Interview: Glasvegas - Rab Allan on being older, wiser and stronger in 2011
Glasgow band talk to us ahead of their main stage slot at RockNess
‘My head wasn’t in a very good place either. My head was up my arse. I didn’t really know what was happening. I was just as bad as he was,’ explains Glasvegas guitarist Rab Allan with a nervous laugh. He’s referring to frontman (and Rab’s cousin) James Allan’s overdose at Coachella festival back in 2009 when Glasvegas were caught up in a whirlwind of hype and relentless touring. Their emotional, downbeat indie had struck home across the globe, their tales of domestic misery such as ‘Daddy’s Gone’ and ‘Geraldine’ becoming strangely life-affirming anthems.
Something had to give. ‘It is difficult for James because he needs to sing those songs and mean it every night. The guitar is a little more synthetic, I can play guitar every night,’ acknowledges Rab, ‘but the way he expresses an emotion through his vocals, I don’t think it’s something you can just do off the cuff.’
Back in 2008, on the eve of the release of the eponymous debut album, the band had threatened that Glasvegas and subsequent Christmas album A Snowflake Fell (And it Felt Like a Kiss) would be their only output before they lay down their guitars. ‘I guess we stayed inspired and creative enough to write another album,’ says Allan. ‘Some people do music because that is their job, but James doesn’t do that. He writes music because it is a way of expressing himself. He could wake up tomorrow and not want to write anymore, and that’s the way life is.’
Returning with their eccentrically punctuated second album EUPHORIC /// HEARTBREAK \\\ earlier this year, produced by Flood (the pseudonym of producer Mark Ellis) and James Allan, it has a richer more orchestral sound. ‘I think we have all grown up a lot in the past three years. Me, James and [bassist] Paul [Donoghue] have all grown as people and have become a lot more confident and reassured about what we do. We’re like boys to men.’ There’s also a looser funkier dynamic powered by new drummer Jonna Löfgren. ‘We all took turn trying to get her into bed she said “no” to all of us so, other than that, it’s been a happy, wonderful relationship,’ he laughs. ‘She’s incredible, it feels like she has always been here.’
Although Glasvegas love playing the festival season, Rab’s puzzled by their appeal: ‘I’ve never been to a festival to watch bands. I don’t like camping, I don’t know how anyone can go to a festival and camp. I couldn’t do that. That’s not my scene.’
Glasvegas play the Main Stage, RockNess, Sun 12 Jun.