An Interview with The Victor Pope Band

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Edinburgh’s finest band are about to release their long-awaited fourth album, THIS IS GOING TO HURT… the Mumble were honour’d to get a wee blether with the band before their highly anticipated album launch


Hello Victor and welcome back to Mumble Towers (read last year’s interview here). This time you’ve brought an entourage, your band, can you tell us who they all are and what they play?
Victor: Well there’s me, otherwise known as Victor Pope, on acoustic guitar and vocals. Roy Jackson, also known as Nice one Man on backing vocals, melodica, mandolin and electric guitar (usually not all at once), Jess Aslan, otherwise known as Terminator Jess, on keys, Graeme Mackay, otherwise known as Grime, on bass and finally Jon Harley, otherwise known as Cuddles McGee, on drums.

Hello guys, nice to meet you. So, Jon, as the heartbeat of the group, what is the true ethos behind the Victor Pope band?
Jon: It’s always a singular pleasure playing a drumkit with Mr. Victor because, quite simply, Vic is Love!

Victor Pope & Graeme chatting with The Mumble in the pub

Hello Roy, this is the band’s fourth album, where, when and by whom was it recorded?
Roy: We recorded the full band with Alan Moffat & co at the old Leith Recording Studios above/next to Leith Depot pub. They drilled through the walls & used the Depot’s gig room as a live room. The council have now chucked them out of their premises though, so Edinburgh Uni can get more students in, but I believe Alan recently secured a new property in Leith & they’re back up & running again. Woo hoo!!

Hello Jess! You bring an interesting sound to the band, what is it and how did your musicianship evolve into the instrument?
Jess: Hi Mumble.I play a mono synthesiser adding some melodies and sometimes harsher sounds to the songs. I joined a few years ago, and love working with the guys. Steve’s pretty specific (demanding) about the sounds he feels works or don’t work with the song. Really it’s easy to implement a sound world if someone’s already got a fixed idea of how they want it to go. Not to make out he’s a control freak about the songs or anything (is that what we’re meant to say Steve?)

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Recording the album on Leith Walk, edinburgh

Hello Graeme – the Victor Pope Band are your first band playing bass. How is the experience improving your skill and your style (try not to mention me unless it’s in proper context) and how would you describe the basslines and vibe you supply.?
Graham: Hi Mumble. Indeed, I picked up bass for the first time in order to support the Victor Pope band and their surge to the top! The biggest help above all that improved me as a player are the people around me. Steve, Jess, Jon and Roy are all incredibly accomplished musicians and the music just flows out of them from every pore! I like to watch what they are all doing and take bits here and there to add to what I am doing. I think it’s what all good bands do – learn from each others strengths! My basslines are all pretty simple but I think that gives others the platform to inject a little more pezang into the songs. My vibe? Mr reliable

Back to Victor, can you tell me about the song selection for the band’s fourth album?
Victor: Well, there’s a lot of new stuff on there but there’s also a couple of old classics I’ve dredged up from the back catalog. One song in particular, Voodoo when U smile, I wrote about twenty years ago. It’s kind of a twisted take on a love song. I believe it was Bukowski who said “Love is a mad dog from hell” and I guess it’s my take on that. The rest of the songs cover a variety of topics. It’s not really a concept album. It’s more of a selection box where you’re never quite sure what you’re going to get next. I like albums like that. They keep you on your toes. But I like to think humor and a cynical, almost nihilistic viewpoint on life are recurrent themes. I’m a bit of a miserable bastard really. But I like to laugh about it.

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Jon at the Sketchy Beats Tent, Lindisfarne Festival 2019

This is a question for anybody to answer; You’ve opened up you house during the fringe via AirB&B’ and three famous figures from history are staying – who would they be and what would you make for breakfast?

Graeme: Will need to think about the 3 but they’d all be getting sliced sausage rolls that’s for sure!!

Jon: For me, Karl Marx, Charles Darwin and Grigori Rasputin. When they’re finally all chatted out and snoring wax their beards together and see how they get on with their waffles with eggs poached in vodka

Graeme: Ok. Tutankhamen, Jesus, Tollund Man. Nice mix of historic figures there and plenty to talk about.

The Mumble: Graeme, you’d give meat to Jesus?

Graeme: I’m not sure you could even class sliced sausage as meat!

Victor: Charles Bukowski, The Marquis de Sade and Mr Bean. Chocolate Fudge Sundee.

Roy: I’d invite Freddie Mercury, Jimi Hendrix & Mozart. Not sure exactly what I’d make but it would definitely be something with jam in.

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Jess

Jess: Wow boys, no women?!

Victor: It’d be nice to have a lady there but I’d be worried if Mr Bean started to get a bit lecherous..

Jon: Good point luv… ditch Marx for Annie Jones Elliot.

