. As far as songwriting goes, nobody ever comes in with a full tune, it’s usually a couple of chords or a riff or a line or something and we kick it about a bit and see what happens.

Most of the lyrics were done well into the recording, so we took time and could fuck about with harmonies and that. We went a bit radge with the orchestration and overdubs on a couple of numbers, with 8 minutes of us “ohmming” being one. There’s a good mix of 4 minute catchy tunes and 11 minute journeys of aural discovery.

A couple of the songs came about while waiting on everyone turning up to the studio. If there’s an idea, get it down. We first went to, our producer, Elle’s studio and spent a few weeks recording tracks that were 3 acoustic guitars and a couple of bongos. We then packed up the gear and moved into our space in Leith where we recorded the stuff that would benefit from us being in full flight.
We went back to Elle’s to work on about 15 songs. We spent ages on overdubs and because there’s always something to play in a studio, someone would come up with another tune. We’d all get distracted by this, join in and then that would get finished and put on tape there and then.

One of the tunes was done with a drum machine at, Darren, our bass player`s studio with Nick playing Darren’s right handed guitar (Nick’s left footed) and we just kept that more or less the same as Nick couldn’t play the same way with his good hand.
The Memory Song came from a nice motif that Darren had follow him which we then took it through Morocco via The White Album. We called it The Memory Song because we kept forgetting the titles we had for it.

We know Colin from the band Bombskare and knew he was sound so we asked him if he was up for playing trumpet on a track. The four songs his trumpet eventually ended up on are a perfect mesh of Psych and Soul. It’s quite a good time really.

THE MUMBLE : Do you have any live gigs coming up this year?

STAZY : We’re playing at Leith Depot on the 20th of May, which is the first gig since the CD came out, so we’ll have a few to punt on the night.

We’re also playing the Carnival 56 Festival in Dundee in August alongside Mark Ronson, Basement Jaxx, Clean Bandit, Hot Chip, The Fratellis and many other esteemed popular acts from the hit parade. No doubt we’ll be adding more dates as the year goes on and we’re looking at heading down south for a few to help spread the word.


THE MUMBLE : What does Stazy Chant like to do when he’s not making kick-ass music?

STAZY : Caving.

Saltire Venus


As vogue goes, the current rising trajectory of female artists budding in the Scottish music scene will likely rotate into something else but during the course of the last twelve months, a welcome spate of talented, exciting, and tumultuous women has muscled their way to the front of ones to watch – and importantly, listen to. Somehow, it doesn’t seem so coincidental that a new ‘Wonder Woman’ film is earmarked for release in 2017.
Poet Stephen Watt investigates.


For the past thirty years, Scotland has had two female pop stars – Annie Lennox of The Eurythmics and Sharleen Spiteri of Texas. Everyone knows that. No others. Not one. Well, except Shirley Manson – the firecracker frontwoman of Garbage. And Clare Grogan, leading lady of Altered Images and Gregory’s Girl actress. And Eddie Reader, and KT Tunstall, and Amy MacDonald, and Elizabeth Fraser (Cocteau Twins), and Isobel Campbell (Belle and Sebastian), and Emma Pollock (The Delgados), and Helen Marnie (Ladytron), and Lauren Mayberry (Chvrches), and Emeli Sande, and Dot Allison (One Dove/Massive Attack), and Rose McDowall (Strawberry Switchblade), and… I think the point has been made. Scotland has a wealth of cherished female artists who have been delivering sweet strains and punk perspectives for decades and it isn’t until one really examines their record collection that it becomes so alarmingly obvious that their songs are what consoled you during that bitter break-up, reassured you before that significant job interview, or stimulated you to make those changes in your life which had become habitual.


