Longlist – Thula Borah interview (part 1)

Glasgow’s Thula Borah have just released their fifth album/E.P. ‘Near Life Experience’. It’s a record that’s had a lot of play in the MPT household of late and I like it so much that I even felt moved to try and write about it.

So it seemed like a good idea to catch up with singer/guitarist Lloyd Fay to talk about how the new record came together.

“The new EP was the product of a lot of rehearsing. We had something like 14 songs on the longlist to whittle down, which was difficult. The rough idea was that the 14 songs were so disparate that it made sense to group a lot of the rockier ones together and make kind of a sister EP to Hope For Disappointment, hence the similar titles and arguably same aggressive sound, and that would clear the decks for the next release to be a bit more eclectic.

“I had been hearing a lot of good music coming out of 45-a-side Recording in Bridgeton, particularly the guitar sounds, so we went along and met Paul who runs it and liked his working ethos so decided to record it there, with fine results.”

Having finally managed to catch TB live for the first time at a Wozniak gig in 2015, it was noticeable that rather than playing older material the band concentrated on their current record .. and beyond and Lloyd, with a little help, confirmed that some of NLE was played at that show.

“I don’t have a great memory but Kev informs me we may well have played ‘Analysis Paralysis’ and ‘Do No Harm’ at that gig with Wozniak. “

Like the previous records the new album is out on Kill Jester. Lloyd confirmed that this is the band’s vehicle for self releasing but that the prospect of getting a record out on another label has been tantalisingly close at times.

“Kill Jester is indeed our own label, taken from the same ‘Falconhoof’ sketch by Limmy that Mogwai also named a song after.

“We have had some label interest over the years ranging from email interactions that have fizzled out to protracted back and forths that have been somewhat frustrating.

“The closest we have come to signing is when a German label came over to see us after some fairly in-depth talks. We actually postponed the release of Hope For Disappointment to see where it would go. We changed the launch gig we had booked to something of a showcase and invited some local labels along too. It actually ended up being one of, if not our best, gig to date even if in the end we still didn’t get signed!

“We also had a German tour booked with the label but then the other band pulled out! All in all it was actually a really optimistic time, but I’m hoping people are reading this is an Alan Partridge voice of thinly veiled resentment.”

As I was laying this out Thula Borah were performing at the Glasgow heat of the Pogues Whiskey, nationwide contest and Lloyd explained that there were definitely benefits to taking part.

“There’s no way from getting away from the fact it is a competition, but so far it doesn’t seem to be quite as soulless as your average.

“I heard about it as part of a newsletter from The Unsigned Guide which is a useful online database and resource for bands and musicians. Unlike a lot of what you get sent, the application was purely submitting a link to music, no further arse licking or selling yourself required so I just sent something off and lo and behold we are now playing the Glasgow heat.

“If nothing else it is a wee bit of exposure and the chance to play the ABC. I’d say there’s no chance we’re going to win but the prizes are actually tangible things we could be doing with, studio time, money, equipment, not pointless shiny trophies or anything, so I thought ‘why not?’”

Unfortunately they didn’t win but after this show the band have another home town show lined up.

“We are playing Nice N Sleazy in Glasgow on Easter Sunday supporting a friend’s band, Like A Wookie, who are coming up from Newcastle. After that, for several reasons, we’ll be on a (hopefully) brief hiatus from playing live, before we’re hoping to announce some festival slots and a few more gigs.”

The band are also making plans for the rest of the year.

“We’re mulling over doing a single next, so a shorter scale of writing, demoing and recording might beckon, but our plans are quite fluid and changeable at the moment. We’ll be sure to keep everyone updated via social media.”

More from Thula Borah on Sunday when Lloyd looks back on the band’s previous releases.

Here’s another look at the video for the single from ‘Near Life Experience’:

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