Saturday, 3 July 2010

K&A with Bottle Of Evil

Every once in a while a band comes along that strike a chord with us bloggers, and from all the chatter I've heard, Lanarkshire duo Bottle of Evil is certainly one of them. Their recently-released, self-titled debut album draws together loads of influences with "elements of electro-acoustic, shoegaze, folk, ambient, soundtrack and alternative indie". Be it one of their gorgeous shoegazey moments ("Kilmartin Valley") or one of their rousing folk numbers ("Holding Up The Bar"), the album is nothing short of stunning. Bottle of Evil have delivered one of the unexpected, stand-out albums of the year!

Over to the band now to tell us more about themselves...

Kowalskiy: Who are Bottle of Evil?
Bottle of Evil: We are a duo, Derek Bates and Steven McGilvary, from Lanarkshire, who record experimental music, mainly along the lines of shoegaze, folk and electro. Its mainly inspired by small town boredom and crap weather. We've both been writing and recording with our solo projects for many years, and myself with a previous group, shoegaze noisters Genaro.

Kowalskiy: How did the band come about?
Derek: I met Steven about 3 years ago when i recorded some of his solo material and realised he was someone I worked well with creatively, we got together for a few random recording sessions where we experimented with structures and a collection of instruments to write and record a few songs. The first song we completed, around a year ago, was Seize The Day. It was lucky enough to receive play from Glasgow PodcART and Subcity Radio so we decided to work on a few more songs and it has grown into the full album we have now.

Kowalskiy: How would you describe your music?
Derek: I'd say it always comes back to a love of things heavily FX driven, but it does vary quite a lot on the album. There's songs that could be considered folk, shoegaze, dream-pop, industrial or ambient, but they all share a similar trend of vocal harmonies and layered instruments. Experimenting with instruments through an unusual combination of amps, FX pedals, patched hardware units and studio outboard usually helped us create some interesting parts and allowed us to sculpt the songs in different ways. We've been told so far that there's elements of Animal Collective, Brian Eno, The Beach Boys, Spacemen 3 and Arab Strap, which are all artists we love to so we're more than happy to agree with those comparisons.

Kowalskiy: Who or what are your main influences?
Derek: Our main influences would be very varied but we both draw together on artists like Simon & Garfunkel, Slowdive, The Beach Boys/Dennis Wilson, The Foals, The Phantom Band, The XX, Malcolm Middleton and The Associates. We also listen to a lot of 60s/70s psychedelia, 80s/90s experimental music, post-punk, electronic and shoegaze which probably comes through quite a lot in the production of the album.

Kowalskiy: Your album was released earlier this year. For those who haven't heard it yet, what can they expect from it?
Derek: The album has been released digitally on iTunes and eMusic, and we have a CD release coming in two weeks. The album moves from otherworldly scores - to stripped acoustics - to layers of harmony, all whilst maintaining a cohesive sense of melody. Heavily FX driven at points, the music drifts back and forth between walls of swirling noise and the underpinning beats and emotive harmonies. That's the promotional spiel anyway. I'd recommend people just to take the time, have a listen and decide for themselves.

Kowalskiy: When can we expect to see some live shows?
Derek: We've recently pulled together a live troup and are rehearsing at the moment, hopefully we'll be gigging in a couple of months. We'll be playing a couple of tracks from the album but we're also concentrating on putting together new material. We've not played much in the last couple of years so we're looking forward to having some more musicians on board to add ideas and help create some great music and make a lot of noise.

Kowalskiy: What would your ideal gig be?
Derek: To be honest we're probably very easily pleased. A decent small venue such as Sleazies, Mono or 13th Note with a great live engineer and a packed crowd that are there to get pished and enjoy music would be perfect. If we were looking at large shows I'd love to play somewhere like Primavera, or in Scotland it would probably be the Barrowlands supported by a reformed Slowdive, although we'd be more likely to support them. Of all time it would probably have to be the Monterey Pop Festival.

Kowalskiy: What can we expect from Bottle of Evil in the future?
Derek: We're hoping to get a couple of months rehearsing and writing with the new line-up, and will be gigging for a couple of months before doing some more recording, just to get the live songs worked into the right shape. We're looking at getting an EP of this material put together towards the end of the year. Then we'll just see how things go from there.

Kowalskiy: Any interesting or embarrassing facts about any of you?
Derek: Nothing that I can think of that would be printable I'm afraid:)
Kowalskiy: The mind boggles.....

As I've said up top, Bottle of Evil's debut is nothing short of stunning. I can't wait for some live shows. Until then, here's one of the many album highlights "Holding Up The Bar" courtesy of the band.

mp3: Bottle Of Evil - Holding Up The Bar

Also, if you're quick, have a listen below then head over to their last.fm for a free download of the brilliant "Seize The Day".

Seize The Day

Those album buying links again: iTunes and eMusic.

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