There’s never been a lack of talented women in Scottish music, but there has been a lack of female musicians who have broken through  Josephine Sillars

A pending viewpoint would be whether or not a strong female presence in the Scottish music scene has always been prevalent – if somewhat unappreciated – or if the evolvement of an intoxicating female presence across the country heralds the beginning of an innovative progression in readdressing the gender disparity. Fife punk outfit The Twistettes consist of sisters Jo and Nicky D’Arc, a two-piece force of nature, who moved to Glasgow to create their own fuss. “There weren’t many local examples of women in the music scene in Fife”, states frontwoman Jo – I suppose the cities may have been more accessible but I think a lot has changed over the years. Living in Glasgow means I know a lot of female musicians so it’s easy to think that there’s a strong female presence – but there still aren’t enough women being encouraged to pick up an instrument on the whole”. Likewise, central belt outsider, songstress Josephine Sillars sings in her newly-released single, ‘everybody’s got their problems with power’, but she detects a move away from the conventional billings: “When I first started playing Glasgow (Josephine hails from the Scottish Highlands), it was dominated by bills of male musicians. That has definitely changed, and I think a lot has to do with confidence – not in the musicians, but in the bookers and promoters. Bands such as Honeyblood, and more recently with Kathryn Joseph, have inspired a confidence in booking female musicians. There’s never been a lack of talented women in Scottish music, but there has been a lack of female musicians who have broken through”.

Carla Easton .jpg

Initiatives such as Girls Rock Glasgow and Girls Rock Edinburgh help provide free instruments and lessons for young girls to pick up and explore in safe spaces
Carla Easton, TeenCanteen/Ette 

Herein lies the crux. There remains a need for women to be booked, written about, featuring at regular events for reasons other than achieving an agreeable male-female ratio which questionably addresses any imbalance. TeenCanteen and Ette keyboardist/singer Carla J Easton has appeared as one of the hardest-working and promising talents in the country over the past handful of years. “There are more females making music in Scotland than when TC started in 2012”, she offers – “Certainly more all-female or predominantly female groups, but I’d argue there’s always been a strong presence of women making music in Scotland since the early eighties when mass unemployment and social politics levelled the gender divide and everyone picked up an instrument and formed a band in a glorious burst of DIY subculture. Sophisticated Boom Boom, Twinset, The Shop Assistants, Sunset Gun, The Vaselines, The Fizzbombs, Rote Kapelle – that’s just a handful of bands that were all active when the Scottish pop scene exploded and all feature amazing female musicians. I see it happening again now and it’s truly amazing! Initiatives such as Girls Rock Glasgow and Girls Rock Edinburgh certainly help cultivate this environment – providing free instruments and lessons for young girls to pick up and explore in safe spaces”.

Referring to the genesis of TeenCanteen, Easton heeds that there was no blueprint for a women-only line-up: “When any band forms, you form it with friends. Under the name Zuzu’s Petals was myself, Sita (former band-mate in Futuristic Retro Champions) and had studied at college with, Debs – best friend since aged 11 – and her cousin Ross Dickson, who then moved to London for work. I asked my friend Emma to join because she could play guitar and sing, and similarly when Chloe joined, she was a friend who could sing and play bass, and learned to play guitar to join the band. Because she was one of my best friends, I knew she would and that was the missing piece”. Easton continues, “I noticed having three girls up front and singing could generate harmonies descending from the girl-group records from 58-63 that I love obsessively. There’s something quite powerful when you stack three female voices together that just gets me every time. I call it my own ‘utopia’ when we sing together and bend and shift”. The Twistettes incarnation shows similarities, having blended female only gender and mixed bands before finding the formula which worked for them. D’Arc explains: “There was no real reason other than practicality. We’re sisters and have played in bands together for years. I wouldn’t say there was much difference between all-female bands and mixed bands – it all depends on personalities and we’ve been lucky that pretty much everyone we’ve played with have been cool”.

Patriotism can often be so imperceptible that it coils itself into the mindset and become perceived as the accustomed way of things. This is apparent where men rub themselves against women at live gigs, or online trolling/domineering male attitudes comes to the fore such was the case of Chvrches frontwoman Lauren Mayberry in 2015. As a high-energy, unmanaged punk band, it may come as no surprise that The Twistettes have been on the end of unsavoury behaviour by male punters in the crowd: “At one gig, a drunk, boisterous guy kept shouting to me while I was singing, saying ‘You’re lovely…. look at your legs…. etc.’. I don’t know what he was expecting me to do but after continually ignoring his advances, he lifted a monitor speaker in front of me and banged it down. I felt quite freaked out, and then he began swinging himself up on stage. I saw red and stopped playing to kick him square in the back out of our space and shouted something about ‘wrapping my bass round his head if he didn’t fuck off’. Nicky was 6 months pregnant and I kept thinking he was going to fall on her and bring the drums down. I was so angry and embarrassed to have been pushed to that. We still finished the set though. Mental”.

