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Monday, 18 March 2013

Sonic Templars interview

I'm sure that by now you guys will have read the Stonehouse Violets interview.
Care to comment?

Yeah we did, and laughed.
Not at them, but with them.
They're mates and it was like listening to Mike on a night out.
That being said it was a brilliant bit of self promotion and I admire the attitude they have, and it is similar to our own in so many ways.
If you don''t believe 100% in yourself then what is the point of doing it really?

As for yourselves do you share that same sort of self belief in what Sonic Templars can deliver?

We believe 100% in what we do.
Similar to Stonehouse Violets we know know how good we are.
The only difference is that we are more quietly confident in what we do, we tend to let the music do the talking.
But that's just a different approach.
There is no right or wrong way to promote yourself, as long as you have the belief and can back it up.
We feel that we are getting better and better with every passing song and gig, tighter as a band, and with stronger songs and lyrics.

You've been gigging a lot lately and getting some rave reviews and picking up fans at every show.
Up until a point that's sort of a necessity for bands as it's the only way to get your name and reputation as an act to see cemented in, but at the same time there must come a point when you consider that this part of the job is done, and it's then better to concentrate on quality rather than quantity.
Is that where you are at just now?

That's exactly where we are just now.
We spent the whole of the last year and a half doing exactly that: gigging as often as we possibly could to get our name spread about and established to an extent.
There were some great gigs, like supporting the View at a sold-out Grand Hall in Kilmarnock, but also some meaningless ones too as I'm sure any other band will tell you, like playing to the janitor sweeping up, but it had to be done to get the name out there.
We did a tour of Scotland last summer too to promote our debut EP which picked us up some new fans in Dunfermline, Perth etc..
But this year we made a decision like you say: pick quality over quantity.
We were getting loads of offers for gigs so we decided to pick and choose the ones that suited us best in terms of pushing the band forward.
We decided to do almost all gigs on a weekend, and make them more of an event, with loads of promotion and hype.

So, next steps. There's the co headlining gig in Pivo coming up and then what?

We recently won a showcase at Stereo, Glasgow.
It was a competition to pick the best band to support Jiezuberband and Preacher at o2 ABC in Glasgow on 27th April.
Over 200 bands applied to it, and then they were whittled down to just six to perform at the Showcase.
The bands themselves and UUC Management then picked the best band on the night, which happened to be us.
We're delighted with it because all the acts were fantastic, and some of who are doing exceptionally well.
We played a cracking gig though so we were confident about it.
It was a good way to make some new fans and contacts to.
Apart from that we are currently recording our 2nd EP entitled 'Minds in Transit'.
We've a batch of songs that we are extremely proud of, and its a natural progression from the 'Breaking Silence' EP.
The songs are more progressive than the last one, with a lot more thought going into arrangements and lyrics etc..
I'm not saying the last EP lacked attention to detail, but that's where we were at at that time and particularly myself as a songwriter.
But with 'Minds in Transit', everyone is involved in adding their parts onto the songs, Fraser has written a song too which will be on there as we felt it fitted into the vibe of the EP.
We're quietly confident that the EP will capture people's imaginations.
We've got an EP launch night planned for the 25th May at Nice n' Sleazys to, more will be revealed about that in the next few weeks, but there the date. It's out there now.

I don't know if you want to share the info, but I heard a wee whisper that there was some major players sniffing around you.
Is that true?

'Tis true, but I cant really discuss much about that just now, I'm not being wanky and I'd love to spill it, but I've been sworn to secrecy haha.
Then there's the fear that if you mention it publicly I could jinx it, or if it falls through be accused of being a bullshitter.
I've learned to keep some things close to my chest.
All I will say is that we have a couple of meetings coming up to find out more about the offers, so we will take things from there, but it's all good.

So what would that mean to the band?

