In part 2 of MPT’s Thula Borah feature Lloyd Fay looks back on the band’s previous records and selects some of his favourite songs from those records.
Mind River Matter
“This started when Matt and I got a small grant to record some demos at Chem 19 studios. Back then we weren’t a fully formed band and we were just jamming with a drum machine.
“It was there we met Andy Miller and when he opened his own studio that gave us a much more affordable opportunity to expand on our demos. We ended up recording an album, whereas in retrospect it would have made more sense to have just done an introductory single or short EP.
“Kevin joined during this process and helped flesh out the songs. If anything it was a learning curve because at first being in the studio and working with Andy, who had worked with our heroes Mogwai and Arab Strap, was so nerve racking we were just boozing constantly to get through it.
“But by the end we had relaxed into our own skin a bit. I don’t listen back to this album much, but ‘Inevitable’ and ‘Oppenheimer II’ are still live staples, though I’d have to go with ‘Dirty Injection’ as the key track as that was a bit of a breakthrough writing that song and it also got us some early attention such as being played by Viv Galloway on BBC Introducing in Scotland.”
“We also recorded this with Andy Miller at his studio, Gargleblast, in Hamilton. Even though this EP had some teething difficulties (we went through two drummers to get the initial tracks down) I actually look back on this time as the halcyon days of the band.
“Everything was still new, we were finding our feet, playing with a good bunch of bands who were just starting out and gaining more confidence in ourselves. To me Live Secretly is still the watermark I compare our releases to.
“And it was the first release to be truly collaborative. I had written everything on Mind River Matter whereas on this there was a mixture of my songs, songs that came from rehearsal jams and songs that Kevin had started and I had finished, which is how we’ve continued to work.
“I think ‘Murder’ is one of the best recordings we have made but it is hard to pull off live, and whilst ‘Skye Falling’ is still a song that gets us good feedback I’d say the key track on this is another live staple ‘Violence Is Forever’ which continues to be one of our favourites to play.”
“This is probably our weakest release. I don’t know what drugs I was on at the time because I just can’t remember much at all about this period.
“We recorded the EP at Elba Studios, which is in the Hidden Lane off Argyle Street in the west end of Glasgow, to try something different and somewhere closer to home. We still didn’t have a full-time drummer, so props to our friend Brian Eggo for stepping in to help again as he had with Live Secretly, and we kind of pieced this together as we went, as you can perhaps tell.
“That said there is still some good stuff on here and I’d like to have made more of ‘Sleeping With The Enemy’ as I think that was a strong lead song. The best thing about Qualia was the tour to promote it which was a lot of fun, we had a good laugh.
“But when it comes to a key song I’d have to go for ‘Zero Progression’ it is personally one of my favourite Thula Borah songs.”
Hope For Disappointment
“We had Mikey in place on drums in time for the Qualia tour and we even had a false start recording the songs that would form the backbone of this EP elsewhere, so we were well rehearsed when we decided it was best to go back to what we know and work with Andy Miller again.
“My memories of recording this, the odd strop aside, is that it was a lot of fun and we were much more confident in what we wanted from the recordings and by and large I think we produced a good quality EP.
“A firm favourite within the band is ‘Small Margins’ which was a very collaborative effort between us all and features a life affirming speech by the screenwriter Charlie Kaufman that Andy introduced us to. I think we might have nicked it from him before he could use it on anything himself!”
The full Thula Borah catalogue, including ‘Near Life Experience’ is available as a discounted download from their Bandcamp. There are also still CDs available of ‘Hope for Disappointment’ and ‘Near Life Experience’.