Wednesday, 30 June 2010

K&A with Blue Sky Archives

(left to right: Ross, Lauren, Matt, Paul, and Pete. Photo courtesy of Nicola McGrath.)

Glasgow's Blue Sky Archives have been racking up the plaudits recently. I caught up with Lauren, her with the "good set of pipes" according to Mr. Galloway, and asked a few questions about the band, their gem of an EP, and what the future holds in store for Blue Sky Archives.

<a href="http://blueskyarchives.bandcamp.com/track/crash-your-face">Crash Your Face by Blue Sky Archives</a>

Kowalskiy: Who are Blue Sky Archives?
Lauren: We are a new(ish) five-piece from Glasgow. I play percussion and synths and sing co-lead vocals with Paul, who plays guitar. Pete plays bass and does the recording, Matt does guitar and backing vocals whilst Ross plays drums, percussion and some keys.

Kowalskiy: How did the band get together, and what's the story behind the name?
Lauren: It took us a while to find each other, but we've been going as Blue Sky Archives since December when Ross joined. Paul and I had been writing together for a bit before that but things came together piece by piece as the other guys joined. Getting a name we could all agree on was a struggle, since we all have very definite ideas of what we do and don't want, so many monikers were mooted and scrapped. We came up with Blue Sky Archives the weekend we were recording the EP, after making a massive A4 list and voting on them. Hardly the most romantic story but it was a much better way of sorting it out than me and Paul wrestling to the death over it, which might have been the next step.

Kowalskiy: Can you think of a sentence that best describes the band, and the music you make?
Lauren: So far, we've been going with "post-rock pop music with a heart". Maybe that sounds quite emo but I think it sums everything up quite well. I always think that if you don't really believe in what you're doing and if it doesn't have a bit of your heart in it, people can easily see through that. It's got to be earnest, or you might as well not bother at all.

Kowalskiy: Who or what are your main influences?
Lauren: Musically, it's hard to say who are influences are as a group, because I'm pretty sure there aren't that many bands that all five of us could agree on but I think that diversity and range is what gives the sound some of its kick. I harbour a great love for girly rock like Sleater Kinney and PJ Harvey but we're all big fans of sweet harmonies and heavy rhythms. Paul and I agree on most things to do with Saddle Creek and bands like Broken Social Scene. Ross and Matt are a bit heavier in their tastes (Tool is a regular topic of conversation) and Pete says all he ever listens to is Andrew WK but I'm not sure I believe that.

Kowalskiy: Your self-titled EP is out now on bandcamp. Is there a story behind it?
Lauren: We recorded the EP in one week at Pete's barn studio. We recorded drums and percussion on Sunday, bass on Monday, guitars on Tuesday, keys and vocals on Wednesday, mixed it Friday and Saturday, then mastered it on Sunday. Sounds a bit like a Craig David song. We're pretty lucky to be able to do so much ourselves, whether it be Pete doing the recording and mixing or Matt doing the designs. It makes it a lot easier to get things rolling as a band when you don't have to rely on people outside your unit too much in the early days. It's up on Bandcamp now for 50p per track, or we've got swish physical copies to sell at shows.

Kowalskiy: What would your ideal gig be?
Lauren: I love reading about that Fugazi/Bikini Kill DIY era in Washington. The whole ethos makes it seem like it would have been a pretty amazing time for live shows. Realistically, I'd love to play something like Primavera, as they get such rare performances as well as lots of contemporary bands that maybe don't tour as far into Europe that often. Last year, they had Sonic Youth, Neil Young, Shellac and Jesus Lizard, which is pretty incredible.

Kowalskiy: What's been the highlight of being in Blue Sky Archives so far?
Lauren: No bands I've been in before have ever really been played on the radio, so when we got played on the Vic Galloway show in May, that was very cool. We didn't really know it was going to happen as we'd only just got the EP mixed and only figured it out when scrolling through the track list of the show later on, so that adds to the warm and fuzzy feel. I just sent Malky B a track for interest's sake and he took it into the A & R zone the next week. What a guy.

Kowalskiy: What can we expect from Blue Sky Archives in the future?
Lauren: We're currently recording a follow up to our first EP, so our near future plans are to release that, gig more around Scotland and hopefully book a UK tour for later in the year (if you've got a pub toilet we could play in, please get in touch). Next year, we'll try our damnedest to get into some festivals and just really do as much as we can before we all get old and tired.

Kowalskiy: Lastly, anything you'd like to add? Maybe some interesting or embarrassing facts about a fellow bandmate?
Lauren: I couldn't do that... We ride together, we die together or something like that? Plus, if I rumble them, then God knows what they'd do to me. Put me on a high object I couldn't get down from or something terrifying like that...

In that case, best to leave it there then! Anyway, more info can be found on their blog and their great wee three-track EP (which in no way sounds like Craig David) can be bought from their bandcamp site for £1.50, or for a shiny CD version, head along to one of their gigs...

Upcoming Gigs
17th July - Pelmet Nights @ Nice 'N' Sleazy, Glasgow
31st July - Sneaky Pete's, Edinburgh
1st Aug - This Is Our Battlefield @ The 13th Note, Glasgow
9th Sept - Define Pop vs. Daily Dose @ The 13th Note, Glasgow

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