Monthly Archives: May 2014

Enemies Of The State: Don’t Let Your Light Go Out

By Harsharan Hoonjan

Enemies Of The State from Glasgow are the epitome of “stripped bare”. Their songs tear through the existing dynamics in the music scene and they leave you aching for more. I don’t think I will ever have enough questions for this forward thinking band, or enough answers to their questions. In a revealing interview, I capture the lifeblood of this five-man strong line-up.

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Kris Tennant (Lead vocalist and Guitarist) Joseph Carney (Bassist) and Sean Chilton (Lead Guitarist) were ready for their interview, after performing a dazzling acoustic set.   Unfortunately, Glenn Holburn (Guitar) Gary Curran (Drummer), could not make our Voice of Scotland Showcase Gig (at PJ Molloys, Dunfermline).

Kris’ girlfriend and Joe’s girlfriend also sit in whilst I prepare to interrogate the band.  Although it doesn’t quite turn out the way I expected…

Kris: Right go, what you gonna ask us?

“So guys how did you get together?” *in a girly voice*

Is that how it’s gonna go?

Yep!

Kris: Oh right cool

So you have to ask us in that accent

You say it!

Okay… So guys, how did you get together?

Kris:  I was doing a solo thing, solo singer songwriter and I had a backing band and all that.

I decided that I wanted to start a band and write about stuff that I thought was meaningful. I was tired singing about: “my girlfriend dumped me and I’m skint”, and blah, blah, blah, blah.  So I got Gary, I got Joe, I got Glenn, I got Sean together and we started Enemies of the State.

Sean: You got Sean pretty late thought didn’t you?

Kris: Aye Sean came in later in the process.

Joe:  He grew on us like a tumor

Kris: Like a beautiful creative tumor! Growing on me! (sure this was the idea behind the song ‘You’re really growing on me’ by The Darkness!)

*Laughing*

Kris: We were like a beautiful skinny girl with no b**bs and Sean started and he was the beautiful  b**bs to our body.

Sean: I was the b**bs! Let that be written.

Kris: Then Gary came down and he was the beautiful tumor.

Kris: So basically we got together, and we wanted to start writing songs about what was meaningful.

Joe: Glen is my good looking cousin!

Kris: Glen wasn’t here tonight either, but Glen joined the band a couple of months ago. Since he joined, it’s a bit more of creative process.  And he’s better looking than us all! He gets the young girls.

Is he single?

Kris: No

Ahh, he’s a bit of eye candy for the ladies!

Kris: He’s the exotic eye candy because he’s from Canada.

That doesn’t answer how we got together…

Joe: We all have different backgrounds, we came together and that was it.

Thanks for doing this showcase gig for us!

Kris: We wanted to do it.

9Tell us more about your tour then, what have you got planned?

Kris: Well the album is coming out this summer.  We’re gonna rent a log cabin, and we’re gonna spend the weekend recording the album.  We’re aiming to have it out late July, early August.

We were talking today, we think we’ll probably do a tour kinda winter time.

We’re gonna call it “The Chook Tour.”

Joe:  Am I f*ck calling it that

Kris: It’s gonna be called The Chook Tour, and we’re gonna go everywhere outwith Glasgow.

Anywhere in particular?

Kris: So we’ll definitely go here (Dunfermline), we’ll definitely go to Edinburgh; I know we’ll definitely get Aberdeen; we’ll definitely get up to Inverness and know we’ll get to Dundee. So those are just the places that I know are absolute definites.

Okay cool, and how many tracks are going to be in your album?

Kris: About 12.

Joe:  Maybe more!

Kris: Each song is gonna be a mini orgasm.

Each song is going to burst open new experiences

EOTS 6

Women are just going to fall in love with it?

Ashley: Yea, basically that’s how we met!

How did you guys meet?

