Band Interview: BELTUR

BELTUR Band Photo

So first of how did you all meet?
Joe & frank are the founding members of BELTUR. They met through a mutual friend roughly 15 years ago, we hit it off musically and personality wise instantly..Frank was a complete punk music lover and joe a straight up ‘indie kid’ so even though from the opposite end of the music spectrum they brought a great plethora of style and energy to the table, mixing the energy of punk and the melody/swag of indie music

Where are you all from?
We are from the Balornock/Barmulloch area of north Glasgow.

How long have you been playing your respective instruments?
Joe started playing keyboards in school around the age of 13 learning classic music theory from the beginning of secondary school, but came across guitar (acoustic & electric) through several friends around the age of 15 so all in about 17 years. Frank started bass guitar at 19 years old at north glasgow college, so about 17 years and as she’s a female, we’ll just say Edith has been singing for over 20 years attending different colleges in Glasgow and also the university of Farmington in Maine USA.

What are your influences?
Joe’s biggest influence without a doubt is the British band Ocean Colour Scene. Nirvana are also a huge influence. I got brought up on a recipe of the Drifters, Dr. Hook and a healthy dose of The Eagles and Johnny Cash so always return to the golden oldies who have stood the test of time. Frank’s influences are the American punk bands; The Offspring and Social Distortion, Bad Religion and he’s also a Nirvana fan, so maybe they’re the band we both had in common, and sound quite similar to. The punk energy is prevalent in all Frank’s performances and you will NEVER see him standing still or in the background or even ON stage as he likes to wander around whilst playing live. Edith’s biggest influences are the big female singers like Janis Joplin, Joni Mitchell, Sheryl Crow, also a big fan of a blues band called the Tedeschi Trucks Band. She is also a dedicated church singer having been classically taught. Her biggest strengths as a singer is delivering the melody and doing what is best for each individual song, knowing when to go full pelt and sometimes more importantly when to be quieter, again, always bringing the onstage energy that is needed to get people off their seats and onto that dance floor.

Do you do covers and if so what’s your go to?
We have started (after much hesitation!!) to throw in some cover songs in our set to bring in some new fans especially if they don’t know any of our original songs at gigs at least hopefully we can do a good classic song justice and hopefully be remembered even initially for the cover song to open up to new potential fans. Our go to cover songs are the feeder song ‘buck Rogers’ which is a total anthem and other big dance floor fillers like dancing in the dark (Springsteen) and Dakota (stereophonics).. we also do full cover gigs to fund the original band’s recordings/rehearsals and also to be out and active doing what we love to do which is playing music and entertaining peoples nights out.

What if anything does your name mean/why are you called that?
The band name came from a funny situation. Originally we were called beltEr, however we got an email out of the blue from a band in London with the same (at the time) name, so they threatened us with a lawsuit!! we were a skint band from Glasgow who were living on canned foods to fund our recordings at the time nevermind paying for legal fees so we thought let’s change the letter E to a U and came up with this unique spelling of an already slang word. Which has worked in our favour.

Do you have a process for writing your songs?/Which of you writes the songs?
The songwriting always tends to be joe sitting with the acoustic guitar and organically building from there up. Lyrics are usually a mix of first hand and fictional situations/experiences which most people can/could relate to.. the tried and tested songwriting method.

What are your rehearsals generally like?
Rehearsals are definitely our escapism from normal life. That is where the hard work is done. We maximise our time in the studio by learning our individual parts in our own time, to save working out things in the studio, to us it should be used to bring all the individual components of the songs together.. in our younger days the studio was our party pad, sometimes staying there until crazy hours past our bedtimes!!

With age we’ve learned to optimise our studio time; as time & money become more precious & scarce. That being said, every rehearsal is different and it’s always fun and NEVER feels like a drag or chore.

