Those of you who read more than one Glasgow/Edinburgh based blog with a fairly musical remit probably already know that it’s a fairly small tank in which we swim, battering our wee gills off the same little plastic castles and constantly running into the same… tuna… sorry, this is a really shit metaphor. So that’s one less Glasgow/Edinburgh based blog with a fairly musical remit you’ll be reading now, eh? Regardless, the fact of it is that sometimes all of our tastes overlap and we end up running the same features about the same bands at the same time which I suspect results in nobody reading any of them.
And so I will defend my choice not to write at length about the sheer, delicate and emotive genius that is RM Hubbert’s Chemikal Underground debut proper, Thirteen Lost and Found, because Nicola Meighan’s interview with Hubby and producer/collaborator/pal Alex Kapranos for The Quietus is quite frankly magnificent.
Besides, I bet I’m the only one of youse who has ever had a pint with one of Cincinnati’s Minor Leagues. Although it wasn’t frontman Ben Walpole, who was the subject of this interview.
Who’s in the band, and how did you get together?
Ben Walpole (vocals), Patrick Helmes (lead guitar), Luke McGlasson (trumpet and guitar), Jesse Rogers (bass), Hilly Kenkel (vocals) and Matt Retherford (drums).
Patrick and myself started writing songs together in 2000. He worked at a library and I worked at a newspaper, so we decided to unite and record wordy pop music. We built the live band around what was originally a recording project with no real plan, but have been working together for going-on 12 years now with almost 100 songs to our credit.
Three words to describe your music…
Melodic, thoughtful, pre-arranged.
What influences you?
Big melodies and small pleasures.
What releases/shows do you have planned at the moment?
North College Hill, our sixth album, out Jan. 31, 2012… working on its companion record about another neighborhood in Cincinnati, titled Northside, hopeful for a summer release.
Shows in the works for NYC, Pittsburgh, Dayton, Cincinnati and Chicago for late February/early March.
This is a concept album, of sorts, about your hometown – but do you think it will appeal to Scottish listeners?
I think so. I hope so, at least. It’s really more about nostalgia for childhood and the sadness that surrounds the passing of youth – pretty universal themes. The town of North College Hill just so happens to be the scene of my own personal childhood-pining situation.
And what are you listening to at the moment?
Singer-songwriter kick of Randy Newman, Leonard Cohen and Scott Walker… And Duran Duran’s Notorious album, because it’s awesome and criminally under-appreciated.