Tuesday 13 July 2010

K&A with Casino Brag

Having just published my 20th K&A session last week, it's now time for the first one which the featured band have actually volunteered themselves for... silly buggers! Anyone who downloaded their Vic Galloway session I also posted last week, will know that Glasgow's Casino Brag are a band to sit up and take notice of.... if they've not already gotten you up on the dancefloor.

Now here's what they let themselves in for....

Kowalskiy: Who are Casino Brag?
Casino Brag: Casino Brag are myself David, playing guitar and singing. Paul, playing guitar a whole lot better and doing some backing singing. JP, playing bass and doing a wee bit of singing and Ellis playing drums; however he’s a proper good singer and doesn’t sing enough! We all live in Glasgow, although I’m an honorary Glaswegian, from Swindon originally but now in my 9th year of residence in this wonderful city.

Kowalskiy: How did the band come about and what's the story behind the name?
David: I kind of started a daft band at uni, we were awful but I did meet Ellis through one of the guys ‘Graeme’ who originally played guitar in the band. He was a good chap but moved away to work in London but he did think of our name. He liked a flutter and had just returned from a trip to Las Vegas. Casino Brag is the name of one of the card games he played there. The band didn’t really work out but me and Ellis stuck together and kept the name. I then put an ad in a music shop for a new lead guitarist. Paul answered it but then on the day of the first rehearsal the bassist quit. I rang Paul apologising and telling him practice was off. He told me not to worry as he knew a chap John Paul who would step in. They’d been playing in bands together for years and had a great back catalogue of material too.

Kowalskiy: How would you describe your music?
David: Post punk/indie I suppose. Although House music and Techno have been pretty influential to us so at present we like to keep it upbeat. Although of course once we’re rock stars we’ll bring it down a notch for the second record and write a ballad. Who doesn’t?

Kowalskiy: Vic Galloway (who you recently did a session for) touched on the fact that your songs often have slightly odd themes. Can you us an example, and describe how you came to write it?
David: Yeah sure. I’ll take our song "Authority Vogue" for example. It’s about witnessing a crime and being put under police protection in a safe house. Whilst there, you start a relationship with a female police officer. The opening line goes ‘Saint of the safe house, she keeps look out’. It goes on to explain encounters in the house with lyrics like ‘I’ve never undone a bullet proof jacket, excuse my fingers as I try to unwrap you’.

I want to write songs with a fictional theme to them, cinematic even. I’m bored of love songs and I hate songs that are ‘I’ ‘I’ ‘I’. The type of songs that sound like the singer is talking to his shrink. I don’t want to pour my heart out into music. Some folk do and are fantastic at doing so. Yeah I still like a good love song but for me at this time this is what works.

Kowalskiy: Who (or what) are your main influences?
David: In regards to lyrics, I take inspiration from Jarvis Cocker, Morrissey, Kate Bush, and Eminem, to name but a few. They all write fictional stories and project them in an emotive style. Paul listens to a lot of Radiohead and has been inspired by Jonny Greenwood, especially in terms of using guitar FX. He loves The Bunnymen and Graham Coxon too. Ellis likes Bloc Party a lot and I think again he takes influence from House music. JP’s got his own thing going on though; the funk just runs through that guy and he’d definitely never buy a Toploader record.

Kowalskiy: In March you released debut single "Vienesse Disco/A Fair Escape". Since then you've played Death Disco, headlined Pin Up Nights and recorded a live session for Mr. Galloway. Not a bad few months! Is there anything else I'm missing? Are you surprised how quickly things seem to be taking off?
David: Yeah we sure have had a good time of late. We want the ball to keep rolling and yeah a ‘take off’ would be grand, Death Disco was great and of course the live session was really exciting.

Kowalskiy: What's been the highlight of your time in the band so far?
David: I think live performances still really tick the box better than anything. In January we played an extremely busy show at King Tuts supporting The Neat. It was mobbed and the crowd hadn’t been out the house since Christmas I think. Again Death Disco was ace and we also supported the OK Social Club over in Cabaret Voltaire, again it was rammed and a great atmosphere. Outside of the live thing, we were interviewed by Lamacq last year which was pretty cool. For me personally it was Nick Grimshaw name checking us on Radio 1 before the Vic show went out. I don’t know why this pleased me but it did.

Kowalskiy: What'd be your ideal gig and what can we expect from a typical Casino Brag gig?
David: That’s a great question; I think maybe to have played that night when The Sex Pistols played the Free Trade Hall in Manchester. We did play infamous punk rock pub The Hope and Anchor in Islington, again I just wish It had have been 30 years earlier. We’ve lots of heroes we would love to support though. Blur, The Bunnymen, Radiohead. I think our shows are pretty lively; you could dance through most of the set. Sometimes JP tells a quick story and sometimes me and Paul fall out and look like we might start scrapping. Yeah so, energetic and fun I’d like to think.

Kowalskiy: What can we expect from Casino Brag in the future?
David: There’s a second single planned for release in the autumn and a couple of local labels that have displayed an interest. It was great doing the first release ourselves but we wouldn’t mind a hand this time. Do things bigger and better. We’ve just bagged ourselves a great manager too so he’s got lots of plans up his sleeves. A big part of the next few months will be playing across the central belt more. We’ve just booked shows in Stirling and Edinburgh and also got some dates for the Camden Barfly. So a return to London is imminent too. More radio too we hope, we’d love to do a live session down with big Robbo on BBC6.

Kowalskiy: Lastly, anything you fancy adding?
David: Its true John Paul did buy the Toploader record. But I often claim "Jollification" (The Lightning Seeds) was the best album of the 90’s. I also own a Jamie Oliver frying pan.

It begs the question was it "Onka's Big Moka" or the other one? Anyhoo, keep your eyes peeled for their second single some time in the not-so-distant future. In the meantime, here's a belter of a track for you to download and play to your heart's content...

mp3: Casino Brag - Apparitions

...and some upcoming gigs, including a potential cracker at King Tuts.

Upcoming Gigs
24th July - Summer Nights Festival @ King Tuts, Glasgow (with Astral Planes, Galleries and Cancel The Astronauts)
21st Aug - Nice 'N Sleazy, Glasgow
27th Aug - Cape, Stirling
24th Sept - RIOT ANYONE? Festival @ Maggies Chamber, Edinburgh

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