scratched into our souls: the andrew lindsay interview;
Photo by Louise Connell
As I think I said when he made an appearance on last month’s mix, young Andrew Lindsay counts himself in some illustrious company as part of Glasgow’s shamblin’ indie-folk scene. Debut EP The Whittling, released with band/collective The Coat Hooks is great, full of jangly woah-oah-oah singalongs and a tremendous sense of fun. Plus Lindsay is a man of taste and decency: I’ve been boring him with photos of my tattoos after his name-checks in this interview.
How did you get started playing and writing music and performing?
I used to play guitar in a band called Guessing Game, and started writing my own stuff in late 2006; recording a couple of solo EPs (with future Coat Hook, Jamie Hewitt), and playing the occasional gig around Glasgow.
To be honest, I didn’t really take it seriously until last year. After appearing on my friends’ student radio show in St. Andrews, I got a wee buzz, started gigging a lot more, formed a loose band, and set about recording what would become our debut EP, The Whittling. It’s been fun!
Three adjectives to describe your music…
Brazen, melodic and genuine.
Solo or band – which do you prefer? Is there a difference in how you write for either?
I’m going to say band, but I have to admit it’s not easy. The Coat Hooks are mighty loose, so it can be a nightmare getting people together in the same room. Conflicting cities and schedules resulted in the EP taking much longer to record than expected. I do prefer a fuller sound, though, and in terms of gigs, it’s nice to be in the situation where, if someone can’t make it, then that’s fine. Whoever can play, can play, and that’s alright.
As far as writing goes, I come up with the songs, and then describe what I want the guys to play. I’m open to embellishment, however, especially on instruments that I don’t/can’t play. Pianist Lewis Buchan’s parts on the EP are mostly his own.
What influences you?
Being a die-hard Idlewild fan, their songs are pretty much “scratched into my soul,” as [Hold Steady vocalist] Craig Finn would say. The same goes for former Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist John Frusciante. His work on the Peppers album, By the Way, and his solo albums, The Will to Death and Shadows Collide With People, were constantly in the back of my mind during pre-production for The Whittling. I was looking to create some kind of combination of the three, in terms of harmony and texture. If [producer] David [Anderson] and I could somehow tap into the warmth of By the Way and Shadows, and combine this with the raw nature of The Will to Death, then that would be just peachy. So I sat on many a bus pouring over these albums and relevant b-sides.
Incidently, the line, “John rode out of town, toward the bay,” [on opening track, "The Boat Outside"] actually refers to Frusciante’s recent depature from the Red Hot Chili Peppers. His second exit is a real marker of time for me; the end of an era for many people my age, who got heavily into music while he was in the band, second time around. The EP is very much about the loss of youth and impending responsibility. Although my friends and I are still very young (I’m 22), many people I know appear to have reached an early plateau. I guess the EP is a reaction against the idea that we’re about to lose our freedom, energy and time to various commitments over the next few years.
As for other musical acts, I’m a huge Ryan Adams & the Cardinals fan; and I can’t deny that Scottish indie kings The Twilight Sad, Frightened Rabbit and Meursault are all huge influences.
What releases/shows do you have planned at the moment?
The Whittling came out in March, and people seem to be enjoying it, which is really nice. Matthew Healy [Coat Hooks guitarist and Loch Awe man] and I are going to record a joint solo EP this summer, and I’m going to head back into the studio later in the year, with The Whittling producer David Anderson, to start work on a second Coat Hooks EP.
As for gigs, I’ve just finished a lengthy battle with my dissertation and my final exams are on the horizon. As a result, things have been pretty quiet on the gigging front. I do play live with Reverieme however, and we’ll be playing at the Solus Tent at this year’s Wickerman Festival, which is exciting!
And what are you listening to at the moment?
Frequently on the speakers/headphones these days:
- Foo Fighters, Wasting Light (big Grohl screaming “I never want to die!” might be the finest moment on a Foo Fighters record)
- The Low Anthem, Smart Flesh
- King Creosote & Jon Hopkins, Diamond Mine
- Roddy Woomble, The Impossible Song & Other Songs (“Between the Old Moon” is glorious)
- Panic! at the Disco, Vices & Virtues
- R.E.M., Collapse Into Now
- Loudon Wainwright III, Career Moves
- Warpaint, The Fool
And my talented friends Shambles Miller, Reverieme, Loch Awe and Florynce & Lauryn.
BUY: Andrew Lindsay & the Coat Hooks music at Bandcamp