It’s true that the music scene in Scotland is consistently expanding with great talent everyday; however, this next upcoming energetic pop band have been one of the most exceptional to catch my eye.
Beautiful By Design are a five piece outfit from Scotland’s east coast. They formed only a year ago, after the demise of a group called The Debutants. Whereupon Steve McCafferty (vocals), called old friends Tommy Burns (guitar), Alan Barbour (guitar) and Daniel Turnbull (drums) to fabricate the new band. In summer 2009, the addition of Fraser Smart (bass) completed the group. I caught up with frontman Steve, to chat about BBD and their upcoming gig at Dundee’s Doghouse on the 16th July.
Since the formation of Beautiful By Design, over the last year the band have initiated a non-stop whirlwind of an adventure for themselves. They applied for the Road To V Festival, and were selected out of 2500 bands to play a Club NME show supporting an established act in Doncaster. This lead onto a prestigious headline slot at the Chicago Rock Cafe in Manchester as part of the In The City Festival founded by the late great Tony Wilson who was famed for managing bands such as Joy Division and the Happy Mondays. BBD have also managed to catch the attention of many well-known radio presenters such as Vic Galloway of Radio 1, and Jim Gellatly, who has featured the group a couple of times on his New Music Podcasts, and has quoted what he believes Beautiful By Design entail: “A band that just seems to have the knack of creating great little pop songs that you want to sing along to – my favourite BBD track does seem to change every time I listen to them.”
With an extensive amount of songs written and recorded in 2009, the band have recently taken time out to go back into the studio, and have released three brand-new songs, currently featured on their Myspace page. An attraction of over 300 plays in only a week can determine great things to come for the group. The new tracks include the outstanding ‘Dance’, which is a known favourite amongst Beautiful By Design’s fans. Surprisingly enough the crowds at their previous shows have never heard a recording of the song until now; however, it never restrained them from chanting the exact lyrics along with the band. ‘Dance’ is a beauty in itself, the introduction prevails a delicate melody, with captivating vocals from singer Steve McCafferty, and electrifying music transpiring into a powerful showcase throughout the song.
Steve writes the band’s music himself, he initially produces the material on acoustic guitar, then co-operates with the group to complete each song in rehearsals. “The songs are either about things that have happened in my life or things I want to happen – ‘Boy’ is about my first love and how naivety played a major part in where it went wrong,” explained Steve. “I usually write the best songs when I’m not having the best of times.” Daniel and Alan have since opened Steve up to dynamics, and structure in writing: “The songs I wrote before would be 100 miles an hour from start to finish without a break in the middle,” admits Steve.
The group may well have had a heavy influence on Steve’s songwriting skills, but musical influences vary for each member of the band, with Daniel and Alan citing Blink 182 among their favourites. However, Steve added “We all enjoy a great pop song whether it be ‘Real Gone Kid’ by Deacon Blue, ‘Don’t You Forget About Me’ by Simple Minds or ‘Love Machine’ by Girls Aloud – we don’t refuse to listen to an artist because they are not considered to be trendy, we just love great songs.”
It’s easy to capture the development of the band since they originally started. “There is a professionalism to how we conduct ourselves – there’s a real yin and yang dynamic to BBD, having Fraser and Alan’s “order” to balance out Daniel and Tommy’s “chaos”… I think I’m somewhere in the middle,” says Steve. With Fraser completing the band in the summer of 2009, the group have since creatively combined all of their skills to produce one of the most phenomenal live sets. “Our gigs provide a lot of energy, people really get into it which makes every gig different, when a crowd’s buzzing we buzz with them.”
Beautiful By Design’s next show is at Doghouse, in Dundee, on the 16th July. Make sure to come along to this gig, as it looks set to be another special show, and particularly a great opportunity for anyone to see this band in action.
Look out for an EP release from Beautiful By Design later this year, with a launch to celebrate in July/August.