WOJTEK the Bear are a band who like to tell stories, and are, in fact, named after a great one.

Known as the ‘bear who fought against the Nazi’s’, Wojtek was a brown bear bought as a cub at a railway station by Polish soldiers. He moved crates of ammunition, ate cigarettes, drank beer with the soldiers and coffee in the mornings, and slept in the barracks on cold evenings. He even learned how to salute when greeted. After the war, he retired to live his life in Edinburgh Zoo and there is a statue of him in West Princes Street Gardens.

“When we were played on BBC6 Radio, Lauren Laverne spoke for about five minutes about Wojtek, and how her dad loved him and had pictures of him on his wall”, says Tam Killean, Wojtek the Bear’s frontman. “It was a really nice thing to hear.

Evening Times:

Wojtek the Bear is a Glasgow four-piece currently building as much support from the Scottish independent music as the real bear did in the war.

Signed to Scottish Fiction after the Inverness Expo-North Festival in 2017 and following on from their 2018 album ‘a talent for being unreasonable’, the band are taking the unusual decision to follow up the album with a four-single EP, to be collected on a limited edition 10” vinyl released in November 2019.

“The first album went really well, and we’re really happy with it. The release date of another big album has a lot of noise around it, and it’s hard to keep yourself in people’s minds for another year.

READ MORE:

Fontaines DC talk about Celtic FC after playing TRNSMT

“We decided to release some singles across the year instead. It’s worked well so far, we’ve had some good coverage.”

The band have worked with acclaimed producer Jamie Savage on the new singles, who has also worked with the likes of the Twilight Sad and RM Hubbert. ‘a long wait for bad news’ is a song about the ever-increasing connected and online world. Music is being made differently these days with the likes of smartphones and Spotify, and half the battle is swimming against the current of mainstream tides.

“Streaming has really influenced how songs are written now: you have to write to the chorus within the first 20 seconds or people will skip on. Calvin Harris is really good at getting the chorus in early, and the hook lodged in people’s heads.

Evening Times:

“It hasn’t influenced the way that we write. We are trying to write pop songs, but we aren’t doing it in that horrible, mathematical way.”

Wojtek the Bear have their roots firmly planted in Glasgow, absorbing all that the Scottish music scene has to offer. Tam sings in his Glaswegian accent about the things he sees and the people he meets.

READ MORE:

TRNSMT musicians were great - it's the fans who need to learn some manners

“It’s just about being authentic”, Tam says. “When I hear people in Scotland singing in an American drawl it really makes me cringe.

“When I was younger I used to try and sing like Noel Gallagher – it must have sounded ridiculous, a wee guy from Wishaw trying to sing like a Mancunian.

“I got older and realised that it was better to just be myself.”

“I live in Anniesland and love how close it is to Loch Lomond.

READ MORE:

The 1975 in Glasgow: details about Summer Sessions show

“I love to go there and take inspiration from just walking about – I write everywhere from the city centre or Loch Lomond or Pollok park.”

The band have a number of live dates planned for the remainder of the summer, including an appearance at The Boaty Weekender, Belle & Sebastian’s festival cruise in Barcelona on August 8 which will also features the likes of Mogwai, Camera Obscura, and Teenage Fanclub.

READ MORE:

Sticking together: 1990s duo Shakespears Sister back on the road

“The Boaty Weekender is a festival which is basically perfect for us”, says Tam.

“If we got to curate a festival it would be this one; every artist we love and take inspiration from are on that line up.”

In September, the band is returning to the crowd they know best with a date at Glasgow’s Hug & Pint.

“It sounds like a cliché but we’ve played all over and we know that Glasgow has the best crowd.

“They’re not scared to let you know when they like you and when they don’t.

“You know where your song sits, and that’s what it’s about.”

lThe Boaty Weekender cruise, August 8-12, Barcelona.