18 October 2009

Peenko vs Ambulances

Earlier in the year Marc Riley had Ambulances in the studio to do a session for him, although I hadn't heard of them before, I decided to record the session, mainly out of a sense of patriotism for a Scottish band. I am so glad that I did, as they recorded one of the best sessions that I had heard all year

Would you care to introduce yourselves?
yup, we're sara, scott, oz, graham, big al and chris.

What artists would you say have had the biggest influence on the band?

velvet underground, beatles, wu-tang, townes van zandt, avalanches, super furry animals, the whole nuggets garage thing, piles of reggae... the list is endless. check out our twitter page, we're always putting up tunes and videos of bands we love on there.

You hail from all over Fife, how does that work on a practical level for getting together to practice/record?
its not that bad really, maybe when someone has a shift change or some overtime but nothing different from any other band.

You don’t seem to play all that often, so where and when can people see you playing live?
the greenside in leslie on the 27th of November is our next gig but apart from that i don't really know. sara is in her last year at art school so its a bit mad for her right now so we don't want it commit to more than we can manage. however, that should all change next year and hopefully we can play most places that will have us.

Both Marc Riley and Vic Galloway have had you in to do sessions recently, which made me wonder how this came about if you hadn’t done many gigs?
Both their producers just got in touch out of the blue and asked if we would do a session. we really don't know how they found out about us but they did and we're well chuffed that they did. super surreal things happen to you all the time when you're in a band. we were walking in to do the marc riley session and met mark radcliffe and stuart maconie. when we finished our session we looked through to the control room and hooky was checking us out, he even offered to produce our next album. we then went to our hotel and drank all night with shane mcgowan (with his dentist), marc bolan's girlfriend and the wee guy from auf wiedersehen, pet. we were all playing our songs on kitchen spoons till the small hours. mad!!

Your new album was recorded and mixed ‘legendary’ producer Kramer, how did that come about?

he also just got in touch with us out of the blue on our myspace site and said he'd do anything to work with us. we thought either he must be a lunatic or the whole thing was just some joker having us on. we started to skype each other and realised it was no joker nor was he mental, result! he was over within a few weeks with nothing more than a wee bag o clothes, a laptop, a 1930s ribbon microphone, a teapot and his genius. he left 10 days later with 15 songs in the bag and a big crazy smile on his boat. spooky thing was we had sean flynns image of the crucified mickey moose in mind for the cover of the album and the 1930s mic kramer had, belonged to walt disney at some point. apparently he (walt, not kramer) recorded the first utterings of donald duck on it.

On a similar not, you recently supported Damo Suzuki (of Can fame), how did that come about? And are you fans of Can?

again, it was some promoter dude sending us a message over Myspace. we were already booked in for marc riley the night before in Manchester so it was no problem to then just nip down to london and do the gig. and yes we love can - you really shouldn't get to play music until you've heard the first 3 can albums. you can't compare them to any other band apart from maybe the fall. everyone has a can element to their music now though haven't they? haha! think i'll put a liebezeitian paradiddle in the middle eight, just to give it an edge. hehe!

Is this something that you would like to make a living out of?

we'd all love to make a living out of music but we don't make music with the intention of making money unlike almost everyone.

As you the album was a self- release, how hard was it for you to go about dealing with all the various aspects such as costs, promotion, etc?

getting the money was the only problem but we worked and saved hard. we found out what everything would cost us and then we just went for it. we couldn't pay for any promotion or spend very much on the actual packaging but in a time when people say albums are dead we're doing okay. if record companies were fairer to their customers and their bands i don't think illegal downloading would be a problem at all. everyone likes a nice product not some cheap imitation with scant information. most sensible music lovers know now though it's best to buy straight from the band that way some coked-up mountain climber in london isn't profiting off of it.

Have you started to attract attention from any labels and is this something that you would welcome?

we've talked to publishing companies and a few record company bosses have said very nice things to us. however, they haven't taken us out to lunch yet.

Favourite venue (played/would like to play)?
would have to be the Barras.

Are there any bands you would recommend I check out?

found, withered hand, davy sausage, slacker, the junipers, dusty stray, flavor crystals

Lastly, what’s next for Ambulances?
waiting to hear from the scottish arts council to find out if they're going to fund our next album with steve mason and kramer. in the meantime just writing and recording.

Ambulances - Come With Us
(Vic Galloway Session)

Their debut album 'The Future That Was' is available here for only £6 (including P&P), or alternatively you can preview, then download the album here.
I strongly suggest you check it out, it's one my favourite albums this year.

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