Sahara, a quartet from Dundee consisting of Adam, Ally, Keir and Megan, are a band that make my cynical façade crack at every show I see them play (writes Andy Wood).
Their songs are infectious, catchy and they put on a cracking, energetic live show. Over recent months their sound has gained a harder edge to it, possibly as a result of playing more shows including gigs in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Dunfermline with supports to bands including Neon Waltz, Model Aeroplanes and The View which have seen them build upon the excellent buzz created by their early demos which they posted online receiving an enthusiastic response from listeners and blogs.
They are a pretty youthful bunch with an average age of 17/18 but their songwriting and performances show a great maturity and range and a great pop sensibility combined with an exuberance and energy that is reciprocated by the audience building on the sense of excitement created on stage.
They will play their first headline show for The Cool Cat Club on June 4th and will then record their debut E.P. Both events give me a great sense of pleasure and I’m immensely excited by both prospects and proud to be promoting their debut headline show as they are one of the most impressive and exciting young bands around at this point in time and I believe they have the capacity to keep getting better and better.
Guitarist Megan McNally answered some questions for Manic Pop Thrills ahead of the show.
You are gearing up for your first ever headline show. How do you feel about that? Do you have any surprises in store for the audience?
It’s great to be headlining somewhere, it’s just a great feeling knowing that people are actually paying to see us and that we have more control over the gig than we obviously would when we’re supporting people. We’re probably looking more forward to the playlist we’ve come up with for it than the actual set in itself.
Things have been quite eventful for you as a band since we last spoke to you ahead of supporting Vladimir last autumn including playing your first out of town shows. What have been the highlights for you?
We’ve enjoyed playing to new audiences and being on the line-up with bands we actually enjoy and listen to ourselves – since forming last year we’ve somehow managed to play with bands like The View, Model Aeroplanes, Neon Waltz, Sergeant, Man Made and Kelvin which has been fun.
Has the response to SAHARA been surprising in the last six months?
Yeah it’s been really surprising. We’re just desperate to get the EP out now as we feel we’ve massively improved since those Soundcloud recordings were published.
You’ve linked up with Club Decode to play a show in Glasgow and will be releasing your debut E.P. with their assistance. Can you tell us a bit more about this?
We aim to have the EP released on iTunes/Spotify/Apple Music etc with the help of Club Decode during the summer. We honestly didn’t even know where to start when it came to officially releasing music. They’ve been really helpful towards us over the past few months and it’s great to see people who are genuinely passionate about Scottish music.
Any plans for a video to accompany the E.P.?
We’ve had a few offers to do a video to accompany one of the songs but we’re unsure what we’re doing yet. Can’t really be bothered with an HD generic video of us walking through the City Square or something though, but we’ve subconsciously quite hidden our image from the music so we should really do something. For example, people tweeting us often just presume we’re all boys.
We’ve spoke a little bit about some of the opportunities you’ve experienced as a young band but are there difficulties you face as well in getting your music out into the world?
There’s probably more difficulties in my opinion, especially being based in Dundee. From experience, it’s definitely still about who you know as opposed to what you can do. I think once you’re relatively known in Glasgow more opportunities arise so it would be good to play a few more gigs through there. Also money is a massive issue especially being young, just like it is for loads of other bands though.
How would you like the next six months to pan out for you as a band?
Well half of us are moving away for Uni in September so we’re hoping to still be able to continue and push forward. As soon as the EP’s released the only option seems to be just to get it out to as many people possible.
We were also shortlisted out of 800 bands to play this year’s Y Not Festival down in Derbyshire with bands like Noel Gallagher, Catfish and the Bottlemen, The Cribs, Blossoms and Circa Waves so it would be amazing if we got to play that, but we really aren’t expecting anything.
What first inspired you to play your instruments and write and perform music?
We can barely remember what inspired us to pick up instruments, some of us done so through the influence of family members or just genuinely liking the thought of being able to play a guitar.
What question would you most like to be asked?
Love being asked about our favourite music, any excuse to speak in great length about the stuff we’re listening to as it changes all the time!
Sahara will be supported by Billy Mitchell, Echo Valley and Sean Findlay. The Cool Cat Club is held at Beat Generator Live! Dundee and doors are open from 8:00 p.m. Tickets are available from Groucho’s, Dundee and from http://www.saharatheband.bigcartel.com/ or https://www.wegottickets.com/event/359564