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Ballboy - Interview

  by Tommy Gunnarsson

published: 23 / 11 / 2002

Ballboy - Interview


The Scottish group ballboy have just released their first “proper” album, 'A Guide To The Daylight Hours'. Gordon McIntyre, the frontman with the increasingly popular indiepop group, talks to Tommy Gunnarsson about it, critics, and touring America

It’s now three years Edinburgh’s finest, ballboy, released their debut EP, 'Silversuitsforastronauts', and during those years a lot of things have happened to this foursome. They have released four more fantastic EPs ('I hate Scotland', 'Girls are Better than Boys', 'All the Records on the Radio are Shite' and 'Where Do the Nights of Sleep Go To') ; a compilation CD, 'Club Anthems 2001' that contains the first three of those EPs, and finally their first “proper” album, 'A Guide To The Daylight Hours', which is available from your favourite record dealer now. All of these have come out on the Edinburgh label, SL Records. Two years ago, I interviewed ballboy’s singer, guitarist and main songwriter Gordon McIntyre for Pennyblackmusic, and we talked about the band's influences and its story up until that point. Now I felt that we needed to catch up and to see what has happened since last time… PB : It's been two years since I last spoke to you, and a lot has happened to ballboy. What are your impressions of the events of the past two years? GM : Everything has just built and built and improved for us. We have a full album, a live set that puts most bands to shame and songs we are very happy with. All is well and all is good with us right now. What happens next ? I don't know, but I'm excited to find out. PB : Two years ago you said that you had no album plans as SL Records couldn't afford it then, but now they apparently do. Have you received a lot of offers from other labels, and also maybe major labels? GM : Various things have happened with the band and the label over the past two years which meant that we could spend the time and money we needed to on an album. We are happy that the album we made is the one we wanted to make and nothing was forsaken because of finances or lack of time. As for offers and interest from other labels, this has been a recurring feature of our life as a band, but I think it's more important for us to decide what we want to do next, rather than let someone else make the decision for us. PB : If the success of ballboy continues, do you think you can still keep your day jobs? GM : No. I think it's nearly time for me to give up the day job. I would be happier making music each day. PB : How are things going in the US for ballboy? GM : We have just returned from a 5 week tour and it was a wonderful experience for us. We were very warmly received, made lots of new friends and will return soon I hope. PB : When checking out services like Soul Seek, there are a lot of ballboy songs available as MP3-files for download. What are your feelings about this? Does it annoy you ? GM : Not at all. People will always share music. Usually people like to hear a taster before they buy something. In the long run it benefits bands to have people hear their music. More people will buy it as a result. I reckon very few people have MP3s of bands that they really like, without also owning some of the CDs. PB : You have been played a lot on John Peel's Radio 1 show ever since the first EP. Do you think that has made a big difference to ballboy's career? GM :Absolutely. John Peel allows thousands of people to hear music made without the guiding hand of the corporations. He is an outlet for music that people love, but would not get to hear otherwise. Without him we would have died, or become a faceless corporate band. PB : Has your song writing changed? Are the whole band involved in this process or are you the main songwriter? GM : The process has stayed the same. I write all the lyrics, the song structure and the vocal melody. Everyone else writes their own parts and we work on it in rehearsal to incorporate different ideas people might have. There is a clear vision behind it, but all the members of the band are vital to the way the songs sound. PB :When reading reviews of your records, you seldom see a bad review. Have you ever got one? And how would you react if someone thought you were the scum of the Earth ? GM : I enclose the following from the NME: Ballboy: All The Records On The Radio Are Shite Oh are they, Ballboy? Are they really? And your impression of Showaddywaddy farting through Belle And Sebastian’s trumpet is some sort of musical Colossus Of Rhodes, I suppose? When they’re not busy being the most indiely Scottish indie band in Scotland Ballboy are primary school teachers, which explains why ‘All The Records…’ appears to have been knocked together by six-year-olds in a Let’s All Make Something Like Trembling Blue Stars class. Easily danced to by your dad and ashamed of its own chorus, the only difference between Ballboy and the music they sneer at is that they’ll never come within a quadzillion miles of anybody’s radio. Unless you can get Mimsy Scotpop Shamblebums FM-. Or John Peel, inevitably. Mark Beaumont How do I react? Well this one made me laugh. It all seemed very vitriolic. Overall, a really good review makes me happy for about a day at the most. A really bad one makes me very angry for about 5 minutes at the most. Life is way to important to waste it listening to the bitter moanings of the man from the NME. No matter what you do, someone will hate it so you just have to make sure that you are happy with it. After that you cannot lose. PB : When you write your lyrics, do you borrow from other sources like television, books and other songs? GM : I don't know about TV, but books, poems and films definitely. There is a little bit of Robert Frost and a little bit of Stephen Crane poetry on the new album. I've never borrowed from another song (not knowingly anyway, but I guess it must creep in somewhere). My favourite source is the things people say in conversation. PB : You seem to hate a lot, at least you get that impression when listening to some of your songs. Are you a hateful person or do you do that just to be provocative? GM : I do hate a lot of things. There are a lot of injustices in the world that would be easy to fix if some people could live with a little less power or money. I love a great many things too and I am a very positive person. There is nothing in any of our songs which is provocative for no reason. PB : Thank you

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Ballboy - Interview

Ballboy - Interview

Ballboy - Interview

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