The Morning Retakes

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Every Monday we will be bringing you interviews with unsigned UK or Ireland artists for Independent Music Monday. Recently we caught up with David from unsigned West Lothian band The Morning Retakes to find out more…

Who is in the band, how did you meet, where are you from and how did you come up with the band name?
We’re made up of Jake Davies (Vocals and Guitar), Chris Swan (Bass), Sean Mcleish (Drums) and myself David Traill (Lead Guitar). All of us are from Armadale/Bathgate in West Lothian – the band name has a couple different origins / meanings depending on who’s asking but neither are all that great.

Sean and myself met through music class at school where we’d wander off to rehearsal rooms and just bounce ideas back and forth. That was probably the first inception of The Retakes but it was only once me and Jake met at a house party that it started to take the real shape of a band. Then we convinced Swany to swap guitar for bass and join not long after.

Who were your musical influences when you were growing up and who are your influences now?
All of us were influenced in the beginning with the usual Britpop and noughties indie scene, which in reality was more just the image and idea of being in a band.

Nowadays the main inspiration when writing music is strong melody with even stronger storytelling. To me the likes of Mike Scott (Waterboys) and Matt Berninger (The National) as well as old school Dylan and Cohen have really perfected that craft. Their catalogue can stand on it's own purely as works of literature, but when combined with the musical ability of the rest of the band it can’t really be beaten.

How would you describe your sound?
At our core we’re a rock and roll band. I think all four of us are quite sponge like when it comes to music and style, if we’ve been listening to a lot of The Kills or Black Rebel MC, the odds are we’ll absorb that come in to the next rehearsal and dial our sound to a more heavy side like that or if we’ve been listening to more Growlers or War on Drugs we’ll just naturally reshape parts of our sound. By nature it means we can never really give a concrete description of our sound, we just play what we like hearing and enjoy playing!

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What is your latest release called and what was the influence behind it?
Our latest release is called “Ghost” and it’s the first single from our debut EP due for release on Friday 13th December. We recorded the EP at Chem 19 with Chris McCrory from Catholic Action and his input as a producer really helped shape how the tracks sound. From a lyrical point of view the track deals with one of our friend’s struggles with addiction. A lot of artists like Idles, Fontaines DC and Sam Fender have put topics like addiction and mental health into the foreground and onto radio, which we find amazing – the more openly these things are spoken about then the more accessible help and progress becomes.

What’s your local music scene like?
I feel like the scene across Scotland has really taken a big jump in the past few years and a lot more Scottish acts are getting noticed around Europe and the States which is amazing and really encouraging for bands in our position. We’re from West Lothian, which isn’t really in Edinburgh and isn’t in Glasgow either but it’s close enough that we’ve been given some great opportunities to play at shows in both cities. The typical pattern that bands from around here follow though is they take the city gigs and never really come back to play to the home town, which doesn’t help shape the local music scene. We put a lot of effort into putting on local shows and having smaller bands or bands from a bit further away join the bill which we love to do, and it’s something other bands like Moonrunners have started to do as well - they brought Pleasure Heads to Bathgate not long ago which was a class night. If more bands were to do the same I think it’d be a really powerful thing.

What do you have planned for the next 12 months? Any albums or festivals?
Over the next 12 months our main focus is releasing this EP on the 13th December (and playing our EP Launch at Broadcast, Glasgow on Saturday 14th) and finishing off the follow up EP which we began demoing last week! We’re also really keen to get on as many festival slots as possible next summer and take our material to as many new ears as we can.

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Is there anyone you’d love to collaborate with?
There aren’t really any named artists we’d like to collaborate with, however we’re really fond of increasing the instruments on our recordings and live sets. We used a lot of keys on this first EP as well as layering, so we’ve stolen a mate from another band to fill in those parts live which we’re really excited about. Rather than recording our music based purely on what we can play live, we’re going into the second EP under the basis that we record anything and everything that the tracks need and then we’ll work out how to play that live afterwards which I’ve no doubt will see us collaborating with a lot of new faces in the studio and on stage.

Any funny stories surrounding your live performances?
The one that sticks out the most was our first time playing King Tut’s in Glasgow. It was the biggest gig we’d played by far at that point and so we convinced anyone and everyone we could to come along. We’d barely started as a band though and so I don’t think the venue were expecting that much of a crowd, meaning there were no barriers put up between the stage and the audience. Halfway through our set we got our first kind of mosh pit we’d ever had at a show, which was class until one of the boys in the crowd fell towards us and landed on his arse, taking two of the stage monitors with him on the way down – we’ve had barriers at every other Tut’s gig since.

What is the one thing that you want readers to know about you?
Not all that much! We’re both buzzing and nervous for this EP to be put out, and we hope anyone that connects with the tracks manages to get out and catch one of our shows. We love playing live and I think that’s when our material really has its truest representation.

You can find out more about The Morning Retakes via Facebook, Instagram, Spotify or Twitter.