December 5, 2013: Fatherson, The LaFontaines, Cairn String Quartet, Garden Of Elks, The Holy Ghosts and have been announced as The Big Apple Award competition finalists. All five acts play free sets at Glasgow’s G2 on December 11, with an all-expenses-paid trip to play New York City in April 2014 up for grabs for the winners.
New gig… Silibil N’ Brains (stars of The Great Hip Hop Hoax film) play Dundee’s Buskers on December 27 and Glasgow’s Pivo Pivo on December 28.
December 4, 2013: Mick Cooke has left Belle & Sebastian. The band made the announcement in their latest mailshot, stating: “We wish him all the best with any future projects and hope to work alongside him again in the future.” The multi-instrumentalist, who had been a full-time member of Belle & Sebastian since 1998, will now focus on his work as a composer and arranger.
New gig… Song, by Toad Records’ 5th Birthday Party at Edinburgh’s Henry’s Cellar Bar on December 21 featuring PAWsault, Tom Collins Shatner and assorted label friends and guests.
December 3, 2013: Budding musicians aged between 14-19 can register for Hit The Road, a project that offers workshops, seminars and information sessions about performing live, before they are given the opportunity to tour across Scotland. The next set of tours will launch in January, with each one taking three acts on the road.
New video via YouTube… Red Sands – Too Short A Season, taken from debut album Red Sands, out on December 9.
New video via YouTube… Mickey 9s – Ammunition.
New EP release via Bandcamp… Jo Mango – When We Lived In The Crook Of A Tree.
December 2, 2013: New video via YouTube… Mogwai – The Lord Is Out Of Control, taken from their forthcoming album Rave Tapes, out on January 20.
New album release via iTunes… Cold Crows Dead – I Fear A New World, featuring The Xcerts’ Murray Macleod.
Free album download via Bandcamp… Kobi Onyame – Glory.
November 29, 2013: Brew at the Bog have announced the first 25 acts for its festival in Inverness on May 3. The line-up includes Kid Canaveral, Stanley Odd, Friends In America, Fake Major, Randolph’s Leap, Call To Mind, Beerjacket, Campfires In Winter, Shambles Miller, The Little Kicks, This Silent Forest, Woodenbox, Jo Mango and Atom Tree.
The Holy Ghosts have set up a Kickstarter page for pre-orders of their debut album Ride Them Down, due out in April.
November 28, 2013: New video via YouTube… Over The Wall – Radiator.
New video via YouTube… Book Group – Victory Lap, taken from Victory Lap / The Lowdown Of A LOUD Sound single.
New album release via Bandcamp… Scott McWatt – A Ceíst Amá.
November 27, 2013: New song streams via SoundCloud… King Creosote – Dial C For Cradle; Meddling Gut Wrenches; Impossible To Resist.
New song stream via SoundCloud… Rachel Sermanni – Everything Changes.
Findlay Napier has set up a PledgeMusic page to fund the recording of VIP: Very Interesting Persons, an album of songs co-written with Boo Hewerdine.
November 26, 2013: Free album download via Bandcamp… Olive Grove Records Sampler featuring Call To Mind, The State Broadcasters, Randolph’s Leap, The Moth & The Mirror, The Son(s), Woodenbox, Jo Mango and Pensioner.
Free album download via Bandcamp… Mini50 Records Winter Sampler 2013.
New song release via iTunes… Withered Hand – Black Tambourine. Dan Willson will play solo gigs at Glasgow’s Glad Cafe on November 27 and Aberdeen’s Tunnels on November 28 as well as Glasgow’s Platform on January 24 for Celtic Connections.
New video via YouTube… Kid Canaveral – A Compromise, taken from A Compromise EP.
November 25, 2013: New album release… There Will Be Fireworks – The Dark, Dark Bright on CD and download.
Detour will hold their fourth Wee Jaunt in Glasgow on December 7, and the allocation of free places has already been snapped up. Email your name to firstname.lastname@example.org to be added to the reserve list.
Free song download via SoundCloud… Sparrow And The Workshop – One Brush.
Blindfolds have split up after three years together – they bow out with the release of new video Lucid.
November 22, 2013: New video via YouTube… Young Aviators – We’ve Got Names For Folk Like You.
New video via YouTube… The Pastels – Kicking Leaves.
New video via YouTube… Conscious Route feat Werd & Jordan Butler – Friends Til The End.