Kris: It was over the last £2 Poster of Chicken Little, she was like:  “I like Chicken Little”, and  I was like:  “I like Chicken Little”, we both reached for the same poster…

Joe: I like little chicken!

Kris: And that’s how it started…

You asked the question!

Never ask about people’s love lives!

No more questions about love lives for me!

Tell us about your song: Don’t Let Your Light Go Out:

Kris: If you listen to the chorus you’ll hear the words, we’re all made from stars.  That comes from the fact that we are all made from the same atoms.  The atoms make stars, they make planets, they make humans, they make wood,

Everything in the f*cking universe is made up of atoms. Therefore, we are made up of the same stuff atoms are made up of.  My point with that song is whenever the human race gets to its lowest point, whenever you think that there’s no hope for the human race, remember that.

Remember the fact that we are made from stars, and that we’ve all got a light within us and we should never let it go out.  The second verse is a story about not being who you are meant to be because you are stuck being what everyone says you should be.

“I’m hanging onto forever but then you let go and you’re carried away.”

If you just let go of what everybody thinks of you, and just realise there is a light inside you.

Love it!

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I was listening to a few of your songs and they are quite inspirational with great messages is that your aim to open people’s eyes?

One of our songs is actually called  Open Your Eyes, we couldn’t play it because of time constraints…(we had quite a line-up that night, sorry guys)

Too many bands sing about the same sh*t Oasis sang about which was nothing,” I’m getting mad with it”, and blah blah blah.  “My bird broke up with me”, and I just feel that you just need to start writing better songs you know. It’s that whole f*cking thing, too many protest singers, and not enough protest songs.

Right…

We need to start writing songs that get people talking that get people thinking because everywhere you turn, if it’s not the paper it’s the telly.

There’s sh*t f*cking polluting your mind. If it’s not The Kardashians, it’s the valleys and all those things, there’s too much sh*t in people’s minds and that’s what my songs are about. They are about opening people’s minds, you know, that’s what it is for me anyway…*drops tone and sighs*

Is that what you want for the band? Is that how you want to move forward?

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Kris: Well for me at the end of the day, if you’ve got some sort of purpose that is a positive

You can open people up to a different way of thinking.  It’s the ideal thing and you can enjoy yourself at the same time which is what we do. I think that’s even better.   It doesn’t become a responsibility or a chore; it’s just part of your life you know.  We get pissed. Everyone laughs, we get mad with it and in the process we spread a positive message and that’s it.

 

 

 

What are your thoughts on the music scene at the moment?

There are loadsa places promoting live music especially in Scotland, this is our first gig outwith Glasgow.

Kris: Come to Glasgow there’s a good music scene there, go to Edinburgh there’s a good music scene there.  The competition is amazing and the competition is really good.  Not only is it great in numbers, it’s great in quality as well, that kinda makes it harder.  There are so many people doing it.  What also makes it hard is the people in control are only really in it for money.  If you’re good looking, handsome, and you’re easy to control then there you go. You’re let in the club and you’ve got money, you’ve got everything you want.

 EOTS 8What direction do you want your music to go?

Kris: Well the point is…I’ve got the same dream as everyone, I’m not gonna lie, you want to get as big as you possibly can get. But, I think that if you can start a band and write some songs that at least change the mind-set of 10 people, then that’s better.   Good to have 10 people that relate to your music, than going on the X-Factor and having 10 million people, who will hear you for a minute and forget you the next day.

You know what I mean so what I think is keep f*cking playing away songs that have a positive message, and if you don’t get through to people, fair enough at least you tried.

If you get through to one person that in itself starts a ripple effect.  That one person you effect with your positive message will go on to effect 10 people. Those 10 people could start their own ripple and it could get f*cking bigger.

So, the point is who cares as long as we have a good time, and if we don’t reach anybody fine, at least we had a fun!

Yes!

What is this all based on?

Kris: Drugs, this is all based on a hallucinogenic experience up in Glencoe.  I came back and thought, I want to start writing songs that  will speak to people in a positive way.

