Interview with Scarlet Shift
Glasgow's Indie Rock trio prepare to launch debut album and biggest headline show so far
Scarlet Shift are a young trio from out of Glasgow peddling a particularly pleasing brand of epic indie rock. We caught up with guitarist Andy Black as they prepare to launch their debut album, Found, and play their biggest ever headline show.
The media loves pigeonholes how would you describe your own music?
Poppy rock music.
Your influences are quite diverse ranging from U2 to Explosions in the Sky how do you draw that all together?
Me, Lewis [Murphy] and [Adam] Teigar are the core members of the band. We all have very different influences. Lewis is a composer at the Royal Conservatoire so he likes orchestral stuff and all the big epic sounds of people like Explosions in the Sky, then me and Teigar are more into the likes of The Maccabees, Kings of Leon, Queens of the Stone Age, that kind of thing, the more poppy rocky side of it. It's quite a weird mix of influences but we're all massive Bruce Springsteen fans which helps tie it all together. It's interesting having our pop music influencing how Lewis' orchestral mind works when we're writing which quite often leads to disputes but it always works out in the end.
Murphy plays drums, keyboards and provides vocals how did that come about?
When we started the band it was just the two of us, so he'd play the three of them and I'd loop all the guitar parts, it was fun but pretty tough to pull off live so we got Adam in to play bass on our second EP and it sounded pretty good and we thought it would sound empty without it so we got him in full time. After working on the album we sat down and thought 'how are we going to play this live?' Now we've got a rhythm guitarist and a drummer in who'll just be playing live with us. We tend to go a bit wild in the studio then realise 'whoa we can't actually play this live.' But I think with this set up it's the first time we've actually been happy with being able to play what's on the record live. And it's not as much stress for me and Lewis having to do three things at once. People used to offer to buy us drinks before gigs but we had to say 'no' because it was that complicated to play live.
How was recording the debut album Found?
It was great. It was backed by Creative Scotland, we got a grant from them back in September, we heard they weren't giving many grants at the time but they said they would fund it which was a nice surprise. It meant we could do it properly, it meant we could go to Chem19 which we didn't think we'd get to do at this stage in our life as a band because some of our favourite bands have recorded there. Because Lewis does composition he composed string and brass parts for it so we got them recorded by calling in some favours with guys he knows at the Conservatoire. We didn't think we'd be able to go into Chem19 let alone record string and brass parts. We worked with Chris Marshall and Scott Blackwood, we'd worked with them on our last EP so it was nice to work on something bigger with them. We recorded the majority at Chem19 then bits and bobs as Scott's flat which was completely different, and on the lead song ['Clouds'] from the album we managed to get Janine Shilstone form Vukovi. We wrote it as a duet but didn't really have anyone in mind when we wrote it but it was good to get her in as we're all big Vukovi fans. That tune is really different form anything we've done before it's really up beat and poppy.
What can people expect from the album?
It's more poppy than our old stuff and almost surf rock in places. I think we're all just playing off the same hymn sheet. It wasn't like I wrote one or Lewis or Adam, it was all a collaborative process. Me and Lewis wrote the lyrics so we'd come with a rough song idea then the three of us would build it together so you'd get everyone's input all the way through. We've all contributed to all parts of the songwriting, it's definitely, without sounding too cheesy, like we've found our sound.
How did the recording compare to playing live?
I've always really enjoyed the recording process because a lot of stuff totally changes and it all comes together in the studio. Some tiny little thing you'd written on an acoustic guitar in your bedroom comes alive with strings and the whole band. Live is always great I'm really looking forward to going out there with the five of us, I've always loved it but the actual set was always so stressful with me and Lewis having to play three things at once, it's always good after but during the actual set we never had time to think about the reaction it was getting, so it'll be really good to play the five of us and enjoy it a lot more. It's almost a fresh start with the new band set up, new material and the biggest venue we've ever played.
Looking forward to Arches and what can people expect?
We always had the Arches in mind but because it's such a prestigious venue part of us always thought we might not get it. We've got a lot planned for the night we'll play the whole album in full and some old stuff and we'll have some guests in and out of the show.
What have you got planned next after the Arches show?
We came to a decision to focus on the writing of the album and lay low from gigging for a bit. So we want to see what happens when this comes out, we're got some festivals lined up and hopefully do another big headline Glasgow event during the summer.
Scarlet Shift play The Arches, Glasgow, Sat 1 Jun.