Song of Return feature former members of now defunct Glasgow electro outfit Union of Knives. Having been unceremoniously dropped by Relentless Records, Craig Grant and Chris Gordon regrouped and have crafted an album that more than equals anything that Union of Knives ever recorded. Having been freed from the shackles of their label, they have crafted an album which is both dark and unsettling, whilst retaining an atmospheric sound that is massively infectious.
Since announcing their return, Chris has stepped aside from live duties however, Craig has drafted in a more than suitable array of folk to assist him with members of Admiral Fallow, Otherpeople and Moon Unit all featuring in their ranks, not a bad wee line up I reckon. Right I think I best round up my ramblings as I am not doing this band the justice they deserve. Quite simply it’s a great fucking album from one of the most innovative bands in Scotland at the moment. Here’s Craig for more sensible words…
Would you care to introduce yourself?
Hi I’m Craig, I write and play in a band called Song of Return
How would you describe the music you make?
I’d describe it I suppose of quite ‘of the moment’. I guess it wouldn’t be very much without post-rock. I suppose it tries sometimes to be grandiose, but really it’s common as muck.
How did you come together as a band?
Chris (Gordon) and I starting writing music together which was the fall out of songs from a previous project. we were still turned on by the songs I guess, enough not to let them go without giving them one last fair shot. And when Chris told me he didn’t want to play live any more, but I knew the songs had to be because they had that live kind of energy, then I set about building a live band. basically all I did was ask the four best musicians i know. And luckily they all said yes.
How did you start out making music?
Well, Chris and I had known each other for a few years and had tried out doing music together in two or three different forms and always found that we bounced off one another well in the studio. i think we usually always had a common goal, minus the influence of egos and were just happy to be toying around and discovering. prior to this, speaking for myself, I had a kind of mentor character when I made music in Aberdeen called Stephen who I would look to for guidance I suppose or impetus, and then down through all the myriad of things that have been written in that 10 year interim, now especially with the closer involvement of Alex in the Song of Return writing, I think I could say that I always feel like I need someone to bounce off. To feed off. To spark with.
What process goes into the way you write songs?
Historically I’d say it would depend on the project. With other bands: Stanley for example it always began with odd chord combinations, trying to make the discordant poppy and palatable. with a band called Close to the Ground, it always began with a feeling, some vague thing, some naiive thing i suppose, some distant hippy ideal, trying to carve that out in a kind of sound scape. with Union of Knives it always started off with the most fucked up, dirty processed sound you could make with whatever manner of software, then bash that in to a melody and always always improv lyrics on top. With Song of Return, I really feel like the process was honed somewhat. I mean, every song began with the groove, always groove first. but there was always the will of what the message of the song was. none were created for the sake of creation, always tried to make a good groove a vehicle for an idea.
Who are your big musical influences?
Sspeaking personally, I’d say that it’s not often in the studio that you’re consciously influenced by something that sounds directly like another band. whenever I get this question about influence, I always say that the people, the heroes who influence me, who inspire me to keep giving it a shot in spite of the fact the industry is a mine field, are the artists who always just made the music they wanted to make, on their terms and in their way. I know that some of them had to play the game for the first few albums, but they all came out good in the long game. to me, the artists include Deftones, Sigur Ros, Radiohead, Bjork and Kate Bush amongst many others.
What kind of influence do you feel that where you come from has had on the music you create?
I hate Scotland. “Britain” even more so. My music is moany as hell. Go figure.
Seriously though, the main theme of “limits” is the hope for a better human condition world wide, in the next chapter of the human story. Therefore I think the time I live in has more sway over my music than the place
What can people expect to see/hear from your live shows?
bright flashing lights, guys who used to get bullied feeling important for 45 minutes, in spite of the fact that they are too old to be frolicking around like this and the bottom of some plastic cups filled with low grade beer. Also, the best music I feel I can make at this time.
Has there been a particular gig that has stood out for you so far (good or bad)?
We played in an abandoned seminary with Detour Scotland. i think it’s safe to say every member of the band and crew will remember that day for their whole lives.
What exactly happened with Union of Knives?
We finished an album we were really proud of then our product manager moved to a way higher job as head of *******….. and was told he wasn’t allowed to take any of his current projects with him. In this YEAR long process there were lots of mirrors and smoke. It’s a shame. I really liked that record and I honestly don’t believe we did anything to deserve being dropped. I think if some certain things had happened more quickly, it would have come out and this would be a Union of Knives interview. But who knows?
Song of Return formed from the ashes of Union of Knives. Was it difficult to find the motivation to come back and almost start again?
Is Chris (Gordon) still a member of Song of Return? And if so why has he decided to take step back from live duties?
Yeah he’s still every bit a member as me or Lou or Alex or anyone I guess. He just doesn’t want to play live. He’s a family man now. Besides, I think when I’ve been doing shows for 20 years I’ll probably pack it in too.
What are your plans for the rest of the year and beyond? Do you have any newreleases planned for any time soon?
Releasing the first album “Limits” on June 6th. playing the launch show at the Arches June 4th, got a few other cool shows that we can’t announce, but after that I don’t know. To be honest, Song of Return will only go on if the people tell us that they want us to, by buying the record and inviting us to play. But none of that can happen with any longevity without some industry or arts council backing. So that is the ultimate aim I suppose to rouse some interest there. And if nothing sticks, then I will be on a fucking beach in Malaysia by Christmas.
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