I had a chance to check in with Liam from the Punk Rock band The Pelicans. We discussed the gig scene in 2021 as well as his opinions on the current music industry.
If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?
Take your pick:
Better DJs that play more interesting music, rather than the same middle of the road stuff they’ve been playing forever. I can’t think of any big UK station that I’d listen to, but there are some decent smaller ones. Radio is dying a death anyway, so maybe this gripe is irrelevant.
It would be nice if people would buy physical copies again, but every song is a touch away so you can’t blame “the industry” for that convenience. Anyway, if you’re in a group that plays our sort of music, going into it with the idea you’ll make real money is pretty naive.
One other irritating thing is at gigs people are so stiff. They sort of shuffle side-to-side or stand clutching a plastic cup looking worried. Though maybe that is just for The Pelicans sets. Anyway, it’d be nice to see people loosen up, maybe expend some calories. The ‘BBC Proms’ is livelier than some rock venues I’ve been to in Scotland.
That was at least three, so maybe it is all hopeless hahaha.
What or who got you into music?
Just whatever family members or friends were playing while I was growing. Mostly older British bands, but a lot of different stuff. If you mean why did I want to play music — I think it is just something you naturally gravitate towards if you really like music and you’re not very enthusiastic about (or capable of) getting real work in the real world.
If you could have 3 musicians headline a festival, dead or alive, who would it be?
Frank Sinatra, Devo and Vincente Fernandez.
What is your dream gig venue?
Saint Peter’s Basilica
If you had to describe Scottish gig culture in 3 words, what would they be?
Bearded IPA hipsters
Who would you most like to collaborate with?
Dead? Probably Wagner or Debussy, one of those. That’d be interesting. You could sit back and leave most of it to them. I’d like to try writing punk songs for Elvis. That’d be fun. Alive? I’d need to think about it more. I don’t know.
How did The Pelicans start up?
I responded to an advert for a guitar player for this other band, then I ended up stealing the bass player and forming The Pelicans. Although, we were called something else back then. We’ve changed names a few times.
What plans do you have for any new releases such as videos or gigs?
New single out on Friday, 16th of April. It is called Anything For An Easy Life (also has a “B-side”). There will be a lot of new tracks coming out this Spring and Summer from a recording session we did last year.
What did you get up to during Lockdown?
Making demos on a four-track tape machine. Watching The Shining a lot.
What are some of your favourite up-and-coming bands from Scotland?
I don’t follow the scene very closely, so I don’t know too many. But there is a band called Mush that have some good songs. Although, I think most of the group are from Northern England, but some are from Glasgow? Not sure. Anyway, they recorded their record at Green Door in Glasgow. Also, the debut album from Bunkhouse was interesting (and they are definitely from Glasgow).
What’re a few songs that you listen to and think “God, I wish I wrote this”?
Generals And Majors by XTCThe Cutter by Echo & the Bunnymen
How do you think the gig scene in Scotland is going to look in 2021?
Bearded IPA hipsters with masks standing two metres apart.
For those who aren’t familiar with your music, how would you describe it?
Good if you’re into raw, lively rock music with questionable production values, but probably a unique form of torture if you’re not.
What is the best musical advice you’ve ever been given?
Don’t overthink it. Keep writing, playing and recording. Also, don’t get too attached to one drummer….they are mercurial creatures. Have a few replacements at hand