KILLIE BOYS TURN TO DIY

SCOTTISH band Fatherson might make an epic rock sound - but there's a DIY punk spirit underneath it all.

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The Kilmarnock group will celebrate releasing their long-awaited debut album I Am An Island at the Arches this weekend.

It's been a lengthy journey to releasing the record for the foursome, who first formed while in secondary school.

They've also financed the album themselves, without any record label support.

"The financial side of things has been the hardest part," explains Marc Strain, Fatherson's bassist.

"It's not the easiest thing in the world to release an album, especially when you want to do it right - we wanted to get it on the radio, in magazines and things like that, and doing that without a label can be hard.

"We're lucky that in Scotland we do big shows, so the record was partly funded by fans coming to shows and buying T-shirts, and we put all of that towards the album."

They also relied on roping in pals to help out anyway they could.

"The artwork for it was by a friend and my girlfriend's a photographer, so she took the picture for it," adds Marc.

"It's like there's been a big family helping us out. We're not a band that you'd immediately think DIY when you hear us, but we were working as hard as we could to make it the best record possible."

The results are impressive, but shouldn't surprise anyone who's followed Fatherson's progress over the past few years.

The band's strident rock is crammed with catchy melodies and huge, singalong tunes, which is why they've developed a fiercely loyal following.

That helped them sell out venues like the QMU and the Garage, despite being an unsigned act. For their album, the band - Marc, vocalist Ross Leighton, drummer Greg Walkinshaw and keyboardist Chris Beltran - wanted to capture the spirit of their live gigs.

"A lot of people had said that we sounded much bigger live than on the recordings, so we said let's make this album like we sound live, really big and loud, with a few quieter points as well," explains Marc.

"Dust was recorded in one take, at the end of a night. We did it with no editing, so it was important to still have that intimacy there, and then makes the other songs as big as we could."

The album has also helped the band make inroads outside Scotland, and they've been on the road down south several times in the past few months.

Yet it's not been an easy path for the group - they'd originally hoped to release I Am An Island last year, while plenty of their initial gigs further afield saw them pay their dues by performing before tiny crowds.

Marc insists the group's spirit remained intact, however. "We've been in this band, under various names, since the first year of secondary school, so it's been there for nearly half our lives," explains Marc.

"We've just always been in a band together, rehearsing and playing shows.

"The album process was pleasant, it wasn't easy but we weren't getting angry or stressing out over it - we have a lot of people around us who were helping us out, and making it was fun."

Some of those friendships were forged in gigs throughout Glasgow, and the city, and Scottish surroundings in general, have helped give the band's songs a sense of national identity.

"Ross sings about a lot of different things, and often doesn't tell us what they're about," laughs Marc.

"But the songs are quite Scottish, and the Glasgow music scene is a great place to be. There's a lot of awesome musicians about and good bands, and that gives you a bit of inspiration."

That means that tonight's gig in the Arches should serve as a celebration of where the band have been, and also where they're going next.

"We've had quite a few shows with lots of guests, like the previous Arches gig and an acoustic show at Tut's," says Marc.

"This will be more simple but effective - we've been touring a lot and we've got better.

"We're more comfortable now, and we've done a few big shows in Glasgow now, so it's ever so slightly less alien to do gigs in front of 500 people…"

l Fatherson, Arches, tonight, £10, 7pm

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