Once upon a time a wee baldy ginger man from Scotland heralded St Deluxe as being “a Scottish Nirvana for the 21st Century…”. No this wasn’t my fellow blogger Jim ‘Ayetunes’, instead it was the notorious Alan McGee, aye him what discovered Oasis.
At the time I am pretty sure that the band would have been flattered to have received such high praise from someone so prominent within the music industry. I am guessing by now that it’s a comparison that they’re getting pretty sick of, especially with lazy buggers like myself bringing it up all the time. Yes, St Deluxe do have a sound which is reminiscent of a lot of grunge bands, but to simply tag them as another Nirvana-wannabe simply doesn’t do them justice.
My first experience of St. Deluxe was at the Glasgow Podcart’s Christmas party a couple of years back at the 13th Note in Glasgow. Having only ever heard a few of their tunes prior to that night, I went in with an open mind as to what to expect. I left with a copy of their eponymous debut album and a big cheesy grin on my ever so tipsy face.
With a new EP set to be released as part of this year’s Record Store Day celebrations, I caught up with their lead singer Martin to ask him a few questions about their plans for the future and the like. On top of all of that, they’ve also very kindly given me a wee exclusive download of new song ‘After The Fire’, which is the lead track from their new EP of the same name.
Would you care to introduce yourself?
We are, we are, we are St Deluxe!
How would you describe the music you make?
Fuzzy, warm, poppy, noisey, sometimes droney, sometimes loud…
How did you start out making music?
We all come from quite musical families which helps when you’re starting to pick up an instrument. Jamie’s Dad Duncan Cameron has had a recording studio for years and played in a few succesful bands in his time, so he’s been surrounded by music for a long time!
Jamie and I had been pals for years and we met Brian and our original drummer Stuart when Jamie started playing with Francis MacDonald. When we decided to form St Deluxe it felt like the most natural thing to go with the four of us.
Stuart has since left to concentrate on his own project ‘The Wellgreen’ and now Ross Cameron (Jamie’s brother) is our sticksman!
What process goes into the way you write songs?
We usually start off with any one of us bringing in a riff, chord progression, melody or lyric that is taken into the practice studios at Riverside and bashed into a finished song.. We like to push things about and try to make things that are exciting for us to play first and foremost.
Who are your big musical influences?
There are many people/bands/things that are influences on our music. People we know or have worked with like Stuart Braithwaite and Calvin Johnson on this record and more recently Gordon Keen from Captain American/Eugenius. Bands that completely blow you away regardless of genre or time. If it’s Spacemen 3, Pavement, Black Flag, The Stooges, Earth or Deerhunter.
You’ve been compared to a number of bands over since you started, which ones are you now sick of? And what’s the most flattering comparison been?
I’d actually say they are both going to be the same band, Nirvana.
Alan McGee of Creation Records – never afraid of a bit of hyperbole – said “St. Deluxe are brilliant, a Scottish Nirvana for the 21st Century”. This was taken in equal measure as something to beat us with or to praise us with. It’s such a grandiose statement and I would never think that we could reach the heights that Nirvana in terms of the sweeping change in music and fashion that followed their popularity. It’s also easy for people to dismiss the quote as another McGee’ism but I also find it hugely flattering that he saw something in us as a band that could invoke some kind of feeling to people, maybe not in the scale to which Nirvana ever did, maybe just in a Scottish band scale.
What kind of influence do you feel that where you come from has had on the music you create?
Being Scottish and from Glasgow, or an outskirt called East Kilbride has had a pretty huge effect on the music we create. We’ve been lucky to have seen loads of bands come through Riverside Studios over the years. People like Teenage Fanclub, Eugenius, the Jesus and Mary Chain etc…
Also, living in Glasgow gives a lot of opportunity to go and see loads of live music as it seems to be a place that bands always have marked when planning tours.
Your new single, ‘After the Fire’, is due out on the 16th of April to coincide with Record Store Day, how important do you think it is to have events like this to show your support for local independent stores?