New gig… The Xcerts at Aberdeen’s Downstairs on December 21.
New gig… Glasgow’s Dirty Weekender across five venues on February 28-March 1 featuring Mark Morriss (The Bluetones), Mark Gardener (Ride), Bombskare, etc.
November 21, 2013: New song stream via SoundCloud… Withered Hand – Black Tambourine.
New video via YouTube… Jo Mango – When We Lived In The Crook Of A Tree, taken from When We Lived In The Crook Of A Tree EP, out on December 2.
CHVRCHES’ gig for TYCI’s Christmas Party on December 21 has been moved to Glasgow’s SWG3 due to a delay in the reopening of The Vic venue at The Art School.
New gig… The Jezabels at Glasgow’s Oran Mor on February 26, plus ticket bundles with new album The Brink.
November 20, 2013: Arctic Monkeys have been announced as the one of headliners at next year’s T in the Park on July 11-13. Tickets go on sale on November 22.
New gig… The Christmas Songwriters’ Club at Edinburgh’s Queen’s Hall on December 22 featuring Frightened Rabbit’s Scott Hutchison, Kid Canaveral, Broken Records, Miaoux Miaoux, Siobhan Wilson, TeenCanteen with Eugene Kelly, Karine Polwart & Findlay Napier, We See Lights and Very Well.
New song stream via SoundCloud… SOS – Fake Hallelujah.
November 19, 2013: New video via YouTube… Franz Ferdinand – Bullet.
Free EP download via Bandcamp… King Post Kitsch – The Silver Screen.
New video via YouTube… The Amazing Snakeheads – Flatlining.
November 18, 2013: CHVRCHES have been confirmed as the live band for TYCI’s Christmas Party at Glasgow’s Art School on December 21.
New album trailer via YouTube… Withered Hand – New Gods, due out in February.
New Beerjacket album Darling Darkness will be released on January 27.
New tour… The Winter Tradition at Glasgow’s King Tut’s on February 6, Stirling’s Tolbooth on February 7, Aberdeen’s Cafe Drummond on February 8, Inverness’ Mad Hatters on February 9, Galashiels’ Heriot-Watt Student Union on February 10, Dundee’s Duke’s Corner on February 11 and Perth’s Twa Tams on February 15.
November 17, 2013: Glasgow venue King Tut’s has unveiled it line-up for the fourth annual King Tut’s New Year’s Revolution on January 3-16, with the likes of Campfires In Winter, Cherri Fosphate, Book Group, Garden Of Elks, Saint Max And The Fanatics and Quinny featuring on all-local bills.
Labels, musicians and fans are being invited to register albums released by Scottish artists in 2013 for consideration for next year’s SAY Award.
November 15, 2013: French Wives will play their last ever gig at Glasgow’s Mono on December 19 after announcing they are splitting up.
New video via YouTube… There Will Be Fireworks – Youngblood.
New album release via iTunes… Ministry Of Stories – Share More Air, an album of children’s lyrics set to original music including Rachel Sermanni’s Love Story.
New song stream via Bandcamp… Water Of Life – Sources And Springs / Abercrombie, 1949, an art-science collaboration between Tommy Perman and Rob St. John exploring flows of water through Edinburgh.
November 14, 2013: New gig… The Wee Chill Festive Weekender at Glasgow’s SWG3 on December 22, featuring Admiral Fallow, Washington Irving, The Little Kicks, Call To Mind and Atom Tree.
The Big Apple Award has launched its annual competition, with an all-expenses-paid trip to play New York City in April 2014 up for grabs. The deadline for applications is December 2, before the winner is picked from a shortlist of five Scottish performers at Glasgow’s Garage on December 11. The last two victors were Stanley Odd and Song Of Return.
Free song download via SoundCloud… Mike Nisbet – Traveling Blues (demo)
November 13, 2013: Edinburgh’s Hogmanay celebrations will incorporate an afternoon of free live music on January 1. Starting at the National Museum of Scotland at noon, the guest-curated SCOT:LANDS event will feature performances across nine Old Town venues by the likes of King Creosote, Withered Hand, RM Hubbert, Lau and FOUND as well as a production of Whatever Gets You Through The Night.
New video via YouTube… Washington Irving – Palomides , director James Houston claims it’s the world’s first autostereogram music video.
