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One part Scottish folk, one part blues, four parts Johnny Cash

Sons and Daughters: Part One

Sons & Daughters: One part Scottish folk, one part blues, four parts Johnny Cash

[Part 1 of 2] It’s common to try to describe a band by referencing another band. Good luck trying to do that with Glasgow’s Sons and Daughters. The quartet -- David Gow, Scott Peterson, Ailidh Lennon, Adele Bethel -- certainly doesn’t mimic their geographic counterparts in Belle and Sebastian or Franz Ferdinand, nor Arab Strap or the Zephyrs, which Bethel and Gow have toured with previously. Still, the folk-rock, which blends traditional Scottish sounds with blues traditions, of Sons and Daughters has received critical acclaim for its folk-rock blend, being called "by far the most exciting British band in ‘04” by Dazed and Confused magazine. Prefix sat down with the band before a show with Franz Ferdinand at Volume in Brooklyn, and what followed was a discussion about their tour mates, devoted fans, !!! and SXSW.

 

Prefix Magazine: How did you guys meet?

 

Sons and Daughters: Part One: Ailidh Lennon: Me and Adele met. We were waitresses about nine years ago.

David Gow, drums: I was playing in another band that Adele joined, and we both went on the road together in this other band. Around that time, Adele told me she planned to form a band. She was writing songs at the time, and I promised her I would play drums.

Not longer after that, Adele was working at a record shop in Glasgow and Scott was a record geek. He was in there everyday.

Scott Paterson, vocals and guitar: I was in there actually every day.

Adele Bethel, vocals and guitar: He was in there every day.

SP: I used to go to university near the record store, and I used get really depressed at lunchtime, so I would go down there and just have a look at the records and speak to the guys I knew. Adele started working there and we had a really similar taste in music. I used to play solo shows with just a guitar around town. Adele came and saw me and she asked if I’d like to join the band. And that’s when the band really sort of formed, I guess.

DG: So we met Scott and just started hanging out.

 

PM: So you were sort of friends before or did you pretty much come together to form a band?

 

Sons and Daughters: Part One: SP: I kind of had a relationship with Adele just from the record shop talking about Will Oldham records or My Bloody Valentine or whatever.

AB: David and I were friends for years and years.

DG: Like 1997, 1996. A long time.

AB: Too long. [Laughs.]

 

PM: People have asked me what you guys sound like, and I’ve had trouble answering. How do you respond to that question?

 

Sons and Daughters: Part One: SP: It’s a really hard question. If you’re in a specific kind of band with a specific sound, it’s easier to label. If people ask what we’re like, I say a rock ‘n’ roll band with a folk tinge. But there’s a lot of other stuff in there, like post-punk, so it’s hard to say. I don’t know if I can think of a band that we sound like. We don’t want to sound exactly like any other band; we just like to sound like a mixture of all our favorite music.

 

PM: Do you think it’s better for people who have never heard you to pick up the CD or see you guys live?

 

Sons and Daughters: Part One: SP: If you see us live and then listen to the CD, you’ll see different sides of the band. Live, we try to put one hundred percent into every single night. It’s a lot more aggressive, almost violent. There’s more screaming going on and other things that aren’t on the record. Once you’ve seen it live, then get the record.

 

PM: What made you guys sign with Domino?

 

Sons and Daughters: Part One: SP: It’s more about what reasons we didn’t have for signing with them. They were kind of our favorite U.K. label. All my favorite bands are from Domino, and there was interest from the very beginning.

AB: They were really good people too.

DG: They we really keen on us as a band before anyone else. And the boss at Domino loved us; he made a big effort to come see us whenever we played.

AB: He’s flown out to see us in Glasgow.

SP: That’s a really good sign when someone is really passionate about it and they’re really big music fans and they would know everything you like. It’s not like some of the people who you meet who wouldn’t have heard of some of the bands you like. They just seemed to get it more than some people.

AB: They were one of the few labels that really showed interest in us. A lot of labels picked up interest because we were playing with Franz Ferdinand. Those labels were thinking, Well, maybe this is the next Scottish thing. But we knew Domino genuinely liked our music.

 

PM: Speaking of Franz Ferdinand, how has the tour been so far?

 

Sons and Daughters: Part One: AB: It’s been amazing.

DG: Amazing. We did a U.K. tour with them. We’ve seen them blow up in the U.K. and blow up in America.

 

PM: Is it tough opening up for them because they’re so huge now and since you’re often linked with them? Do you think a lot of guys expect Sons and Daughters to sound like Franz Ferdinand?

 

Sons and Daughters: Part One: AB: Possibly, but I think it’s great that we sound nothing like them, too. But there are structures of the songs that are very poppy.

SP: We’re similar in that we like to write two- or three-minute songs and that we’ve got a lot of similar ideas about music and about the way we like to work within music, but we don’t sound anything like them. We come from different angles. I was wondering how it would work. And to be honest, it’s been great.

 

PM: There must have been some bad things on the tour, no, like the tour bus breaking down?

 

Sons and Daughters: Part One: SP: Well, our van got towed in Minneapolis. It got towed away. The next day, one of the people who came to our gig gave us a hamper filled with tea and biscuits and things that we’d been missing from home. It also had a couple of pints of milk, which was in the van when it got towed, and we forgot about the milk. And just after it got towed, we picked up the van and the milk exploded as our friend Leslie was driving down the highway. That was pretty bad.

DG: The van now stinks.

 

PM: Wait, that gift was from a fan?

 

Sons and Daughters: Part One: SP: Yeah, it was lovely.

DG: She drove nine hours from Salt Lake City to see us.

 

PM: Wow.

 

Sons and Daughters: Part One: SP: Yeah. She said, “Here’s a basket of stuff that you may miss from home.”

 

PM: Was she Scottish?

 

Sons and Daughters: Part One: SP: No, she was American. But she knew Stevie Jackson from Belle and Sebastian, and he recommended that she see Franz Ferdinand and Sons and Daughters. So she did the drive just to see us. Very nice.

 

A.C. Newman - A.C. Newman: Interview Sons & Daughters Part Two: One part Scottish folk, one part blues, four parts Johnny Cash
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