Do you have any interesting/funny stories about gigging or touring?
A couple of funny stories are;
One time at an outdoor festival, the stage was supposed to be on the back of a trailer but for some reason it never turned up so the ‘stage’ was a makeshift platform made literally out of wooden crate pallets, so was obviously not balanced so whenever joe went forward to sing, the full drumkit would go up and like a seesaw, so to stop this joe simply put his mic stand and guitar effects pedals on the grass, then during the actual gig tons of worms had crawled out and were all over his pedal board so in order to change his guitar effects had to squash the worms.. the pedals got a good scrub that evening. Another time, about halfway through a set at a sold out gig joe’s amp for whatever reason decided to fall off the amp stand and onto the floor, only joe and frank noticed it, so they had to continue playing the song whilst trying to lift the amp back onto the stand, the rest of the band, every fan we spoke to about it afterwards and even the sound guy were clueless as to what had happened when we explained to them after the gig, how no-one had witnessed this is beyond us and we put it down to being absolute professionals who can deal with any situation unfazed (and unnoticed haha).

What song do you remember most from your childhood?
Songs from our childhood would collectively be the likes of Hotel California (The Eagles) a boy named Sue (Johnny Cash) and various songs by The Drifters which seemed to be on repeat.

What has been your biggest challenge as a band? Have you been able to overcome that challenge? If so, how?
The biggest challenge as BELTUR has been past members coming and going for too many reasons to mention. Some personal some not as dedicated as the others.. music is and always will be our first love, so to share that with other musicians is a really big deal to us. As we said before it’s all about having fun with Beltur but we take the band as if our lives depend on it, we put 100% passion and commitment into our band. It’s our baby. When members leave and you have to fill that void it feels like 1 step forward 10 steps back, this is the reason why so many bands split up/ cease to exist.. whenever this has happened to Beltur in the past we simply continue moving forward and find the right person to fill the void. Beltur has grown to be a bigger force than any one of its individual members, it’s got a life of its own.

How can fans-to-be gain access to your music?
For any new fans out there, they can find all there is to know about the band on Facebook which is our main hub.. also all our videos are on YouTube, however we would suggest simply getting along to a live gig as that’s where you will get the full BELTUR experience.

Have you released anything yet/if you have how has it gone down and are you planning anything for the near future?
We have released lots of singles over the years which has earned us hundreds of fans. Our latest offering as of November 2017 is our new single ‘Finishing line’ which will be the first off our new EP to be released in March 2018, which we have a launch party in Nice N Sleazy in Glasgow on the 10th March (contact direct for tickets if interested)

Where have you performed? What are your favourite and least favourite venues? Do you have any upcoming shows?
We have gigged all over the uk.

Personal favourites have to be our first gig in the now gone Fury Murrys, you never forget the first time!! And other glasgow venues like both the o2 Academy and abc main stages, also played King Tut’s 13 times and a very memorable gig in the famous Arches. A gig we managed to tick off our bucket list is the world famous cavern club in Liverpool. Which was an all round amazing experience, recently played Newcastle which is a very similar city to Glasgow.

What do you think about downloading music online?
Downloading music has been instilled in our day to day lives now so it’s simply part and parcel to today’s music industry. Online sales are becoming less and less popular and too many middle man agencies are taking a cut from sales so we are old school in thinking that cd/vinyl will hopefully return in the future to being the most popular medium for listening to music. We feel that music should be shared but obviously rely on sales to survive in this cut throat business.

What’s your outlook on the record industry today?
Everyone and anyone can make music today. Literally from the comfort of their own house. To us we will never compromise on quality over quantity. We produce our music to the highest possible standard and will never budge on that, even if it means taking the time to get the funds to do so. We would much rather have longevity and quality over a commercial one hit wonder who then crawls into obscurity as quickly as they came.

And let’s end with something a little different…Which famous person, alive or dead, would you have dinner with and why?
If I (Joe) had to invite one person alive or dead to a dinner party, I’ve always liked the idea of inviting GOD, just to see if he turns up or not, take that whichever way you will.

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