I know I must sound like a broken record sometimes, some might even say predictable, but I like to think that consistency is a positive trait. That being said, when it comes to post-rock, I really am a walking contradiction.
I continue to tell folk that I just ‘don’t get it’ or something equally stupid such as ‘it’s just noise’. Such comments usually occur after (a) I’ve drank too much and someone is creaming their pants over Mogwai, or (b) I am trying to get a rise out of someone, or (c) all of the above.
The truth of the matter is that it’s a genre which doesn’t always sit well with me. I have a pretty short attention span, so instrumental songs don’t hold my attention as much as a catchy wee indie-pop song. It’s my fault I know, I guess I am a child of modern society were I am always on the look out for something new and exciting (Nic, in the unlikely event that you are reading this, I am of course referring to music and not other ladies). So for me to like an instrumental post-rock outfit they’re going to have to be pretty damn special. Prior to this post the only band that have fallen under that umbrella were the Gothenburg Address, who are currently on an indefinite hiatus.
What I am trying to say in a roundabout way is that this weeks featured artists, Shutter, had to be pretty damn special in order to get my attention (and keep it).
Hailing from Inverness, they first came on to my radar a couple of months back when Vic Galloway had them down to do a session for his Radio One show. So impressed was I by the recording, I bought their album the very next day, and a wee belter it is too. Right I think that’s enough rambling from me for one week, here’s Matt from the band to tell you a bit more….
Would you care to introduce yourself?
I’m Matt from Shutter. I play guitar. Shutter are Pete Macdonald – guitar, James Roberts – Bass, Will Roberts – Drums and Matt Campbell – guitar.
How would you describe the music you make?
On a very basic level it’s 4 minute instrumental epics ranging from the very quiet to the very loud. With lots of ambience/beats and melody in between.
How did you come together as a band?
Myself and Pete have been playing together in bands since 2000. I worked with James in a camera shop and decided to watch his younger brother play drums at an open mic night. We were blown away and decided to go out to the hills for a random drive that night. We all decided there and then to form a band and the rest as they say is history!
How did you start out making music?
I’d played in an instrumental band before, but it was never a particular ambition for Shutter to be instrumental. We shared a mutual interest of post rock but there is much diversity in the band. Each of us have our own interests ranging from hip hop to alt country. Our initial jams were incredibly loose and free. Our drummer would latch onto any riffs and we’d try and structure some order into the fairly chaotic jams. We all shared inspirations from our surroundings, particularly the Highlands and we’d use this as a grounding for our songs.
What process goes into the way you write songs?
Our method of song writing is incredibly simple for us, 90% of it happens at jams. Most happens fairly spontaneously and it’s a case of grabbing the good stuff and tidying it up. Over the years we’ve focussed more on structure and timings. Years of playing together has helped tighten the band and we feel very comfortable playing spontaneously together. A lot of work has gone into our songs, particularly the album.
Who are your big musical influences?
It ranges throughout the band. Personally I was influenced at an early age by Nirvana. In my early teens I absorbed myself in the Sub Pop scene and also listened to a lot of Fugazi. I was also influenced by Scottish bands such as Arab Strap, Laeto, Aereogramme and Mogwai. I’m influenced by all types of music and we share a varied taste. The past few years I’ve been influenced by the atmosphere of Tom Waits records, the rawness of Neil Young and the chaotic beauty of Pavement. I think it’s important to be inspired by as much as possible.
What kind of influence do you feel that where you come from has had on the music you create?
I think it’s had a large influence. The surroundings and landscapes of the Highlands are incredible and we are only 5 minutes away from peace and quiet! We are influenced by themes of space, the sea, and the general visual impact of rural Scotland.
What can people expect to see/hear from your live shows?
We wear our heart on our sleeves. There’s no ego, fancy hair cuts or ‘cool’ clothes. We just play passionately and if people can get anything at all from that, it’s a bonus. Our shows have a bit of a reputation for being very loud which was never an intention. Our gigs usually involve a lot of sweat!
Has there been a particular gig that has stood out for you so far (good or bad)?
Good= Supporting Deftones at Carling Academy or providing the live soundtrack to Inverness’s Firework show on Guy Fawkes night. Bad = Driving to London after several van disasters to play to 5 people who were too busy knocking peoples eyes out with their pointy shoes.
What are your plans for the rest of the year and beyond?
For the rest of the year we plan on writing more material for another release next year. We don’t plan on many live shows this year but plan on doing an exciting tour early 2011. It’s not all confirmed yet but involves taking our live visual show from the Pillars album launch on the road.
Shutter – Hope In The Skies – Live
The band’s debut album ‘Pillars’ is out now, you can get yourself a copy here. All you post-rock kids out there should love this, and as I said before, I’m not normally a big fan of this kind of music but sometimes there are some exceptions to the rules.
More from Lloyd at his Peenko blog
Photo Credit: Brooner