New video via YouTube… Nightmare Boy – Paranoid (Black Sabbath cover).
New video via Vevo… KT Tunstall – Made Of Glass.
November 12, 2013: New album release via Bandcamp… Medals – Disguises, new project of Sucioperro’s JP Reid.
New event… Vic Galloway – Songs In The Key Of Fife book reading + Withered Hand + Kid Canaveral at Glenrothes’ Rothes Halls on November 29.
New album stream via SoundCloud… Kobi Onyame – Glory, available to buy on iTunes.
November 11, 2013: Next year’s MTV Europe Music Awards will be held at Glasgow’s Hydro on November 9.
Arches singer Michael Rice has left the band, with guitarist Barry Morrell taking over vocal duties.
New EP release via SoundCloud…. Casual Sex – The Bastard Beat, streaming on SoundCloud.
Free song download via SoundCloud… Mike Nisbet – What Will Be Will Be (demo).
November 8, 2013: BBC ALBA programme Buskers has returned for a second series, with the first two episodes available to watch on iPlayer. Episode 2′s spotlight on Glasgow features Donald Macdonald, Alan Tennie, Anna Shields and Holly Wilson.
November 7, 2013: New gigs… Fireside Acoustic Sessions (organised by Comets & Cartwheels) at Glasgow’s Drake Bar featuring free stripped-back sets from Friends In America + Prehistoric Friends on November 7, Finn LeMarinel on November 14, Randolph’s Leap on November 21 and Honeyblood + LightGuides on November 28.
New gig… There Will Be Fireworks + Friends In America + The Youth And Young at Strathaven’s Old Mill Studios on December 7.
November 6, 2013: New video via YouTube… Prides – Roar (Katy Perry cover for Vic Galloway session).
New song stream via YouTube… Fridge Magnets – Chase The Sun.
Rachel Sermanni has set up a PledgeMusic page for pre-orders of her Everything Changes EP.
Free song download via SoundCloud… This Silent Forest – Root To The Seed, taken from debut album Indivision.
New song stream via Gold Flake Paint… Book Group – The Lowdown of A LOUD Sound, taken from Victory Lap / The Lowdown Of A LOUD Sound single, out on November 25.
New video via YouTube… The Button Men – Man With A Plan.
November 5, 2013: New song stream via SoundCloud (today only)… There Will Be Fireworks – Elder And Oak.
New video via YouTube… CHVRCHES – Lies.
The Birthday Suit have a PledgeMusic campaign featuring various incentives and packages to go with pre-orders of their third album A Hollow Hole Of Riches, out in April.
BrewDog Records has been set up by the Scottish craft beer company with its first official release being The Shiverin’ Sheiks single Guided Missiles, taken from the band’s debut album A Curious Case Of…, out on November 20.
November 4, 2013: New album release via Bandcamp… Washington Irving – Palomides: Volume II.
New album release via iTunes… Kobi Onyame – Glory.
New song stream via SoundCloud… Over The Wall – Radiator, taken from This Is How We Did It EP, out on December 9.
November 1, 2013: New gig… There Will Be Fireworks + Friends In America + Kevin Harper at Glasgow’s SWG3 on November 22.
Arctic Monkeys have rescheduled tonight’s show at Glasgow’s Hydro to November 21 as singer Alex Turner has laryngitis. All original tickets remain valid.
New video via YouTube… Michael Cassidy – Everybody’s Scared. He plays with Beerjacket + Julia And The Doogans at Glasgow’s Mono on December 5.
October 31, 2013: New video via YouTube… Nightmare Boy – Mary (first solo offering of ex-Kassidy member Barrie-James O’Neill).
New video via YouTube… Frightened Rabbit – Holy.
A fan-led campaign to boycott all of Idlewild’s side-projects in the hope of spurring them to make new music has been attacked by band member Rod Jones. The guitarist, who also fronts The Birthday Suit, wrote: “If anything this just has the opposite effect in that it made me really consider whether I wanted to make music anymore. My other band The Birthday Suit and its touring and releasing records has absolutely no bearing or influence on whether and when an Idlewild tour or album might happen.”
October 30, 2013: New gigs… The Reflektors (Arcade Fire) at Glasgow’s Barrowland on November 15 and November 16 – general sale from November 1; presale passwords are available to those who pre-ordered the band’s new album from their official website.
