Up and coming Indie band Bottle Rockets chat about a busy first few months

Ahead of their first summer as a band, I managed to catch a chat with up-and-coming indie outfit, Bottle Rockets. Having already showcased their incredible talents releasing their debut singles including their highly acclaimed single, ‘When I tell you’. After making their Tuts debut supporting SPINN earlier on in the year, Bottle Rockets have deservedly earned themselves a slot on King Tuts Summer Nights line-up.

Read what they had to say on their identity as a band, their writing process, and their dream festival line ups below.

First of all, for those that haven’t come across you yet, introduce yourselves. Who are you/where you from? What’s your identity as a band? How would you describe your music?

Hi, we’re Bottle Rockets. A newly formed band from the City of Glasgow. Our current members are Kenzi Murray, the Vocalist and Guitarist John Tamburrini, newly joined Bassist Andrew Cummings. Alongside Sam Rae on the drums.  With our post-punk, new wave influences, we try to branch out and add our own style and twist. Initially, we released our first single “’lifes a bitch’” back in March, 2021 (our guitarist John being the original vocalist). However, we decided to then go in a slightly new direction, bringing in Kenzi’s vocals in ‘When I tell you’ to further amplify our sound and perhaps give it a new edge. We are of course still early days as a band and with that our sound is still evolving every day. We’re definitely still finding our footing but it’s all been a great learning process so far!

As far as our band identity goes, we have previously been told we are rather self deprecating in nature through our lyrics. We’ve all had our own varying experiences with mental health and I think it shines through in our lyrics a fair amount. It’s a lot about being vulnerable and embracing the mundane, somewhat morbid truths. I think it’s great to shine a light on more stigmatised issues, everyone’s been there at some point and it’s something we can all relate to. Don’t get us wrong, we have also written a few upbeat songs recently too but sometimes it just feels way more fun to be petty in our lyrics instead.

The name of the band, ‘Bottle Rockets’, is brilliant. Where did it originate from?

It took us forever to decide on a band name, and at the time we were really into Better Oblivion Community Centre which consists of one of our favourite artists Phoebe Bridgers. The song “Sleepwalkin’” on their EP, Phoebe comes in at the second verse “I like setting off those Bottle Rockets” which weirdly resonated with us and we finally decided on the name, Bottle Rockets. People always ask if the name came from the Wes Anderson film, which it didn’t but that would’ve been way cooler. 

Your most recent single, When I tell you, has gained over 3 thousands plays on Spotify alone. What was the writing and recording process like? Did it come along naturally, or did you already have an idea of how you wanted it to sound?

Our writing process always starts off with the instrumentation. Once we’ve got a solid structure of song with the Drums and Guitar we then try and find a melody for the vocals and match it with the idea of the lyrics. At the time we really had to rush to finish the lyrics, as Kenzi was about to join the band, so we wanted to show her a full song to get off on the right track. Sonically, we think you can hear our influences on the track, but the idea of the sound was a lot heavier than our previous release, but still have that soft airy vocal which we think Kenzi absolutely nailed. The reference track for this song was actually “Don’t Delete the Kisses” which we thought matched the aesthetic we were going for.  

Bottle Rockets playing King Tuts supporting SPINN via @bottle.r0ckets (@shaun_fox_photography)

You supported SPINN at King Tuts, how big of an opportunity was it playing that stage so early on in your bands career?

Yeah just mental that we got such an amazing opportunity so early, that was only our third gig that we had played. Kind of surreal as we (John and Kenzi) already knew SPINN and had liked a few of their new songs across their two albums. We didn’t initially think we were ready for such a big opportunity, but we felt we had to take the opportunity to showcase ourselves to a different crowd, meant a lot to us that the promoters perhaps have taken a liking to us. As were now scheduled to play tuts again for the 3rd time since March in the Summer Nights Festival. The guys from SPINN were super nice as well and we all ended up on the dance floor at Sleazys and shared a few shots and pints, followed by one of the worst hangovers ever.

 What are your biggest influences in music?

We all have a fairly eclectic music taste which blends quite nicely and meets in the middle. We’ve found influences from different eras, bands and styles and picked bits from each to try and create our own sound. We would have to say our main influences would come from the 80s new wave scene, The Cure, Echo and The Bunnymen and New Order etc. We also take huge influences from Wolf Alice, Phoebe Bridgers and Baebadoobae and The 1975.

What plans do you have for any new releases?

Yeah, we’re definitely keen on releasing more music this year, the response from When I Tell You was surreal. There’s nothing cooler than putting out music you’re actually proud to play in front of your pals and have them also like it as well. We’re aiming to get back into the studio in August…perhaps recording two new singles. For those at our recent gigs, they’ll definitely know what ones we are talking about! There’s definitely a new direction for us in these two tracks but still maintaining our influences that have got us this far.

What’s your dream gig venue to play?

Everyone one of us will agree that the ultimate dream venue being from Glasgow is Barrowlands with a shadow of a doubt, outside of Glasgow though I suppose the Hollywood bowl would be pretty cool.

If you could have 3 musicians headline a festival, dead or alive, who would it be?

John – “Joy Division, Frank Ocean, The Weeknd”

Kenzi – “The 1975, Fleetwood Mac, Paolo Nutini”

Sam – “The Beatles, Oasis, Green Day”

Andrew – “R.E.M. The Beatles and Nirvana”

Big love to Bottle Rockets for talking the time for the interview and if you haven’t already check out their socials. Discovery Music wishes them all the very best of luck going forward!

Instagram – @bottle.r0ckets

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Music obsessed student