Scotland might be best known for its medieval castles, scenic lakes, and folkloric tales like the infamous Loch Ness Monster affectionately called “Nessy” by the locals, but Scotland has most definitely been keeping pace with contemporary times and sometimes has even been the ones to watch for when it comes to the direction of modern music. In the ‘80s, Scotland’s Big Country emerged, followed by Wet Wet Wet in the ‘90s, and Franz Ferdinand in early 2000’s. Now, Scotland’s homeland has a new face with a pop punk brightness, that of EightPagePullout featuring Rikki Durrent on lead vocals and guitar, David Anderson on lead guitarist and backing vocals, David Adams on bass guitar and backing vocals, and Gavin Hunter on drums. The foursome released an EP entitled Stand Up on March 17, 2008, and there has been no sitting down for these guys since then.
How did the band get together? What did you set your sights on when you first started out?
EightPagePullout: We came together after splitting from several high school bands. Rikki (singer, guitarist) and David (guitarist) were looking for a new bassist and drummer. Coincidentally, Dave (bassist) and Gav (drummer) were looking for a singer and guitarist. As we were all relocating from our small coastal town, down to Glasgow, we put two and two together and came up with 8... Page Pullout! As we were very new to the Glasgow scene, our initial sights were set on something quite achievable, playing live music down in Glasgow and booking regular gigs. At this point we didn’t realise the popularity or market for the style of music that we enjoyed playing. After a number of Glasgow based shows our aims and aspirations for the band grew and we set off for the next milestone... going on tour.
Who came up with the name EightPagePullout? Why did everyone like this name?
EightPagePullout: Dave (bassist) saw it one day in the paper... "FREE 8 PAGE PULLOUT." He then went home that night and noticed on a poster on his wall it said 8 Page Pullout... is that Fate or is that Fate?? Plus everyone thinks they've heard of you before, they actually have, we like to work on subliminal levels.
What was the band’s first original song? What inspired the melody and the song lyrics?
EightPagePullout: Well as we were just starting out and quite young our first song, “Ginger,” was a song very heavily influenced by Green Day and Blink 182. The lyrics don’t mean anything really and were, in fact, just good sounds and syllables that fitted in with the melody. It was quite a naive way to write and it didn’t take us long to realise this. Ironically, “Ginger” is still a huge crowd pleaser, so you’ll find us still slipping it into the odd set list!
Is songwriting a collaborative effort or does one or two people in the band write all the songs and the others take direction from them? What is the song-writing process like?
EightPagePullout: Yeah it is a very collaborative effort, we usually work from a starting block, a riff, a melody and one or two of us will start to work on a basic structure around this. We'll then play the songs through in a basic form, and work on the dynamics of the songs, where we want it to go and the feeling of the song. Rikki will work on the lyrics and melody, as this can often shape the song, and we also do some work on the computer for the arrangements, recording basic demo's and constantly listening back to the song to gain a feel for it. Some of the songs come straight from jamming at practice. We'll play sections in a loop and try different melodies over that. We all have an input into the songwriting, and if one of us is not happy with a particular part, we'll change it. We have a feeling in the band of "speak or forever hold your peace" and we're good at letting each other know when something doesn’t feel right! It works for us, writing like this, as we have differing influences and styles and it allows us to bring these to the table. We're very open in our songwriting and it’s an enjoyable thing for us to do, nothing is a hassle and we like to create music for music’s sake, playing songs we would like to hear.
How long did it take the band to write the 5-tracks on their latest EP, Stand Up? Where did the ideas for these songs come from?
EightPagePullout: Overall, we took around 4 months to write and record it all. Rikki wanted the lyrics to have a positive outlook, portraying our feelings at the time. This, we felt, was also the feeling of the music we had written. Although there was an overall theme to the EP, each song itself also had a message to give. For example, (the title track) “Stand Up” tells us that if you want anything to happen in your life, you need to stand up and go for it. Not just wait for it to happen. All the songs have a positive outlook on their subject with the exception of track 3, “For King and Country” which just questions war and the reasons behind it. We felt that as we sat there watching the news, it became impossible not to feel some sense of social responsibility.