Not that every gig is as savage as the one which D’Arc conveys, but a picture is painted in terms of what women can occasionally expect when confronted by drunken revellers, and the rapid transposition, or deterioration, from admiration to irritation. Even subtle misogyny has crept into the foreground. Sillars recognises this: “It can come down to simple things like when a promoter will shake my (male) drummer’s hand and not mine or direct all his questions to him and not me – even when the band name is literally just my name. It happens a lot actually”. Such incidents cry out for men to speak up and against chauvinistic prejudices but also paints a sad picture that men are needed in the first place to speak publicly on behalf of women at all. Not that this behaviour is solely reserved for the backcloths of gigs either, as Sillars adds “I’ve been catcalled by people in the audience and it is usually best to laugh it off or reply with something light so the rest of the audience do not feel uncomfortable”.

It is a commendable approach which Sillars adopts, albeit a sad issue to grasp in 2017 – some forty years after the red-blooded male stranglehold of the seventies music scene. Easton is keen to add that her bands have been “lucky to have never encountered any sexism when playing live but it shouldn’t be about being ‘lucky’ – the question shouldn’t be being asked in the first place because it shouldn’t be an issue”. If it isn’t the fans who women in Scotland need to be wary of, then what about those in charge of booking/promoting acts for gigs and festivals, and why do these billings frequently appear to be predominantly male-led? Glastonbury Festival has announced this year’s headliners as Radiohead, Foo Fighters, and Ed Sheeran whilst from the ashes of T in the Park, new Scottish festival TSNMT have also confirmed Radiohead, alongside Kasabian and Biffy Clyro. That is a top-heavy, male-orientated selection by any stretch, and the underrepresentation of women in music appears to be as prevalent now as it has ever been. Easton offers “I would never want TeenCanteen to be booked for a slot or appearance in order to ‘tick’ a diversity box for gender equality. I’d want us to be booked for a show because we were considered to be the best for that slot. I sometimes struggle with labelling myself as a ‘female singer songwriter’ because I often just think of myself as a ‘singer songwriter’ – but I want to encourage more girls to pick up and play and write and sing and perform in bands so if identifying my gender in what I do helps then I’ll do it”.

Jo D'Arc (1).jpg

I saw red and stopped playing to kick him square in the back out of our space and shouted something about ‘wrapping my bass round his head if he didn’t fuck off
Jo D’Arc, The Twistettes

Yet the struggle often comes down to one issue and one issue alone: sex. Regardless of someone’s talent, women continue to be assessed by looks, shape, and appeal. D’arc untangles this theory: “It’s both society’s view of women and women’s view of themselves which create this struggle. Women’s power within the music industry is primarily rooted in how we look and selling sex, therefore we are viewed less able than men in many aspects of the music industry (aspects which don’t require this). It means women often need to fight to be recognised as being as valid as a man with a guitar or a synth. This becomes especially heightened the more ‘techy’ your musical job is. Synth players and producers get a harder time. Big respect to female sound engineers as it must be pretty tough sometimes”.

It’s an intriguing observation, and one which many will have missed. What about the women working off-stage? Is it something which is quite obviously absent in Scotland? I certainly struggle to think of many I’ve noticed over the past twenty years around the city’s music scene. D’arc continues, “On the flip side, women will be commended and receive additional attention for being involved in music where her male counterparts do not experience, so it can go both ways. While attention is often rooted in surprise and, as much as it can be flattering to be viewed as ‘exceptional’ or ‘out of the norm’ I don’t think that this is particularly helpful in encouraging more women to pick up instruments. Hopefully one day we’ll get to the point where a woman can walk on stage and do a set of crazy tech heavy live music and folks won’t bat an eye lid…or mutter that famed positive/negative – ‘she’s amazing for a girl’. The other aspect of this is women’s confidence in their abilities. The masculine tone of the music industry can create doubt and worry that stops women putting themselves forward. The amount of house parties I’ve went to and lassies are absolutely rocking the decks when they think nobody is looking is unreal but when asked if they gig they’re like ‘oh not…I couldn’t do that!’”