New album release via iTunes… Cairn String Quartet – One (streaming on SoundCloud) featuring orchestral covers of Lana Del Rey, Coldplay, Oasis, The Stone Roses, Ocean Colour Scene etc.
October 29, 2013: Free song download via official website… Mogwai – Remurdered (streaming on SoundCloud), taken from eighth album Rave Tapes, out on January 20.
New song stream via SoundCloud… Pinact – Brew.
New video via YouTube… The LaFontaines – All She Knows.
Free song download via SoundCloud… SOS – ROCK N ROLL.
New song stream via SoundCloud… Madison – Mending, taken from Mending EP, out now.
Gig venue change…. Katie Sutherland plays Glasgow’s Faktory instead of Mackintosh Church on November 2.
October 28, 2013: New album release via Comets & Cartwheels… Blood Relatives – Deerheart.
Free song download via SoundCloud… Call To Mind – A Family Sketch.
New album release via Lost Map… Monoganon – F A M I L Y, streaming in full on Gold Flake Paint.
October 25, 2013: Born To Be Wide will host a seminar on record shops at Edinburgh’s Electric Circus on November 7. Panelists include Rose Norton (Coda), Sandy McLean (Love Music) and Darren Yeates (VoxBox).
New gig… Blood Relatives album launch at Glasgow’s Bar & Fly on October 26.
New gig… Scottish Fiction presents Beerjacket & Friends + Julia And The Doogans at Glasgow’s Mono on December 5.
New song stream via SoundCloud… The LaFontaines – All She Knows (Prides remix).
The 1975, Nina Nesbitt and The 10:04s have been added to the Concert in the Gardens bill at Edinburgh’s Hogmanay alongside Pet Shop Boys. Other stages feature CHVRCHES, Django Django and King Creosote.
October 24, 2013: New gig… TYCI Christmas Party featuring secret live act plus DJ sets from CHVRCHES + Pretty Ugly + Adele Bethel at Glasgow’s Art School on December 21.
New song stream via SoundCloud… Honeyblood – Kissing On You.
New gig… Starz In Their Eyes featuring RM Hubbert + Eagleowl + The Pictish Trail + Kid Canaveral + Two Wings (each covering a female artist of their choice) at Edinburgh’s Pilrig St Paul’s Church on November 23.
October 23, 2013: New video via YouTube… Siobhan Wilson – All Dressed Up.
New video via YouTube… TeenCanteen – Honey.
New video via YouTube… Young Fathers – Low, taken from forthcoming album Dead, out on February 3.
New video via YouTube… Biffy Clyro – Sounds Like Balloons.
New EP release via Bandcamp… End Of Neil – Less.
October 22, 2013: Local Natives’ Nik Ewing had his Fender Coronado bass guitar stolen during their gig at The Arches in Glasgow last night – contact police if you spot it.
New song stream via SoundCloud… Michael Cassidy – Everybody’s Scared, out on November 28.
October 21, 2013: New song stream via SoundCloud… TeenCanteen – Honey, out on October 28. They play Edinburgh’s Summerhall on October 25, Glasgow’s Rio Cafe on October 26 (free) and Aberfeldy Festival on November 3.
New album release via Bandcamp… Saint Max & The Fanatics – Saint Max Is Missing And The Fanatics Are Dead.
New video via YouTube… Kobi Onyame – Goodbye World, Hello, taken from new album Glory, out on November 4.
Free download via official website… Plum – Death Comes With A Bow, taken from Betsy Thunder EP, out now.
October 18, 2013: Dumfries Music Conference has announced its upcoming four-day programme of free events in the town.
October 30: Screening of LCD Soundsystem documentary Shut Up And Play The Hits at Robert Burns Centre.
October 31: Music Industry Experts seminar featuring The Pop Cop and others at The Stove (ticketed).
November 1: Songwriting Workshops featuring Findlay Napier + Finding Albert’s Robert Shields at The Stove.
November 1: Live showcase featuring Hector Bizerk + Honeyblood + Barstow Bats at The Stove (ticketed).
November 2: Record Fair featuring Rebecca Vasmant (Ministry Of Sound) + Jason Reid (Sub Club) at The Stove.
October 17, 2013: New song stream via SoundCloud… Washington Irving – Babble. Their track Palomides is also available for free download. Both are taken from Palomides: Volume II album, out on November 4.