Jess: Three air bnb guests will be Delia Derbyshire the boss of electronic music, Roberto Bolaño seemed like a pretty cool cat and Mac Miller who just died way to soon and should come back and make some more excellent pop music – Porridge and apple as standard.

Victor: OK. Margret Atwood instead of Mr Bean. Bah humbug.

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The Album Cover (artwork by Mira Knoche)

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Roy

Thanks guys, so back to the new album, I’ve been listening to it & its great work. Graeme, Your bass on festival casualty is really top notch, can you tell us how. It was created and do you think it’s your best work on the album?
Graeme: Interesting you say that as I would say that Festival Casualty is my weakest song on the album in terms of bass. The bass line I am most pleased with is the suicide (specifically the chorus). It kind of came out of nowhere but looking back at it there seem to be some similarities to Rock the Casbah I’ve noticed! It’s all about taking in your influences when coming up with new music. Recycling old material.

Roy, you’ve been with the band since the start. Does this album capture the band’s live sound, or is their a lot of overdubbing. Also, how would you describe the band’s sound overall?
Roy: We always like to record the bones of a track live in the round whenever possible & that’s what we did again for this album. I suppose the more you record the more you begin to think about overdubs though. Certainly on this record there were backing vocals & percussion that we only conceived when we were listening to the live rushes. Also, I would describe our sound as loud!!

So Steve, you’re launching the album this weekend, can you tell us about it?
Victor: Aye. Well it’s set up to be a big night. We’ve got Little Love and the Friendly Vibes supporting us who are one of my favorite bands in Edinburgh. We’ve done a lot of gigs with them, they’re kind of like our sister band, as their sound is quite close to the kind of thing we do. We’re trying to start a scene but so far it’s just us two bands. We’ve also got Lou McLean who writes these beautifully sharp, witty and honest songs who we saw at a previous gig with Little Love and were very impressed. I bought both her CDs! We’ll have merch for sale including the new album of course and the previous one plus some T shirts. And we’re doing 2 45 minute sets. The new album back to back and a kind of greatest hits set after that. Oh, and it’s at Leith Depot, 7pm onwards, Saturday 19th January, a mere 3 pounds entry. We like Leith Depot. It’s kind of like our home turf.


THE LEITH DEPOT

SATURDAY 19TH JANUARY

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To celebrate the launch of the fantastic fourth album from the ever punctual Victor Pope Band they will be hosting an evening of fun and festivity featuring the likes of –

19.30: Lou McLean
20.15: Little Love and the Friendly Vibes
21.15 onwards: The Victor Pope Band

And it’s all yours for a mere 3 of your Scottish pounds on the door! Get there early to save disappointment…


www.thevictorpopeband.bandcamp.com

 

 

Divine’s Hogmanay

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Stramash, Edinburgh
31.12.2018.


Having lived in Edinburgh for the greater part of my life now, Hogmanay I have experienced, the bells and the Fireworks, from just about every location possible in Edinburgh. On Princess Street, Calton Hill, Arthurs Seat, Blackford Hill, last years Princes St Gardens. With the frequency of mega firework displays in Edinburgh. The appeal for the OOOOoo Ahhhhhhh factor wains somewhat. So I wasnae sure what I was going to do this year., however good The Human League, Colonel Mustard And The Dijon 5 and Rag N Bone Man were at last years street party was baltic and not the most comfortable gig I have attended So the musical draw was nae there for me this year.

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The Muse was taking me to the Cowgate and Stramash to witness and groove Three local Bands that I have celebrated in reviews of past years. Sea Bass Kid, who I shared the bill with at Granny Radge’s Hogmanay Bash at The Backpackers in 2014. They were first on, so I made sure that I was on time.to experience proceedings with David Blair and our host Steven StramashThank you for the invite guys  . Sea Bass Kid were the perfect band to bring the Bells in. A Folky Stomp that cover everything from Reggae, Ska, Rock N roll Folk and traditional Scottish tunes. The dance was on and Stramash was packed to the rafters. at the Bells, Aulde lang Sign was the song of choice and everyone in Stramash Loved hugged and kissed. It was awesome. When they did a cover of Underworlds Born Slippy, performed in sea Bass Kids unique Folk Rock way, myself and the celebrating audience agreed, it was absolutely fantastic. 5 stars all round guys. Awesome 

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There were so many people in Stramash last night that I love and had nae seen for a while. there was a really good vibe perfectly created by Sea Bass Kid. The party was on. Bombskare are a local Ska outfit that have achieved great things in recent years becoming festival headliners, with an infectious blend of Rock N Roll and Traditional Ska. Its been a while They always bring my inner Ska Boy out and I was all Walt Jabsco for the occasion. Sea Bass kid had warmed the venue to fever pitch Bombskare set it on fire. Everyone was having the best time. fantastic Gig Another 5 stars.

