13 June 2011

Fresh Meat Monday - Skinny Villains

Would you care to introduce yourself?

Certainly! We're Skinny Villains, a troupe of troublesome troubadours intent on making music we find all at once interesting, honest and engaging. Individually we are known as; John Devlin (perscussion), John Paul Rafferty (lead guitar, vox), Paul McLaughlin (guitar, vox) and Scott Stevenson (bass, vox).

How would you describe the music you make?

Our music is a healthy mixture of imaginative and interesting licks and riffs entwined with catchy vocal hooks. Lyrically we tend to write tightly-packed, intricately-structured syllabic verses (similar to that description) whereas our choruses more often than not widen the tone and change the overall pace. We're open to any ideas though and we're never against trying out new structures, themes and patterns.

How did you start out making music?

All our paths towards music are different and detailed in their route but essentially we started out as friends with common interests and the band grew from there. We have all been friends since school at St Bride's in East Kilbride and, even with our extended group, we've always played music together. The only difference being it hasn't always been our own, until now.

What process goes into the way you write songs?

Each song develops in its own way and we don't tend to reserve ourself to a specific process of song-writing. Some songs begin with the lyrics and we then go about looking for some way of suitably meshing it together with instrumentation. On the other hand any number of our songs can be catalysed by a guitar or bass riff or drum sequence we all find interesting and from there begins the process of writing lyrics we think do justice to the instrumentation. There's always a healthy balance between the two sides of writing.

What can people expect from your live shows?

The very simple answer to this question would be 'hard work'. As a band who acknowledge the fact that they could only initially cut their live teeth with the help of their friends, we're very much rooted to the principle that the people in the audience deserve a good show and deserve the sweat on our brow. We very much resent the attitude of some bands who are quick to assume they are entitled to the full attention of a paying crowd. We work hard and pride ourselves on our ability to make people listen. Admittedly this may sometimes be due to how loud we play but in the end it's for their own good!

What are you all listening to at the moment?

I'm taking some liberties here in speaking for the rest of the band but I'll do my best to represent them fairly. There are few artists the whole band tend to agree on but I can confidently include The Black Keys, The Beatles and Eagles of Death Metal in the band jukebox as it were. Individually, we all have our own musical quirks and nuances. I'm big into Josh T. Pearson and Paul Simon right now, every Graceland track I can mime to perfection and I'm also getting to grips with Hearts & Bones. Myself and Scott have a shared love for Simon & Garfunkel and I never fail to start my day with at least one track from Wednesday Morning 3AM. John Paul and John have a much keener ear on new music and are both quick to highlight something to me or Scott that they feel we may be interested in. Most recently I know John has been listening to Lykke Li's new album as well as Vintage Trouble and John Paul has had Brothers on permanent rotation for months as well as some of The Hives older albums. That is far from the most comprehensive round-up to be honest but let's just say Spotify tends to be put through its paces when we all gather around a laptop.

What can we expect to see/hear from you in 2011?

The tail-end of 2010 will see us supporting bigger and better bands and more often than not attempting to escape the grid-iron streets patterns of Glasgow we love yet have become so accustomed. Gigs further North and further South, predominantly. 2011 will begin with some new releases yet to be decided and then a well-mounted media push will be surrounding said release so expect some more promotional videos and interesting ideas for live events which will hopefully be more interactive and intriguing than the usual three-band-gigs paying customers are used to. Those ideas are being kept under wraps at this time, however!

Skinny Villains - Young Love


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