They say that the people in Glasgow are so hard they can make folk music sound mean and menacing. Well, wouldn’t you know it? It is true as far as this mixed gender, Glaswegian quartet is concerned; but they also manage to make it compelling and thought provoking at the same time. The feisty vocals of Adele Bethel and the captivating Proclaimers style narrative singing of Scot Patterson, blend in with the crisp post rock with an undertone of folk instrumentals to make Sons and Daughters the bold and colourful quartet that you cannot ignore. Drummer David Gow kindly loaned us some of his time prior to embarking on a headline mini UK tour with S & D; to talk about their debut mini album ‘Love The Cup’ and what it is like to be four humble Glaswegians.
You are a curiously compelling country tinged post rock; mixed gender quartet. Scot and Adele’s vocals are both dynamic and provide a captivating narrative to your songs with ‘La Lune’ and ‘Fight’; epitomizing your mystical nature. Describe the song writing process for S & D do each of you have an input or is it very much a matter of one person working on an idea and then instructing the others?
Thank you. Our songwriting process is pretty democratic and free-form, and it’s all done in a rehearsal room. We’ll start with a riff on a guitar, mandolin, bass or drums, and work it up from there. By jamming with the idea for a while, other ideas will come out, as well as a general feel and tempo. Then we’ll use these other ideas to create different parts for the song, and often we’ll include happy accidents, too; some of the best ideas we’ve had have come from fucking it up. By this time, there’s usually vocal melodies flying around, and Adele has books full of lyrics to choose from. The whole process takes either 30 minutes or 2 months.
Has hailing from Glasgow dictated the style of music that you produce or would you sound like you do no matter where you hail from?
I think we’d be very similar in style to what we are now, if only for the fact that we all hail from different areas in Scotland anyway. The music we make is purely a mix of our influences from everywhere, and is not really a product of Glasgow particularly. That said, Glasgow is such a great place to start a band, because it’s pretty easy to get a gig and find some like minded people; As long as you’re any good.
What does producing music mean to you? Is their a cathartic element to your songs?
I think the song writing is one of the most satisfying parts to being in a band, along with recording and playing live. It’s a great feeling to be in the middle of creating something that everyone thinks is good to play. When the realisation hits everyone that a song is nearly finished, it’s briiliantly exciting. There’s a cathartic element to playing live too, it’s definitely a release to play a song that we’ve been working on for a while, and seeing whether people actually enjoy it or not.
I have witnessed two of your live shows (in support of Franz Ferdinand and The Delgados respectively) and each time the faces in the crowd have gone from bemused to intrigued then to captivated, followed by excited, before finishing by looking more satisfied than a ticket tout on hearing that Travis are going to be playing small club venues. Is this a fair summation of the reaction to your live sound in your opinion?
We hope so! We really spend a lot of time on getting the dynamics of a show right, especially when we are opening for another band, because it’s the first impression that many people will have of our music. It’s a fine balancing act of trying to start a show well, then building on it, trying to get the crowd more excited, which in turn fires us up and makes us play better. It’s also really important to us which songs we play and when. Creating tension and atmosphere is really important for a live show, because it makes the rocking bits even more exciting hopefully.
Scott & Adele are a compelling leading duet. Especially when Adele provides the aggressive P.J. Harvey come V.V. Kills touch. Then Scott chips in with his laid back yet strong folk tinged style in ‘Fight’; for example and they build up such intensity at gigs that they resemble VV and Hotel from The Kills, at times. There seems such chemistry on stage do you rehearse it or is it telepathic understand in action?
We rehearse the songs, but you can’t really rehearse your feelings. Scott and Adele are a couple off stage too, and I suppose when you live together and play in a band together you build a chemistry whether you think about it or not.
What about the other two members? Ailidh Lennon (Bass & Mandolin) reminds me of the subject matter of the Bowling For Soup Song; ‘Girl All The Bad Guys Want’. What about the story that yourself and Alan Barr from the Delgados took a Viagra on tour recently? The point I am trying to make is that you are all at different points on the personality compass, do you agree with this and does it result in many inter band conflicts?
Of course we are all at different points on the personality compass, but we’re all aiming west when it comes to our music (!). Any band is a sum of its personalities, and I think if any points were taken away it would be a different band. Or in other words the compass would point south, or something. And it was only half a viagra.
Who is your all time favourite Glaswegian and why?
Kirsty Wallace from Carluke. (a.k.a. Poison Ivy Rorschach from The Cramps) Simply because she’s one of the greatest rock n roll stars of our time.
Many indie & alternative bands are hypocritical in their criticism of manufactured boy and girl bands, as they are manufactured themselves with the use of drum machines, pre-recorded vocals and guitars. However, this cannot be said of you, so go nuts….
There is a deal of snobbery that goes with being in a serious band man, but we say if the song’s good, it’s good. We love Britney Spears; Toxic; as much as we love ‘Single Again’ by the Fiery Furnaces. Of course there’s plenty of shite music out there, but these crimes are committed just as equally by five chin stroking jazz fuds who read the Wire as a bunch of wee guys in a boy band.
What is the story behind your latest single ‘Johnny Cash’ (out now on Domino Records) who wrote it? What made you choose that for single release ahead of gems like ‘Fight’; and ‘La Lune’; from your debut mini album; ‘Love The Cup’?
Scott came in to rehearsal one day with the bones of this one. We all thought it sounded like an old Sun Recording of a Johnny Cash tune, because it was like the way the Tennessee Two played or something. We kept referring to it as Johnny Cash, and even when we'd named it something else, we'd call it J.C. so it stuck in the end. We decided to re-record it as a single, the way we play it live now. We chose it over other songs because it was the one that people seem to like the most.
If you could change one thing about the modern music industry what would be?
I really hated the way the major corporations and the RIAA dealt with people downloading music and sharing files. It was fucking ridiculous when an eight year old girl was fined $20,000 in the States because she’d downloaded a bunch of nursery rhymes. We’ve never had a technology that has brought so much access to music for so many people, and it was entirely typical and laughable when these companies started spitting teeth because they’d missed the boat. Never mind the fact that their music catalogues were being heard by more people than ever before.
How do you want the public to remember Sons and Daughters’ music?
We want the world at large to remember us as a good live band that never took any shit and never jumped on any band-wagons.