Band Interview: Garlands

Garlands Group Photo

So first of how did you all meet?

I placed an ad on a musicians wanted page on social media. I was tiring of playing solo shows and felt the time was right to bring the studio recordings to life. Darren and Ross looked like interesting characters, so we met, rehearsed and have gone from strength to strength.

Where are you all from?

I live in the leafy west end. Ross, the drummer is from East Kilbride and Darren, on bass lives in Glasgow’s east end.

How long have you been playing your respective instruments?

I’ve been singing and playing guitar since I was a boy, thanks to my love of all things Beatles. Ross and Darren are both extremely musical and multi-talented, having played for years.

What genre of music do you consider your work to be?

It’s pop music. Alternative pop music. Indie. Pop/punk. Too many boxes nowadays. Pop.

What are your influences?

As a band…the way I write might have people hearing Pixies/Breeders influences…Nirvana are there, but then I am a massive Blur fan too, so some of the songs may lead the listener to reminisce about 90’s indie; something that Courtney Barnett does very well. Ross is a fan of certain drummers – Chad Smith, Dave Grohl and, of course, Mark Brzezicki. Darren loves Stevie Wonder but can turn his hand to country and death metal.

Do you do covers and if so what’s your go to?

No covers in the live set, although when we rehearse, Abba is a winner!

What if anything does your name mean/why are you called that?

I love Billy Corgan. I watched a doc where he claims he had the name Smashing Pumpkins from an early age and told everyone that one day he’d be a rock star and that would be the name of the band. I have a similar take on that. Garlands was in my head for years. I love the Cocteau Twins, so there’s an obvious reason right there. I also wanted something pretty, but dark too, like the music can be. Plus, The Posies…I’ve worked with Ken Stringfellow, one of the band’s founders and it’s a nod to them too. My first band were called Flowers to Burn, so a floral theme has been pretty consistent.

Do you have a process for writing your songs?/Which of you writes the songs?

I write the songs. I have a clear idea of where they’ll go when I share them with the guys. Songs have come together really quickly. Writing for a band is completely different from writing an acoustic ditty. Once shared Ross and Darren go to town. We don’t muck about too much. Does it sound good? Yeah? Cool, next song!

What are your rehearsals generally like?

We rehearse once a week. It’s a lot of fun. We work hard and spend the first hour with heads down running through forthcoming sets. Not a lot of jamming or mucking about. Immensely satisfying three hours.

Do you have any interesting/funny stories about gigging or touring?

Ross is the party king. He can blag a free t-shirt from a touring band and then take them out on the town. We’ve played some brilliant shows, although one has been in a very questionable establishment, where the PA was sabotaged by a less-than-helpful opening act. I introduced us that night by telling the audience that the last time I had visited that particular part of the country, it was to attend a funeral. Not a great start, but the locals came around. Eventually…

What song do you remember most from your childhood?

My dad listened to a lot of Andy Williams, so whenever I hear his voice it takes me back to warm family moments. I also heard The Corries played a lot in the house when I was young. Me and my brother listened to and sang all The Beatles songs. He was John and I was Paul. Although I really wanted to be George. “Nights in White Satin” by The Moody Blues” and “Changes” by Bowie I remember lying on the floor with headphones on…For Ross, it’s “In a Big Country”. Darren says “Baba O’Riley” by The Who.

What has been your biggest challenge as a band?

Have you been able to overcome that challenge? If so, how? There are always challenges. Money. Lack of money. Geography. As a three piece, I’ve had to keep vocals on recordings simpler, as I love to double track and add layers of harmony. Can’t do that live, as so far neither the boys has shown an eagerness to step up to the mic. We can work on that. Who knows, maybe Beach Boys harmonies will surface in Garlands live shows at some point.

How can fans-to-be gain access to your music?

All digital platforms are available. Spotify, iTunes, Deezer etc.

Have you released anything yet/if you have how has it gone down and are you planning anything for the near future?

Our debut EP came out a few weeks ago. It’s called “Golden Sounds” and they are! People like it. The Roddy Hart Show on BBC Scotland played tracks. Jim Gellatly and Charlie Ashcroft aired all the tracks on Amazing Radio. Best of all, an older track which I had released under my own name made it on to the Tom Robinson-endorsed Fresh Faves via 6music. That was a proud moment.

Where have you performed? What are your favourite and least favourite venues? Do you have any upcoming shows?

We have just played two back to back shows at King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut. That was truly amazing. We’ve played the usual Glasgow and beyond venues – The Buff Club, Ivory Blacks, The Record Factory, Dreadnought.

What do you think about downloading music online?

I love Spotify!!! Couldn’t live without it. If people want to listen – great! I still buy vinyl regularly but overpricing has made it a luxury shop! I own music in different formats. For instance, I have Talk Talk’s “Spirit of Eden” on vinyl, cassette, CD and download. I can say that for a few of my favourite bands – Japan, Husker Du, REM…

What’s your outlook on the record industry today?

If you mean music industry, I don’t have a great deal to say. They haven’t discovered Garlands yet. When they do, I’m sure we’ll have a strong opinion.

And let’s end with something a little different…Which famous person, alive or dead, would you have dinner with and why?

I’ll start with the living – McCartney. Dead? Lennon. I’d like to hear both sides of the story. For Ross, he’d dine with Stuart Adamson – another much-loved and missed artist.


First Published on:

Off the Record is and always will be a free platform, but if you like what we do here and want to contribute to the production of future content then you can do so by donating to our PayPal or Ko-Fi.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s