Cool Cat Club shows for 2014 have been thin on the ground so far but fear not. There’s a couple of real crackers lined up in the next couple of months.
First off sees PAWS open their UK tour at Beat Generator Live on Thursday 6th February. Support on the night comes from Captains and Robot Doctors.
A month later, on Saturday 8th March Kid Canaveral make a welcome return to the city after their triumphant show last March. Support comes from Lost Map labelmates Randolph’s Leap and, making their second Cool Cat Club appearance, Deathcats.
In the first of the previews for the PAWS show Andy Wood catches up with local act Robot Doctors …
Robot Doctors sound as though they may be some kind of deranged electronic boffins but the reality is that they are a good old fashioned five piece band with a neat line in rip roaring punk-pop songs resplendent with catchy hooks and melodies aimed clearly at the heart, head and feet. They have been playing locally for a while but somehow I’ve managed to miss out on them until hearing their debut single ‘Three Days Dead’ / ‘I Like You’ a few months back. Both songs swoop and soar with a buzzing energy but have a melancholy feel as well. The songs have an infectious catchiness, sugar sweet tunes wrapped around a harder, darker lyrical edge, lulling you in before administering a kick up the backside. The single is free to download and comes highly recommended.
Ahead of their first gigs of the year and their first appearance at The Cool Cat Club, Craig, Robot Doctors beat technician, took the time to undergo the ritual interrogation.
Please introduce yourselves and tell us a little bit of how Robot Doctors came to be.
Hello! Robot Doctors consist of Iain Hannigan (Guitar), Dave Nicholson (Guitar), Kieran Andrews(Bass), Darren Kelly (Vocals) and myself, Craig Hannigan (Drums). Robot Doctors came around as a result of members of the band’s previous outfits (State of Affairs, Cole Appleyard, The Barents Sea) parting ways. Time had passed and there was still a desire to write, perform and release music so here we are!
Why Robot Doctors? What inspired the name?
Absolute Desperation! Just kidding! What happened was we performed for a few months nameless and knew there was a pressure looming over us to pick a name. We all pitched a few options. Some good, some awful and eventually Robot Doctors was suggested as a joke. It just so happened to stick.
What are your influences, musical or otherwise?
I’d say we have a varied range of tastes. We’ve heard a lot of different comparisons to who we sound like. Some of them lazy and some of them more well informed. All of them however are flattering in their own way. I think we can all agree however we are motivated by good solid song writing and a catchy melody. Having multiple song writers in the band definitely helps us to have a more defined sound. If you’re looking for an easy answer however ‘Punk Rock’ will do just fine.
Why be in a band? Isn’t it just a heck of a lot of work only to reap a hell of a little reward?
You make it sound so glamorous! No, absolutely there’s a lot of work involved with being a band and there can be obvious downsides. There’s always going to be that uphill struggle to try and balance our home and working lives with being a band that needs to perform in order to gain fans. There can also be those times when a show perhaps just doesn’t live up to the expectation you’ve had in mind. However, there are other aspects that make it 100% worthwhile. The exhilaration of performing songs that you’ve worked hard on for months is phenomenal. Meeting plenty of new and exciting people who are passionate about performing and showcasing live music is a thrill. Such as the good folks at Make-That-A-Take-Records and The Rusty Hip Collective in Dundee. Listening back to a recording you’ve slaved over in the studio for the first time through a speaker system and knowing that you’ve nailed it. That’s when it pays off.
Can you tell us a little about your single ‘Three Days Dead’ and its association with a certain large football club?
It had come to the point last September where we needed to release some material from our live set for people to listen to. ‘Three Days Dead’(3DD) happened to be the song we all agreed was most suitable and is 2:31 seconds of punchy heart-driven rock. It also has a very interesting story behind it as the song is actually 9 years old. Dave had written it for a previous band who had decided it didn’t suit. He brought it to the table for Robot Doctors and with our own twist it was an instant hit with all the guys. As for Manchester City picking our song for their December highlight reel, MCFC had advertised they were looking for a soundtrack for a video and our bass player being an avid fan said we should submit 3DD ‘for a laugh’. Well we’re certainly laughing now as it was chosen and has received us quite a bit of attention as well as a story to tell.
What has been the best moment (or moments) of being in Robot Doctors so far?
There have been numerous highlights for Robot Doctors. As mentioned previously these can be the small things such as just having an appreciative audience at all our shows, being asked to support some of our favourite acts and hearing friends and family compliment us on our hard work. Our last show had some fans sing some of our songs back to us as we finished our set which is always a pleasure.
And the worst / most awkward?
Two moments in particular spring to mind. Last summer we played a show where Dave broke a string and was left stranded on stage for the duration of our last song so had to improvise his percussion skills. Another incident happened on a Halloween show where I not only broke my sticks but also broke my bass drum pedal and attempted to try and finish the song with my hands. Foolish. Always that last song too. We’ve just got to look back and laugh.
How would you describe your music to someone who has yet to have the privilege of hearing Robot Doctors yet?
We’ve been described as ‘Soaring Pop Punk’ previously and I guess we’re all totally OK with that. It’s always a tough question to answer but I wouldn’t shy away from our influences. There are pop tracks which show our love of melody, there are more ferocious punk rock screamers where guitar riffs and shout along choruses tend to prevail and there are also those intimate slower numbers. Most importantly all of our songs are completely honest. There’s a story behind every single one and although they may be quite melancholy in contrast to the upbeat tempo’s they all tell exactly the message we intend to get across.
If you could put together your ideal gig (with time, money and mortality no objectives) who would you invite to be on the bill and where would you hold it?
Tough one! There are so many different acts we’d love to see together but me personally I’m a fan of those one off special shows that just can’t be replicated. Y’know the ones where it’s a great venue and the bill is just right. The kind of show where you walk away knowing it can never happen again. Much unlike the giant stage shows, pyrotechnics and light displays that some bands rehearse and can display night after night. It’d be too easy to shove all our favourite bands together for one big great night. I guess I’ll just have to leave that one open for now. As for the mortality sake I’d leave that alone. Some things are best left untouched. Could you imagine an act coming back from the dead and being shit?
What do the coming months hold for you?
The album! Next week we will enter the studio with our good friend and producer Gavin ‘Jeebo’ Brady from Annfield Recording Studios. We’ve worked with him on all our previous efforts and now it’s time to finally make a record. It’ll contain 12 tracks. Some old, some new and some that are old but haven’t been heard before. All of which we’re extremely proud of and eager to share. It’s safe to say we’re majorly excited and that we will probably spend the foreseeable future as a band promoting the album. We’ll most likely have it released by spring.
We’re also going to be supporting PAWS from Glasgow on their tour in February at Beat Generator Live! Dundee on 6th February which is pretty awesome! We’ll be playing a show at Kage Nightclub on 15th February too with some local acts we’re big fans of including our friends in the Shithawks, Captains and The Rag and Bone Man. It’s a charity gig under the ‘Tins for Tunes’ programme Make-That-A-Take-Records are running through winter. It’s a food drive where fans bring any non-perishable goods to shows to give away to a local Dundee food bank. Fans get download codes and CD’s in exchange for their donations so everyone wins. We’re pleased to be asked. We’ll basically be playing as much as we can this year!
What is the question that you would most like to be asked?
We’d like to be asked to provide the soundtrack to Manchester United’s January goal montage.
Anything you would like to add?
I’ll just say thanks for reading and keep an eye out for us this year!
You can check us out and download all of our previous content including single ‘Three Days Dead’ on www.robotdoctors.bandcamp.com for free!