New video via Clash… The Birthday Suit – A Bigger World, out on November 4.
New video via YouTube… Atom Tree – Die For Your Love, taken from Tide Of Thorns EP, out on October 18.
Free gig… Rachel Sermanni at Glasgow’s Love Music on October 21 (5pm).
October 16, 2013: New video via YouTube… Colin Macleod – Devil Pavement (Live from the Green Bus), taken from The Anchor EP, out on October 21. On the same day he will play instore sets at Edinburgh’s Coda Music (1pm) and Glasgow’s Love Music (5.30pm).
57ᵒ North have published their Guide To DIY Gig Promotion – a useful resource for anyone venturing into this side of the music business.
Michael Cassidy will play at the opening night party for Glasgow’s The Bar & Fly on October 19.
Free gig… French Wives + Randolph’s Leap + Laki Mera + The Graveyard Band + Donald Macdonald And The Islands + The Mademoiselle for 1st Birthday Bash at Glasgow’s Broadcast on October 25 (RSVP required).
October 15, 2013: New video via YouTube… Travis – Mother.
New video via YouTube…. Casual Sex – Nothing On Earth, taken from The Bastard Beat EP, out on October 28.
October 14, 2013: Anna Sweeney, who spoke out on The Pop Cop about her mental health issues after quitting her solo career, has started a new project with Maeve McCrorie called The Scarlings. They play their first gig at Glasgow’s Oran Mor on October 31.
October 12, 2013: New documentary via BBC iPlayer… The Great Hip Hop Hoax.
New song stream via Clash… Washington Irving – Palomides, taken from Palomides: Volume II album, out on November 4.
Free download via SoundCloud… Beerjacket – Glow (demo).
Free album download via Bandcamp… Louie & Bigg Taj – Paranoise.
October 11, 2013: New gig… Withered Hand at Edinburgh’s Whale Arts Centre on October 19 (free tickets) with free return coach travel from Waterloo Place as part of Scottish Mental Health Arts & Film Festival.
New tour… Travis at Edinburgh’s Picture House on November 17, Inverness’ Ironworks on November 18, Aberdeen’s Music Hall on November 19 and Glasgow’s Barrowland on December 20.
October 10, 2013: The venue splits and stage times for Haddowfest in Edinburgh on October 11-12 have been released.
New video via YouTube… Honeyblood – Bud. The band play Glasgow’s Broadcast on October 29 and Edinburgh’s Electric Circus on October 30.
New video via YouTube… Camera Obscura – Troublemaker. The band’s Break It To You Gently double 7″ single is out now.
Free song download via SoundCloud… Saint Max & The Fanatics – Soul Surrender, taken from debut album Saint Max Is Missing And The Fanatics Are Dead, out on October 21.
October 9, 2013: New video via YouTube… Katie Sutherland – Canvas. She plays Glasgow’s Mackintosh Church on November 2.
New gig… Rachel Sermanni + Bwani Junction + Vigo Thieves at Edinburgh’s Liquid Room on November 23 (for War Child). Rachel’s The Boatshed Sessions EP is out on October 21.
The Great Hip Hop Hoax will be broadcast on BBC Two Scotland on October 11 at 9pm.
LCD Soundsystem documentary Shut Up And Play The Hits will be shown for free at Dumfries’ Robert Burns Centre on October 30 as part of Dumfries Music Conference which runs from October 30 to November 2.
October 8, 2013: CHVRCHES, Django Django, King Creosote, The Rezillos, Treacherous Orchestra and Fiddlers’ Bid have been announced to play Edinburgh’s Hogmanay street party alongside headliners Pet Shop Boys.
New song stream via SoundCloud… SOS – ROCK N ROLL.
October 7, 2013: New song stream via YouTube… The LaFontaines – All She Knows, out on October 27; B-side My Yo-Yo available now on iTunes.
New album release via iTunes… The Fratellis – We Need Medicine.
New album release via Bandcamp… The Grand Gestures – Second.
New album release via Fortuna POP!… The Spook School – Dress Up.
October 6, 2013: New video via YouTube… De Rosa – Spectres. The band play their first gig in four years as part of Kid Canaveral’s Xmas Baubles IV at Edinburgh’s Portobello Town Hall on December 14.
Free song download via SoundCloud… Beerjacket – Androgynous (The Replacements cover).
