Rockness preview

Rockness is but mere days away, so here’s what some of this year’s acts have to say about playing the festival…


As one of the more home-grown(ish) acts on this year’s Rockness bill, do you feel the pressure to do the country proud?

Jill O’Sullivan (vocals/guitar/violin): Uh oh, I hope so! I always have a disadvantage because the minute I say, ‘hi everyone’ people take me for a loud, annoying Yankee (even though I was born in Belfast) BUT Gregor (the Scot in our three-piece) sometimes gets shy and doesn’t speak on stage. But yeah, we live in Glasgow and it’s our home so if we could help make the country proud then that would be awesome.

What will you give the festival that other bands won’t?

Some amazing jokes that start out, ‘an Irishman, Scotsman and Welshman walk into a bar…’

Will you be on the look-out for Nessie?

Always, I used to be scared of Nessie as a kid because even in the States we knew of this creature and made up our own versions for Lake Michigan, but if I see any suspicious looking humps on the loch then I’ll grab a tablecloth and try and have a picnic on its back.

You’ve got a new album out. Why should people take the time to check it out?

They should check it out because we put our blood, sweat and tears into ‘Spitting Daggers’ and we are immensely happy with how it turned out. Hopefully people will give it a listen and be able to feel the emotions that went into making it.

If you had a Sparrow and the Workshop workshop, what would be in the workshop? And how many times can you say workshop in one workshopped sentence?

Van Gogh, Billy Crystal and Curious George (that’s who people say we look like, but since this is a hypothetical question, let’s pretend we got those three into the workshop). Curious George would be throwing bananas at Van Gogh and Billy Crystal would be cracking jokes about it to his imaginary crowd of clay people. And you can say workshop as many times as you want if you say it into a loop pedal. Just stop when people start throwing bananas at the stage.

What’s planned for the band for the rest of 2011?

We’ve got a UK tour beginning May 23rd to coincide with the release of our album and, apart from Rockness, we’re also playing Secret Garden Party, London Calling, and Willowman festival. We’re also hoping to tour Europe in September/October.

And finally, sparrows or blackbirds?

Black Sparrows!!!


You’re playing Rockness on 11 June. Why should people take the time to check you out at the festival?

Coley (bass): Because we’re gonna smash it. We love playing up there, it’s our first Scottish festival and it’s gonna be special. We’re on Saturday afternoon on the 2nd stage, don’t miss it.

Will you be off looking for Nessie at any point over the weekend?

I’m into all that stuff, ghosts and beasts and that, and I reckon Nessie will be a big fan of the band. We’ve just finished recording our second album and the accommodation for the studio hasn’t been finished yet so the record label hired a cottage for us. Its definitely haunted, Lee was seeing a grey lady in the night.

What would be the one thing you would advise festival goers NOT to do at a festival?

Don’t take loads of drugs to sell, and then scoff them all yourself.

Is Scotland a place you know and love well?

Even since the first time we played there we felt a good connection with the Scottish people. They are without doubt the closest to Scousers I’ve come across on our travels. We have recently just toured the UK with The View and then sold out our own show at King Tut’s. I have to say the Scottish crowds were by far the most mental and up for it on the tour.

How would you describe your band’s sound in three words?

Epic cinematic rock.

Wikipedia says you once got into a spot of bother with armed police after they confused your band name for a group of gangsters. Please tell us more.

Gangs of Scousers talking about guns (even though it was Sound of Guns) worries alot of people… basically we were doing a gig in Wakefield and we went the pub after sound check to watch an England match. A few of our fans were in there and we chatted about the band and stuff, the barmaid heard Scousers talking about guns (ie Sound of Guns) and rang the police. By the time we got back to our bus the police had surrounded us with guns and told us to come out with our hands up. As soon as they seen us they pissed themselves laughing knowing it was a false alarm. They still asked for a guest list though, PC Plod +1.

And finally, you’re from Liverpool, so it’d be funny if you didn’t like the Beatles. Do you like the Beatles?

One of the lads prefers the Stones, but the rest of us like of the Beatles. ‘Abbey Road’ is my personal favourite, thinking about it now I’m not sure why but when I get back from a night out I always seem to throw it on and listen to McCartney’s medley.


On a scale of one to twelve, how excited are you to be playing Rockness?

In the absence of anything witty, thought-provoking, or informative to say – 12.

Why should people take the time to come check you out at the festival?

Maybe to get out of the rain?

What one item should a festival goer never go without?

These have been my favourite things to have at festivals: good coffee, good whiskey, tinned sardines, an all in one waterproof bright orange road-diggers uniform for when it rains, walking stick – for when it’s extra muddy (sounds daft but you really can get places a lot quicker)

Is Scotland a place that holds many memories for you?

This will be my third or fourth solo tour of Scotland. I much prefer it to touring in England – warmer welcomes, better food, more ferry trips!

How would you describe your sound in three words?

Improving very slowly.


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