Signs do show some societal changes emerging in arts circles with more women now choosing careers in music production, favouring instruments such as trumpets or horns, traditionally played by men but in comparison, the Musicians Union (MU) has almost 2,500 members based in Scotland with a 30-70% female-male gender split among its members. It is an area which continues to show a significant disparity. Furthermore, female musicians are more likely to be judged by an industry focussed on youth and beauty, coupled with caring responsibilities hindering career progression, which ultimately results in male performers significantly more apparent on the music circuit across the country. Kudos then to companies like Vodafone who recently launched a programme to assist women returning to work, including “unconscious bias training”.

“For me, gender isn’t an issue when it comes to performing and playing”, Easton indicates – “but it does the beg the question why some bands are not asked “What reasons led you to forming a male-only band?” as much as they are when it is solely females in the band. I’ve been involved in Futuristic Retro Champions consisting of three girls and two boys, my solo album ‘Homemade Lemonade’ was made with Joe Kane and when performed live is four boys and three girls, and then I was the only female in the band I recorded and performed with during my recent residency at the Banff Centre for Arts in Canada”.

In which case, does it then beg the question is there too much scrutiny being put upon female involvement within the Scottish music industry? Whether the individual involved is working class, black, survived sexual assault, or queer should not be an issue just as much as that the music is all-important and if the output is unsatisfactory, then the record-buying public simply are not going to buy into it. In terms of music output, Scotland is enjoying its richest spell for quite some time. Easton provides “I’m really excited about Tongue Trap, Bratakus and Fallope, and The Tubes. Emme Woods is one of the most exciting singer-songwriters I’ve encountered live in years – Rose McDowall is performing live again, and everyone should see Chrissy Barnacle perform – delighted to have her band Joyce Delaney support TeenCanteen at our Sirens launch in Nice n’ Sleazys on 22nd April – people should get a ticket for them alone”, Easton proffers. Sillars agrees with this sentiment; “Emme Woods and Chrissy Barnacle, not forgetting Laurence Made Me Cry, always excite me”. The admiration for Tongue Trap and Chrissy Barnacle is also replicated by D’Arc, keen to support this prolific period for Scottish women in music: “There are so many great talents around just now – Misc Meat, Fisty Muffs, singers/musicians like Ella Maby, Becci Wallace; producers like Audrey Tait, Jess Aslan, Sev Dudzinska. The female MC Empress has blown me away recently with her new EP ‘Turning Tables’. Hip hop and rapping is so male dominated that it’s really refreshing to see some lassies getting involved, and Empress is one of the best… love her”.

And it isn’t just Scottish women who are currently producing some of the most enthralling music around right now. English/Icelandic punksters Dream Wife, LA grunge outfit Girlpool, and Glasgow-based, Slovenian DJ and producer Nightwave aka Maya Medvesek are a small sample of acts in the world who are currently subscribed to promoting sounds which get under the skin, and bruises. In times when the United States of America is led by a misogynistic, bloated He-Man in a suit, there is a swift riposte of female acts currently mapping the lay of the land and chronicling the rise of women to the forefront of music – in spite of powerful adversities. Perhaps Scotland is proving itself to be leaders of the pack once more, and by addressing dated attitudes head-on, will inspire the next wave of young female Scots to show to the world that they have so much more to offer, if only promoters open their doors – and their minds.


Josephine Sillars will perform at The Bongo Club in Edinburgh as part of Flint and Pitch on 21st April.

TeenCanteen ‘Sirens EP’ launch party is at Nice n Sleazys on 22nd April with support from Joyce Delaney and Agony Aunt.

