Exposure: Call To Mind
- Ryan Drever
- 7 September 2009
Call To Mind: All The Happiness In My Head
Call To Mind are a Glasgow-based quartet, homegrown in the Highlands, that create dreamy heartfelt melodies and expansive soundscapes, steadily earning the band a reputation as a intense live proposition and collective songwriting talent.
Incorporating a stark visual element to both their live shows and their general aesthetic, their intensely atmospheric sound and presence has been likened to that of Sigur Ros, Elbow and even early Radiohead.
Already regulars on the city's live circuit, the band are getting ready to release an EP in the coming months and take their show on the road. To get you up to speed in the interim though, here's Jamie Ross, the band's guitarist, with a few words.
How did you all meet?
Andrew, Martin and me met at school in the Highlands. We didn't start the band until we were all in Glasgow, following various educational and vocational pursuits. We met Joe through mutual friends, namely the boys in Barn Owl, in December 2007.
Have you been in band's before?
Andrew and Joe have been in many different bands before, but this is myself and Martin's first band.
What attracted you to playing this kind of music - do you share similar tastes and inspirations?
I guess. Martin and I have mucked about on piano together for ages. As long as I can remember we've both been obsessed with making the piano sound like an orchestra - taking all the backing and covering off it to get as full and thick a sound as possible, trying to make weird chords progressions etc. We're both big Sigur Ros fans and love atmospherics, records like Sparklehorse: Dreamt For Light Years In The Belly Of A Mountain; Bat For Lashes, Spiritualized etc. Andrew introduced us to things like Godspeed You Black Emperor, Yo La Tengo, Boards of Canada and so much more. He has the biggest vinyl collection of anyone I know - so much junk, but a lot of gems. I guess we're all pulling the same way when it comes to making music. Martin and I will write something and Andrew and Joe have no problem telling us what they think or what needs work or whatever. I love the idea of creating soundscapes, film pieces and stuff; the music always comes before lyrics are put to it.
If you were pushed, how would you describe your sound?
Dreamy, evocative, experimental, progressive
How would you rate Glasgow in terms of it's musical community? How have you found playing here in the past few years?
Glasgow has been really good to us. We've met some great people through music such as Bronto Skylift, Barn Owl, Phantoms, Neale Smith, Iain Smart, Heidi Kusima, Urban Studios' Davie and Simon, Hindle Wakes, Genaro, Diamond Sea, and too many others to mention. There are so many bands we really like and so many opportunities to meet and catch them play too. That's not to say it's not brilliant when we go home. Inverness gigs are really great, but there's much more going on here. Too many pub rock and cover bands in Inverness! Boring!
We moved down separately between 2003-2006 after leaving school, getting jobs, coming back from travelling etc. It was literally a case of meeting up, watching bands, watching match of the day at Andrew's, having a few muck about jams early on and then deciding to plug at it. We kind of stop-started a few times. Our first drummer was 40 and commuted from Edinburgh once a week so it didn't work out. Our next drummer tried to get off the plane midway to Iceland because he was so scared of flying, and eventually he packed in drumming to concentrate on his kids, then we met Joe. He's a lot closer to our own age and we were very lucky the band he was in split up when they did! Things sort of clicked into place since then. We can rehearse more and we have our own room in Bridgeton next door to the Twin Atlantic lads (and nice lads they are too). The recordings and actual songs have come on so much too since Joe joined.
Are there any places you love to play - or hate to play - in particular?
We just like playing to a good crowd. We get absolutely terrified when the audience is small (e.g less than five!). In terms of favourite places to play, Captain's Rest is probably the most underrated venue in Glasgow! The Bull and Gate in London was a top venue too.
What would say has been your favourite/least favourite show so far?
Last year at Belladrum was amazing. We played in the Hothouse tent, which I guess is second only to the main stage. We were due on at 1pm, but due to a generator failure we we're pushed back to nearer 3.30pm. At our soundcheck, people started gathering to get in and when they opened the tent up it was rammed. We just nailed it - the best gig we've had and probably the best reaction too. Festivals are great as it's not just your friends coming to see you, there's folk there who've never heard of you - and they'll leave if you're rubbish!. We had an awesome show the night before we played at Rockness, downstairs at Hootananny in Inverness for goNorth, we decked the place out in our lights and had the house lights off, it looked amazing, the sound was great and it was rammed - a wicked gig.
If you could play one song to give people the best idea of what you're all about, what would it be?
Jasione - It's a bit of a bleak song, but the message is really upbeat: saying that you've been in a bit of a dark place and been down but that there's light at the end of it. The song begins: "Does it mean so much to you, to mean so much to me?" and the chorus is "I've been pretty weak, but the human body is strong!"
What are your plans for the rest of the year? Do you have any releases in the works?
We've got a few recordings that we would love to put out, dependant on finances. But we're going to kick off with 'All The Happiness In My Head' as our first 7" EP in Sept/Oct with gigs around Scotland to support it.
Where would you like to see yourselves in the next few years?
For us, bands like Frightened Rabbit, The Twilight Sad, Phantom Band, and even Glasvegas have made great strides away from the likes of us on their own paths. We feel we're heading in the right direction, and getting better as a live unit and in the studio etc. We would absolutely love to be carrying on what we're doing and be doing it at that sort of level.