Tuesday, December 11, 2012

WRAPPING UP 2012 with The Douglas Firs

For their second full-length release “The Furious Sound” (see yesterday’s post), Edinburgh’s The Douglas Firs apply accident as much as design. Their excellent ‘gloom-pop’ album inspired by the East Lothian witch trials of 1590 was recorded in locations related to the persecution: South Leith Church, the parish of David Lindsay, who led the witch hunt on behalf of James I & IV as well as the church at Old Kirk Green, North Berwick and the dungeons at Tantallon Castle, East Lothian where the witches practised their sermons. However: “many parts of the record were improvised, inspired by the locations used. No fortuitous sounds leaking onto the tracks were excluded.

Despite there being a spate of witch trial related music this year (and all of it excellent), The Douglas Firs are originals not followers: “The Douglas Firs are a band fearlessly doing their own thing, with as much 1960s psychedelia as 21st-century indie-folk, as many post-rock episodes as ambient soundscapes. Perhaps only The Phantom Band are pushing genre envelopes in quite the same way” says The Herald; “Belle and Sebastian on a spirit-quest” says The List. Or maybe the best of this bunch of comparators is from Subba-Cultcha “...like Midlake on a bad trip rather than chirping merrily about cedars and Aunt Roseline”.

Aberdonian Neil Insh, now living and making music in Edinburgh, is the driving force behind The Douglas Firs and answered some questions on his year (very promptly and well ahead of schedule) at the end of last month.

What I will remember most about 2012 is...
That Zlatan overhead kick was pretty memorable, from last week.

What should be forgotten about 2012...
Coming from someone who hates memories, this is a tough one. I'm going to have to say The Weeknd. and I don't even mean, 'the weekend'. I mean the dreadful artiste, The Weeknd. I had a disturbing streaming experience with his music a few weeks ago.

The best gig we played was...
We played two gigs this year. I'll opt for our gig with Michael Anguish and Iliop, at Old St Paul's.

The best gig I saw was...
I haven't seen any gigs this year, so by default I'll have to opt for Michael Anguish and Iliop, at Old St Paul's.

A record from 2012 that will be still be played in 10 years time?
He hasn't actually released his second album, yet, but Green Gerry has leaked out some teasers. I've been listening to everything else he has done for over 2 years, so that's pretty good going. a quarter of the way there.

Overlooked in 2012?
Green Gerry.

And what can we look forward to in 2013 from The Douglas Firs?
I want to record an album in as small a space as possible, but maximise the amount of people involved. So far, I have 8 people interested. And in my head, it sounds like the Velvet Underground playing spectral samba.

Sounds amazing. And more of that accident and design at play. But as evidenced by both “Happy As A Windless Flag” or “The Furious Sound”, The Douglas Firs are more than capable of pulling off ambitious plans. Bring on the spectral samba.

The third (I think) and final gig for The Douglas Firs is this Friday at Augustine United Church when they play live to launch the new album supported by Snake Until Listen, Lamplighter and Something Beginning With L.

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