Exposure: Secret Motorbikes
- Harris Brine
- 19 March 2014
The mysterious Glasgow newcomers invited The List into the studio while recording their debut album, which finally came out last week
'Here's our YouTube. Here's our Twitter. Here's our Facebook; like that,' utters a deadpan Paul, one quarter of garage rockers Secret Motorbikes. When we chatted to him late last year, he was tucked away in a Whiteinch studio, recording their debut album Rum Punch.
'There's now so many links, people have lost perspective,' chips in frontman Tino, a gangly blend of Julian Casablancas and Jordan Gatesmith. 'The music's dire, but they've got 12,000 likes.'
Bassist Paul McGinness, an amalgam of Jack Dee and Glasgow rapper Gasp, weighs in. 'Oh aye, don't forget – here's our Bebo.'
The List join the foursome, clearly in the middle of enjoying a flurry of sarcasm. It's instantly clear the band – a lo-fi blend of 70s punk and The Strokes – feel more comfortable on the less serious side of life. Huddled around a sound desk, the conversation between Martyn 'Tino' Kelligan, Paul McGinness, guitarist Gordy Dyett and drummer Iain Stewart bounces between self-deprecation and the nonsensical.
'Iain's actually in every Scottish band there's ever been,' Paul pipes up. (Stewart also drums for The Phantom Band and Bronto Skylift). 'He teaches drums. When he's not teaching people drumming, he's drumming.'
Paul's monetary mainstay is making TV documentaries, while Tino is a 'furniture maker/enthusiast' and Gordy works for a design company. 'I actually made a coffee table for Gordy's work, for his "trendy office",' admits Tino. Again Paul turns on their drummer. 'Have you seen Iain's advert for his drum teaching in the West End? It's a Word document saying, "Drum Lessons – £25",'
'Yeah, my work designed them', Gordy adds. 'There's going to be a documentary soon about Tino making a table.'
Like helicopter blades, this cutting circle of banter spins sharp and fast, and isn't limited to each other (Strange SM Twitter messages attributed to a hacker were publicly explained with, 'No one has started a blog about you. No one cares. We're born alone and we'll die alone. Have a great Tuesday').
All four appear apprehensive to spread their music through the conventional mass-email approach. 'We've tried to let it happen naturally,' Tino says. 'It's awful when people constantly spam you. We've left it low-key.'
Recording with Matthew Scott, formerly of slacker-thrashers PAWS, their untitled ten-track release is conscientiously focused for vinyl.
'Guy Garvey said Elbow spend ages figuring out how an album will flow,' Paul says. 'How it will look on a LP, you know? Ours'll be five songs on either side. Song five, a chilled-out number, help you wind down. Then you flip the LP and track six, a punchy one, begins the second.'
Their care for its physical form seems to be a natural resistance against the current trend. 'Most people don't want to listen to a full album anymore,' Paul states. 'People only four years younger than us don't listen to albums the same,' adds Tino. 'We'd listen to an album through; they download a load of random MP3s. Ultimately, we'd just like to not be embarrassed by our album in ten years time.'
They admit intensely touring the new record would be difficult as they all live 'quite routined, structured lives.'
'It would've been easier when I was at Uni, with four summer months off,' Tino says. 'Up until I was 24, I was worried and poor.'
'Now he's just poor,' Paul jumps in, deadpan as ever.
As for promoting the new record? 'We'll release it online. Let the people decide for themselves,' Tino says. 'There'll be no big PR campaigns for Facebook likes.'
'It won't make a difference if we did …' He breaks off, laughing, before injecting a final dose of self-deprecation into the room. 'No one likes us anyway.'
Secret Motorbikes will play with Bad Luck, Stereo, Glasgow, Sun 30 Mar, supporting United Fruit .