New album stream via SoundCloud… L.Pierre – Neverland Transmission, A Disney Mix (tracklist on Dazed and Confused).
October 4, 2013: 57º North will run a free music journalism training course at Aberdeen’s Seventeen every Wednesday for four weeks from October 23. Email email@example.com to apply for one of six spaces.
New song stream via SoundCloud… Katie Sutherland – Canvas, out on November 18.
New gigs via Ticketmaster… The Twilight Sad performing debut album Fourteen Autumns & Fifteen Winters at Glasgow’s King Tut’s on December 20 and December 21.
New album release via Bandcamp… The Little Kicks – Put Your Love In Front Of Me.
New video via BBC iPlayer… Rapal – Series 7, Episode 8, featuring Vukovi, Donald Macdonald And The Islands, The Velveteen Saints, The River 68′s and Conquering Animal Sound.
October 3, 2013: The Glasgow venue formerly known as The Barfly, which shut in February 2009, will reopen as The Bar & Fly at the same location on Clyde Street on October 18.
New video via YouTube… The Deep Red Sky – Kids (MGMT cover), out on October 7.
New song via YouTube… Finn LeMarinel – Love Is Waves (demo).
October 2, 2013: Free album download via UK Rock Radio… Free Sample Issue #03 featuring songs by The Xcerts, Sparrow And The Workshop, Admiral Fallow, A Band Called Quinn, Mull Historical Society and Unkle Bob.
Meursault frontman Neil Pennycook will be a guest speaker at Born To Be Wide’s seminar on promoting gigs, which takes place at Edinburgh’s Electric Circus on October 3.
New video via YouTube… We Were Hunted – You Know Me Now.
What The Blood Revealed have announced they are splitting up.
Free song download via SoundCloud… Lorraine McCauley & The Borderlands – Belong.
October 1, 2013: Free song download via iTunes… CHVRCHES – Tether. Singer Lauren Mayberry has written a Guardian article about the online misogyny she has been suffering, it’s well worth a read.
Free song download via SoundCloud… Julia & The Doogans – Love At First Sight (Kylie Minogue cover).
New song stream via SoundCloud… Cold Crows Dead – Ghost That Burned Your House Down, taken from debut album I Fear A New World, out on December 2. The band is a collaboration between The Xcerts’ Murray Macleod and Brighton songwriter Paul Steel. They play Aberdeen’s Tunnels on December 10 and Glasgow’s King Tut’s on December 11.
If you were a musician, there surely can’t be anything more soul-stewing than to walk away from a band – be it by choice or by security escort – who subsequently go on to become hugely popular and successful in your absence. And just imagine how much worse it would be if you were one of its founder members, having suffered through all the terrible, terrible things that bands have to endure in the early days – THE POVERTY, THE COMPROMISED HYGIENE, THE HEAVY LIFTING - while they reap the rewards and spend their days laughing, counting money and laughing some more.
In this special feature, former members of Travis, Snow Patrol and Belle & Sebastian share their experiences with The Pop Cop. One of them suggested, “Maybe we could start a support group”. I think he was joking.
The band that would become Travis was founded in 1990 by Geoff Martyn (keyboard) and his brother Chris Martyn (bass), with Andy Dunlop (guitar), Neil Primrose (drums) and then Fran Healy (singer) added to the ranks. They were called Glass Onion until early 1994, before briefly changing their name to The Family and then finally to Travis, as whom they played the inaugural T in the Park in 1994. Geoff and Chris were asked to leave the group in 1996, with Dougie Payne coming in on bass. Geoff went on to form Kingpin and Jupiter And Teardrop as well as going under his own name. His songs have been featured on a number of American television shows including Scrubs, One Tree Hill and Brothers & Sisters. He currently plays keyboard with Roddy Hart & The Lonesome Fire.
Geoff Martyn, ex-Travis
We all stayed in the same flat in the southside of Glasgow and for a few of us it was the first time we’d left home. It was challenging and a lot of fun but it was very much a sink-or-swim moment in the life of the band. Looking back, there were probably tensions I wasn’t fully aware of. I was always busy working and perhaps that alienated me from the band given that they were mostly signing on, but I couldn’t let go of the 9-5.