The Twistettes host a ‘Twistettes Twisted Tea Party” at La Belle Angele on 24th June with a female-heavy line-up including artists, poets and more.

Rich thanks to Josephine Sillars, Carla Easton (TeenCanteen/Ette) and Jo D’Arc (The Twistettes) for their input during this piece.

Stephen Watt is the Dumbarton FC Poet-in-Residence, a crime poet, one half of gothic spoken word experimental act Neon Poltergeist, and author of the poetry collections “Spit” and “Optograms”. You can follow more of his writing on his Facebook page or his Twitter handle @StephenWattSpit.

An Interview with Daniel Abercrombie

THE MUMBLE : Hello Daniel, so where ya from & where ya at, geographically speaking
DANIEL : Hello – I’m from Edinburgh! I’ve lived here for most of my life, and been working at the Scottish Storytelling Centre, on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile, for 7 years now.

THE MUMBLE : How do you find working at the Scottish Storytelling Centre in the Old Town
DANIEL : It’s a really interesting place to work, we have something different happening every day and I work with a great variety of artists, performers and organisations. We also welcome many tourists into the building due our Royal Mile location – we like to think we offer them an authentic and varied cultural experience during their visit.

THE MUMBLE : So, you are the Festival and Events Manager of the centre’s annual Tradfest, when & how did you get the job
DANIEL : The Storytelling Centre is a real mix of things, one of which is being home to TRACS (Traditional Arts & Culture Scotland), who support and promote the traditional arts networks of storytelling, music and dance. As part of my role as the Programme Manager of Storytelling Centre I manage TradFest for TRACS, which involves pulling together all the event submissions and curating the overall festival direction with various programming partners.  TradFest started as a pilot in 2013, when TRACS took on the admin and planning of it as a new trad arts festival for Edinburgh.




THE MUMBLE : You are also a singer, songwriter and music promoter in his own right. Does your personal musical taste influence your programme choices
DANIEL : Not really, because we do a wide range of different styles, catering for all sorts of interests. Having worked on the other side of the business as well as a performer gives me an understanding of what is needed to make an event succeed.  Musically my background is not in traditional music, but that makes it exciting for me to learn and discover new acts as I go.

THE MUMBLE : Tradfest is multi-arts. Aside from the music, what other arts are presented to the public.
DANIEL : Most traditional folk festivals tend to focus on music, but TradFest celebrates storytelling, dance, folk drama, folk film, crafts, walking tours and the local environment as well. We are also celebrating Edinburgh as a place and bringing out different aspects of the life and cultures of the city.

THE MUMBLE : What flavours are we to expect from this year’s festival
DANIEL : We’re pleased this year to include a strand called The People’s Heritage, which introduces key characters and locations throughout Edinburgh in a series of pop-up storytelling events. We’ve been able to partner with the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology to celebrate Edinburgh’s rich history in a lively way.  A big part of TradFest’s success is that it celebrates local cultures and activity that is happening throughout the year, and we’re pleased to give a platform to many diverse cultures and traditions that exist in Edinburgh today.  We have performances that celebrate traditions from Iraq, Norway, Ghana, Ireland and Kenya amongst others, all performed by artists who are based in Edinburgh.

3 Troubadors

THE MUMBLE : The festival is quite Edinburgh-centric, but you do look further afield to other parts of Scotland & beyond. Can you give us some examples.
DANIEL : The Storytelling Centre hosts a strand of the festival called Local Cultures, where we’ve invited performers with event projects celebrating particular areas of Scotland or further afield. For example, ‘The Wick That Was’ showcases stories and photography from Wick in Caithness, ‘Furan’ is performed by young Gaelic singers, ‘The Two Truths of Thomas the Rhymer’ stems from the Borders and ‘Lorgan Bàta Nan Salm – Traces Of The Psalmboats’ is performed by members of the Lewis community

THE MUMBLE : What are the especial qualities of Tradfest that keeps it so popular
DANIEL : As well as all the different variety of events, TradFest also celebrates the coming of summer, which is always welcome! We include the Beltane Fire Festival and May Day celebrations in the programme, both vital parts of the folk traditions in Edinburgh.  TradFest reflects the strength and variety of the traditional arts in Edinburgh, there’s something for everyone to enjoy and discover.

