The last two months has very much been a period of transition for Aberdeen band Cast of the Capital. Justboy57, in a Flares and Seagulls exclusive, gets the scoop and catches up with brothers Matt and Steve Morris to discuss name changes, new line ups and brand spanking new singles.
So first things first, if people aren’t aware yet, Cast of the Capital are changing their name to Weather Barn from the 1st of September. Could you explain a little bit about why this is?
Matt: As of lately we’ve had a turn around of guitarist and drummer, and it’s just going so well that, in my eyes, it wasn’t justified to keep calling ourselves Cast of the Capital. Although we still love and play all the same songs, there is such a new sense of energy and cohesiveness between us, that I feel that we’re so much more than COTC now. I really feel that our new band will be perfect for the type of material I want to write, as well as the songs in our back catalogue. ‘Weather Barn’, to me, is the idea of some sort of haven where anything can happen…which kind of feels like the band right now!
You have head hunted Daryl Rankin, guitarist from Aberdeen indie band The Marionettes and sticksman Iain Dallas from Carson Wells to complete the all new Weather Barn line up. Have they settled in well?
Matt: More than we could ever have hoped! They both made the decision to join the band in the same week, and we began rehearsing a couple of days later. From the first song played together, it was obvious to Steve and I that the new line up was going to work really well. It feels much more energetic and dynamic, so older songs are just as much fun as the brand new ones. We approached the old and current material in a relaxed manner by allowing Daryl and Dallas to add some of their own ideas to the songs. So it has been pretty exciting for everyone and a lot of fun!
With these two still being in relatively successful local Aberdeen bands, does this make it difficult booking gigs, practicing and generally getting everyone in the same place at the same time?
Steve: I thought it was going to be a lot more difficult! We are all so keen to jam together that we manage to make time no matter what. I guess it has been a pretty hectic couple of months, but we love it. Whether the other guys are busy with Weather Barn or projects outside of it, I couldn’t be happier. The four of us are just totally immersed in music at the moment, which feels amazing!
Is it a bit daunting to be continuing with a new name after building the Cast of the Capital brand as such over the last three years?
Steve: It definitely felt a little strange at first, but I can’t wait to get out there as Weather Barn! It is really exciting to think about touring and releasing records under the new name, with the new line up. In terms of musical direction, nothing has changed and the core songwriting remains the same. Hopefully those who enjoy Cast Of The Capital’s music will continue to come and see us play. We will be on tour shortly and making plans for more recording, so I’m looking forward to that.
To mark the birth of Weather Barn, you are releasing debut single Park Hands on the 18th September through Kittiwake Records. Tell us a bit about this track?
Matt: This track was a funny one to be honest. I was feeling fed up of writing songs in the same environment day after day so I decided to pack up a little studio and record somewhere else. Our sound engineer Phil Wiles works at the Aberdeen Music Hall and has this awesome sounding little room in the underground there. It’s kind of a cellar, which they use as their workshop. I was feeling a bit pissed off about something at the time and started ranting about some jerk who was trying to tell me what to do. Steve gave it a listen and said ‘yeah that’s it!’ and I was convinced.
Is it safe to say that compared to debut EP, Rotten Kids and Haversacks, the new single Park Hands and b-side Cinnamon Hill show a new energy that has possibly been developed through the numerous live shows you have carried out this year? Was this a conscious decision, or basically a natural progression?
Matt: Yeah I guess it was a natural one really. Stuart Macleod was such an awesome producer that there was no chance of them turning out ‘lo-fi’. We’re all feeling very ‘hi-fi’ at the moment and I hope that’ll reflect in our live shows and releases.
You have just completed your first show with the new line up, albeit still as Cast of the Capital, at the Wizard Festival this weekend. How did it go? Was it good to get back to basics after the upheaval of the last couple of months?
Steve: Yeah it was amazing! There is definitely only a certain amount of time you can spend rehearsing in a tiny little basement before you go crazy. Playing our set to such a great audience gave us such a buzz and reminded (not that we’d forgotten!!) us that playing shows is all we really care about. I love writing music with Matt and the others and planning recording etc…but nothing beats playing a good show! Plus, Wizard festival was a pretty ace first gig to have with the new band.
What are the plans for the rest of the year? Gig, gig and more gigs? Anything planned that the FnS readers should know about?
Steve: Yeah we have gigs all over Scotland coming up, so we’re going to continue rehearsing current songs as well as working on the new material. There have been heaps of cool ideas for new tunes recently, but we are trying to make sure we maintain a good balance of new and old when playing live! It’s super tempting to concentrate on new songs, but it is also fun to try and sort of expand or revisit songs from our previous EP. We are also working on a music video for our new single ‘Park Hands’ with Sam Brill (who has taken photos for us previously). So keep a look out for that!
Anything else you would like to add? New MySpace? Contact details etc?
We have an official Weather Barn website in the works which should be ready soon! Until then, we have our MySpace and Facebook. The band can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org and our management at email@example.com
So what’s that I hear you ask? What did Justboy57 think about the new single Park Hands? Read on to find out more!
Park Hands is the brilliant debut single from Cast of the Capital, Marionettes and Carson Wells love child, Weather Barn. This slice of perfect pop pie is full of catchy melodies. It’s hook laden and showcases that undoubtedly Scottish jangly guitar that the likes of Teenage Fanclub have made so famous over the years. Matt Morris’ vocals are ably supported by pitch perfect harmonies, which along with the jangly guitars and impressive rhythm section helps Summer flow out of this track; something that is desperately needed considering the weather we have had over the last week.
Park Hands is backed by two b-sides in the shape of Cinnamon Hill and Each Side of Satan. The first, Cinnamon Hill, is a rockier affair and spills energy; something that has become a mainstay in the latter of COTC’s gigs and Weather Barns opening shows. It’s rock, but it still has that clean cut, perfect pop sound that many have come to love about this band. Each Side of Satan is a quieter, laid back number; so laid back in fact it almost falls over onto your lap whilst you listen to it. A stripped back song, it showcases the depth in lead singer’s Matt Morris’s song-writing ability and highlights that his band can do loud and quiet, but both with that unmistakable and more importantly unique perfect pop sound that they appear to have crafted.
Overall, this is a great wee debut EP from Weather Barn and has wetted my appetite even further to catch this new line up live. The band play live in One Up Records in Aberdeen on the 18th September to launch the single and will also be available from iTunes on the same date. I suggest everyone goes out to buy it because it truly is a great big perfect slice of Scottish indie pop.