Up-and-coming grunge band Closet Organ open up about their career so far.
Glasgow quartet Closet Organ dropped their last double a-side single 'Smells Like Lynx Africa / Fat & Die: An Autobiography' last month through Cow Tongue Taco Records, and now they're planning a mini-tour this summer. They chatted to us about making it as a Glasgow band and where their band name came from.
1. For those who may be new to your music, how best would you describe your sound?
We play scuzzy grunge music, with vocals that you will either love or hate.
2. What challenges have you faced in the music industry so far?
Glasgow is a city that is saturated with bands and live music. On one hand that's great, but on the other hand it means that you have to wade through piles of s**te to find anything good - and people get sick of it. It's far too easy to end up playing the same old venues with the same old promoters who don't really care about anything but cash and never do anything else.
As a band, we're not especially 'cool' and never have been, which has meant that getting any kind of interest from industry folks (be that press or otherwise) has been an exercise in futility.
3. How difficult would you say this career path is in terms of making a name for yourself?
Extremely. If you don't have the right image, or good connections, escaping the 'local trap' of the Glasgow music scene can be extremely difficult. There are plenty of stories about artists who have 'built up a following online' and become success stories, but realistically if you aren't prepared to whore yourself out and sell your dignity, that is pretty difficult to do.
That sounds pretty cynical, but it has just meant that we stick to doing our own thing, irrespective of what might mean that we were more commercially palatable to the usual Scottish music scene cliche. If you know that nobody will be interested anyway, it can actually be pretty freeing.
4. How important is it for you to have creative control over the work you produce?
On one hand it's extremely important. We have always had a fairly strong DIY approach to everything we do - from the music to merch to artwork. It would be cool to say that was down to some kind of deeply held ideological stance, but in reality it's largely been down to a lack of funds, as well as a distrust of other people.
That said... we are always open to making things with other folks, especially when they know far more than us. For example, we deliberately had someone new come in to record the drums for this single, and had the whole release mastered by Charlie Francis (Victorian English Gentlemens Club/REM/Future of the Left/etc) because we recognised how much that would add to the final thing.
5. Where do you draw influence and inspiration from for your work?
Growing up in the West of Scotland where you're supposed to be 'hard', and not meant to express any real feelings has meant there is a deep well of frustration and pent up angst to draw upon. Musically we are drawn to anything loud and defiant, so long as it seems 'authentic'. Whatever that means.
6. If you could collaborate with anybody going forward, who would you choose and why?
If we could get the cash together, we would love to record an album with Steve Albini. We have the utmost respect for him as an engineer, and the work he has done. I'm sure he would reject the 'collaborate' descriptor, but also suspect he would be able to capture the raw edge of the band that can be extremely difficult to get down on record a lot of the time.
7. Tell us a random, funny fact about you that not many people know.
The name Closet Organ is a play on words, about secret Billy Corgan fans: Closet (c)Organ.
8. Do you have definitive aims or goals for your career?
To call this a career would be a stretch. In our youth we joked about 'making it', but now we have far more modest aims. Realistically we just want to have the time and resources to make, record, and play music as much as possible. Our goal is really just to find our people - those who might be into the scuzzy kind of music that we play.
9. Where do you hope to be this time next year?
Lottery wins aside, next year it would be great to be in a position where we don't have to scrabble about for every gig from promoters who couldn't care less about who we are. Going on some decent tours with bands we admire would be ideal.
10. What should we expect from you in the coming weeks and months?
World domination. Failing that, we are setting off on a mini UK tour at the end of the Summer. Chances are we will kill each other after just a few hours in the van, so this could be the last chance you have to see us live.
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