Would you care to introduce yourself?
Hello, I’m Martin. I sing in GUMS!, a newish band featuring a bunch of people from other bands.
How did you start out making music?
I was in the Plimptons (RIP) from 1999 until March this year. They started when I was 16 and are the only other band I’ve ever played in. So that was my start, and pretty much my only musical endeavour until GUMS! got together last year.
How would you describe the music you make?
I’ll go into a bit of detail about GUMS!’ very glamorous backstory here. Tommy (Plimptons’ drummer) owed me some cash for a guitar I gave him but, as he was skint and owned a studio, I opted to get repaid in studio time rather than hard cash or a third option. I didn’t really know what I was going to use it for, but knew it would have to be something that was different enough from the Plimptons to make it worthwhile.
I really just went back to the stuff that I grew up listening to and still listen to now, Pulp, Buzzcocks, Kirsty MacColl, that type of thing. Those influences were always part of the Plimptons, but there was always a bit of a wink and nod in the way we did things. This time it’s more of a genuine attempt to write those types of songs. I think initially I just wanted to see if I could, without having the Plimp crutch to fall back on. I’ve always been interested in songs with a narrative, lots of poppy hooks and getting the right mix of the two, so hopefully that comes across in GUMS!.
After I’d knocked up the songs I called up my mate Jack, who plays in Orphans and was always someone I thought I’d like to form a band with if the opportunity arose, and we knocked out the first GUMS! EP in a weekend. We added Nora, who also plays in Collar Up and did time in the Plimptons, on Keys and Vocals on the 2nd EP and she really added an extra layer of poppiness to things. Most recently we added Joe, frontman of the mighty Colin’s Godson and yet another ex-Plimptons, on bass. It sounds like there are a lot of ex-Plimptons in GUMS!, but it’s pretty hard to find people from Glasgow who weren’t in The Plimptons at some point.
What process goes into the way you write songs?
Again, this is very glamorous. I write the songs in my flat really, really quietly while my “flat mate” is watching CSI or whatever. Then Jack, Nora, Tommy and Joe make it sound like music later on.I really enjoy writing for 3 vocalist, because me, Jack and Nora all take lead duties at some point and all sound completely different. So there’s tonnes of scope for different narratives and styles. Also, while my own vocal style could be politely described as “limited”, between them Jack and Nora can sing every note every invented.
What can people expect from your live shows?
We had our first gig supporting The Just Joans in Edinburgh recently. It was fantastic fun. To be honest, I wasn’t sure what type of live band we were going to be until the set was finished. We certainly had a rawer edge than on record, that Buzzcocky poppy energy was really pushed to the fore. I was also trying to do a bit of Tom Waitsy raconteuring …which I will either practice or abandon.
What are you all listening to at the moment?
I saw a lot of great new (or new to me anyway) bands during the festival season that I hope to catch at their own gigs and buy things off. One that stood out for me was Saint Max and the Fanatics, who’s songs have been stuck in my head since I saw them at Doune the Rabbit Hole. They’ve got an album launch coming up soon with awesome party band Colonel Mustard and the Dijon 5 supporting, so I’m really looking forward to that.I’m not sure what the rest of the band are listening to, new GUMS! demos presumably.
What can we expect to see/hear from you in the future?
We’ve got a split EP with a local singer/songwriter called Callum Baird in the works. And after that, hopefully more studio time. We’ve got plenty of songs floating about ready to record, so there will be a GUMS! album at some point. That’s the aim anyway.