(It’s Danan-anan-aykroyd lol thx)
So that’s “Danan-anan-aykroyd”. A name that has tripped many a music fan up (not least this interviewer) it’s surprisingly apt for a group who are tricky to understand but ultimately sound great.
Rising from the ashes of multiple Glasgow bands, this supergroup-of-sorts made a splash with their ferocious live show, recording an ace single for Moshi Moshi and then promptly sat around for a while, thinking over their options. Now signed to Best Before, and basking in the glory of their pant-wettingly genius EP Sissy Hits, the Dans (to use a safer nickname) are set to conquer the world.
Of course, they have the little matter of nuptials to a Futurehead to consider first. Read on for the full story…
itm? – You’ve now signed to Best Before Records – how did this come about?
David – Anthony (Best Before label boss) had been chasing us for quite a while like a right pleb haha, but, at that time, we were in discussions with a different label. When that fell apart quite comically (let’s just say that even big, famous record labels sometimes don’t have a clue), Anthony swooped in and, after many months of talking, going back and forward and trying to work out what was going to happen, we finally signed the contract. Phew.
Calum – Anthony is a bad man. Everyone knows that the good girls date the bad men. And we are VERY good girls. We even tried smoking down at the bike sheds. Coughed up a lung, eh.
Paul – It should be stressed that while Anthony had been chasing us for quite a while, it wasn’t in a Benny Hill style, although all members of this band have, on occasion, dressed up as Bavarian milkmaids.
itm? – With singles on Moshi Moshi etc why has it taken so long for you to be signed? Are you too picky?
David – We’re not going to sell a ton of records or be on tv, so the label interest was always going to be fairly minimal. Even though those early singles sold out, we were always aware it would be like that and we went a whole year without hearing from anyone else. We weren’t too bothered, just a little frustrated to have lost that early momentum, but yeah, you’d think there would have been a few small labels keen to put out a single, to keep things moving, but nothing at all. I would have loved to have done a single here with a Scottish label or to have done something ourselves if we had more than 15 pence to our names, but yeah, you can’t be picky when there’s nothing to choose from. Then, during that period when the interest came back, when we were finally going to sign with someone, well it just takes a long time to sort out sometimes, I guess. There were so many things going on in the background too, most notably our drummer leaving, so these things just take way longer than you think they’re going to take!
Calum – I’d concur with David there, we’re not Eddie Van Halen’s Tropical Netball or Suede or even Hall & Oates’ Travel Agent Orchestra. When we did sign, we wanted it to be with someone we loved, rather than being peer pressured into it by our friends, signing, then crying about never being able to “lose it” with the perfect man.
itm? – Contract signing took place in Nice N Sleazy – how important are roots to you?
David – We didn’t make a point of signing there, it’s just where we decided to eat and have some nice drinks and a meeting. John was working there at the time too, so it made sense to just all be together in one of our favourite places in the city. Glasgow is a really important place to us, it’s our home and it obviously means a lot to us. Although we do like to travel and play everywhere and anywhere, we don’t want to stay in the same place for too long. A part of me does want to be recognised as a classic Glasgow band, but I don’t think we will because of our mostly Americanised and mostly underground sound. There’s this thing, though, that if you’re a Scottish band, you have to play on that fact and, you know, have Irn Bru logos and drunk festival twonks in kilts twatting about and saltires hanging from your face in your music videos and all that rubbish, to get the natives on your side, us against the English and various other half-hearted patriotic gestures (T In Ra Perrrkkk!), but we’re not that sort of band at all, despite actually being really proud to be mostly Scottish (Laura’s from Sheffield originally). It’s a different sort of proud though, a not-shoving-it-in-people’s-faces proud or a not-wanting-to-fall-into-yet-another-Scottish-band-cliche proud. So, to answer your question – Quite Important. Haha.
Calum – I get my roots done regularly. Oh haha!!!!!!!!!!! I love Glasgow, I can play any Dreamcast game I want for free here. You just don’t get that in a van. It’s all PS2’s these days.
Paul – While I think it’s fair to say we all really love Glasgow and are really proud to come from here, we definitely don’t want to be regarded as one of those parochial Scottish bands. (That’s why we’re moving to New York in August! Ha!)
itm? – Let’s go back to early years – what were the band’s origins?
