Still Burning caught up with The Whisky Works vocalist Iain Bethel as he prepared for a busy month of May with an album release, a nine date tour of Scotland including a date at Cafe Drummonds and all sorts going on. Here’s what was said…
So Iain hows it going… you’re up in Aberdeen again in May as part of a nine date tour of Scotland?
Yeah we are all really looking forward to it! We play Cafe Drummond’s on May 16th! We are away with two awesome bands in Pareto and Penguins Kill Polar Bears, its all killer!
Where are your favourite places to play in Ecosse?
Glasgow is always a lively atmosphere and generally a pretty well attended circuit. I really love places like Inverness and Elgin though, purely for how beautiful the surrounding scenery is up that way. It will be great to get back to Aberdeen though its been a while since we played there.
…although you seem to be getting some good slots on other shows nowadays as well?
Yeah last year was a really good year for us, we got to play shows with The Xcerts, Jeniferever, Sucioperro, Shapes and This City.
2010 has began really positively too, we had our first headline at tuts which was so much fun and before we head out on tour in May we have a Classic Grand show with Flood Of Red on April 25th which we cant wait for! Lots of other exciting new bands on that bill too like Pareto, Trapped In Kansas and The Void.
Deficit Attention Program is out in next month, want to tell us a bit more about that?
Yeah we release in May at a launch in Nice and Sleazies on the 20th. Its a major feeling of relief for me that we are finally getting it out as we started tracking the EP in 2008! It seems a long long time since we sat down with Romesh Dodongada in Cardiff!
The record will be available across independent stores in the UK as well as being released Digitally and also available at all the shows throughout the month.
I believe you’ve enlisted the help of Iain Cook to help with the release? How important a decision has that been?
Iain was a huge part of the record, we recorded the 2nd half of the EP last year in Lo Fi studios then sent them over to him to mix. Aereogramme are a big influence on us and it was a real honour when Iain agreed to be a part of the project. He was terribly welcoming and warm in the studio and he got the tracks sounding better than we could have hoped for. He was really busy at the time with his work with the BBC as well so it was great he managed to find the time!
Did you not plan to release DAP last year? What went wrong (or right as the case may be)?
A few things, we attempted a small-scale DIY release last year with a UK tour and for the most part it went well; but towards the end of last year we became a five piece with our new bass player Ross, and promotion for the record kind of came to a halt as we were busy with that. The plan was to start to promote the record again in early 2010 and that’s when the offer from Make Noise came along.
I’m already familiar with Electric and Lights, do you have anything else up your sleeve thats going to rock my bollocks off?
‘Im Winning’ is probably the heaviest song on record, that will rip your face off…….we also have a new song in our set right now called ‘Fireworks’ which is as instant as any of our stuff has sounded.
Actually I think the label `Alternative` was born for The Whisky Works. Agree?
Yeah, we try to keep our own sound and not to imitate anyone else, we have always been that way. All five of us are into different music and that comes out in our sound.
Do you find it hard to get the utter energy from your live shows funnelled into the recording studio?
Good question….I think that’s a really important aspect of recording. The EP has captured a certain energy from the live show but we are definitely a band that thrives on playing live and you have to experience us at least once to see this! There is nothing worse than watching a live show of a band recreating the sound of the album and putting nothing different in live. It has to be kept alive.
I’m a big fan of powerful yet tuneful guitars, do you feel they are an under promoted instrument these days?
Post the dark days, after distortion was a dirty word; Scotland seems to have adpoted this sound with bands like Biffy Clyro and Aereogramme becoming heavy influences on the music scene. In moderation I think it can be great, in saying that, there is a lot that go wrong with powerful and tuneful guitars……
What do you think of the Scottish music scene in general at the moment?
Its blowing hot and cold I think but the underground scene is still thriving and the bands just keep getting stronger. We are always discovering new bands. In Glasgow in particular, its really competitive which is great. There is lots and lots of talent in Scotland and the bands are incredibly dynamic.
I think its awesome that bands like Frightened Rabbit and Twilight Sad are getting a bit of well deserved attention too, they are two of my favourite bands right now.
So we’ve got some dates, a record release… do we have some festival appearances lined up as well?
We’ll see how it goes! Stay tuned!
And what’s planned for the latter half of 2010 for The Whisky Works?
We then plan to lock ourselves away in the studio and write,write, write! Then record a single coupled with a video after the summer.We wrote some of the songs on Deficit in 2007 so its gonna be great to just concentrate on writing again! We also plan some shows in England as well as more support slots which is an ongoing goal really.
Lets go back in time a wee bit. How, when, and why did you guys get together?
We started rehearsing in 2005, we were all at college together studying music in North Glasgow.Me and our guitarist Craig had been at school together and in a band previously. After a few of the guys dropped out of college we decided to form the band. We recorded some rough demos after that which are best left untouched to be honest! It was probably only in late 2007 we started taking it seriously and began creating some of the tracks that are on the EP. Ross joined in 2009 and it feels like a new band!
The Whisky Works. Whats the tale behind the name?
Its from the 2003 Sofia Coppala film ‘Lost In Translation’. We are all massive Bill Murray fans and the name just stuck, we had some pretty terrible suggestions before that! Its always really funny when people think we are a folk band or something when they hear the name! We are not hardcore Whisky fans either….well maybe Craig!
Spelling our name wrong is something we get frequently also, Whisky is spelt ‘Whiskey’ in America and Ireland, We are a Scottish band!
Headling… Glasto, Download or T?
All of the above! I would personally prefer to do Glasto, some friends of mine have been and swear the atmosphere is second to none. Download might be a bit heavy for us as much as being on a bill with Alice Cooper would be fun! T in The Park has quite the diversified crowd, so as long as we didn’t have conflicting stage times with Eminem… In all honesty however, we wouldn’t be turn any of these shows down!
Whats your ideal gig? A packed intimate venue, large festival crowd or a large indoor venue?
From a singing point of view the sound is always much better on stage in the larger venues, but its always great to pack out a sweaty little venue and get as close to a crowd as possible. I think as long as there are people coming to the shows we will put everything into it live anyway, no matter the size of venue!
Almost finished… your five desert island tracks?
Amusement Parks On Fire – Venus In Cancer
Husker Du – Books About UFOs
Aereogramme – Post Tour, Pre-Judgement
My Bloody Valentine – Sometimes
Joy Division – Disorder
And finally your favourite flavour of crisps?
Transform-A Snack Pickled Onion…….its all a guy in a band can afford……
Thanks for your time Iain and all the best with the release and the rest of the year! Still Burning.
The Whisky Works MySpace
The Whisky Works play Cafe Drummonds on Sunday May the 16th. Sharing the bill are Pareto and Penguins Kill Polar Bears.
Official release dates and stuff…
* Single - ELECTRIC – available May 17th Digitally through all major UK download stores and Spotify
* Mini-album- DEFICIT ATTENTION PROGRAM – available May 24th Digitally through all major UK download stores and Spotify, Physically in shops through key touring cities and shows.