What recording studio did you use? Was recording the album more difficult than you expected or less? What were some things about a recording studio that you did not know about until you actually had to record in one?
EightPagePullout: We opted to record the EP in our home studio. We began by recording a demo in our own studio then realized that after we’d spent so long on the songs we wanted to use these as the final recordings. We found that as we had all the time we wanted to spend on these songs, we were free to experiment a lot more and actually came up with a few ideas in songs that were unusual for us. Working in your own studio though can really test your self-discipline and you have to force time constraints as a band, otherwise it could take a very long time!
How did Lockjaw Records discover you? What are some positive attractions about going with this label?
EightPagePullout: Once we recorded the title track “Stand Up,” we sent this off to a range of record labels. Lockjaw Records were one of the labels to express a strong interest in what they heard. We then sent off the rest of the tracks as we recorded them. We felt that as they were an independent label who’d been running for over 10 years, based in the UK with worldwide distribution, they offered us great security. It was a great move to make as they also have an associated publicity company, Progressive Publicity that opened up a whole range of contacts to us. When we actually got the chance to meet Jack and Jools from Lockjaw, we realized that they were some of the nicest people we’d ever met. They also have a great roster of bands such as Tribute to Nothing, Device, This Familiar Smile, No Kilter, and the Day I Snapped, some of which we've toured and become great friends with. An independent label evokes this great feeling of ‘family’ amongst your “label buddies.”
Who made the artwork for the album? Has does the image on the album cover represent the band and the songs on the album?
EightPagePullout: We went on the hunt for our artwork. We asked a number of our Art School Student friends as well as looking about on Myspace for potential artists. We came across an American based artist who goes by the name of Sheesh (www.myspace.com/akacaleb). We approached him with the idea of producing a piece for us based on the EP’s general theme of optimism. We then looked at the pieces he has on his site. We liked a number of them, but opted for the cover with the boy and his one good or positive thought being portrayed by the leaf at the end of the branch. This was then used as a basis for the whole website, merchandise and publicity photo shoot. This was the first time we had gone with a complete theme for a new release, and we felt it really gave us a cohesion with the optimism theme running through the songs and the feeling of the band at the time.
Whose music is popular in Scotland and is the band influenced by the music being played In the UK or do you find inspiration outside? Who are some artists that you listen to today?
EightPagePullout: Well we are huge fans of Idlewild and Biffy Clyro, both big Scottish bands. There is a great inherent sense of being the underdog when you come from Scotland, which follows through to the music and means you want your “local Scottish” bands to do well. There is a great scene here in Glasgow, in particular and we would suggest people give a listen to our friends ‘DBSixtyEight’.
What clubs have you played in the UK? Have you played any shows in Ireland or Northern Ireland, or in Europe? What have the audiences been like? Are audiences critical of you or very receptive?
EightPagePullout: We’ve played a variety of clubs around the UK such as the Carling Academy in Glasgow, to the Underworld in Camden London. We’ve yet to cross the water to Ireland, but we have journeyed to Paris a couple of times and on those occasions we’ve found the European crowd to be very receptive. The Europeans appear to be very passionate about their music and seem to be less bothered by the fashion and image stereotypes often associated with music of this genre.
Is EightPagePullout the first band that you have played in, or have you played in other bands before? If the latter one, how is being in EightPagePullout different from those other bands?
EightPagePullout: We all played in several high school bands, but they tended to be cover bands. With EightPagePullout we really enjoyed playing and writing our tunes and only then did we really believe that we could make it as a band. When we all started playing together everything ‘clicked’ and this has always really driven us forward, a feeling we had not had in previous bands.
At what age did you start playing music? Did you take music lessons in school or are you self-taught?
EightPagePullout: Gavin, our drummer, is the only one who has taken lessons for his instrument. He has been going from an early age, and it shows. The rest of us are all self taught and began in our early teens. We started to pick up Green Day and Offspring tunes by ear, however as much as we love those bands, it didn’t take us long to appreciate the incredible satisfaction you get by writing and playing our own tunes.
Did your family approve or object to you being in a band? What have their responses been like? Are you the black sheep in the family or the adored son?
EightPagePullout: Initially, when we were just playing as a hobby, our parents were more than happy to drive us about to the gigs and practices. As we became more serious, our parents wanted to ensure we completed our education to give us a good back up plan. They generally just want us to be happy, so if that’s playing in the band, they fully support us. However when our first student loan cheques came through, they were quickly spent on new guitars and amplifiers. We felt it best to keep those things hidden!
How has the Internet played a role in getting exposure for the band and your music? Where can fans find you online?
EightPagePullout: It’s been great to use the likes of Myspace for publicity and to reach a new potential audience all over the world. It also helped us secure our record deal. It makes worldwide distribution far more feasible and efficient too. We appreciate that the internet has been difficult to accommodate for the major record labels, but for a band looking to seek further publicity, the internet can only be a good thing. We have both a website (www.eightpagepullout.co.uk) and also a myspace (www.myspace.com.eightpagpeullout). However, we started out as a traditional live rock band, and still think that this is the way bands make a name for themselves. The internet can be a good tool for making people aware of the band although any publicity and promotion should be backed up with live shows. That’s where bands we love made their name, and it’s the one thing about music the internet can’t give you – bands live. That’s where you discover what a band is really like. As we said the internet is a fantastic tool, but that’s how it should be viewed – as a tool – not the be all and end all.
How has the UK press made you feel? Has it been a struggle to get their attention or have they been cheering you on and made room for you?
EightPagePullout: We first started to receive press back in 2003 with our first self-released EP ‘Voice Of Reason’. As we didn’t have the backing of anyone at this stage, we struggled to get their attention with a small feature in NME and a live review in Kerrang! being the fruits of our labour. Once we were signed, the publicity company did all the licensing with the press. We secured reviews for ‘Stand Up’ in all the major music publications and websites. The reviews were very positive and have helped to open a few doors for us here in the UK. We’re now hoping that we can build upon this for our next release in November. The industry in the UK can sometimes be quite hard on music of our style, and personal belief is key as not everyone will appreciated what you’re doing!
Now that the band has gotten the attention of the music media, does the band feel different when they play together? Have expectations for your live shows felt heavier or more intense or that you have to take your music more seriously than before, or has everything felt exactly as it did when you first started the band?
EightPagePullout: With the current level of media attention we are experiencing, we don’t feel any pressure as a band. We’ve taken steps to enhance our live shows and take them to the next level of professionalism. Now that we are a signed band, we feel more responsibility as a group and feel we have to be more professional. As it’s new to us, we’ve found it can be hard making the transition, but one we’re finding very exciting and a lot of fun, it brings the band closer together and provides a real focus. We would say that ‘getting signed’ has certainly sparked a substantial change in feeling from when we were just starting out as a band and there are pressures to be felt from trying to achieve a professional status, but we wouldn’t be doing the band if this was something we were not prepared to tackle.
Where was EightPagePullout’s first show? How did it go? Did you spend a lot of time practicing your material before the show, or did you improvise during the set?
EightPagePullout: Our first show was in our hometown, Oban, on the West coast of Scotland at the opening of a new skatepark. We had been playing together for about 2 months before the show and so we played a mix of original and covered material, thinking back, it was really good show actually! There was a great turnout for the opening of the skatepark and as this was a scene we were really into a lot of people hungout to watch us. The crowd really got into us, with the party continuing into the early hours!
Where would you like to go from here?
EightPagePullout: Well, we are currently writing songs for our next record, with the aim of recording in November. The aim is to record the next record with a top UK producer, who has recently worked with the likes of Funeral For A Friend and Kids In Glass Houses, to try and help raise our profile. Hopefully this will let us take the next step and reach an even wider audience and tour outside of the UK. Ideally, with there being such a large scene for our genre in the U.S., we would like to take our music over there and introduce ourselves to an entirely new crowd. The Warped Tour embodies everything we like about the American alternative music scene and as a result represents our biggest target.
In closing EightPagePullout gave a shout out: “We would like to express a big thank you to everyone at AbsolutePunk.net for showing us such great support. Much love, Keep Rockin! 8ppx.”
You can check out the band's video for "Stand Up" here.