St Deluxe have been creating a lot of buzz back in Scotland recently, and that’s not just the feedback from their unapologetically loud guitars. Dear Scotland spoke to lead guitarist Martin Kirwan last week about SXSW and how he grew up with The Jesus and Mary Chain and Bobby Gillespie recording drums next door:

Dear Scotland: Where are you now and what did you do last night.
Martin Kirwan, St Deluxe: Last night we went to the Variety bar on Sauchiehall Street for a couple of cold ones and a chat about SXSW. We’re down at Riverside Studios in Busby having a run thru and talking about the set list for our showcases.

DS: Paul McCartney said he got into music to avoid a job – and get lots of girls. What made you get into music?
Martin Kirwan, St Deluxe: Jamie’s dad Duncan played in a few bands and then opened a studio which started in a spare room in his house. Me and Jamie grew up living pretty much next door to each other so we’d be trying to play with our Star Wars figures and Duncan would have people like the Jesus and Mary Chain and Bobby Gillespie recording drums in his hallway.

I always remember seeing all the amps and desks lying about and thinking that they looked mysterious and wondered what they were used for. So I guess with seeing all that at such a young age there’s no wonder that we ended up playing in a band together.

The Jesus and Mary Chain (with Bobby Gillespie on drums)


DS: What is your favourite song of yours to play right now?
Martin Kirwan, St Deluxe: Probably ‘After the Fire’ which will be our next single. It was produced by Stuart Braithwaite from Mogwai who was a total gent. The song itself has a great drum part which is kinda the most math rock thing we’ve ever done, with an instrumental middle eighth that’s more straight ahead. It finishes with an ear piercing guitar screech!

DS: Your heading out to Austin soon for SXSW, have you played there before and are there other places you’d like to visit?
Martin Kirwan, St Deluxe: We’ve never played before so we’re all really super excited about heading over. I think we should go down pretty well with American crowds as we’re not so much about image or sounding like the latest wave of NME hyped band. We wear our hearts and our influences on our sleeve and if people get it they get it. If not then it doesn’t bother us too much. We’ll continue to do our thing our way no matter what. As far as visiting other places I’d love to go back and play NYC and Japan would be the other place we’d love to play.

St Deluxe – New Wave Stars



DS: Do you feel more Scottish when you are abroad, or do you adapt well to new places? Anything you miss about Scotland?
Martin Kirwan, St Deluxe: It’s not that you feel more Scottish when you’re abroad but you’re maybe a little more proud to be a Scot. Just because you always seem to get a great reaction to being Scottish instead of being slightly embarrassed when you think of the negative things about Scotland. We’ll miss loads of things and people when we’re away but I’m sure it’ll be pretty hectic at SXSW so we won’t really have the time to think about missing things.

DS: What will be your first words on stage at your SXSW showcase to an audience of fans and industry types?
Martin Kirwan, St Deluxe: Jamie usually shouts “We are, We are, We are St Deluxe”

DS: How do people react when they discover that St Deluxe are Scottish?
Martin Kirwan, St Deluxe: I think it usually makes sense to people if they know the bands like the Fanclub and JAMC. We’re defo products of our environment.

Teenage Fanclub


DS: After Austin, what are your other plans for 2010?

Martin Kirwan, St Deluxe: We’ve got a couple of single scheduled in “After the Fire”, then probably “Please be Gentle” which was produced by Calvin Johnson at Riverside Studios. We’re kinda thinking about doing a mini album with some of the covers and b-sides that we’ve recorded over the last year. Then hopefully by the end of the summer the next album will be finished. Gig wise try to do some more festivals this year and maybe bring over someone that we meet at SXSW and promote our own show in Glasgow.

DS: Are there any Scottish musicians, past or present that have influenced you?
Martin Kirwan, St Deluxe: There’s loads! playing with the Vaselines when we played that bill with Mudhoney last year was amazing. I’ve always been a massive fan of them and Eugenius. Plus Jamie bought Gordon Keen’s Fender jazzmaster so you could say that there’s some of that coming thru us now. Gordon’s guitar playing in Eugenius was always an inspiration and I used to try and teach myself how to play by playing along with those records.  There’s too many Scottish bands to list as an influence especially as we’ve seen a few of them pass thru the studio. It’s always good to meet people who are in recording and listen to them offer advice and stories. We just hope we can take some of that in and use it when we do our own stuff.

The Vaselines


DS: What should the Scottish national anthem be?
Martin Kirwan, St Deluxe: Flower of Scotland is fine with me really.

DS: What’s the best after – show experience you’ve had?
Martin Kirwan, St Deluxe: We played a gig in Norway at this Festival in Bergen with Stephen Lawrie from the Telescopes. One of the bands also on the bill took us to their studio rehearsal space that was decorated like the set of Twin Peaks with the midget speaking backwards. There weren’t any midgets, just loads of red wine and the rest of the rider from the gig and chatting about music. The flight home wasn’t too good as we basically only had time to have a shower then head for the airport. That was a great trip though, Stephen is a great guy.

St Deluxe with The Telescopes’ Stephen Lawrie


DS: And finally, many many years from now, when you finish your farewell world tour, is there one place to where you would like to retire?
Martin Kirwan, St Deluxe: Anywhere with a decent garden and space to grow oversized root vegetables.

St Deluxe – Stupid Ideas


Photo Credit: St Deluxe

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