With their debut single ‘Best Enemy’ an early contender for single of the year, Behold The Old Bear head to Dundee this weekend for their live debut in the City of Discovery.
Ahead of the show mainman Raindeer MacFarlane took time out to answer the MPT Inquisition.
Who are Behold, The Old Bear?
R: Behold, the Old Bear go by five individual names such as Raindeer MacFarlane, Del Reid, Robert Wylie, Cameron MacFarlane and Kev McCarvel. We mostly manage to like each other…mostly.
What are your main influences, musical and otherwise?
R: Personally, I am influenced by musical types such as Harry Nilsson, Roger Waters, The Paper Chase, Fog and Son Lux. I am also usually influenced by general life events or whatever I am reading at the time of songwriting.
Currently I am reading The Book Thief, It is very inspiring lyrically. Lots of nice and interesting words put it a pleasing order of appearance.
How did the band come about and what have you done to date?
R: Well, firstly, I wrote and recorded an albums worth of songs in my bedroom. When I was finally happy with those songs I realised that I would be very happy to be able to perform them live. So I called upon a few of my best musical friends who were thankfully interested in being a part of that process. They are very good people and excellent musicians. Since then we have played some great gigs, Kelburn Garden Party and Doune The Rabbit Hole are two highlights of our gigging career.
One of my favorite things to date is having a song I wrote for my friend Lloyd of Peenko fame for one of his two minute postcards. What an excellent idea it was. Well done him. Plus the postcards were all designed by my good friend Kris Ferguson who is my bass playing Mitchell Museum friend. So it was an exciting project to be part of.
Plus we had our first single ‘Best Enemy’ released through Gargleblast Records. That was very exciting. Making the music video for that was great fun, and thanks to our friends David MacCormack and Chris Baron, it turned out amazingly well.
What was the reaction to the ‘Best Enemy’ single?
R: I am not sure really, I hope it was good. I think the general feeling was that it perhaps sounded a bit too much like Mitchell Museum, which I can understand. It is a bit difficult to play in a band for a long time and not sound at least a little bit similar or even a lot of bits similar, depending on who is listening.
It is probably the only real single on the not yet released album. The rest is quite a lot darker, I think so anyway. A man sent me a message on Twitter the other day saying he liked it. That’s good enough for me.
How did you end up with Gargleblast Records?
R: That happened through me getting involved as the drummer for Martin John Henry’s live band (which is one of my favorite things to be part of). Martin would come pick me up in his wee red car and take me to the Gargleblast HQ for practice.
We would talk about all sorts of things. Eventually, I told him about the album I had written. He seemed interested so I sent it to him. He liked it and so he sent it on to Shaun Tallamy and Andy Miller, the masterminds of Gargleblast. They apparently liked it too and asked if I would be interested in releasing it with them. I said yes, please. The end.
Where are you with the album? What the flip is taking you so long?!!
R: Argh! sadness, frustration etc etc.
Silly things like pen drives full of original recording sessions going missing in the post and the accidental deleting of original recordings, resulting in the eventual re-record for the long suffering remix. Those are two of the sorts of things which might hold it back.
It is OK though. I believe it will be worth it in the end. By that time I might have written another two albums worth of material, but that can’t be a bad thing.
What are your Dundee musical (and non-musical) memories?
R: My first memories of Dundee were of a Burger King, which might have been next to a Toys R Us? I lived in Fraserburgh for the most part of my Secondary School education. Still having family in the Central Belt made for lots of trips up and down. Dundee was a welcomed pit stop.
Other than that, I have played Dexters a few times, both with Mitchell Museum and Martin John Henry. Mitchell Museum also played The Doghouse. That was perhaps one of the oddest gigs I have ever played, and I will leave that there.
What can the Dundee audience expect from you?
R: It will be a slightly different affair from usual. Normally there are five of us. However, due to Robert our drummer and Kev our bass player not being able to make it, it will only be Cameron, Del and myself. I am really looking forward to it though.
Del who usually plays guitar in the band will be playing:
1 x Harmonium
1 x Typewriter
1 x Glockenspiel
As well as bass guitar and electric.
Cameron will be doing his usual keyboard and sampler tricks and I am playing guitar as usual, but playing a bass drum and snare drum with my feet. It should look perfectly ridiculous. I hope the peoples of Dundee will approve.
Here’s a look at the aforementioned video for the brilliant single ‘Best Enemy’:
Behold, The Old Bear are playing the Hookers for Jesus E.P. launch at the Cool Cat Club at Beat Generator Live in Dundee on Saturday 6th April. Also on the bill are Playground Tactics, Et Tu Brute??? and the Alleys. Doors at 8 pm – £4 admission.