By 2.00am on The First Of January 2019. I was knackered and my hip was nipping, my boots though, were supporting my sartorial elegance and thoughts of blisters were far from my mind. So my apologies to Jay Supa and his wonderful band for not staying for his performance, But they are a band that have created the funk in my world in years past and I know that you will have continued the delight in my absence. Love you guys.  Divinexx.

All in All 5 Stars All Round

Mark ‘Divine’ Calvert

An Interview with Sean Cousins

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This Friday, the 25th May, young Scottish band Hò-rò’s are releasing their second album, HEX. The Mumble managed to catch a wee blether with the band’s ebbulient guitarist…


Hello Sean, so where are you from & where are you at, geographically speaking?
Sean: Hello! I was born in Inverness, and soon after moved to northern ireland where my da is from in county down. And im now back in Inverness where it all began.

When did you first realise you were musical?
Sean: I think my first memory of being musical was when I was visiting my granny in Mallaig and my uncles had all sorts of instruments lying around. So I started playing with a keyboard that was there. One of my uncles suggested that I stick to all the black notes on the keyboard because it will sound good no matter what you play. funnily enough, I think ive used that mentality throughout my music career.

What instruments do you play?
Sean: I Play guitar Piano and drums .

What for you makes a good song?
Sean: A good song for me is one that can grabs your attention right away. Whether thats with a catchy chorus, Or an infectious instrumental hook. Also, if a song makes the hairs stand up on the back of your neck and you’re not sure why? Id say thats an indication that its a good song.

You’ve spent time making music in LA, can you tell us about it?
Sean: LA was incredible. I was lucky enough to be invited into various studios to soak up as much production knowledge as possible. I always wanted to go over there and explore americas vast music industry. I ended up working with a Pop Duo named Alabama Capital. We worked together on just about everything you could think of. Songwriting, Production, Performance. It was good to be a part of their journey and to watch them grow as artists.

What does Sean Cousins like to do when he’s not being musical?
Sean: My friends often tell me I need to find a hobby! At the moment music takes up all of my time but I wuldn’t have it any other way. Maybe ill eventually get into gardening or train spotting or something.

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You are the founding member & guitarist of Hò-rò, can you first tell us what the name means?
Sean: Hò-rò is actually a vocable that has traditionally been used in Gaelic song for hundreds of years. So it doesn’t actually have a meaning as such. Its used to embellish the likes of Waulking songs and Puirt-a-Beul . I suppose its just the same as ad lib that is used in songs written in English such as “OOH’S AH’S and YEAH’s”

And the band’s style of music?
Sean: For me, the bands style of music definitely falls under the Trad/ Celtic Realm. But within that there are elements of just about every genre you can think of. Were constantly experimenting with new sounds and ideas. It keeps things exciting for us and hopefully the listeners too.

Your first album, released in 2016, was extremely successful & highly praised. It seemed to hit a chord with many people, can you explain why?
Sean: Our first album was released after quite a long time of us playing live and touring. So I think there was definitely a bit of anticipation for an album! I think this album in particular struck a chord with a lot of people is because it was very raw and to the point. We wanted it to showcase the talents of each individual band member. But more importantly we wanted the album to reflect what we sound like live. There were elements of everyones playing on the album and of course we threw in a couple of well respected traditional songs too. This seemed to go down well and we are very happy with the outcome.

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The band are releasing their next album, HEX, on the 25th May. This time out you’ve expanded into a six piece, who else is in the band & what do they play?
Sean: Yes , as I said earlier we are always experimenting with new sounds and vibes. So we expanded our instrumental lineup. We now have DC Macmillan Playing Drums and Paul Martin on the Keys. Both these guys are incredibly talented and they gelled in with us instantly. They bring a whole new element to our sound and we really enjoy the vibe on stage when playing with them .

Can you tell us about the recording of HEX?
Sean: We recorded the album over on the Isle of Lewis. It was amazing to get away and have a clear mind to work on the album. It was very relaxed and we had a lot of freedom to experiment with different recording techniques and different arrangement ideas that would pop into our heads.

How did you guys choose the songs & how much input did you have at this juncture?
Sean: The song choices on the album were a collective decision. We would each go away and research traditional songs and try and find the right ones for us. I do love this part of an album process. This is where I can really dive into my passion for producing. Constructing a song from the foundations all the way to the finished product. Its a great feeling.

Which song off the album resonates with you the most?
Sean: I guess the song that resonates with me the most Ravens Wing a song written by Barry Kerr. Its such a beautifully well written, poetic song about the struggles of alcoholism. Its one of those songs that so many people can relate to. Its a different approach. Lots of songs are about love and relationships. But to be able to shine a light on a real issue that so many people struggle with daily is pretty special.

