‘Gie it laldy’ – a common Glaswegian expression loosely translated as ‘do it with gusto and vigour!’ Baby Strange seem to epitomise this motto, giving all they’ve got and always striving for more. Having cut their teeth playing house parties and haphazard gigs in rundown pubs, the Glaswegian trio have paid their dues and are now swiftly working their way up the ranks. Following recent tours with The Men, Palma Violets and Swim Deep, these three lads are now eager to have their name at the top of the bill.
Standing firmly on their own six legs Baby Strange sought for new, built on a cynical perspective their menacingly energetic aesthetic is fed by an intense ambition. The blueprint to their sound can be broken down two-fold – lyrically, it’s quintessentially British snide social commentary, musically it’s high octane, confrontational vivacity reminiscent of US garage rock (think Blasted Canyons, Cheap Time, Bass Drum of Death), together it forms a no frills sound which squares up to you, unafraid to speak it’s mind. Hardened by a disenchantment with the stagnation he sees around him, lead singer and guitarist Johnny Madden spits out each vowel, with a Gillespie-esque Glaswegian slur. It’s the potential soundtrack to a James Kelman novel, an angst-ridden narrative on love, life and everything in between.
Alex James Taylor: Glasgow has always had a flourishing music scene and alongside bands such as The Amazing Snakeheads, Paws and Halfrican you seem to be part of a nascent group of bands there. Do you feel part of a scene?
Johnny Madden: Yeah I mean I wouldn’t say we’re part of a specific scene as such, and I think that’s quite a good thing. It’s strange how there’s bands such as Paws and Snakeheads and people try put us in the same category, but no, we love all these bands but I wouldn’t particularly use the word scene. There’s a lot of garage-rock bands around at the minute in Glasgow which is great, I think it’s just what it is and that’s that, I don’t like to have labels attached to it.
AJT: Glasgow tends to breed bands built on a pessimism and frustration, what is it about the city?
JM: Yeah, bands from Glasgow definitely tend to have a certain realism about them, it’s a pretty harsh city which is often reflected in its bands such as The Jesus and Mary Chain. Glasgow bands speak their mind, it’s a place which can really affect your sound and is definitely a key influence for us.
AJT: You’re being hailed as ‘the next big thing’ appearing on many ‘ones to watch’ lists, do you thrive under this pressure?
JM: It’s nice to see that you’re being appreciated for what you’re doing, but I wouldn’t say that It’s affecting us really, we’re still doing it the way we want to, I don’t think someone writing about us will ever change our songs or sound but it’s always great to hear positive reviews. We do feel a slight pressure from it but we love it as it really spurs us on.
AJT: You have gone from odd gigs here and there to supporting the likes of Palma Violets and The Men on UK tours, have these extensive touring schedules been a learning curve for you?
JM: One hundred percent, when we started we were just doing one off shows and parties, unannounced flats and that sort of stuff. That first tour with Palma Violets really showed us how they do it, I think for the first two shows we were a little bit timid but after watching them we picked up some things. By the time we toured with The Men we’d really improved our live set and it was great being on the road with them.
AJT: So you’re ready for your own headline tour now?
JM: Yeah absolutely, I can’t wait. We’ve planned a UK tour for the end of May and we’re really excited about it. We’ve been waiting to do our own headline tour for so long but just wanted to wait for the right time. So that people actually come see us. We thought about doing it last year but didn’t really fancy playing to empty rooms.
AJT: Your songs are often built on a dark scepticism; in Pure Evil you repeat “tired of my generation” what is this frustration in reference to?
JM: When we wrote that song we were getting sick of our own lifestyles and people we were surrounded by at that time, so the frustration is really focused on that. Just doing the same boring stuff every single week, the same parties, not going to bed and just doing the same shit things every single week. So we said to each other, let’s stop doing this, yet everyone else carried on so we gained an outside perspective and were angry at ourselves for wasting so much time with all that shit and boring lifestyles.
AJT: You take a very DIY approach, recording your own songs, doing your own artwork and videos…
JM: Yeah, we love it, doing our own posters, videos and everything. I think at first it was more a financial necessity because we had nothing but we still love doing it now, we love creating our own posters because we get a buzz seeing them, the same buzz we get from our music.
AJT: When it comes to recording your own music how have you learnt the recording process?
JM: Well at college I learnt little bits and bobs about how to record and things, it’s weird though, I learnt more after college than I did when I was actually there. Once I left me and Connor started to record things and learn more about the recording process, just messing around with sounds and trying to create something different. I think when bands do it by the book sometimes it can become very predictable and just sound like everything else as everyone is using the same techniques and processes. I’ve always found it more interesting to use different techniques to get unusual sounds, I want to create something different and unique.
AJT: You have a new single coming out in June, Distance Yourself, what’s it about?
JM: It’s a really noisy rock song, just what we like. It’s in similar vein to Pure Evil really. It’s about this friend who always gets into fights at bars and never knows why, but we all know that it’s because he’s a cheeky cunt. So it’s about him blaming everyone else when really he needs to start looking at himself. I’m sure everyone knows someone like that who always starts fights and then during the fight they’re nowhere to be seen.
AJT: Can we expect an album soon?
JM: We’re half way through recording our first album, and we’re going to put out our first single from that album on the first of June. We’re going to try and tour as much as we can, we’ve got a real hunger for touring and love being on stage so we plan on playing as many gigs as possible really. There’s bands who sound better on record and who love being in the studio but I think we’re at our best when we’re on stage playing shows.