Yeah, of course it’s a great thing to be involved in and support as we’re all big collectors of music and it’s such a shame to see small independent stores suffer, as it’s one of the true ‘indie’ routes for bands to go down.
Are you fulfilling a boyhood dream by releasing your forthcoming single on vinyl?
This will be our 4th single release on vinyl but our first 10” as the rest have been 7”. Still, 10” records are few and far between these days and the packaging is really special for this release. It’s in a brown paper ‘Record shop’ bag which will have an illustrated screen print. We’re super excited about seeing it once it’s all finished!
An array of talented folk were involved in the production of the new record. Would you could to share with my readers who’s involved and how you managed to rope them all in?
Well most of them came from just chancing our arm and asking people to do it or through doing some things and making pals with people that way.
We put on Sonic Boom (Spacemen 3, Spectrum) in Stereo. We just got in touch with him by email asked him to play, sorted out some press and posters and promoted the gig as best we could! He had asked we get Stuart Braithwaite on the bill as a guest DJ. He was really cool and we just got chatting about asked him later if he fancied it. Turned out we are the first band that he has produced, so we’re pretty excited about getting it out there!
With Calvin Jonhson we just spied he was playing in Glasgow. A gig in a church up the west end in which he played on his own with an acoustic and no PA. We thought we’d just email him and ask him if he had any spare time in his tour schedule to come to Riverside and produce one song with us. He did, and it worked out great! He ended up staying at my flat while he was over and was a fun guest to have! In a production sense though, he was great. He really changed the structure of the song and made it better than the demo we had sent him. It was an education seeing how he works and fucks things up in a good way!
Joe Foster released our debut album on his record label ‘Poppydisc Records’ Joe’s famous for his work as a Creation Records producer doing some of the earlier, nosier stuff that came out on the label. He’s a bit more about creating a vibe in the studio which is pretty cool.
We’re also recording some of the new album with Gordon Keen from Eugenius. He’s been great to work with – all the guitar work that we love from those Captain America and Eugenius records has always been a big inspiration. His arrangement ideas and work on guitar tones have been used to good effect on the new stuff as well as some more quirky things that he likes to add!
We’re also very lucky that Duncan Cameron is our ever present guy behind the mixing desk and has so much experience and can work with anyone that we always have his guidance to maintain that certain thing that makes a St Deluxe record always sound like a St Deluxe record!
You’re now working with hip new London label, ‘The Dream Machine’, how did you get involved with them?
The guy John Lynch came to see us play a gig in London for a promoter called ‘Sonic Cathedral’. He really liked the band and is friends with our manager. John had a record shop in London called the Dream Machine which kind of specialized in Shoegaze and Psychedelic obscure vinyl. He heard the recorded versions and was thinking about starting up the label and saw it as the perfect record to kick start it!
What are your plans for the rest of the year and beyond? Any chance of a new album before the end of 2011?
Maybe we’ve kinda touched on this already but we’re working on the new album at the moment and will hopefully have it ready pretty soon. The new album will have these 3 songs from the new single on it but it’ll be new recorded versions of them. Riverside Studios have opened a brand new studio and we thought it best to re-record them to give the album some consistency as the results we’ve been getting are pretty phenomenal in a sonic sense. Also, as I said before Gordon Keen has been helping with some production on this record and it’s great to have another ear and some fresh ideas!
St. Deluxe – After the Fire (exclusive)
St. Deluxe release their new single, ‘After The Fire’ as part of International Record Store Day celebrations, through Dream Machine Records. The single is only going to be available on limited edition 10″ vinyl, as a wee teaser of what you can expect the band have very kindly given me a wee exclusive free download of the lead track to share with you all, what a lovely bunch they are.
The band are off on a UK tour right now including dates in London, Manchester and finishing up in Glasgow at King Tuts on Saturday the 23rd of April. Support on the evening comes from Bronto Skylift and PAWS, now that’s what I call a line up. Tickets are only £6 and they’re available to buy now here.
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