- The Skinny Interview
Little DosesStand first: It's ex-Degrassi meets ex-Degrassi as Sans Trauma singer and guitarist Chris Bathgate checks in with his former associate Michael Branagh's new band, Little Doses.
It's no secret that the Scottish music scene is fertile ground. New bands spring up every week and just as often vanish within six months or a year and almost anyone in a decent group has survived at least a few others. So it comes as no surprise that most of Little Doses have had fingers in various pies before this one went in the oven: Mark McClelland (bass) was a founder member of Snow Patrol, Michael Branagh (drums) has been with (the mighty! - Ed) Degrassi from the beginning and Paul Mellon (guitar) used to play in Fuck-Off Machete.
Started after a drinking session in the infamous Columbia Hotel in London, Little Doses are fairly reluctant to speak about their former music projects in any depth. "We wanted to be judged on our own merits," singer Kirsten Ross explains. Mark concurs: "We were always going to be judged by our previous bands, so we spent an awful lot of time in a rehearsal studio before we ever came out. We spent six months practicing."
Sound advice, and after only a year, Little Doses admit that with only "around thirty" gigs under their belt, they haven't quite "ripped the arse out of it." Still, pretty steady work for a fledgling band. Their favourite gig so far was a recent T-Break set at King Tut's in Glasgow, where reviews were highly favourable though they didn't make it through." They did, however, win Vic Galloway's T-Break quiz, netting £250 of record vouchers and jealous looks from the other entrants. With gigs coming up over the next few months; having racked up several shows at Cabaret Voltaire and Braehead Arena; with appearances at Wickerman Festival and another jaunt to Tut's on the cards, they're ready to move things up a gear.
Having recently booked themselves into Chem19 studios with Andy Miller to record new tracks and continue to develop their sound, the quartet say they'll be wasting no time in posting tracks on their MySpace page in the next few weeks. "A lot of the stuff Mark wrote before the band came about," says Kirsten of their catalogue. "I don't want things to continue like that, though. I want things to be greater than the sum of their parts," offers Mark.
Further questioning on their influences produces a few direct leads on where the direction is headed. "I think there'll be a lot of variety on recordings. We're a powerful, melodic band with hooks and songs," says Michael. "It's exciting," elaborates Mark, "we see it primarily as a pop band. Live, we like to put our feet up on the monitor now and again, but we do have acoustic songs, and enjoy doing those as well. Our songs are 75 percent about relationships. I think we're a bit like Elastica, if Justine Frischmann could sing," he muses. "That's reasonably close!" agrees Michael, inspiring him to kick off a roll call of their lyrical heroes.
"Our favourite lyricists are probably Aidan Moffat, Shane McGowan and Nick Cave," he reasons. "Bright Eyes!" suggests Mark. "Mick Fleetwood!" Kirsten weighs in too. "I like Stephen Malkmus!" offers Paul. "People who can say straightforward things without sounding stupid."
Kirsten pipes up, more forthright. "Every day someone pisses you off. I'm sick of seeing indie-boys cry-wanking on stage!" she spits, before much laughter ensues.
That fact alone should make you want to hear them.