Glasgow has a great pedigree for music. How has the city influenced your sound?
Your surroundings are always your point of reference and will always influence you in some way. We’ve put songs onto our album which are about people and stories and places. There’s been a lot of bands come through Glasgow – from the Jesus & Mary Chain, to Mogwai and the Delgados.
Scott Peterson of Sons and Daughters suggested it was a combination of the bleak, industrial setting and the black sense of humour that the locals have…
That’s it. And it’s a great place to be if you’re in a band because there’s loads of people who are sharing similar experiences. The great thing as well is that within the UK it has a good sense of individuality, while still being close enough to London to have access to the record industry environment.
Yet despite coming from Glasgow, you all sound quite different.
Yeah. That’s one of the good things about Glasgow. If you have a bunch of bands come out of Liverpool or Manchester they come out with a similar sound, but in Glasgow you can have bands like Mogwai, ourselves, Sons and Daughters, Belle and Sebastian and Franz Ferdinand and everybody is doing something completely different. That’s a very prosperous and healthy state to be in.
On your website there’s a sign that reads “Country music is three chords and the truth.” Is that your motto when you’re writing music?
Not, really no. When we started the band we just had the theory that anything goes. We’ll be sitting about the practice room and we’ll come up with maybe a country song, so we’ll just leave it for a bit, and then we’ll write a song and be like, “it’s good but it’s a wee bit rocky or grungy.” We never looked to a passing fad, we just worked to do our own thing. Between the five of us we have a pretty broad taste in music and didn’t want to make the one thing.
So are you tired of reviewers saying that your music sounds like Arcade Fire or the Delgados?
Yeah. I mean it’s just an easy way for reviewers to describe our music but I think that anyone who knows music and has listened to our record knows there’s more to it than just sounding like Arcade Fire or the Delgados. We’re pretty particular with our sound and there are songs that are completely individual. That said, we could do a lot worse than to be compared to the Delgados and Arcade Fire.
For sure. There certainly seems to be an international movement of folk at the moment, wouldn’t you say?
Folk is a very timeless style of music and it will go away and come back again every so often. When we started out in the band none of us really listened to folk other than the obvious stuff like Bob Dylan. And then we started to get put on bills with people like Joanna Newsom and Devendra Bernhardt. It was just sort of a mistake, to be honest. With our second album we’ve decided to do something different. I don’t know if the folk thing will still be there.
Have you started working on that new album yet?
Yes, but we’ve had a bit of a distraction of late as we’ve been working on this Christmas album. There are five or six bands on the label putting together a Christmas song. We’ve decided not to do a cover, ‘cos no one writes Christmas songs anymore, so we’re writing a brand new one. We’re getting the sleigh bells out. It’s probably the poppiest song we’ve ever done, with orchestral violins. Then we’ll focus on the second album.
You’re coming to Australia in December, maybe we’ll hear this song at the right time?
Maybe. But we’re looking forward to coming to Australia because it will be the first time any of us have had a summertime before Christmas photos. It’ll be nice to get a bit of sun. It’s great to be in a position to be able to go and play in places like Australia and people are interested, it’s really flattering. But I’m not a great flyer so this will be the longest flight I’ll have to do. I’ll just have to have a few drinks and pass out.
My Latest Novel’s new album, Wolves, is out now on Speaknspell. Catch them Thursday 7 December at Corner Hotel, Melbourne; Friday 8 December at The Globe, Brisbane; Sunday 10 December at The Basement Sydney, tix $40.