long fin killie interview
(October 1997)

Our Scottish correspondent Stuart got together with Luke from Long Fin Killie recently and between them they conjured up this short-but-sweet interview. LFK have their new album "Amelia" out now on Too Pure (and very good it is too). See the review for "Lipstick" elsewhere.

OK, I'm not going to ask you why you're called Long Fin Killie, but are there any Kilmarnock supporters in the band?
L: No, I'm afraid not, we're all from around Perthshire.

Good, you answered carefully there, though I suppose St. Johnstone are pretty neutral. For what it's worth, I've been very impressed with the new LP---it seems to be the best of the three to date. Are you aware of this yourselves that it's one of your better works?
L: I think that the approach to it was really very very different so the end product was also very very different. With the first 2 records there was lots of the songs came out of basically a lot of jamming...what we would do is practise in this place called Jordanstone, there's this mansion house there owned by a lady by the title of Lady Duncan of Jordanstone, she allows us to practise there in her stone walled laundry, would you believe in the heart of the Perthshire countryside for the last 8 years. So what we basically do is go out there and jam and we'll record these 'grooves', if you like, and take out the bits we like best about them and hammer them into the shape of songs, very often the stuff we like most, certainly in the past the largest wealth of contradictions in a song like, say, "Heads of dead surfers", where the drums are vaguely tribal, vaguely hip-hopish, classical-sounding violin, guitar that sounds like it's sampled, bass that's played with a stick, 3 different types of voices, on paper it just sounds like junk basically, it's thrown together, but hopefully once it's arranged and set down and properly recorded you've got something coherent, that sounds fresh in some ways I guess.... but with "Amelia" we did it in 3 sessions.

It's a quite varied album I suppose, there's a drum'n'bass feel to "Lipstick" (a surprise single for me), the other stuff is very free and easy.
L: Well, "Lipstick" was a complete remix by Jamie and Grant at Chamber Studio, it was nothing to do with the group certainly this was entirely the point in the past when we've remixed stuff ourselves you tend to get a little bit precious---d'you know what I mean?---and you don't deconstruct as mercilessly as you might, so we got Jamie and Grant to give us their take on it and as you say you get something which sounds completely different.

Yes, it's a good contrast...so I wanted to ask why the LPs are named after tragic heroes and heroines of history.
L: Well the first record was called "Houdini" for no other reason that the key track on it, I think, was called "How I blew it with Houdini"...I say key track because it seemed to encapsulate lots of the elements of the other songs, and was quite long and, I daren't use the word epic because it sounds a little grandiose, but it's very long, you'll take my meaning I guess and when I started doing interviews for the record journalists started pointing out to me that they thought that it had a fitting metaphorical worth in that Houdini was an escapologist, he was a magician, and in the same respect, he was a slippery character if you like, they found that quality in the music in that they weren't able to pin it down. I was obviously flattered, I thought it was a nice idea. I called "Valentino" that to show that it was a continuation in that respect musically, and certainly lyrically as well, the concerns on "Houdini" are racism, sexism, homophobia, the same on Valentino. "Amelia" is really taking on that again, but is a departure musically.

You mentioned "Heads of dead surfers" earlier, do you think that you're not so much pressured, but maybe you're trying to shake off the classic track---big in the Festive 50, your best known song---to put something else forward that's completely your own?
L: Well, certainly as far as the reviews went, MES references started and ended with the first reviews we got for "Houdini".

So it's just me then? OK I'll shut up and in best time-honoured chat show tradition let you plug your book.
L: Oh, crikey... I've written a book, it's called "Jelly Roll", about a jazz band on a tour of the highlands of Scotland---one of them's black, it's semi-, well, vaguely autobiographical, and it just charts the ridiculous situations they get themselves into in the course of this 9-date tour of Scotland.

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