You just need to look at the movies coming out now; they are about revolution, which is happening. .It’s in the paper and on the internet, it’s on the internet every f*cking day!  You’ve got shows like Hunger Games as well, it’s all about revolution, its happening!

Joe: Evolution

Kris: Well that’s it man, evolution, revolution, whatever way you want to look at It  People are progressing in the 21st century. The internet is the biggest f*cking thing that has ever happened to us!  You know it might just be the thing that saves us.

That moment right there was the moment we had access to the most information we’ve ever had in our entire lives (the very moment you re reading this).  Every single moment is the moment when we have the most access to information that we’ve ever had.  We’ve never had that before

Whilst on the subject of the internet, ..do you agree with steaming free music?

Kris: Yes, yes, yes

What’s your take on making money from music on these internet streaming services?

Kris: It is bullsh*t

Record companies make enough money!   One of the things that annoyed me, I don’t know if you remember that, The Chili Peppers are against free downloads. They have more money than sense!  If they don’t have enough money then who does?

It shouldn’t be that way for those who can’t afford it.  People shouldn’t have to pay money to be inspired.  People should be able to look at the guy across the road and be inspired  People should strive to be the best person they can be whether that is physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually we should all f*cking do it!

We should be bouncing off each other, and saying things like: “Man I want to be that guy!”  We should be able to overlook our imperfections.

 15bDoes that idea get you out of bed every day?

Kris:  No, Tetley’s tea bags, and a Steak Bake gets me out of bed!

Joe: The IPhone alarm

 

 

You don’t have a song to wake you up?

Kris: Queens of the Stone Age

We have ripped off the IPhone alarm to use in one of our songs on our album

Kris: My dad!

Genuinely, Rage Against the Machine, every one of their songs is political.   You need to listen to all their songs and say f*ck you everybody! That’s pretty much what Enemies of the State are about!

Interesting

EOTSP2

So you’d collaborate with those two bands, anyone else?

Kris: I would say Tom Jones as well….

Joe: Billy Bob Thornton, Alex Turner or Joshua Homme.

Kris: Chris Cornell, Simba from the Lion King and Timone

Enemies of the State Musical!

Kris: Sebastian from the Little Mermaid

Joe: Enemies of the State Musical!

You should do it! 

Okay so when is the album coming out exactly?

Joe: We could get the album done in a few days, if we put our heads down.We know the songs we just need to put pen to paper and to get them recorded.

How often do you practise?

Kris:  We try and get together three times a month

Do you have a particular routine?

No routine

What about writing songs?

Kris:  I write basic chord structure and the lyrics

Then I take it to boys in the studio and everyone then has their own input
The drummer will decide how he will work the drums , Lead guitarist decides on his part blah blah blah

We’ll try and jam along and we’ll find out what sounds good and what sounds sh*t

Kris: Genuinely we’re not that good man; we’re just a couple of p*ssheads who like getting p*shed

Joe: This is how I see it. I saw Kris the band and…It was “Kris Tennant and band” I saw them in The Classic Grand and they are f*cking amazing!  I thought, I would love to be in that band.I was blessed, I ended up becoming pals with them, and I weasled my way in, but it was good! I always thought they were e talented, loved their music and I wanted to be a part of it.  One thing lead to another, we ended up becoming pals and…that’s it.

Great story.

16How long have you all been playing in bands?

Kris: A year and a half with Enemies of the State, before that I just  did a solo thing for about three years. Then I stopped writing songs for a long time…

I went away went on Camel tours and things like that. I then decided I wanted to put songs together and start a band, just took it from there

Kris: We’ve had our songs played in Thailand and Turkey

Joe: I once had a whole plane singing,

*Laughing*

Impressive!  Are you planning a tour abroad as well?

