ULTRAS – You've a Foul Mouth John Barleycorn: Video Premiere

Music Team | 11 Apr 2017

Watch the new music video for You've a Foul Mouth John Barleycorn by ULTRAS

With influences ranging from elements of hip-hop and electronica to rock, pop and traditional Scottish folk music, Glasgow’s ULTRAS is the brainchild of multi-instrumentalist Gav Prentice, formerly of Over the Wall.

ULTRAS' self-titled debut is set for release on 28 Apr via Hello Thor Records and Instinctive Racoon and The Skinny are chuffed to premiere the new music video for album cut You’ve a Foul Mouth John Barleycorn.

Prentice tells us more about the character behind the title: “John Barleycorn is a figure from British folklore, he's a personification of alcohol in both its positive and negative qualities, but in some uses is almost worshipped.

“Robert Burns would refer to drinking whisky as ‘sipping the blood of John Barleycorn’ – he did have a way with words, that guy, particularly when trying to justify his boozing, and the opening line to my song is paraphrased from a line in Tam O'Shanter about ‘bold John’.

“I thought it would be interesting to take the Barleycorn character and put him in an urban setting where he would probably be considered more of a nuisance than a romantic hero, but use him to look at what attitudes are to alcohol and the drunkenness of your average weekend warrior. In Scotland, anyway, they're at once lionised and demonised, and I think that plays into a fear of the working class and what they'll do if they're let off the leash.”

With regards to the production of the track, Prentice continues: “Providing some of that urbanity is the fact that this track was produced by Julian Corrie, aka Miaoux Miaoux.

“We built up layers of analogue synths and beats to give it this feeling that was textured but still being as banging as possible,” he explains. “There are six producers across the ULTRAS album, and Julian was probably the most hands-on in terms of adding parts he was playing in himself.

“For the video, the director Seamus Foley really understood and got into what the song was about, then chose to take it in a completely different and brilliantly bonkers direction,” he says. “When he pitched us this mad narrative with the fish, I wanted him to do it just so I could try and figure it out. I think it says something about obsession and consumption, but you could probably take a lot of interpretations from it.

“The worst thing in the world would have been some really literal thing with a guy getting drunk or something. This idea was so different to that; it was perfect.” 


ULTRAS is released on 28 Apr via Hello Thor Records and Instinctive Racoon

ULTRAS play VoxBox Record Store Day, Edinburgh, 22 Apr. Hug & Pint, Glasgow, 5 May. The Bungalow, Paisley, 13 May