As long as the deal was right then it would mean a lot to us. We have worked hard and feel we deserve the right deal.
There are so many other bands in our situation as well, hard-working and just looking for that 'right place at the right time' moment. We have been in total control of everything we have done to date and we will make sure it remains that way.
Artistic control is everything to us.
If it wasn't we could have already put ourselves into the hands of others to mould us into something that we're not.
We we released 'Breaking Silence' and we will release 'Minds in Transit' on Newtown Products.
Andrew from Newtown Products has been a big help to us, he simply puts out the music on the label without fuss or trying to steer us in any 'direction' which is exactly the way we like it.

Oh, I didn't know that you were doing it with Andrew.
I've always been impressed with his labels output. He has this great attitude towards the artists that he works with.
I think it's more a fans approach. He likes what he hears so there's no angle for him. He doesn't want to change anything at all.
Do you feel that approach is like a breath of fresh air?

It's definitely more of a fan's approach, and the fact that he's still out there playing in bands himself helps, so he approaches it from a songwriter/band member's perspective, and not a business one.
So I feel that this approach is a TOTAL breath of fresh air yes. There's no sinister marketing ploy, no 'strongly advising' that you should turn that guitar down or 'make that less heavy'. Just a respect for what a band/artist wants to put out, and that goes right down to copyright and artwork

I'm going to mention a very small negative point here that others have commented on to me and it's something that I agree with.
In the studio you guys have a very vast epic sound going on.
It's sort of like the sound of a band that needs the large venue/stadium space to breath in.
Yet while I have seen you live, and with a good sound it comes across well, there has been times that maybe club sized venues have failed to provide what you guys need to promote that aspect of the music.
Would that be a fair comment, and if so how do you feel about it when to an extent a part of the gig is out of your control and you are aware that the audience are getting a performance that due to technical restraints may fall short of what you guys know you can deliver?

That would be a fair comment yes, but I don't necessarily think its a negative comment (the bit about out-growing the club sized venues).
We are always pushing to get towards the bigger venues anyway, I'm not saying we don't enjoy the small venues because its great to be right in the faces of a baying crowd.
But maybe the style of songs we are writing are a subconscious reflection of our statement of intent: to play the bigger stages, we thrive there.
Some of our songs are straight in-your-face guitar-driven rock sung with attitude, and then particular songs, like 'Breaking Silence' and 'Temptress' suit the smaller venues due to the aggressive, stripped down sound they have, but we do have more of the songs with the vast, epic sound you mention.
I wouldn't want to dilute or compromise the sound we get in the studio for they songs though just for that reason, because that epic sound brings them to life, so it IS disheartening if the venue size falls short of capturing what the band can sound like on a bigger stage, the only way around this is to pick the right venues. This is so important because the sound of a venue can make or break any band.
The vast epic sound you mention will be a lot more prevalent on 'Minds in Transit' too, that's the direction we are moving in.

Would you ever consider just taking the bull by the horns and doing something similar to Jiezuberband and booking a big venue with the attitude of not just using it as a pr stunt, but to do it because you know that a stage like the ABCs with its state of the art sound system that they have would just push everything right out there and really provide the best space possible for the band?
Would it be a realistic prospect or, would you look at the costings and such and think that it would be a do or die throw of the dice for the band?
It's nice to dream, but in the real world pushing things to financial ruin and then seizing victory from the jaws of defeat are often just to be found in film scripts.

I admire what Jiezuberband and Preacher have done.
They have obviously been planning this for a long time, and with the stage they are at as bands felt that they can pull it off.
We are unfortunately not at that stage yet but I would never say never about anything relating to our limits as a band.
So for us at the moment it's not a realistic prospect, but I would not rule something like that out in future.
If we felt we had the financial means and the support of a solid fanbase to pull it fo then we would grab at it.
Right now we are putting any money made from gig tickets straight into the recording money pot, we also have a video in the pipeline then a potential tour, so all money is being used for they purposes just now.
We all have an idea in our heads and are looking at taking it all step by step.
One day we will with a bit of luck on our side be able to look back and say 'we did that'.
Not that others did it for us, or that we took an easier road, but that we did it all with like minded people like Andrew from Newtown Products.

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