Kris:  We want to conquer Glasgow first, people in there already know us, We’ve got a bit of a name for ourselves.Once we get album,out, and get to where we want reputation wise in Glasgow, we’ll branch out to the rest of Scotland.

Thanks again for choosing to play here with us instead of King Tut’s.

Joe and Kris: We’ve never played outside of Glasgow

King Tut’s is King Tut’s but why should we not venture outside and see what else is out there

Wow thanks very much guys, so tell us about the first song in your set: 

Joe: No time for tears?

Yes!

Kris: It’s Bruce Lipton’s theory  on a bigger scale. We’re the cells in the body of Earth.

See if we can’t work together, if all we do is hurt each other and f*cking kill each other and divide ourselves between Catholic, Protestant and White, Jewish, Muslim we don’t work.

Human beings are always finding ways to separate themselves from their fellow man and his point is that, we’re the cells in the human body that is Earth.  If we can’t work together, then none of us work and we’re making the planet sick!

If the cells in your body don’t work then they make you sick! If we don’t work together we’re making each other sick, and if that planet is not working on a bigger scale then we’re making the universe sick so that’s the whole point of that song.

Great Song.

It’s about realising how strong we are but how big we are as well!  We’re all massive, we can all make a change and that’s the whole point.  The chorus: “Don’t be an echo, be a voice.”  Don’t be the echo that other people repeat, be the voice other people want to echo.  That’s where the chorus comes in

“In the darkness, lies your fears and fear is a choice”

If you decide no one’s gonna step on you.

Brilliant message!

Thanks guys! Can you tell us about your videos?

Kris: Aye we did demo a couple of weeks ago by a friend who is currently in the film War Horse in London in the West End.

There is a suicide and it’s about a guy who comes back from fighting in the war .He finds it hard to live with what he’s done, his atrocities. He tries to find God, who isn’t there for him, so he turns to drugs.  Realising what he has done is wrong and that no one’s there to save him from his thoughts and memories.  At the end of the video he commits suicide

It’s pretty much already shot but we’re gonna wait till the summer and see what we can add or take away,

Wow, what a story.

Okay so…new video, album launch, tour… anything else??

Kris: Get haircuts, get the album done

Joe: Leather jackets

*laughing*

Final words for fans:

Kris:  “Don’t let your light go out!”

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This band are lyrically strong and musically gifted,listen to Kris’ powerful vocals powering through the dynamite sound from the band. For Enemies Of The State, the process of actually thinking about lyrics, and producing a song based on it’s core message is key. The lads seem to really enjoy being part of this group. Their tracks, performance and passionate chats about the world revealed to me songs that can help change it for the better. They are even offering their debut album as a free download! Alternatively, you can pay what ever you think it’s worth…

I had to re-write my original round-up after seeing Enemies Of The State perform their debut Edinburgh gig. They played the Old Town Street Festival at The Three Sisters. Their stage shaking, high voltage set is what unbelievably phenomenal looks like. I stay true to my original comment to Kris after seeing the band at Pivo Pivo in Glasgow, Saying:

“You guys will win awards, “ I didn’t tell him it would be for their contribution to the music scene, for best song or any other specifics, but that is the route that this band are headed along.

I could quote each song word for word to further exemplify their brilliance. Instead, let me direct you to their internet links. Then, you can listen and discover for yourself, a Glasgow gem that once polished and stripped back reveals itself as an uncut diamond.

Links:

https://www.facebook.com/Enemiesofthestateband

https://soundcloud.com/enemiesofthestate

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nv2iNUK64CU

Live Dates: 

25th June at Hard Rock Cafe, Glasgow.

14th June at King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut , Glasgow

7th September at BMF, Bathgate.

 

 

 

 

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Dave McNeil: Music Ace

 

 By Harsharan Hoonjan

It feels odd writing about a singer who confesses that he “doesn’t like” his own songs. Preferring the works of other artists, you’ll find Dave McNeil, 23 from Fife happily belting out covers.  With his own songs, Dave is conscious of bands and even DJs playing up-tempo numbers at venues, feeling he produces and performs “quieter” songs.