THE MUMBLE : With Tradfest being an annual event, do you have an eye on 2018 already
DANIEL : It’s always wise to keep looking longer term, but we need to deliver 2017 first! My hope is that we can continue to develop the international side of the festival, as we’ve found that great collaborations can be forged across differing cultures and traditions.  It would be exciting to form relationships with different traditional arts festivals across the world, so we could share and collaborate together, bringing new people to Edinburgh and sharing Edinburgh’s talent with the rest of the world.

Last Night from Glasgow First Birthday Party

 Stereo, Glasgow

30th March, 2017


It isn’t often that a selfless record label appears in your city, promising to promote and release quality music with no other agenda other than to preserve the good reputation which already exists. Twelve months later, and not-for-profit independent record label Last Night from Glasgow (LNfG) invited its project-artists for 2017, its shareholders (£50 membership per annum) and their friends to celebrate in the basement of city favourite Stereo in Renfield Lane.


A queue spiralling up the staircase and into the café area was a sound basis for how revered the label has become in such a short time, and this was exemplified in the diversity of its members; from silver-mullet rockers to LED-lit trainers upon the feet of Glasgow’s students, it was proven that good music taste arrives in many guises. With label members based in Canada and records being shipped across the world, the interest in LNfG has recently captured the interest of The Skinny, Evening Times, the Herald, and punk-pages Louder Than War, while its artists have been more than matching the vision of the company with names such as TeenCanteen, Be Charlotte, and Mark W. Georgsson already having release quality material on the label’s name.

Like any one year old’s birthday party, there were large inflatable balloons bobbing at the entrance of the venue, with cakes for all, great tunes being played by the sound engineer, and party miscellanea tied around Stereo’s pillars and walls. The hilarious Stephen Solo opened proceedings, advising that the reason the label came into being was because “middle aged cunts need a job” (most of LNfG founding members are now in their forties), before welcoming first act Sister John to the stage.



Luxuriant and inviting, Sister John’s kindly and clement beginning to the evening, consisting of a couple of guitars, violin, and a drum-kit was unexpected but not unwanted, unveiling a range of multi-instrumental changes and three-part harmonies which the crowd was receptive to. The delightful ‘Greatest Moment’ was inspired by “a sticker on a record promoting ‘the forthcoming hits’….”, joked songwriter Amanda McKeown. It was difficult to not compare the quartet’s blended arrangements and easy-listening style to Norah Jones, whilst the time taken to tune up the various instruments led to occasional uneasy-listening gaps and sporadic checks that the various cables winding around the stage were not prepared to yank any of the band to the floor. It will be interesting to see how the album release later in the year develops. Meantime, interested persons should certainly check out the alluring ‘He Came Down’ single released by LNfG at the start of this year, whilst live the soothing harmonies on ‘Hot Water’ and the final song – title unknown – a dreamy tale of lost love and “hair like the endless midnight sea” provided a delectable, if curiously understated way to begin the evening.


Central belt-born 21yr old Emme Woods was just the jolt which the night needed, leading a five-piece band (being watched at the front by birthday girl, Bubbles the chihuahua) in a sublimely-defective style. The rumble produced by the raw, bluesy sound Woods produces on her electric guitar is matched by her distinctively Celtic-eroded vocal on ‘I Don’t Drink To Forget’, the second single released by LNfG in 2016, while her cocksure mien on stage is more forbidding than distasteful. “I nearly took Jamie out with my guitar there”, Emma laughs as she slowly-gyrates, jerking on stage to the wonderful next single “I’ve Been Running”, all witchy keyboarding and black horns bookending the star attraction.

IMG_6352.JPGA discussed mini album is due for release in May 2017, currently in development with Runrig keyboard player Brian Hurren producing, and it appeared that these new songs were giving an airing judging by the sheet music placed in front of each band member. “I told you that I love you but I lied”, Woods wails and the crowd eat up every word – right up to the final note which neither Woods nor band knows how to finish. The slightly ramshackle nature is endearing, and closing number ‘It’s My Party’ (And You’re Not Invited) is a spit in the eye at the Lesley Gore single from 1965 with Woods tip-toeing to hit out those venomous notes with enough belief to worry the café-dwellers upstairs that something dark is howling below their feet.


