Talking to…The Stormy Seas
As Edinburgh folksters The Stormy Seas celebrate the release of their new album Of Rust and Loss, David from the band tells us more about shaking tambourines, a love of Paul Simon and the all important issue of boating…
Can you tell us a little bit about the Stormy Seas…
The Stormy Seas are a bunch of lads who all live in Edinburgh (Michael, David, Graeme, William, Alex and formerly Ricky), we’ve been playing together as The Stormy Seas for about three years now. We play guitars, banjo, bass and drums (sometimes accordion and melodica too). Oh, and we sing and shout.
How would you peg your style?
We’ve been described as an aggressive indie folk band and I think that’s pretty much spot on. We started off playing in Graeme’s living room entirely unplugged, drinking quite a lot and joining in on each other’s songs; it all felt quite folky in those days. As soon as we started playing larger gigs we realised that we’d have to get quite a lot louder, with that we seemed to get faster and angrier.
What’s the concept behind the album? How did it evolve?
I’m not sure our album has much of a concept; a lot of the songs have developed over the life of the band. One of the things we felt was important was to make sure the songs on Of Rust and Loss had the same impact as when we played them live. We all crowded around a few mics and played live for a few songs, on other songs we tried to make sure the guitar was wailing on the verge of feedback. The album was recorded by Alex Fenton (of Fentek Audio and Swanfield Studios fame) who, as well as being our new bassist, is a very patient man.
You have a pretty clever instrumental going on, any standout moments from writing and recording?
I can definitely think of a few standout moments from recording the album - my inability to play the tambourine (at least twenty takes) or Graham clanking two bits of metal together which is possibly the loudest thing I’ve ever heard. There were some really lovely bits too, for Are You My Maker we recorded Williams’ accordion in a big echoey hallway which sounded unbelievably epic - I think the version on the album is toned down a bit. I also loved seeing our good friend Matt playing cello on The Tall Ships, his playing really pulled that song together for me.
The album seems to swing between dark and light, what’s the motivation behind different tracks?
Most of the songs we write are lyrically pretty dark, even songs that seem quite cheery on first listen, songs such as Morbid Desires, or Set the Night, have the most upbeat dancy tunes but the lyrics are still pretty melancholic. I think most of our songs are about experiences or friends that we’ve had, and some of the songs are more about our outlook on certain matters.
Do you have any strong influences as a group?
I’m stating the obvious but we’ve always listened to a lot of folk and indie music, although we’re not really a folk band it’s clearly a huge influence to how we sound. We like such a variety of artists but I’m fairly certain we’d all agree on Bruce Springsteen, Alasdair Roberts, Christy Moore, Simon and Garfunkel as well as indie bands such as Neutral Milk Hotel and The Smiths.
Which track’s been your favourite to play live?
I’m sure we’d all have different answers to this; personally I really like playing the faster and wilder songs such as Morbid Desires and Middle Man. I know Michael likes playing Set the Night, I think that’s because he likes showing me up on the banjo whilst watching me make a bit of a fool of myself singing. Graeme always seems to love drumming to Souls II, I think William likes playing the intricate picking part at the beginning of Souls III and Alex always seems really keen so it’s hard to tell!
Another personal answer but I’ve always been a massive fan of Paul Simon. We could do a Bob Dylan and the Grateful Dead style collaboration (or more recently Lou Reed and Metallica). Everyone loves those don’t they! We’d be Simon and the Stormys.
Sum up Of Rust and Loss in three words
Great Christmas gift!
And finally…(just curious) do you guys ever actually go boating?
We take our boating very serious!
Of Rust and Loss is available from their bandcamp or at Avalanche/Elvis Shakespeare..