'We can't tell you exactly what the name of our "Tradeston Knights" EP refers to,' cautions John Markey who, with Oliver Melling, is one half of the Glasgow DJing and production duo We Should Hang Out More. 'It's a hint towards a massive after-hours rave which happens when all the clubs shut in Glasgow, and anyone that knows it will know exactly what we're talking about. It's a nod and a wink, basically.'
WSHOM and the underground scene in Glasgow are no strangers to one another, although the overground is also more than familiar with their presence. From underground roots at Melling's old flat, a sometime after-party hub, the pair now have regular residencies at the Sub Club and Berkeley Suite, and occasionally at gatherings which don't go by any name. Markey is originally from Ireland, although he's been in Glasgow long enough to complete both a Masters and a PhD in music, while Melling (who is known as Oj) is from Selkirk, later moving to Glasgow to study sound production.
While Markey was the one who DJed in bars before they met, Melling's tastes were rarely in the clubs; back home in Selkirk, he and his friends looked with awe upon the journey to the big city undertaken by local heroes Frightened Rabbit. The pair met at a club night featuring Tiger & Woods at the old Chambre 69, hit it off, and when Melling's flat had to be vacated, their weekend DJ gigs for sometimes hundreds of people shifted in August 2014 to La Cheetah. The first date was a sell-out, and after years of honing, disco label Midnight Riot released their debut EP 'No Mean' last year.
'University Ave', the opening track on 'Tradeston Knights' is, says Markey, 'like a big-room 90s dance track, although it grew out of a small blues sample. We wanted a vocal in it at the breakdown and the drop, and it was Oliver's idea to get the Jimmy Reid speech in there, from the time he was receiving an honorary doctorate at Glasgow University. Me and Oj are mad anarcho-luxury communists, so it made sense.'
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How far his tongue is in his cheek here is unclear, although Reid, the late trade unionist, politician and former rector of the university, is a strong choice to give voice to Glasgow's club scene: 'a rat race is for rats, and we're not rats!' Reid exclaims on the sample, and even the crowd on the track roars in appreciation. 'Using that sample felt so strange, the fact that something said in 1972 is still so relevant now,' says Melling. 'Humans have the opportunity for social equality, but we're just not taking it.'
'The second track, "The Dalriada Network", came from my job at the SAE Institute in Glasgow,' continues Markey. 'One of the other lecturers there had just bought a 1960s Moog synthesiser, and he'd created the basis of a disco track with it. I asked him for it because it sounds brilliant. We use a lot of samples from Soviet synthesisers which were made behind the Iron Curtain in the 70s and 80s, they're very rare but you can download the sample packs online. It's a kind of cosmic Soviet disco track; if you listen very closely, you can hear the boots of the Red Army marching as part of the percussion.'
At the moment in the pair's production studio (or Oj's bedroom, as it's more commonly known), they have a number of new tracks which will be mixed, mastered and sent out to more labels, while interest amongst agencies is building too. The hope is that by this point next year there will be more releases and a wider array of dates on the slate, although for the moment, Glasgow is keeping them perfectly busy.
'With our song and EP names, we want it to be about the city of Glasgow,' says Markey. 'If it wasn't for Glasgow we wouldn't be doing what we're doing; we owe this place a debt of gratitude. You don't often hear Scottish voices in dance music, it's always an American or an English person. So it's been awesome, at every Scottish date or festival we've played this year, to hear people pay attention when they hear Jimmy. You can see them thinking, "that guy's Scottish'!''
We Should Hang Out More: Tradeston Knights EP is released on Mon 24 Jun on Midnight Riot. Their upcoming dates include Kelburn Garden Party, near Largs, Fri 5 Jul, and Skye Live, Portree, Fri 6 Sep.