WORDS: Alex Caslano
In some ways we feel sorry for hotly-tipped Glasgow three-piece, Prides. As an emerging act with a lot of weight behind them, we’d imagine the press requests are piling up. Unfortunately it’s part and parcel of being the ‘next big thing’, but while answering the same questions every week is no doubt tedious, it’s a good indication of momentum, and that's something they have in seemingly endless supply.
Having formed in 2013, Stewart, Lewis and Callum have wasted no time in getting their music out there, taking their 80s tinged synth-pop from King Tuts to Reading & Leeds in the space of a month (not to mention a wee date in New York at the CMJ Music Marathon). It’s perhaps indicative of the fast-moving times we live in, helped along by social media and instant accessibility; but having just released their debut EP and booked their place at the legendary SXSW, we can tell you it’s also indicative of substance.
Early single ‘Out Of The Blue’, an emphatic slice of emotional power-pop, was playlisted by Radio 1 last September and they’ve since enjoyed a handful of sessions at the station. With their new EP ‘The Seeds You Sow’ offering the same uplifting energy and mainstage arrangement (check ‘Messiah’ for the best example of this), it’s not surprising they’re getting some hugely positive attention. Following in the footsteps of Chvrches who were easily one of 2013’s biggest success stories, they’re also returning focus to Glasgow’s live scene, giving other artists the exposure and motivation they need. It’s a journey which is only just getting started, but already it feels like an epic.
Check out the video to ‘The Seeds You Sow’ below, as well as EP track ‘Cold Blooded’ and early single ‘Out Of The Blue’:
We also had the chance to chat with vocalist Stewart Brock, talking 80’s anthems, invading America and why touring has become so important:
SG: Ok, so we’re sure you’ve had to answer this question a million times already, but seeing as you’re still a relatively new act, can you tell us how Prides formed and when you started making music together?
Stewart: Myself and Lewis have been in bands together for almost ten years now. We drafted in Callum originally to help us play live as we were functioning as a two-piece at the time. Gradually he became more involved in the writing process and we decided to become Prides.
SG: We’ve been lucky enough to hear the ‘Seeds You Sow EP’ in full and it’s sounding rather huge (especially through a good pair of monitors); are you a sucker for the big synth acts of the 80s? There seems to be a real anthemic quality to your sound – we can already hear screaming fans pelting the chorus of ‘Messiah’ back at you!
Stewart: Absolutely. I grew up on a lot of those types of bands. Tears for Fears, Roxy Music, Genesis, Talk Talk; they all had a big influence on the kind of music I wanted to make. I really liked that bands in the 80's weren't afraid to be a little overblown. There are so many great anthems from that era; how can you not want to scream 'Don't You Forget About Me' along with Simple Minds? Or 'You're The Voice' along with John Farnham?
SG: If we get a bit techy and talk about production for a moment, do you have certain processes for getting down the foundation of a track? Are you using software programs and writing melodies on your laptop for example?
Stewart: Lewis does all our recording and production from his home studio using Logic. We like a lot of the Native Instruments synth plugins and are big fans of Effectrix by Sugar Bytes. Vocally I work from the piano and then record with Lewis.
SG: Obviously there’s an electronic aspect to your music, are any of you into the more club-based stuff? Have you been known to get a bit silly down the Sub Club or anything like that?
Stewart: We all like some club stuff to a varying degree. I'm a big fan of Rustie, and Duke Dumont, and we love the new Gorgon City/MNEK track, and the new Todd Terje. Of the three of us Lewis is definitely the most aware of that scene. He actually worked in Sub Club for a few years.
SG: It seems like there’s a really nurturing and supportive atmosphere for new bands and artists in Glasgow at the moment, and of course we’re sure like us you were glad to see Chvrches do so well; do you recognise a sense of community and enthusiasm for making music in the city?
Stewart: The history of music in Glasgow is undeniable, and there's certainly a community here unlike any other that I've known. Not being from Glasgow originally I was really surprised that bands and artists are so supportive of each other, and it's actually a really nice thing to be a part of.
SG: You’re heading out to SXSW next month followed by a short but fairly extensive US tour; how does it feel to be heading out to the states so early in your career? Pretty crazy considering your debut EP just dropped!
Stewart: Yeah we've been massively fortunate. It feels like there's a real British Invasion happening in music over there just now, which is perfect timing for us. We've had a lot of support from the states from quite early on so it'll be amazing to get over there and see how people react.
SG: Of course, you played some fairly high profile gigs in 2013 including the BBC Introducing Stage at Leeds; did you spend a lot of time getting the live element of the band right and is touring something which you regard as a priority?
Stewart: Absolutely. Being a studio-based band it took us a while to really nail down how to make it work in a live environment. We all have a history of playing in punk/rock bands, and we wanted to keep that kind of energy and intensity while adding those electronic elements. Playing live is really important to us, and definitely something that we want to do more and more of. You have to be able to connect with people, and the best way to do that is being right in front of them.
SG: Looking forward, we’re exceptionally excited to see what 2014 brings for you and it seems like everything is really picking up momentum; how do you see the rest of the year panning out? Will there be a few more EPs before an album?
Stewart: Well we've got the EP release planned, loads of touring, probably another EP before the summer, get ourselves along to some festivals and see where it leads. But yeah, we're planning for 2014 to be a good one.