Thursday, March 27, 2008

Interview - Wake The President

It's not often that we get phonecalls from Rock Stars at 17 Seconds Towers. That said, I won't forget the day I pulled over to take a call from Emma Pollock. But I was also impressed that once his bar shift was over, Wake The President guitarist Bjorn rang me at home to chat to 17 Seconds about their new single, their name and the DIY aesthetic in 2008.

Wake The President are Bjorn on guitar, his twin Eric is the singer, with Mark on bass and Scott on drums. (Their mySpace site says, rather cryptically:Guitar Eddie The Bear Markus Corrigan Schott Sieczkowski. Then again, it also lists Johnny Hates Jazz as an influence). Signed to Glasgow's Electric Honey records, in 2007 they released two singles 'Sorrows For Clothes' and 'Remember Fun?' April will see the release of their third single 'You Can't Change That Boy' which has been made single of the week on both Radio 2's Stuart Maconie's show and on XFM Scotland.

So how did your name came about?
There's no meaning behind it, we were just name juggling.

How did the band come together?
Eric and I have been kicking about in bands since we were fourteen or fifteen. Mark and Scott changed it: I worked with Scott and met Mark through a friend.

Who do you see as your influences?
We always get lazy comparisons like The Smiths and Belle and Sebastian. Our influences include stuff like you highlighted, like Josef K and The Fire Engines. We're independent in the way we go about things, we take the DIY approach and work closely with the record company.

Who do you see as your contemporaries in Glasgow and Scotland? Do you consider yourselves part of a scene?
We've never felt we fit in. There's lots of wee pockets going [in Glasgow] but we're not part of anything.

Tell us about your new single, 'You Can't Change That Boy.'
It's record of the week on Radio 2, on Stuart Maconie's show. It was coming out on Electric Honey, but it's now coming out on a German label called Aufgeladen und Bereit to save money. The album will be coming out on Electric Honey.

What are your touring and festivals plans?
Everything's scheduled for this year, and we're getting tour supports etc.. We are looking at doing a few festivals but I'm not saying what until they're announced.

Would you ever move to London to further the band?
I don't see the point in going anywhere. Glasgow is no different from any other city. There are some really great bands, but the city isn't terribly inspiring. The new single was written on holiday.

Does the word 'indie' mean anything in 2008?
Coldplay, Travis, Razorlight...completely! Indie started out as a DIY aesthetic, you pressed up records and sent them out. We are doing this ourselves, putting out records...we cut out the middle man.

What are your plans for your debut album?
There are names kicking about. The producer, Paul Savage [former Delgados drummer, co-founder of Chemikal Undeground and husband of Emma Pollock] is currently working with Franz Ferdinand. We've been working on it at Chem 19 (The legendary scottish studios). Emma had us there and asked us to support her.

Who would you most like to work with?
We're collaborating with Jeff from Unkle Bob, who's a good pianist, on the album, and Gemma, an old friend, who's a singer. I'd like to work with Tony Dougan as a producer.

Are you actively seeking a bug record deal?
If offered a deal, we know who we'd sign with. It has to be the right deal for us. We've all got day jobs -I'm a part-time bar-man- so it has to be the right deal for us.

'You Can't Change That Boy' is out on April 7 on Aufgelanden & Bereit. Their debut album is scheduled for October.
Make friends with Wake The President here

Here's the video a friend made for their debut single 'Sorrows For Clothes.'

Wake The President -'Sorrows For Clothes.' mp3

Wake The President -'Remember Fun?' mp3


Huge Grunt said...

Nice interview, nice guys. I got in touch with both Eric and Bjorn via myspace (they actually replied!) to get a copy of their 1st single after it appeared to have sold out through other channels. Great songs, hope to catch them live when they're touring.

Ed said...

Hugh -they are indeed great guys! Order the latest in advance I guess.


JC said...

I disagree with HG.

Normally, I don't put out any vitriol for new/emerging bands. I do try to be nice. But.....

....I thought this was an appalling self-satisfying, smug interview on the part of the bloke from the band.

Influences?? There's nowt lazy about when folk say The Smith or B&S. Just cos he feels better mentioning the lesser-known bands.

As part of a scene? Well, I assume he'll turn down support slots from the bands that work their collective arses off in Glasgow...

Ever Move To London?? Maybe you asked the wrong question Ed. All cities are the same and uninspiring if I read that correctly. I'll buy him a Citylink ticket to his holiday home

Ed said...

Ouch! He was very friendly on the 'phone and at the gig when I met him, to be fair, and via email.

Hope you're well JC. Will be in touch soon.


Ben Etc said...

Thanks again for the introduction to these chaps. I've recommending it to my friends in Scotland and elsewhere and had hoped one of these would be by now playing it on his show here:
Instead he played something else I 1st learnt about from you, possibly. Glasvegas. Grants too?

Ed said...

Ben -will investigate and glad you like it.


Ben Etc said...

if you listen to the show keep an ear out for Malaysia's Ferns and Deserters, Singapore's Force Vomit and Rocket Scientist

(It's a sheer fluke that I have played w/ musicians from 3/4 of these ... I'd recommend them anyway)