On learning this information, I am writing to confirm, there is nothing “quiet” about this singer’s voice…

I caught up with Dave before his live performance for The Voice of Scotland Showcase Weekend.  We’ve been lucky enough to have Dave perform for us, three showcases in a row.

I just want to say thank you very much for performing at another showcase event for us Dave.

To start, please provide some background information for our readers:

Dave McNeil

 

I’m a local lad and I’ve been playing the guitar since I was about 16. I started playing with a couple of lads in a pub called Torleys which is in Lochgelly and it’s where I’m from.

I started doing gigs when the Coaltown Daisies asked me to support them.  They used to come to the pub quite regularly.  That’s about it, they were my main source of gigs for about three years, I  gave up playing for a year, and a half and I’ve just started again.

I’ve been in touch with Neil (Voice of Scotland) for the past 9/10 months.   I actually started back at the Green Room with Donald (Donald Makin) for Oxjam.

I’m trying to get back into it and do as much gigging as possible, and as you know I’m playing tonight.

Of course, thanks again Dave!

Dave performs beautiful acoustic sets and is regularly played on Castle FM and Radio West Fife.  Heart wrenching originals from his EP made me want to interview the singer for myself, his delivery is something else.

Can you talk about Too Young for us, one of Voice Radio’s favourites?

That was a sad song; it was about two girls in my school that passed away.  A couple of months back in a car crash.  It’s not me knowing who they were, or having them as close friends, or missing them. It’s more that it was a big shock, they were young girls of 20-21 years of age. I used to walk past them every day in school. I remember serving them in the Glasshouse on a black Friday.

It was quite surreal, it was about that, I just put pen to paper.  The sad songs tend to be the only kind I can write!  *Laughs*

 I don’t believe you

However, this song is performed with emotional sensitivity, obviously quite meaningful as well.  Can you describe then, what it’s like to write a song, and do you have a specific process?

No, not really, I tend to do it while I’m sitting at work actually, I probably shouldn’t say that! I base a song around a few key words.

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For example, with too young, somebody put up a comment on one of the girls Facebook pages:

“There’s now a brighter star in the sky”

I took that line and I thought, that’s really good, and I wrote the whole song around that one line.  I build line on line after that. Look to the stars feels quite linked to that as well. I wrote that when I was 16/17, hence all the stars on my arm!

I do remember taking (fuzzy) pictures of it at the Voice of Scotland Electric Circus gig!

I got them all up my back as well.  That song was about the first ever real love that I had.  It was puppy love, and it was a girl that I fancied at school.  It was her last day she was leaving to go to University, and I still had a couple of years to go.  We were in the school play, Fame together, and it was her birthday, so I wrote Look to the stars as a surprise.

I played it to her, and we saw each other for six months. And at the drop of a hat she was away.  So I was gutted! I was an angry 16-year old, I didn’t know what to do with myself, but that was the first song I wrote.

Aww heartbroken!

Did you not fancy pursuing a career in the performing arts then?  How were you rated in your school’s production of Fame? What was your role?

DM5

I was the lead in the production of Fame; my girlfriend at the time was a dancer in it. My Dad was the deputy head of the school, so nobody really got rated.  We all did really well, so we got a: “Well done” and that was that.

I couldn’t and still can’t read music even though I studied Higher Music at school and got an A for it.  To be in Theatre you need to be able to read music, I prefer what I’m doing now.   I was in the Choir as well and I played the Violin for six years.

Wow

Would you consider learning to read music now??

Got a long fine without it

What if you were offered a lump sum to play in one country abroad, for 30 nights?

I couldn’t risk it but obviously it’s depends on what’s involved, the place and amount!

 Ah okay…so about creating music…

Was it/has it ever been a creative outlet, and have your views towards making music changed?