Debut LP ‘Into The Light’, with wonderful album cover work and posters provided by Colin McArthur, is due for release in May 2017 and all going well, should be a considerably handsome piece of work by the Medicine Men boys. Opening with 2014 debut single ‘Show What You’re Made Of’, the four-piece quickly demonstrated what they were made of, a pounding meat-factory beat equalled by soaring Hammond organ sounds, the tempo was a far greater energy than anything else that had been on stage thus far. The competency of the band’s musicianship is not in question, as demonstrated by the wicked bass-groove and on B-side ‘Sleeping With The Light On’ or the Gretsch guitars on ‘Ceiling To Floor’, but something grates in the song-writing which fails to preserve the listener’s attention. Sometimes all it takes is one song for a band’s purpose to make sense, and it felt that Medicine Men are on the cusp – but not quite hitting the sweet spot.

Frontman Ian Mackinnon’s haunting guitar and escalating vocal on ‘In The Breeze’ is highly reminiscent of Squeeze’s Glen Tillbrook, and if that is the benchmark then the band’s future looks positive, while penultimate song of the night ‘Bruised Peach’, with its cosmic drum sound was the pick of the night. Thanking LNfG for giving the band the opportunity, the seriousness of the faces on the Medicine Men was apparent – a chance has been given, and hopefully the album will deliver.



Far from being recoiling church mice, electropop quartet BooHooHoo are a thumping, rousing, likeable, and animated rabble whose miscellany of synthesised, ravey sounds appeared to vacuum people towards the raised stage. Ordering one photographer perched at the front-centre to “Fuck off” has never seemed more affectionate than when chief button pusher Richard Richardson is the person lashing out. Since creating guitar-led songs at school together, Richardson and Reggie House, along with drummer Ewan Laing and flutist, keyboardist and all-round Cheshire Cat Lizzie Kiyoko, have added heaps of promise and eighties-sounding samples, with songs such as ‘Now Is The Season’ from 2016 EP “DebutHooHoo” sounding nothing short of phenomenal live. If the party sounds didn’t already corroborate BooHooHoo’s credentials, the slower-paced love estrangement of ‘Biology’ (Apologies to the band if this title is in fact incorrect – this is what happens when your band is so new and your fans are so unapologetically loud and thrilled to see you live) is a gorgeous, cinematic soundtrack with shades of Bryan Ferry’s ‘Slave To Love’, leading into the fat vibrations of ‘Mould Me’ with bass judders, Kiyoko’s surprisingly fitting flute solo, and a catchy hook transmogrifying the audience into an arms-flapping, heel-spinning, wall of body odour at the front of the stage.

Recognising an opportunity, frontman Richardson alerted the crowd to Greg, a cosmic, legging-patterned mover spotted by House dancing in the aisles of Aldi and subsequently became the centre-focus of the video for the new single ‘Fire’. Make space, Glasgow because a basement in Renfield Lane just wasn’t going to cut it. If Prides drummer and EP mixer Lewis Gardiner could just capture enough of that raw energy then the debut album expected in August 2017 will be nothing short of the party album of the year.




Concluding the evening, founding member Murray Easton welcomed Stephen Solo to the stage, armed only with a sky-blue ukulele and a song written on his iPhone for his son who was struggling to sleep. Performing ‘Crying Because’, Solo’s tenderness was a gorgeous finish to proceedings, and one which was warmly received by a mesmerised, attentive crowd who had remained to the very end of the night.

A quickly-rushed raffle was squeezed in as most revellers turned for the exits, but by then everyone had received a prize of some sort – whether that was a new discovery, a favourite song, a moment to put the smile on their face, or a chihuahua wink. Like any first birthday party, people left excited by what the future year ahead will bring – both from Last Night and tomorrow night in Glasgow.

Reviewer : Stephen Watt

Photography : David Wardrop