There came a point where Fran started to lead the band given that he was coming up with all the material and that was essentially the reason we signed to Sony Music Publishing in late 1995. I’m 99% sure that the decision to change the line-up of the band came directly from Sony and that Fran was given the choice to do so or risk their investment, and ultimately his career. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t shocked by the decision, but just because you start a band, it doesn’t mean that you have control of it forever.
We used to record demos in two to three days, mostly at Park Lane Studio in Glasgow. While they weren’t all gems, Turn was in there from as far back as 1993, as was She’s So Strange, and I’m immensely proud to have been involved.
Seeing the band you’ve left soar in popularity is probably every musician’s worst nightmare, but I eventually got it all sorted out in my head and, rather than seeing it as a negative, I just got on with my life. You can’t let that kind of thing grind you down because if you do it never stops. I’ve been very lucky and have had some of the most rewarding musical experiences of my life over the last 10 years. While I’m proud of the part I played in the formation of Travis, it’s such a small part of my musical history now.
I don’t really mention the Travis association at all these days, and only used it a handful of times in the early years. It soon became apparent that wearing it like a badge meant that people had certain expectations and would judge you accordingly. It’s much better to stand on your own two feet – that way you’ve succeeded on your own terms if people like what you do. I’ve met and written songs with people over the years who probably have no idea about my time in Travis and I think that’s a good thing as they accepted me for who I am rather than who I was all those years ago.
Having never ‘made it’ in the same sense as my former band-mates, I’ve more than made up for that with a rich and varied musical career. I’m also very happy in my personal life with a great family around me, so I can’t really ask for more. I haven’t spoken to any of them for a few years now, but that’s more to do with the fact that life tends to get in the way for all of us and our paths haven’t crossed in that time. There’s certainly no animosity, though, and I’ll hopefully see them again before too long.
I still have a lot of respect for Travis as a band and Fran as a songwriter. They’re doing what they love, and I’m doing the same. I have never been happier and wouldn’t change what happened even if I could.
With Snow Patrol finally enjoying mainstream success with their third album Final Straw, bassist Mark McClelland was sacked in March 2005, the day before they flew to Ireland to start writing Eyes Open. A statement on Snow Patrol’s website read: “Over the last 18 months touring has taken its toll on the rest of the band’s relationship with him.” In September 2007, Mark issued a writ at the High Court in London seeking 25% of the group’s earnings since his departure. In 2009, the lawsuit was settled out of court, two days before trial. Mark has since formed the band Little Doses, with his wife Kirsten Ross on vocals. They released their debut album Rock Riot Soul in March 2012.
Mark McClelland, ex-Snow Patrol
I thought my relationship with the rest of the guys was solid and secure – we had been through so much and were just starting to get somewhere. We were always on the same page musically, that’s why the band worked so well.
But there was a really weird Yoko Ono situation happening, with a load of pressure to allow someone to join the band who was a friend but couldn’t play an instrument, which was a total nightmare. I wanted us to be as great a band as possible and was against this. Weirdly, I had suggested that Paul Wilson (the guy who replaced me on bass) join the band on keys. My lack of enthusiasm obviously caused friction but I thought we would just talk about things, take it to a vote. I was totally blindsided by what subsequently happened.
I was very confident of winning my lawsuit, however no similar case had ever made it before a judge so the result of what he would deem a fair settlement was a total unknown. I could have won and still gone bankrupt – that was a large consideration in the decision to settle with the last-minute offer and no doubt a large consideration for them when making that offer. It cost me everything I had. My team switched to ‘no win no fee’ after the money was gone – it was like suing some multinational bottomless pit and they knew it. It was hardcore.
The out-of-court settlement did feel like a vindication, however I’d rather have been treated with some respect to start off with and offered a fair settlement then and there so we could have avoided the whole bloody affair. However, having that positive experience, a win, as my last word with the band has been healing. I’m in a much happier place now. I’d rather not be bitter and focused on the past, those emotions can totally override your life.
Final Straw was a big record and the songs off it are still played and bought worldwide. That gives me the freedom to spend time bringing up my daughter and writing music. For that, I am very grateful. I am aware that many great musicians have put in just as much hard work without it being recognised.
Little Doses is something I am passionate about. I don’t mind small gigs. I was only out of them for about a year when Final Straw exploded, an incredible year it was, but during those worldwide tours we started smallish again in each country we visited. It wasn’t all arenas, so with Little Doses it was back to what I knew best.
