Burning Bright: Attic Lights

Jason Morton sits down with Scotland's next big indie-rock band, Attic Lights, who've signed a five album deal with Island and already snared a bizarre Gest for the first

Feature by Jason Morton | 24 Jul 2008
  • Attic Lights

2008 has been a big year so far for Attic Lights, and it's about to get bigger. Three singles - Never Get Sick of the Sea, God and their most recent, Bring You Down, which features remixes by Mogwai and Camera Obscura - have slowly built up anticipation of the Glasgow five-piece's Island Records debut.

Even on a dreary Thursday in Glasgow's west end, Kevin Sherry and Colin McArdle, who share vocal duties and contribute guitar and bass respectively, have a cheerful exuberance about them, despite their hectic release and promotion schedule.

"I guess once we got signed originally, there was a wee bit of sitting about, waiting for things, but over the last six months it's been a 'go go go' kind of thing," says Colin. "Which is good, because there's only so much TV you can watch in the afternoon."

Video: 'God'

While the band, which also includes Jamie Houston and Tim Davidson on guitars and Noel O’Donnell on drums, might be breaking ranks with The Weakest Link and Richard & Judy, they've brought their cheery 60s pop-inspired music across the UK through touring, performing in-store shows and opening for big names such as fellow Glaswegians and new label mates The Fratellis. But the summer's not over yet, and fans - whether current or yet-to-be converted - will have plenty of opportunity to hear the band's sunny melodies as they criss-cross the nation on the festival circuit. The band then wraps up the season by releasing their debut full-length Friday Night Lights in September.

It's a big change from around about a year ago, when Attic Lights first started to leave their impression on the national music scene. The album’s co-producer John McLaughlin sent the album, which the group recorded whilst still holding down full-time jobs, to a number of record labels, stirring up interest. “We played a gig last year at King Tut's with all these big A&R guys" Colin says, "and we knew we were playing that one gig for a record deal with a major so we were all totally crapping it. Afterwards we went back to the studio and were playing some tracks for them, and it worked.”

Video: 'Bring You Down'

A rite of passage performance at 2007's T in the Park also went some way to elevating the band's platform, and they ended up inking a five-record deal with Island. And while that's astounding in itself, another recent move by the band has also gained them a lot of attention. Through a chance encounter with McLaughlin, the group recently met and collaborated with ubiquitous TV celebrity David Gest, with the former husband of Liza Minelli delivering a Shatner-esque monologue over Bring You Down. According to Kevin, they first thought, “Can we do this? It’s David Gest – not really rock’n’roll.” “Will this destroy us?” was Colin’s thought. “But the music speaks for itself” Kevin says, admitting that “The experience was totally surreal”, but that Gest took an immediate shine to the group. “He phones up the management all the time, saying ‘How the boys doin’? I played the song for Michael Jackson – he loved it.’”

Gest has since invited the band to tour with him on My Life! A Musical Concert Extravaganza. There will also be a Gest appearance with the band at V Festival in Chelmsford on the 17th of this month, and he’s featured, along with his eccentric entourage, in the video for Bring You Down.

Aside from contending with their new-found friend’s antics, future plans for Attic Lights include a video and single for album track Wendy, as well as touring to support the forthcoming album, where they say it’d be nice to meet back up with The Fratellis. “I reckon, aye, they seem keen - I guess we'll just wait to hear from 'em,” says Kevin. Following that, the band already has almost 20 unreleased songs in waiting, ready to be fine tuned, recorded and delivered to the masses. So the lads look poised to burn bright with Friday Night Lights, and it doesn't look like they’ll be switching off any time soon.

Attic Lights play the Your Sound Bandstand at Hydro Connect, Inverary on 30 Aug.

Friday Night Lights is released on 8 Sep via Island