The final band on the Vic Godard bill for Sunday 13th March 2011 at Dexter’s in Dundee are Edinburgh School for the Deaf. Ahead of their first appearance in Dundee, most of the band talked to Andy Wood.
Please introduce yourselves briefly and tell me a little about your band.
Jamie : I play the drums, by which I mean I hit things during the bits no-one else is playing. I am the forgetful heartbeat in the chest of the lean thundering Moloch.
Grant : I play bass and get to sprechgesang one song every gig.
Ash: I sing and play fuzzy guitar.
Can you tell me a little about the genesis of the band?
Grant: Ashley and I were in Saint Jude’s Infirmary. The second record killed us. Every single misfortune and woe that could befall a band, befell us with a savage vigour. Everything that the band once stood for, ebbed away from us like the blood from a corpse. We staggered away from the band as if leaving the scene of an accident. Kieran we knew as the best guitarist and bar-man in town. Both callings which we held in great esteem. Jamie came on board with the bangs and the crashes.
Kieran was playing in and remains with `Myles Mayhem` and is soundman at Edinburgh’s best venue.
Why did you choose the name Edinburgh School for the Deaf? Has it caused any confusion or controversy? Why the change from Deserters Deserve Death?
Grant: We were formerly `Deserters Deserve Death.` after a lurid cover from a Commando comic book. Scotland seems to be approaching American, championship levels in mis-understanding any irony. A staggering amount of our townsfolk actually thought we were advocating the execution of deserters from her majesty’s armed forces.
Jamie : I wanted a name that was something functional, almost banal, like The Smiths, and yet unusual. Always good to shoehorn in the oft overlooked Capital city at any point too.
Ash and Grant, you’ve played Dundee before in former bands. What can a Dundee audience expect from Edinburgh School for the Deaf?
Grant: The last time we played Dundee was as part of Saint Jude’s Infirmary tour for our second album. Unfortunately the date before, St. Jude’s imploded in bloody recrimination in Liverpool. It is to my eternal regret that only the troops left standing were able to take the field and what should have been a celebration was a wake. We owe Dundee and we will offer you recompense and reparations carved from feed-back, dissonance and blood!
Ash: Dundee doesn’t just hold that bad memory though – it was also our first gig outside Edinburgh, way, way back in the early days. It was at the old Westport and we played with the legendary Candy Store Prophets. It was probably one of our best gigs, though I saw a video of it recently which begs to differ.
Can you tell me a bit more about your recent gig in Perth playing in front of one Alan McGee?
Jamie: People pointed, everyone looked beyond us, things fell over, I broke things and ran away.
I believe you have your debut album due to come out later this year. How far along are you with this?
Jamie : Yes, we’re releasing through Bubblegum records. We had the beginnings of the album done, but the songs kept shifting away from us under the light of our examination, blinking their eyes and baring their teeth, so we kept writing and hammering them into different shapes. Now we have a few more to pin down and deny oxygen to, and that should be our gravestone of the last six months.
At the recent Dylan Uncovered event at Edinburgh’s Voodoo Rooms Grant seemed to shed a fair bit of blood. Is this a common occurrence at your gigs?
Grant: Sometimes the music is stronger than the vessel that it spills forth from.
Ahem. The worst part was I ended up breaking my finger strumming. I really ought to drink more milk. Explaining it to the x-ray technician was quite, quite, mortifying.
What (if any) current bands or artists inspire or move you these days?
Grant: It’s as if a dark harr has lifted from over old reekie. For a while Edinburgh if it had a sound, it was one of nice young men (with beards) and women (without) playing, perfectly formed, perfectly nice folk. Now things are a bit noisier, more fragmented. Bands like the Machine Room and Magic Eye really repay any degree of investigation. Both are amazing bands which may explode or remain amazing and undiscovered, either way they are ready and worthy of your devotion.
Jamie : I’m listening to as much as I can, the more the current crop of ‘Brit school talent’ ( which I consider far more cancerous than anything the xfactor produces) is pushed at us, the more I’m trying to run away. Be that to hipster hills or not, it is running. So I’m currently loving deerhunter, Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All, Das Racist, Women, and I’m looking forward to the new The Crystal Stilts one. Not sure how much of that will feed into anything we do, but it keeps me excited.
What are your plans for the near future?
Jamie: I want to eviscerate everything, I want this album to be a slate wiper, an Ebola virus of feedback and melody. I want this to happen, but it won’t.
Previously in this series of interviews: