When you read reviews and features about the band Baby Strange, the intros more often than not begin with something along the lines of, “Hailing from Glasgow” or “Glasgow band, Baby Strange…”, and it’s obvious why. Their main deal is being a Glasgow band – from Glasgow, in Glasgow, about Glasgow and its scene. We talked with them about their Glaswegian identity, their identity as a band and if there were things they would change about it – In a word, no.
Heatwave: Originally from Glasgow, you are down in London to play an NME awards show. Do you see a lot of similarities between the home and away gig crowds?
Baby Strange: Yeah totally, the crowds we’ve had in London are just as up for it as the Glasgow crowds. It wasn’t always like that though. It has happened over time as our name has spread.
Heatwave: I lived in Glasgow for a while, and it has an amazing music scene. The city seems to be very much focused on cultivating creativity. “Throw a stone in Glasgow and you’ll hit a musician”, is a line I’ve heard in many different countries. Do you think Glasgow rightfully claims this reputation?
Baby Strange: It does. I’ve never lived in any other city so I can’t really compare it, but there are a lot of bands around, a lot of great bands at that.
Heatwave: I have seen Glasgow bands, the Yawns, Halfrican, and Twilight Sad a few times. You all ferry yourselves across the border for shows regularly, and all play quite different styles of music. Glasgow bands seem to have the ability to cater for all. Do you think this is a quality bred in the city?
Baby Strange: It might be. I’m not really sure. I think it’s just down to the attitude of the members in the bands. Every city has diversity in its music scene, you just have to go out and find it.
Heatwave: What was the biggest factor to influence your music – other musicians and bands or circumstance and who/why?
Baby Strange: A lot of our early songs are about experiences we’ve had with friends, mad nights and the people we’ve met. One band that springs to mind that brought us together at a young age was [fellow Glaswegian band] Franz Ferdinand. Seeing their matinee gig at the Barrowlands in 2004 really made the three of us want to start a band.
Heatwave: Baby Strange seem to constantly be touring and playing shows. What drives and motivates the songs and does always being on the road affect your songwriting process?
Baby Strange: We love touring. We’d like to tour even more. Some of the things that happen on tour can trigger great ideas for songs.
Heatwave: What are the biggest differences in the music scenes of other cities? Is there any scene you would like to take back to Glasgow?
Baby Strange: Not really. The Glasgow scene is good and I wouldn’t change it.
Heatwave: Your sound is pretty ‘sunny’, and I don’t think some of your songs would sound out of place on a Ty Segal record. Were any of the big Bay Area bands an influence on Baby Strange?
Baby Strange: I’ve never been told that before so that’s a first! A lot of the bands we listen to are British – Sham 69, the Damned, the Clash, 999. The energy of those bands has influenced us more than bands from the Bay Area.
Heatwave: I remember speaking to someone from another Glasgow band about their sound and how it always sounds like they are having fun. Is this something you guys strive to achieve in your music too? Having fun and enjoying yourselves is definitely a Glaswegian trait.
Baby Strange: Of course. If we’re not having fun then there’s no point in doing it.
Heatwave: Playing so many shows means that you play with a lot of other bands. Are there any you would like to namecheck and recommend to Heatwave?
Baby Strange: The Lapelles, Mark McGowan, and Bluebirds.
Heatwave: If you could introduce Londoners to a slice of Glasgow, what would it be and why? You can’t go with Irn Bru ‘because it’s amazing’ though!
Baby Strange: Paying under £3 for a drink in a pub.