Wednesday, 13 February 2008

From the archive.....The Low Miffs

Well, this is sort of an exclusive for Spins & Needles. I interviewed Tom Brogan from the The Low Miffs last year in about September/October when putting together an article on the Edinburgh Music Scene for Bearded Magazine. Unfotunately, Tom's interview didn't make the final edit as I scooped an interview with Broken Records just before the copy deadline so ran with that instead. Since then, I've always felt pretty bad about doing nothing with this interview as Tom was a lovely fella and The Low Miffs are a ruddy brilliant band (my first ever review for Drowned In Sound was of them so I feel like I owe them a little) who deserve a fuck load of accolades bestowed upon them for not spewing out the same monotonous, scene-fitting shite so many of the Glasgow band's do.

Anyway, much of this interview is to do with the Scottish music scene so you'll probbaly not find out much more about the Low Miffs BUT you should embrace said collective of musicians here. I am going to endeavour to hunt this lot down to do a proper detailed interview for DiS in the next few months but, for now, I guess this will have to do. (it's pretty much unsubbed at present so take it as raw rather than gleaming copy please!)....

Howdy Tom. Tell me how the Low Miffs got it together?

Tom: We got started out in 2003. Myself and Leo the lead singer basically got to know each other as we did the same university course at Strathclyde [University] and got a few of our mates together to play about during that time.It remained that way until the end of Uni where we tried to see if we could push the band for a year or two and see what we can make of it.

So are you guys signed at the moment?
We’ve done a couple of singles with independent companies and we’re currently working on an album in collaboration with Malcolm Ross from Josef K and Orange Juice and he’s organised with a company to put an album together. So right now, we’re just in the process of recording an album with Malcolm and hopefully getting that together.

When you started what was the Scottish music scene like?
Tom: For us it was all pretty new. At the time it seemed to be that kind of Libertines-era where so many bands just wanted to be carbon copies of them it was unbelievable. That kind of pushed us into doing something original and unique as we were a bit scared of fitting into that kind of scene.

Would you say that the ‘scene’ at the time was riding on the coat tails of London then?
Tom: Yeah, I would say that Glasgow doesn’t really have a music scene from our experience. Basically a band will put on a night and all their mates will come - you really don’t get any one coming out just to see new bands. Our experience of Glasgow is that all our mates will come along and mates who are in other bands will come along, whereas as soon as we started playing in Edinburgh and London we started seeing similar people coming to gigs and coming back to see us as a result of discovering us by chance.

I was speaking to some promoters who said the way for Scotland’s music scene to progress would be to take the locality out of the equation. Would you say that’s true?
Tom: There’s something to be said for the fact that Glasgow always comes out whenever a big band gets signed and plays at the Barralands and everyone is mad for it but you just don’t get that for new bands. Still, to this day, our gigs are not busy because of the press we put out – it’s because of our mates. It’s not like that when we play in London or Edinburgh, where people come to see us because they know about us or because know about the night. I think that’s said by a lot of bands. I guess the best way to get noticed up here is to play in London first.

So you don’t think there is any way of being able to make it as a Scottish band and being able to stay in Scotland?
I’d love to say yes but I don’t know what avenues you’d have to do it. But for ourselves, literally after our first gig in London we got back up and we were in the NME the next month and that’s never happened in Scotland. It’s weird, because I think people are really in to things up here so it’s surprising so few people turn out to gigs. I don’t know if it’s down to funding or something but there's definitely a big enough pool of support up here for something to happen.

Do you think it’s a myth that Glasgow is a musical hotbed brimming with opportunity for young bands?
To be perfectly honestly with you – yes. We never understood why this whole buzz about Glasgow has come about. I suppose it’s come from Franz Ferdinand but that doesn’t mean it’s a great place to gigs. Yes there’s a lot of good bands to come out of Glasgow but they have to go elsewhere in order to get noticed. I think Edinburgh, as far as gigging goes, is ten times the city that Glasgow. I was speaking to the promoters about this and we couldn’t understand why Edinburgh gets such a shady name for itself when in actual fact that’s where all the best nights to play are and that’s where the busiest circuit is. Every time we’ve played in Edinburgh we’ve had a great response whereas in Glasgow there’s maybe been one or two gigs that have had the same buzz. I’m definitely pro-Edinburgh as far as gigging comes.

That’s an interesting point – not many people prefer Edinburgh to Glasgow, music wise. So what do you think makes Edinburgh such an exciting place to play then?
It seems to me it’s just a lot more about the music as opposed to the fashion side. With new band nights coming out all the time in Edinburgh they all seem to help each other out and talk about what bands they’re putting on. There doesn’t seem to be a clique mentality in Edinburgh - it’s just about the music and going out and enjoying it. In Scotland there are so many bands just now and unfortunately so many of them are caught up in the get big quick scheme which comes from fitting into a certain style of music as opposed to going out there and doing something unique. I think as a result of that you can end up with a lot of pretty bad bands but I think with Edinburgh the crowds are a lot more interested in music and are more choosy as to who they go to see.

1 comment:

Matthew said...

Well if I'd spotted this earlier I'd have given you a yell about their gig at Henry's on Saturday. Really good stuff, so it was.