You may have read about Glasvegas in this week's paper, you may have listened to the amazing "Flowers and Football Tops" here on End Hits, and you may have watched the video for "Geraldine." Or you may have done none of those things. Either way, in anticipation of tonight's show, I'm posting more of my interview with Glasvegas bassist Paul Donoghue, as well as a song from their "Christmas" EP (...it's not exactly Christmas music, though, so I feel fine posting it in January), which I don't believe is available in the States except as an import. So, enjoy this song with that most Christmassy of titles, and check out more of the interview—and see you at the show tonight, right?
Glasvegas - "Fuck You, It's Over" — from A Snowflake Fell (And It Felt Like a Kiss)
MERCURY: I read an interview with Glasvegas frontman James Allan in the Independent in which he said growing up he didn't care about music and was much more interested in football. Can you talk about what eventually drew you to music and how it became so important?
PAUL DONOGHUE: I can't speak for James but I was the same too. When we were growing up it was quite hard to access music. No one was really interested in it except the stoners who blasted out Bob Marley and Pink Floyd. I think it was Oasis who changed things. They came along and people realized you didn't have to be a maestro to create music. You just needed heart and soul. I still have friends now who own two CDs: Definitely Maybe and What's the Story.
Do you think recording in New York gave the album a different flavor than it might have had if you recorded at home? What has been your impression of America so far?
The album was written and demo'd in Glasgow before we got on the plane so the songs are steeped in our city and our experiences. It would have been so much harder to record at home purely due to the distractions that would have been here with family and friends. The distance allowed us to almost cut ourselves off from our lives and focus on the album. The other factor was that Rich Costey was based in New York and knew the studio so it worked in many ways. We have only been to the East Coast so far but we have nothing but happy thoughts when we think of America. It seems to be so much more welcoming to music and culture than most places. I never thought I'd want to stay anywhere other than Glasgow but when I set foot in New York it felt a lot like home and maybe sometime in the future it will be.
Why do you think the band has become so successful so quickly? What elements of the music do you think people relate to?
We toured a lot before we were signed and have worked with our press company and booking agents before record companies were even aware of us. This meant we had a platform before we recorded the album. We still don't think we're overly succesful though and we'll be working even harder in the future.
How did you decide to do the Christmas EP so quickly after the record came out? What was it like recording in Transylvania? And a lot of the EP isn't what I would call "rock." Do you think your sound is expanding into other, stranger territories already?
James knew he wanted to do a Christmas record a while ago. We thought it made sense to do it soon after the debut as James kept writing after the album was done. Transylvania was amazing. We hired an old 16th century fort to record in and worked with the choir in a beautiful church. It was a great experience and really helped us get in the mindset for Xmas. We are always moving forward and the EP is a signal of that. We're constantly being inspired and influenced by many different things so until we stop we'll be trying to push the envelope as much as we can. I don't know what we'll eventually expand into but we're gonna have a lot of fun getting there.
After the American tour, do you have future projects lined up? Any other exotic places you want to record?
This year we're gonna be in America a lot. We tour in January then go to Japan, do an NME tour in the UK, tour Europe, then back to the US in March. Rab [Allan, guitarist] has already put the feelers out for us to record somewhere warm, I think he's mentioned the Bahamas a few times so hopefully if we put our foot down we'll get a couple of months in the sun out of it. We'll probably end up in an Arctic research station though.
Can you explain what a "football top" is to a linguistically challenged American?
A football top is a soccer shirt. The song is written from the point of view of a mother whose son goes out and is killed. When James talks about that song he says that when he reads about someone winning the lottery he thinks what it would be like if it was him. A few things happened when he wrote that that meant there were mothers in the press who had lost family so James thought what would it be like for his own mum. When someone is killed in Britain there are flowers and football tops put down where it happened as a tribute. It can be an incredibly beautiful tribute, but also one of the saddest sights too.
Glasvegas w/Carl Barat; Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside, 9 pm, $15