I write about music and books, and frequently cover publishing industry and book events. Here are some of my favourites from the last year or so. Event coverage can be found in the toolbar at the top of the page.
Upset September 2016 Cover Feature: Twin Atlantic: “We wanted to try and scare ourselves.”
In Glasgow there’s a spaceship. It glows every spectrum of the rainbow on dark and drizzly nights, and inside it is a stage that’s a bucket list goal for most bands in these parts. In May 2015, Twin Atlantic walked triumphantly onto that stage after years of hard work, and saw off their ‘Great Divide’ tour run in style. Read more.
Dork: Death Spells: Fantastic Bastards (And where to find them)
Death Spells is alive. It’s loud and dirty and known to shock. The duo’s debut subverts all expectations. The music crunches and pounds over muffled vocals, the crispness to the pair’s work is thrown in a blender with an added distortion for good effect. It’s creepy at times, but then it’s also got dark dance anthems woven through its fabric. Sounds great, huh? Read more.
Upset: Biffy Clyro: “At Reading & Leeds, every band is a must see!
It’s 31st December 2015. After a year in hiding, Biffy Clyro emerge triumphant to a euphoric Hogmanay crowd, and bring with them a teaser of 2016, launching their new album, aptly, with a bang. That show in the cold Edinburgh streets was, as frontman Simon Neil explains, “like a pressure cooker. We finally let the pressure off. We needed that show; this is when music becomes a living, breathing thing, when you share it with people.” Read more.
Upset June 2016 Cover Feature: Pierce The Veil: “We Won’t Ever Stop.”
Time flies when you’re having fun. Turns out Pierce The Veil have been enjoying themselves so much of late that they didn’t even know that 2016 marks their tenth birthday as a band until others pointed it out. But now they know, and there’s all the more reason to celebrate, with new album ‘Misadventures’ marking not only a landmark for the band, but a new chapter going forward. Read more.
The Bookseller June 2016: Scot Lit Fest: Dispatches from a virtual festival
Scot Lit Fest is a virtual book festival that took place over last weekend, presented by the Saltire Society – a non-profit organisation that supports and celebrates Scottish heritage and culture, with awards across architecture, civil engineering, history and heritage and, of course, literature – as part of their 80th anniversary celebrations. As one of the two coordinators, I gained real insight into how running a digital-only festival can be used to celebrate publishing, and how rewarding it was for both us and those taking part. Read more.
Dork: Shura Shot
It’s the internet age. Everything is available at the click of a button, and everything is instant. So what happens when you post a YouTube video and, frankly, the response is mad? People expect more. The year is 2014. Shura has posted ‘Touch’, a song and video so well crafted that the natural expectation was that it was the first snippet of a bigger picutre. At the very least, it was so enjoyable that people at least hoped there was more ready to be unveiled. Read more.
Upset: Petal: “The things that make you different, make you powerful.”
Music is a force that speaks to you. It can lull you into conversations, it can open your mind to lots of different ideas, it can even work as a kind of diary, letting you figure out things through its path. Kiley Lotz has used Petal’s debut as a vessel for a lot of personal experiences, finding writing a way of articulating thoughts she couldn’t otherwise pin down. In turn, ‘Shame’ is an utterly wonderful and assured expression of some of the most vulnerable experiences in life. Read more.
Upset: Henry Rollins: “I have to impress myself and I’m not easily impressed.”
The nature of the spoken word tour is pretty simple: you must speak. But it’s not as easy as it sounds, even for the chatterboxes among us. There must be stories and points that keep people interested, a life lived where people want to hear about experiences they themselves may never have, expressions of opinions that will make them chuckle knowingly. Hello, Henry Rollins. Read more.
Upset: No Devotion: “It’s about letting go of the past.”
“It’s something I’ve never experienced before,” recalls Geoff Rickly, looking back on No Devotion’s first shows as they come ever-closer to their debut release. “Having people just waiting for us to make our first song, not knowing what we are but just wanting to be a part of it. I just hope they know we don’t take that for granted, we work our asses off to be good enough to deserve all the support and love we’ve been given.” Read more.