Taking a brief but well-deserved break from travelling, Jackie McKeown of Glaswegian powerpop outfit 1990s, was quite content staring at his feet in his flat when I called. By now he’s in Australia and touring for the next three months. “Every moment gets treasured. Even if you’re doing nothing, sitting in your room staring at your feet,” he says. Having grown up on Glam, the likes of Bowie and ABBA, before finding Velvet Underground, Jesus and Mary Chain and Television, his first band Yummy Fur ventured into a “more artsy, kinda weirder thing, like Roxy Music and Low” and included Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand.
Bit of a Glam man to start off? Totally, still am.
Do you ever don the Bowie make-up? Oh yeah, generally I don’t bother but maybe two or three nights a week.
What clubs do you hit, or is it just for sitting around watching Parkinson? Oh it’s just if I’m sitting around or Mum’s around.
You’ve said your music is like a blonde getting out of a car… Have you managed any commercial soundtracks, Maybelline maybe? You do get offers and you think what would our song sound like on this. Probably shit, but fuck it, who cares? It’s always a nice money earner, it’s not as much as you expect or hope, but we don’t get half that much money so relatively it is.
You played with Alex Kapranos in Yummy Fur. What caused the split? Nothing to do with Alex. The band was just losing steam. We never made any money from Yummy Fur so you just think ‘let’s put this to bed, it’s not putting any food in the fridge.’
Except for Alex, who was a chef… Well yeah, he had food in the fridge.
Glasgow is always producing great music. Who are the people we should be looking out for in the next year or so? There’s a band called the Royal We and they’re really good, coming out on Dimino. They’re the best band I’ve heard in years. They’ve split up, but they’re starting this new band called Sexy Kids, check it out.
Is it more fun to play new songs? It’s more exciting but you have to gauge what the fans are thinking. Songs are like football players, they only stay in the set as long as they’re doing well. You could be really enjoying it but the crowd may not. Sometimes they get a really good reaction straight away but sometimes they need some work when you get home.
I was checking your blogs on your website (by the way, you’re a bit behind in yours), and noticed Jamie has been secretly listening to Klaxons – he said you guys would be ashamed of him if you found out. I wouldn’t say I’m not a fan. It’s like me saying I’m not a fan of Vivaldi. It’s like classical, I like a few things but the general style is not really for me. The indie-dance thing passes me by. I know I’m supposed to be into that. I like the Fire Engines and Liquid Liquid but not Klaxons or Rapture.
Have you done much travelling outside of the band? I’ve been to Jamaica, both coasts of the US, France and Holland. But the band takes you to ridiculous places you never imagined you’d go to. Like Sao Paolo in Brazil. That was weird. When you think of Brazil you think of Rio, with beaches and bikinis. Sao Paolo doesn’t come across that Latin, it’s like a huge, warmer version of London and it’s really self-sufficient.
This will be your first trip to Australia, is there anything you’re looking forward to? No, I don’t really like doing that. It’s nice to know a few tidbits but it’s great to arrive and just think ‘Oh my God, what the hell is this?’
1990s album, Cookies, is out now on Rough Trade through Shock. See 1990s Tuesday 25 September at Amplifier Bar Perth, Thursday 27 at Fowlers Live Adelaide, Friday 28 at HiFi Bar Melbourne, Saturday 29 at The Zoo Brisbane, and Sunday 30 at the Sound of Music Festival at Manning Bar Sydney Uni. Tix $38.