What I missed most was the behind-the-scenes team that Snow Patrol had spent years putting into place. That’s the real engine room of any band – they fight your corner, get you good gigs and supports, get the record company to spend money on advertising etc. They multiply every bit of effort the band put in. Without them it’s a hard, lonely slog.
I’m an idealist. I’d love for the music industry – even just the independent part of it – to be merit-based and a level playing field. You make the music, people hear it, they make their own mind up about if they like it. That’s how it seemed to be back when I fell in love with music, swapping Afghan Whigs LPs for Dinosaur Jr/Sebadoh mixtapes in school. That’s what the internet revolution promised. Unfortunately, the music industry doesn’t seem to work like that any more.
Playing in Little Doses is a reward in itself, though. I don’t need chart positions to justify what I do. In the early years of Snow Patrol our conviction was that being one person’s absolute favourite band was an admirable aspiration. I still stand by that.
Stuart David played bass in Belle & Sebastian from its formation in 1996 and took lead vocals on three songs (A Century Of Elvis, A Space Boy Dream and Winter Wooskie) before quitting the band in 2000 to concentrate on Looper. A decade on from the release of their third album, Looper are putting the finishing touches to the fourth – they have already posted the intro song on YouTube. Stuart is also known for his fiction writing. His novel, Peacock’s Tale, can be downloaded for free and he is considering writing a sequel to his first book Nalda Said.
Stuart David, ex-Belle & Sebastian
Most of us considered B&S to be Stuart Murdoch’s vision. The main disagreements I remember were when he wanted it to become more of a collaboration, and quite a few people in the band wanted it to remain his vision. That was sort of like the opposite of musical differences. Sometimes we disagreed over the process, for recording and stuff. But not over the music.
I think Stuart had realised I was ready to leave on the morning of the meeting. Stevie [Jackson] was surprised. He phoned me afterwards and said, ‘What just happened? Did you leave the band there?’ He said he hoped we would play together again sometime. That was very sweet. Neil [Robertson, the band's then manager] says I’d already announced I was leaving on the internet beforehand. I don’t remember that, but maybe it’s true.
The band certainly seemed to start functioning well after that, looking in from the outside. There was a point early on where it was maybe more me, Bel [Isobel Campbell] and Chris [Geddes] helping Stuart to do things in the idiosyncratic way he wanted to do them. But then it all probably became a bit of a muddle and a tussle later on.
I was disappointed that Paper Boat [an unreleased Belle & Sebastian song that Stuart David sang on] never made it onto a record. We did have a bit of an argument in a car park in America about whether it should be a single. I didn’t say anything, though. I think I just listened. It was probably the right decision not to make it a single. It’s a bit trite, musically. There is a recorded version but I don’t think I’ve got a copy.
The new albums have quite a few songs - Dear Catastrophe Waitress, Your Secrets, Perfection As A Hipster [from the God Help The Girl record] – that we played when I was in the band, and from bands I was in with Stuart before B&S. I like the newer songs too. The most impressive thing is the way Sarah [Martin] is developing as a songwriter. I love her songs on Write About Love. I probably preferred the shakier production from the past, though.
When Looper started out we played some quite small places. But it was only a year or two since we’d been playing small places with B&S, so I was still used to it. A few days after I left B&S, Looper went on tour with The Flaming Lips for three months in America, visiting the biggest places I’d ever played. We’d done our own headline tour in America with Looper before that, playing 400 or 500-seaters. Then, after The Flaming Lips, it was 8,000 at T in the Park and on to the Royal Festival Hall in London with Cornelius. We didn’t really rough it.
We were able to live for about 10 years on syncs in films and ads [Looper earned £500,000 in royalties after part of their song Mondo 77 was used by Xerox]. It’s great to be able to fund your music that way and give it away for free.
I’ve tried not to exploit the Belle & Sebastian association. It’s a bit like what people say about having a famous parent. It opened a lot of doors for Looper but then people had certain expectations of us that didn’t really fit. Quite often your record company wants to promote to the B&S audience, but I’ve usually done as much as I can to dissuade them.
At the moment we’re making a new album and working on a retrospective boxset of all the Looper albums for Mute. They’re going to put out a Best Of too. If I could grow our audience enough to fund each new album on PledgeMusic or Kickstarter, and make one every year, that would probably be enough for me. And hopefully get back to playing 400 or 500-seaters.