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Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Filthy Little Secret

How are things going in the Filthy Little Secret camp?
Kyle - Things are tip top if I'm honest. We've started a label with our mates The Retrofrets called Rumble Records.
Through that we've hit the road for a couple of shows under the Rumble banner, got our first ever merch out (6 years and the t-shirts are finally here), released a live bootleg and finally managed to get over months and months worth of writers block.

And how are things going on the live front?
Yeah things are looking up there too. We are starting to get a lot of venues approaching us instead of the other way about. It's a refreshing change.

Do you feel that the band not fitting into a neat little indie genre niche has been ultimately to your benefit? Has it served to make you stand out a bit from your peers?
Yes and no. It took us quite a while to find a group of bands that we sort of felt complimented our sound, and us them, and in turn it took us a while to find the crowds we should be playing to.
There was a lot of trial and error between getting from where we were to where we are.
But yeah, in hindsight it did help us stand out as being that bit different. although when you are sandwiched between some indie rockers and a heavy metal band on a bill it can make for some strange nights.
On the plus side it did allow us to carve out a section of the crowd that thought that what we were doing was refreshing. People who keep coming back for more. So it wasn't all bad.
Thankfully through gigging at every opportunity like this we found one band after another who could be described as musically in the same boat, bands that share an attitude, and we now seem to be part of a scene that's really starting to take off.

In a time when bands seem to be releasing their débuts months after forming. why are you over six years down the line and only have one bootleg styled gig recording available?
Is it a case of good things come to those who wait, or just a matter of it taking this long to get to the point of feeling comfortable with putting something out that you feel will truly represent you as a band?

Quite a lot of factors were involved.
Initially the band was an excuse to get drunk more often, it was quite a while before we even took it that seriously.
There was quite a few hiccups along the way in terms of financing, band members almost dying, and a long line of bass player changes.
The latter also had a part in that writing block that lasted the better part of a year. It was difficult to remain focussed when the line up wasn't 100% firm
We also struggle to find sound guys who can forget what they were told in college and let the levels hit the red. We don't want to commit to anything that isn't going to sound like us. We don't have the money or the time to waste it on recording material that none of us would be happy with.
It's a fact that in the years that we've been together we've been to quite a few studios, and only one has come close to grabbing the sound we are after.
That live recording from the Captains Rest - apart from a few mistakes on our part, the buzzing and tinkering with levels -, is pretty much on the money as far as what we sound like.
We should use that as a template. Just tell and engineer 'hey, listen to this buddy. That's what we want, but in the studio', and see if that works.
I think we are in a good place to be just now. At the moment we're in a position where we have been writing a lot more and the direction and focus is there, and we finally decided on a plan for funding the band so that we can move ahead slowly rather than bursts of activity paired with some time outs due to the cash not flowing as it should.
Fingers crossed that it all falls into place as we are hoping it will.
Just in the last few weeks we have managed to get the plans for our début album officially under way.
It's only a matter of finding the time to start working on it, and more importantly find a sound guy or gal with a set of balls on him or her who thinks that they can capture us in full flow.
If anyone thinks they're up to the job, then drop us a line and we will endeavour to convert you to worshipping at the alter of the almighty Haj, and pay you of course. Although if you want to do it for free we aren't going to argue with you.

You had a reputation for hitting it hard for a period of the bands history. Was the partying starting to get in the way of what you had decided that you wanted to achieve?
To a degree I've got to say yeah, but it had to stop because it was taking its toll on our bodies, and our bank balances.
The partying resulted in the destruction of my relationship at the time, and caused me to become technically homeless.
Haj (vocals) stepped in at that point and saved me from sleeping on the streets by letting me crash on his sofa until I got myself sorted out.
It took 8 months in total.
The stars book in to the Priory when they crash and burn. We simply impose on Haj and let him look after us, and a fine job he does of it to.
We tend to rally round when it hits the fan.
Now that I'm thinking back it was around then that all the bands relationships floundered, and Del (Guitar) even got divorced.
I suppose he would say that his commitment to the band was partially a contributing factor.
It wasn't uncommon around that time for us to play a show on a Thursday and stop the after party - for want of a better phrase - on the Tuesday with about 6 hours sleep all in.
You can get lost in the madness of it and forget how much of an impact it has on others who are being swept along.
Maybe Keef Richards can do that, but while we were enjoying it at the time the truth is that it's difficult to live life like you're a rock star 24/7, and try to keep a relationship going, never mind committing to a day job to pay the bills.
We had a blast and I wouldn't change it as it has made us who we are, and while we can still tie one on in style, we've learned how to contain it to a weekend with the occasional lapse into debauchery.
My liver thanks me for my restraint daily, as our current wives and girlfriends should to.

So what can we expect from the album? Have you got the material all nailed down, road tested and ready to go?
Were hoping the albums going to capture the live sound as much as possible, hence why we need a sound guy that's willing to burn the rule book.
Live were loud, fast and usually messy, and if the album can capture that then were going to be happy with it.
As for the songs, yeah its all pretty much set and we know what's going into it, but we're still writing and there could be some last minute changes.
In fact things are going so well on the song writing front It'll probably end up being a bunch of songs we write the week before it's recorded that will end up on it.
The same has happened with pretty much all of our other studio recordings.

I was speaking to Handsome Al of The Bucky Rage about the loose groupings of bands that seem to be solidifying into a ramshackle scene in Glasgow. Who would you think are the ones that are out and about who you could claim to be having an affinity with?
There's a bunch of us kicking about, all sounding quite different but sharing the same "Fuck the local scene" attitude.
Tragic City Thieves, The Bucky Rage, Eddie and the T-Bolts, The Retrofrets, Ghosts Of Progress, The Jackhammers, Jackie Onassis, The Brutes and even over on the east coast we have the Acid Fascists, but as they play over here often enough that we can let that geographical accident of birth slide.
That's just to name a few.
I know I'll be kicking myself in the next couple of days for forgetting some, and I'm also sure that they wont be slow in telling me that I forgot them.
There really is a whole scene going on with like minded bands with like minded attitudes.
The unsigned scene in this city has finally got exciting again.
I'd like to think that the venues are starting to pick up on this as well. A few of us have had some higher profile support slots, and there are offers of more.
So it's going to be a case of watch this space.

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