After a slightly longer than intended break, MPT resumes its review of 2014 with the assistance of Mr Andy Wood and James McGarragle of Cool Cat Club regulars – the brilliant Deathcats.
The band have had a stellar year winning fans right, left and centre through an intense spell of gigging. Ahead of the band’s untimely hiatus, career-wise at least, James looks back on a frantic year.
Your Own Music
Your own musical highlight of the year?
I would have to say that releasing the album on vinyl was my musical highlight of the year. We have done a lot of things this year that I never imagined we would do but if you said to me in 2013, ‘You’re going to bring out an LP next year’ I wouldn’t have believed you.
The night I got the first test pressing was pretty funny. I had just started seeing my girlfriend and I had her round for dinner for the first time. I went next door to pick up what I thought was a package for my mum who was abroad and it turned out it was the test pressing, I’d left it sitting at my neighbours for a few days.
I was dying to play it but didn’t want to look like a total ego maniac in front of Fiona on like, our fourth date. After dinner Fi told me I should play it, I think she sensed my excitement. I only played the one song but that was enough, it was such a great feeling to see a dream I’d had for years come to life. I felt like a wee kid again and that gets rarer when you become an ‘adult’.
Favourite performance of the year?
This is a tough one as we’ve had some amazing gigs. Some on big festival stages, some in wee sweaty basements. One that will always stand out was Dundee at the start of the year. We played in the Tin Roof which is an art space in a big warehouse. It was the dead of winter and was absolutely freezing, we were playing in hats and jackets. Despite the cold loads of folk turned up (including yourself) and we just had a really fun night. It was BYOB and pay what you want to get in. We really felt like we were part of this wee thriving wee community that night. The Shithawks played after us and we had a total laugh dancing about. Smiles all round for days after!
What’s the one thing that went wrong in 2014 you’d like to fix?
I would have liked to arrange a proper tour. Most out of town shows we played were in dribs and drabs because of work commitments. It would have been wiser to organise a week of consecutive shows. My main reason for not doing this was that it was easier to play weekends and I knew we could always guarantee a better crowd at weekend shows. But I would say that is probably the only thing I would have changed. Actually, having a sober person to sell the merch would have probably resulted in us coming out of the year with some sort of profit!
What you gonna be doing next year?
As of December 17th Deathcats are going on hiatus. I’m off to New Zealand to travel with my girlfriend. I’ve been wanting to travel for years and have always been pushing it back. Harv is applying to go back to university to do a post grad in teaching so he’s going to have to commit a lot of time to that. Scott wants to land a better job and that’s pretty hard when you’re in a band that is as active as us. So by the looks of it we won’t be doing anything at all in 2015. We’re having a well deserved break and people can properly digest all the music we’ve put out over the last year.
3 LPs you’ve listened to the most in 2014?
Milk Music – Cruise Your Illusion
Black Sabbath – Black Sabbath
Tony Molina – Dissed And Dismissed
Best gig attended?
The most fun I had at a gig this year was probably at Ty Segall at Primavera. He played on the last night and I realised it was my last chance to go nuts. Just jumping about in a mosh pit with 400 people in what is essentially a glamourised car park in Barcelona is pretty crazy.
Best discovery in 2014?
Fruit Tones – They boys will have a place in my heart forever. We brought out a split with them in February and they helped us sort out our first English shows. We’ve played with them a lot this year and partied just as much. Check them out, they’re amazing.
Who should we be looking out for in 2015?
I’ve heard the Pinact album and it rocks. So keep your ears peeled for that! I’m sure Halfrican will hopefully drop at least an EP this year. Sancho has let me hear some demos, his song writing just keeps getting better and better.
Anything and Everything
Event of 2014
I went camping in Knoydart for a few days in May for my birthday. It’s the most remote place on mainland Britain and it was amazing. If you live in Scotland then you should definitely try and take a trip there in summer. I didn’t shut up about it for about two months. Looking back on 2014 that was the happiest I’ve been.
Hero of 2014
Ross Keppie. He has been the biggest help to me when it comes to Deathcats. I slag him a lot but without him we wouldn’t have got half the shit we’ve done this year. So yeah, you’re my hero Jar Jar.
Lowpoint of 2014
I was going to Jabberwocky festival in London with my good friend Dan in August. It got cancelled three days before. We had flights booked so we decided to still go to London. I partied hard the night before and made us miss the flight. The hangover, coupled with the fact I’d not be seeing The Oh Sees and all the money I lost, man, I don’t even want to think about it now.
Villain of 2014
ISIS. They’ve been causing a whole load of trouble this year.
Favourite book of 2014
The only book I have read this year is 1984. I am rather embarrassed by this. I’ve read a lot of history related stuff online but not actual books. That’s my new years resolution taken care of!
Favourite film of 2014
I hardly seen any new releases this year. I did randomly go and see a film called Blue Ruin one night. I’d heard nothing about it and was pleasantly surprised. It was quite a realistic thriller which I liked, it had a lot of attention to detail.
Best piece of advice you were given in 2014
I’ve not really been given that much advice. But I’ve learned a few things.
1. You’ll never grow out of being a bad drunk. So you either have to live with it or work on it. Long periods of sobriety won’t change anything.
2. Long distance relationships are fucking torture and stupid. If you love someone you should do whatever you can to make sure you wake up beside them every day.
3. As long as you can lel then you must be doing well.
Something to look forward to in 2015
I get to see my girlfriend on Jan 4th for the first time in five months. I don’t think I’ve ever looked forward to seeing anything or anyone this much in my life.