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Thursday, March 13 • 8:00pm - 8:30pm
The Dykeenies

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THE DYKEENIES – A BIOGRAPHY Up until now The Dykeenies have been Scotland’s best-kept secret, a five-pronged sensory assault of sex, synths and glamour whose music - soaring new wave pop symphonies with hooks so monumental they could be used to mount the scalps of lesser peers onto their living room wall - may not yet have gnawed its way into the collective consciousness of the nation, but that won’t be the case for much longer. Comprising three brothers (vocalist Brian, guitarist Alan and bassist Andy Henderson) and two best friends (guitarist Steven Ramsay and drummer John Kerr) from the Glaswegian outpost of Cumbernauld and named after a race of humanoids from cult 80’s fantasy film Willow, The Dykeenies are the gentrified, pan-sexual soundtrack to a never-made John Hughes classic, a ten-legged future-pop megalith that’s about to send you scrambling for the dance floor. The Dykeenies found their genesis in their hometown of Cumbernauld - a grim Glaswegian new town whose entire city centre was once voted the worst in Britain - in 2005, when Alan, Andy and younger brother Brian finally decided to do something other than talk about starting a band. “We’d been talking about getting a band together for ages,” remembers Andy. “But the talking just went on and on and nothing ever actually got done. It didn’t seem to us like there was any kind of scene in Glasgow to speak of, so we didn’t particularly feel excluded from anything, coming from outside Glasgow. So we set up in the backroom of a pub in Cumbernauld and started playing together, and that’s where songs like ’New Ideas’ and ’Waiting For Go’ came from.” Noticing that their sound was somewhat lacking for the grand musical scheme they had in mind however, Brian moved onto synths, the brothers brought in Steven (“Because he wasn’t doing anything else at the time,” quips Brian) and John (“Because there was nobody else at the time!”) and the five of them set about the business of becoming Scotland’s most exciting new band. First thing on the agenda was the band’s sound. Out went what Alan calls “The acousticy Urban Hymns-era Verve stuff,” and, regrettably, Brian’s self-professed love for Boyz II Men; in came Blur, Bloc Party, late 70’s Bowie and every classic 80’s soundtrack from their youth. “Rocky III obviously stands out for ‘Eye Of The Tiger’ alone,” laughs Brian when questioned on the band’s influences. “The Golden Child and Top Gun are classics as well. But the ultimate soundtrack is The Lost Boys, that’s the one that everybody remembers. Every band should own a copy of it.” “The moment I thought the band might have something,” remembers Alan, “was back when we started, really early on Brian had to go into hospital to have an operation on his jaw, and couldn’t sing for ages. We were still writing songs together, but nobody knew what it would sound like when he came back, because he’d never really sang in front of us before. We went in to record the music for our demo a few weeks before he came back, and then Brian went in separately to record the vocals later. The finished demo was the first thing we’d ever heard Brian sing, and by the end of it I thought that the band might not be that bad after all…” With Brian’s epic, skyscraping (not to mention larynx-scraping) vocals establishing a suitably widescreen, cinematic sound and a set of starry-eyed, swivel-hipped dancefloor classics written, The Dykeenies promptly set about winning the inaugural Your Sound competition - a new scheme launched by legendary local venue King Tut’s to support new talent - without playing a single gig (when their live debut did come, in December 2005 at Glasgow‘s ABC2, it was a sell out). This in turn snowballed into the band signing with King Tut’s Recordings to release their debut single, the limited edition AA-side ‘New Ideas’/ ‘Will It Happen Tonight?’ in July 2006. Now, here’s where things get really interesting. After building a reputation as Scotland’s brightest musical hopes in a matter of a few months, the band signed to Lavolta Records and were handpicked by NME’s New Music editor James Jam to play on the NME Rock n’ Roll Riot tour in October, after having heard only a handful of demos. The tour, also featuring The Fratellis, The Horrors and The Maccabees, gave the band their first opportunity to venture outside their native land and saw them win rave reviews and extend their ever growing fan base. “Somehow one of our demos made it to James Jam,” says Brian, “And he decided that he liked it enough to put us on the NME tour, which was a massive thing for us. It was our first proper tour, and even though we were bottom of the bill, it was weird to be walking out to sold out venues every night! That tour coincided with our advance coming in to the bank, so we went crazy in every secondhand shop we could find. The five of us would come out all pimped up in clothes that didn’t fit us. I’ve got a purple velvet waistcoat I’ve still never worn!” Back home, the band’s stature continued to grow following support slots with the likes of Maximo Park and Get Cape, Wear Cape, Fly, their appearance at XFM’s Winter Wonderland gig and their own sold-out headline shows at Glasgow’s Garage and Queen Margaret Union, before heading to Rockfield Studios in Wales late last year to record their debut album with Manic Street Preachers producer Dave Eringa. “It was an amazing place for us even just to visit because of all the bands that have been there,” says Brian. “It’s the place where Freddie Mercury wrote ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ and where Oasis and The Stone Roses have recorded. But it’s also haunted. We’d find footsteps in the snow that couldn’t be explained and that didn’t lead anywhere. The TV in my room kept switching itself on and off. And the soap kept falling onto the floor every time one of us were in the shower. It must’ve been the ghost of Freddie! Working with Dave was great, though. He looks like Thor, or something. He looks like he should be carrying a massive hammer at all times.” The finished album, entitled ‘Nothing Means Everything’ and scheduled for release in September is an effortlessly great debut that encapsulates all that you will soon come to love about The Dykeenies. Opening with the frenzied, lung-bursting howl of ‘The Panic’ - “About a guy my little sister knew who thought he had an STD,” grins Brian, “The line ‘There’s a fire in your bed’ was originally going to be ‘There’s a fire in your jed’” - it grabs you from the off and offers no respite until it’s had its filthy way with you. From ‘Stitches’’ panoramic declaration that, “Still, I adore the taste of rain” amidst an anthemic background of glittery new wave guitars, to the sexually frustrated dancefloor shudder of ‘Will It Happen Tonight?’ whose voyeuristic protagonist disects his seduction technique over the top of an almighty electro cacophony, each of its eleven songs sound like singles waiting to happen. ‘New Ideas’ - the band’s debut single proper, which was re-recorded and re-released in April - is built on duelling jags of staccato guitars and an almighty, heaven-sent chorus of gargantuan proportions, but its origins aren’t as innocent as you might think. “It‘s about cheating on your girlfriend, and trying to convince her to take you back,” comments Brian. ‘Things You Cannot See’, the album’s slow-burning, moody centre piece, also dips its toe into darkness by telling the story of two continually warring parents who “Only speak truths when there’s lies to gain”, which Brian admits was inspired by his own family, and “Listening to my parents arguing like crazy for hours, before realizing that they didn’t even know what they were arguing over, they were just fighting for the sake of it.” It’s ‘Waiting For Go’, however, that perhaps captures The Dykeenies at their urgent, epic best. Clocking in at a mere two and a half minutes, it bubbles over with the frustration and burning desire that comes from a
http://2008.sxsw.com/music/showcases/band/61465.html

Thursday March 13, 2008 8:00pm - 8:30pm
Wave Rooftop 408 E 6th St

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