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I don’t sit down and try and write music, I go driving around whilst humming a wee tune in my head.  If I quite fancy an idea, I’ll stop and write it down or put it in my phone.  I’ll sing four lines and go back and try and build a song around it.  But if I sit down and try to write a song, I Cannae do it!  It’s just if something catches my eye, spurs on a memory, or a feeling if you like

So that tends to be how I write songs. It’s not just a creative outlet because I prefer to sit and play covers.   Because, I know how the songs originally sound, and I can change them and make them my own   When I sing, and write my own songs, I tend not to like them!

Why is that, is that because you feel you need to perform your songs a certain way? 

I really don’t know, for instance you’ve got guys like Paolo Nutini who’s got a certain style, some people like that, some people don’t.

Then you’ve got Ed Sheeran, some people like his music, some don’t   They’ve both got a certain style.    I don’t know what my style is I don’t have my own  type of music to follow because I don’t know what my style is.

What about when you listen back to your music, does that not help you?

It’s more constructive criticism I give myself   But I’ll end up sitting and writing a song, singing half of it and trashing the last half, saying I don’t like that!  I go for five/six days and think I’ll take it out and try and work on it again.

One song…

DM2

There is one song that I like called Boys Like Girls.  I wrote it for the Mrs, and I like it mainly because it’s a three chord trick and it’s catchy.  It’s only because it’s the first song that I’ve written that is a bit of a foot tapper!  There’s lots of rhythm to it, I think it’s catchy.  It’s the only one I like doing!

I’m looking forward to hearing it!

Is that your plan moving forward, to move away from “sad” songs?

I want to do more upbeat songs

For instance, here last time when I played, it was very loud, very very busy and I was trying to play quieter songs.  They had Paulo Nutini, One Direction playing and then they had my quieter songs and I didn’t think they were received well. So, I’ve tried to change my set this time to more upbeat faster songs. But not many people are out yet.  Well I hope more people will come,  all at once and stop hogging the bar!

I hope so!

It’s a good idea to mix things up.

DM4

 

Yea, but, I don’t like writing about happy songs because I never get that happy feel good Pharrell Williams *clicks fingers* type of feeling.

I never get that, It’s more if someone’s really pissed me off, aww I’m gonna play them down, or if somebody’s passed away.  It’s the sad emotions or heartbroken emotions that make me put pen to paper. Like Look to the stars, Too Young, things like that.  That tends to be what I can write a song about.

It’s usually something that happens and then I write a song on the back of it.

Do you think your songs are in anyway uplifting or soothing to listeners?

I don’t know, I don’t get that

Neil gives me good feedback but I think he’s just trying to keep me sweet to play more gigs!

That’s not true, okay final question: If you could have one of your songs played anywhere in the world where would it be?

America!  In Madison Square Gardens or during the Superbowl, that would be amazing,

It would Dave, it really would

DM5

Dave, takes his seat on stage, armed with his guitar, he starts his set.  He rolls out the smoothest lyrics to a minimalist scattered crowd in PJ Molloys. Some come down the wooden stairs to get closer, and some stay listening at the bar.  His faster songs do make a change to his set this time, and he seems to enjoy performing his favourite up beat number: Boys Like Girls, that he talked about earlier.

I think the Lochgelly Singer Songwriter has hit the balance just right this time and as I look around, I wish he had a bigger audience.  Dave’s vocal range is impressive; his voice is finely tuned, like a well-connected radio signal, there is no fuzz or white noise, just crisp clear reception. Even at low volume, you’ll hear, there is nothing quiet about Dave McNeil, he might not like many of his songs but like school, he remains a music ace.

Check out Dave’s Facebook and Sound Cloud links below, which includes a Podcast he (kindly) did for EastVoice:

https://www.facebook.com/davemcneilmusic

https://soundcloud.com/bigdingodave

https://soundcloud.com/voiceof-scotland

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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