What does the rest of 2018 hold in store for Hò-rò?
Sean: We have been working hard on the release of HEX and we will be touring the album throughout the UK and Ireland starting in June which we are very excited for. After that we will be diving head first into the festivals season playing some great festivals throughout Europe.


Connect with Hò-rò @

www.musichoro.com

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Hò-rò will be taking the new album on tour in June and July this year;

Drygate Brewery, Glasgow 15th June
Killin music Festival 16th June
The Think Tank, Newcastle 19th June
Surya, London 20th June
Portland Arms, Cambridge 21st June
Oh Yeah Music Centre, Belfast 23rd June
Whelans, Dublin 24th June
Railway Social Club, Fort William 6th July
Dervaig Village Hall, Isle of Mull 7th July
Tiree Music Festival 13th July

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I ran up to Caberet Voltaire thinking “YES MAN!” – the last time I was in  there it was for Penguins Kill Polar Bears.  They are a great band and I like the venue. Unfortunately, I missed the first band of the night, but catch the next band half way through a bluesy sounding number. It’s EXIT THE THEATRE, their fans are gathered around them in a denSe semi-circle, its pretty sweet.  I hear the voice at a distance and think Simon Fowler from Ocean Colour Scene, I have to do a double take when I look at the fellow and think…that guy looks about 12 he certainly doesn’t sound like it.  I’m thinking its just my elderly goggles on. The music feels the influence of the early noughties, like the Automatic, pretty experimental stuff, but the guitars are tight & I’m guessing these lads just aint found their own sound yet.  They mess up a bit before the last track but they just laugh their way through it.  It starts with some interesting and I’m pretty dam sure pretty difficult off beat drumming.  Next thing I know their crowd are sitting all around me playing that chuck the fat kids hat around game, I ask “ I dont mean to seem ageist or anything but how old are you guys?”  “ Oh we are 17!”  So there we have it I was wrong but not far wrong!  I am officially decrepid!

Next up are LOGAN’S CLOSE who start with a Ray Charles number.  First impressions…way more theatrical, way more diverse.  A bit like what would have happened if Jim Morrisson and Paul MacCartney had stepped into the same time machine when they  were 18 and arrived in the 90’s. These guys are sweet and snappy dressers.  They descibe their next track, Collette, as a song about an imaginary giirlfriend.  “We dont even know what she looks like but we don’t care because we are not shallow. “  It’s not far from being in 1955 at the Under the Sea dance from then on in apart from it Adam Ant instead of Marty Mcfly.  They also describe a fan or perhaps girlfriend in front of the stage a goddess in human form.  There’s genuine sincerity there which you don’t often see.  Some young lads dodge in…im guessing about 16/17, but these boys are also snazzy dressers and do a kind of shuffle dance in their sin tight jeans, quiffs and leather jackets. Thank fully somebody sprayed some impulse at this point returning me back to 2015.

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Next up are THE RUSE who surprisingly for a headline band have a much more awkward presence on stage but the sound is rocky stadium sound that fills a wee space like this no bother.  Once again the music is experimental,I keep hearing all kinds of influences.  Our lead man is not shy he tellls everyone to get right up the front which they obligingly do.   Like the other band Ive seen there no strict genre I can pin down.  It says 60’s psychedelic rock on the tin but I’m hearing more influences than that…plus you gotta wear a bit of tie die for that.  Of course this is probably being an out of touch granny again…totally out of my depth.  What I particularly liked was Cold Morning Sun.  It sounded like the music from twin peaks, not the theme, the Dale Cooper just walked into the room score….therefore it sounded strange. It had a bui;ld up though and then the big sound and spaced out rockin guitar solos.  I didnt keep on top of the track names but there was one or two that had a bit of poetry like a weigie version of the streets or weigie Alan Ginsberg.

And then I went home for a cup of horlicks!

Reviewer : Sarah Marshall

Wee Dub Hogmanay

Studio 24

Edinburgh

New Year 2015!!!

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From half way down Carlton Road you could hear the sound of Studio 24″s musical masterpiece that they had put on for the end of 2014 !!!!  On entering Studio 24 the music took hold of you like a warm embrace from a close friend. THE WEE DUB was in full swing, blasting out the tunes that make them unique…  The music, the dance and the vibe was electric. Without further thought I plunged myself into the crowd, onto the dance floor and allowed the music to take me on a magical musical journey through the first few hours of 2015.

With Mungo’s Hi Fi, Prince Batty and Dread Squad, we were all in for the long haul.  A  Five Hour mash-up of friends, dancing, drinking and loving was only what most people had in mind.  With a great vibe and friends you couldn’t have asked for a better way to see in a New Year and ending the last one with a Bang !!!! Well done to all the staff at Studio 24 and to the Wee Dub crew for putting on a great show.

Reviewer : Spud