David – I guess we sort of formed on Livejournal January 2006! My old band Multiplies split up and I asked around some of my rocking friends if they wanted to be in a new band, one more focused on drums and guitars and rock music. Everyone I asked joined. Calum was our original vocalist for a few practices, but after showing us his drumming skills, he agreed to be 2nd drummer (for a laugh) and that’s when Giles came in. By then, we pretty much had a set worked out, so Giles worked out all his vocals and lyrics and we played our first gig supporting The Flying Matchstick Men at the 13th Note. After a while, Giles left, it wasn’t really his thing, so Calum moved back to vocals and John came in as second drummer.
Calum – It’s all Facebooks and Minespaces these days, isn’t it? You’d never see a silly rock band forming on one of those.
Paul – This band didn’t exist before May 2008. Ha.
itm? – Lyrically the band are very obtuse, often surreal – what prompts this?
Calum – This is the question that I have to be serious for, right? The lyrics are wilfully obtuse, purely out of a desire to shy away from the deceitful sentiment of modern music I could hear every day (if I had a radio to turn on), and the completely meaningless mindset of singing about dancing or such-and-such not being so-and-so’s name. It’s just not exciting to me. Our lyrics, however surreal they might be, are always focused on something, they’re just washed down with a beaker of metaphor… (Comedy pause) Or something.
David – You mean the lyrics aren’t stories about the bleakness of Glasgow’s west end, how depressing it is on The Underground from Partick after a Rangers home game, dweeb heartbreak and girls who wont dance with you at the NPL? I quit!
itm? – Influences are very American underground, yet your sound still seems very natural – what do you feel is the reason for this?
David – I don’t really know. I guess I try my best not to rip anything off TOO much when writing songs and perhaps with everyone having such different tastes in music, it maybe adds up to having a more distinct, organic sound than it would if we were all focused on sounding like one select group of bands or fitting into one particular genre.
itm? – The group are known for having a ferocious live energy – what sustains you?
David – It’s pretty much what we live for now and we all feel so passionate about performing and entertaining music fans that we can’t grasp why anyone else playing guitar in a rock band on stage isn’t giving their all or having as much fun as possible. It’s impossible to sustain this for every show, sometimes we’ll have an off-night or certain songs will fall flat or we’ll literally fall flat on our faces and get grumpy or injured, but 8 or 9 times out of 10, we’re trying to be the best we can and to push ourselves and to get people in the audience involved instead of just having them stand around yawning over us.
Calum – We just can’t stand still. It’s a physical impossibility. I feel like we have this idiotball of fun when we play, and are striving to share it with the people in attendance’s trouser legs.
Paul – Someone recently described Calum as a ‘man-tornado’ and I think that’s a perfect summary of this band. I think we try to impress/outdo each other onstage and it just becomes this crescendo of megafun panic.
itm?– Your latest EP – how did the recording go?
David – It was so long ago, I can’t remember. The EP came out recently, but we recorded it last year when nobody cared about us. Let’s talk about the recent new single recording instead, haha.
Calum – The single recording was great, we popped on down to big London to set up shop for a couple of days with Harvey at Southern Studios. It was crazy, the place is literally a house (on a street), then you go in and it’s a studio with proper speakers and knobs and faders and that. We did two tracks, and I reckon they sound pretty rad. Much rapid credit to Harvey for making us sound like radioactive prisoners.
Paul – John used a bin as a snare drum stand. THAT’S how awesome it was.
itm? – “Sissy Hits” – why this title?
David – It’s a very tongue-in-cheek title with multiple meanings regarding the music we play, our physical incapabilities as a group of homosexuals, vegetarians and women (haha) and part of the semi-half-hearted rally cry “turn your hissy fits into sissy hits” meaning “cheer up, go outside and do something productive, even if it’s not that good”. Something like that!
itm? – How’s recording for the album going?
David – We start in August. In New York with the producer Machine. We can’t wait!
Paul – He is going to take one look at us six wimps and probably put us through some kind of rock boot camp before we’re even allowed to LOOK at our instruments.
itm? – Of course Laura is now married to a Futurehead – how will that work for the band?
Calum – Laura will now be wearing a ring. And we’ll have to condition ourselves to remember that her surname is now Hyde instead of Donaghey. Apart from that, I’m not sure!
Paul – Every other member of our band is going to have to marry the remaining members of The Futureheads, otherwise, we’re going to get wedding ring envy.
David – I hate it because I wanted to marry… him.
itm? – Finally, what are the long term aims of the group?
David – It’s a dream of mine to play in Japan and to tour America before I have to find a proper job, so hopefully that, for me at least!
Calum – I want to play rock music anywhere forever. That would be enough for me, thanks.
Paul – I’d like to be able to buy my parents a house in Ireland. No? Well what David and Calum said then…