Glasgow band lives the dream

THEY may have spent seven years in the proverbial desert, but The Fast Camels are dashing out of the sands at one hell of a pace.

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The Fast Camels
The Fast Camels

After the disappointment of splitting up just before a big gig in 2007, lesser bands might have taken the hump, but instead the Glasgow line-up bided their time writing and recording.

Now their new album, Bedroom and Butterfly Dreams, is set to launch with a special show at Stereo on Friday, May 9, and the new songs are already going down a storm in Europe.

"We went down really well, people were really positive about the songs," says singer and guitarist Mark O'Connor, just back from the five-strong band's stint in Holland.

"It's so good to be playing again. It took a while for us to get to that stage but we're so looking forward to stuff. We feel it is a great body of work compared to what we had, we have put together a great set of songs.

"We felt we had to make this album perfect.

Since their last album, The Magic Optician in 2007, the band have faced ups and downs, losing out on the chance to be the only British band to perform at the 40th anniversary of the Monterey Pop Festival in Monterey, US, after the bass player left the band suddenly.

But Mark and fellow singer and guitarist Drew Sturgeon kept the dream alive, working on new material from Drew's flat in Rutherglen.

Now, with drummer and vocalist Joe Smith, bassist Andy Rennie and Allan McGarry on vocals and keyboard, they are back, stronger than ever, and are already working on a third album and a UK tour.

They launched their new website a few months ago and, for the first time, have a manager - Dutchman Jeroen Postma.

"It was a big knock at the time," explains Mark, 35.

"We had worked really hard to get to where we were and we were starting to get a lot of offers for gigs and it knocked us for six. We didn't see it coming and when he left it put us on the back foot so how do we move on from here.

"It took us a wee while to regroup and sort our stuff together."

Mark, who works in a bookshop in the city centre, says the band have come a long way since their first record.

"A lot of the songs contain a degree of dark humour taking the listener into a different world of the characters involved in the album," explains Mark.

"Different songs relate to different characters, like the first album.

"I feel we have progressed a lot as songwriters since the first album. I feel our lyrical content has got a lot stronger than it was in the previous album.

"The first album, we still really enjoy it and it's still really relevant, but the songwriting has come on a good bit since then."

Having tested out the new material on the European crowds, the band are readying themselves for a busy summer performing across the UK.

Last summer they launched the single 'Ken's Sad Vice' at Stereo and they are returning to the city venue to share the full album.

"We have played in Stereo a few times and I think it is just one of our favourite venues in Glasgow to play.

"It's a really cool place to play, it is industrial looking inside and its got a great sound.

"I'm really looking forward to playing the new songs. It is always hard to gauge how a song is going to go down if you have never played it live so when we were in Holland we were testing out the new album.

"It's good to test it out on an audience especially one that it's not your friends, it's people that don't know you.

"It was really good to test our stuff out on people to gauge what works and what doesn't.

"We are really buzzing about playing the new stuff and letting people know what we have been doing."

n Stereo, Renfield Lane, Glasgow, May 9, 7.30pm.Tickets £5 from www. tickets-scotland.com. For more about the band, visit www.thefastcamels.com

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