Numbers and Letters

Numbers and Letters: Life’s a picnic

NUMBERS AND LETTERS/Various venues across Scotland/11 Oct – 16 Oct

You’re playing a number of shows in Scotland this week. Why should people come down and check you out?

(Katie Hasty, frontlady): This is Numbers And Letters‘ overseas debut, so we’re beyond excited and I think it will show. We are debuting T-shirts, which we’ve never done before; we also have a pay-what-you-want CD model, so you can get a CD for free. But importantly, we fancy ourselves as people persons – we like to talk to the audience, before during and after. The tunes are assorted, so like them as you will; but we’ll clink your glass afterward regardless. James Apollo is also threatening to tear off his shirt mid-song.

Is Scotland a place that holds many memories for you?

It does. I studied at the University of Edinburgh for a number of months during the fall and winter of 2003, when I was 20. While I don’t remember much ‘studying’, I was formally introduced to scotch and varietal gin. People here are incredibly friendly, they like talking about where they’re from. I also remember war protests and the Isle of Skye very keenly.

Are Numbers and Letters best heard live, or on record?

Our upcoming full-length recording is going to be phenomenal, but I write a lot of songs that involve death, water and death by water. So listening to the album is – forgive the pun – more fully immersive. Live, we play those same songs but between them I take time out to make fun of such seriousness.

You’ve got Admiral Fallow’s Joe Rattray on bass for the tour. How did that come about?

We shared a bill with Admiral Fallow when they made their way through New York, and it was just one big fat love-in. I just love their album so much. Their manager has been an incredible force in helping to get us over here, and Joe’s playing made such an impression. We’re very lucky to have him on.

You also let people have your CDs for free. Is that a good business model?

For immediate return: certainly not. But I’d rather people hear our music and pay nothing than having the cost of a CD barring them from checking it out. We’ve allowed people to pay what they want for more than 800 CDs now; I hand-make every cover for more production value, to have a connection to the physical object. The music ‘business’ has lost that lovin’ feeling, so I like to bring it back in a teeny, tiny way. And I hope when we finish our album, folks will come back around, and that’s where the ‘model’ works.

Outside of the band, you’re a music journalist. Ignoring any nepotism, how would you critique your music in one sentence?

Numbers And Letters has a nice, neutral name.’

And finally, what are best – letters or numbers?

I’m a numbers kind of girl, myself. Preferably 4 and 7.


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