Billy Mitchell could be described a stalwart of the Dundee music scene (writes Andy Wood) as he has been heavily involved for a number of years, as a member of The Twist and Krooked Saints and even assisting Vladimir with bass duties on tour in early 2015 as well as running Studio 57.
Now he has launched a solo project releasing his debut single and touring Scotland in May both as a headliner and as support to Kyle Falconer of The View.
I hesitate to use the word stalwart though as it has slight connotations of someone playing on past glories or fading from view and that is belied by the fresh, sparkling pop of debut single ‘All You Got’.
It’s a fresh-sounding song that, dare I say it, sounds like a perfect song for the summer. It reminds me of Teenage Fanclub in their most poptastic moments with a lovely melody and clear, ringing sound.
Having heard Billy play his own solo material in the past on rare occasions such as house shows organised by Daisy Dundee I’m well aware this is no one off and am looking forward to hearing more.
Ahead of his show supporting Sahara and in the middle of a busy schedule of tour dates Billy kindly answered some questions for Manic Pop Thrills.
You’ve just finished a short tour to promote your debut solo single and are now back out on the road supporting Kyle Falconer? How did the solo dates go?
“Was absolute amazing man! Was pleasantly surprised with the turn out at most of them. Met some great folk old and new and managed to come back in one piece!”
Over the years you’ve played in a number of bands how does it feel to go out on your own?
“It’s totally different. It has its pros and cons. It gets a bit lonely but at the same time I don’t have to argue with anyone over daft stuff anymore. I don’t need the stress of getting everyone together once, twice, three times a week for rehearsal either. I’m absolute loving it though!”
Can you tell us a bit about your new single? Will there be a physical release?
“My new single is called “All You Got “. It was one of the later ones I wrote when I started writing for myself rather than a band. I recorded it with Scotty Anderson up at Magic Box. I highly recommend anyone wanting a good quality recording to get in touch with them! At the moment I am keeping every release digital.”
I think the song ‘All You Got’ has a very summery feel to it. Was this intentional?
“Haha! You’re not the first person to say that! Not at all.. If I had actually planned to write a “summery” song I reckon I’d fail miserably …. It fit in well with the release date mind you.”
Do you have a favourite summer record?
“I don’t even have a favourite song let alone a favourite summer song but albums like Inside In/Inside Out, Hats Off To The Buskers, Sergeant and all that kind of 2006-2010 really reminds me of the summer nights sitting out with my guitar.”
What have been the best experiences of playing solo to date?
“I’m still fairly new to it (as a solo musician) my first gig solo was February. Getting these gigs with Kyle has definitely been the best thing SO FAR.”
Any awkward moments?
“In general or at gigs?? I had a few pretty awkward moments on that tour there and one stands out the most from the others ha ha. But I would rather not go into it .. Never know who’s gonna read this and I’d hate to offend someone.”
In addition to writing and performing your own music you also run Studio 57. Can you tell us a bit about that?
“Basically I needed a bigger rehearsal room for my old band and the only way to make it feasible was to try make a business of some sort out of the space I had and I thought I’d be better off doing something musically rather than try sell herbal life.”
Which local bands do you rate at the moment? How do you feel about the current scene in Dundee?
“There’s not many I don’t rate in some sort of way cause Dundee has banging musicians ! Been digging Sahara, The Alley’s new stuff, and LOVING Union Chapel’s EP! It’s outstanding actually! But then of course The Mirror Trap boys and Model Aeroplanes etc too!
“How do I feel about the Dundee music scene? What scene?? It’s long gone. Once every blue moon something happens and I get excited and think is this it?? Is it back?? But it’s not. Sadly.”
The video to ‘All You Got’ is really cool. How did it all come together?
“Thanks! Haha there really isn’t much to it. My friend James Calderwood messaged me on Facebook and said he had a day off the next day and if I wanted to make a video. I said yes and had to get up the earliest I had been in years.
“It was really weird doing a video though. We decided to go up The Law and saw a drone and it reminded me of the local company Rising View who did an aerial shot of The Law. I got in touch and managed to get some of his footage for mine! Good Lad!”
What are your plans for the coming months?
“Going to do this tour with Kyle and don’t really know actually. Nothing planned as of yet. Get playing some more gigs and try and promote my music as much as possible!”
Anything else that you would like to add?
“Buy my new single “All You Got” on Itunes! Or if you’re skint like me stream it from Spotify, Soundcloud or Apple Music :)”
Here’s the aforementioned video for ‘All You Got’: