Indie band The Frontiers talk about their origins, their progress and their future

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From left to right: Dylan, Keir, James and Ross (Credit: Black Ace Photography)

Ayrshire-based indie rockers The Frontiers spoke to us, as is the way of all good band interviews, in the smoking bit outside a nightclub after they’d finished their set.

The boys were friendly, enthusiastic, and very happy with how they’d done. We were also happy with how they’d done: it was a cracking show, even if The Frontiers were just supporting. The band’s sound is a great mix of stuff: a little indie, a little hard rock, and a little bit old school.

The more classic sound of their tunes is what really sets them apart: any band these days will talk about how they’ve been influenced by The Arctic Monkeys, but when The Frontiers mentioned their influences, the first thing out their vocalist’s mouth was The Jam. The Jam! Who listens to The Jam anymore? The Frontiers are basically as if your dad’s record collection had four kids with a trendy indie playlist on Spotify (speaking of, they released their first single on the streaming service last week). Those four kids, by the way, are:

The Band

Keir Mitchell – Vocals

Ross Phillips – Lead guitarist

Dylan Canniffe – Drums

James Campbell – Bass

 

EN4 News: So let’s start from the start: how long have you guys been playing together?

Ross: About a year and a half? Me and Keir have played longer, maybe three years.

Keir: Aye, just after school. Me and Ross were playing locally, but we wanted to do bigger gigs, and take it a bit further, so we like “we need a drummer now”. So we found Dylan, then found James through him. It’s been good, we’ve played good gigs in that year and a half.

James: We have, like King Tuts was only our third gig together!

EN4: Really! That’s a big one for such a new band. Do you play Glasgow a lot?

Ross: As much as we can.

Keir: King Tuts was only our third gig together, but I completely, completely bullsh—ed my way into it. Told them we’d be gigging for two years and that, then they made us headliners! To be fair, we managed to bring about 140 folk over, so it was pretty good. But it’s stuff like that that helps build a fanbase, moving past just friends and family.

Ross: That’s our main goal now, we’ve just recently passed one thousand likes of Facebook.

Keir: That’s a big thing for us too, because where we come from [Cumnock in Ayrshire], the music scene isn’t a big thing at all.

EN4: Do you know a lot of bands in Ayrshire? Is there much competition?

Keir: You could count on one hand the ones that are any good.

Dylan: Even less of them doing their own songs.

Keir: Aye, it’s mostly cover bands since it’s all pubs and villages.

EN4: So would you blame it on a lack of venues or a lack of interest?

Dylan: There did used to be a scene for it.

James: I would say that it’s also people in our area don’t really take music seriously.

Keir: Up here, folk will come see you play even if they don’t know who you are ’cause there’s a music scene. Down our way you’ve no chance.

James: Yeah, the heritage of Cumnock is as a mining village, so everybody back home really has a work mentality.

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From left to right: Dylan, Keir, James and Ross (Credit: Black Ace Photography)

EN4: So do you take inspiration more from Glasgow music scene, or bigger bands, or do you very much focus on your own stuff?

Keir: I’m personally a bit too much of a dreamer, so I like to follow what other bands have done more than anything else. What I mean is like you go to the venues and you play the gigs and the same stages as the bigger bands, but obviously in your own way with you own tunes.

Ross: The sound is a bit heavier in Glasgow than most our stuff.

Dylan: It’s hard to find somebody the same genre as us [amongst smaller bands]. Tonight’s probably the closest we’ll get to similar bands.

EN4 News: Do you think that’s because you’ve got a bit more of an old-school vibe in your songs?

Keir: Aye, there’s not anything like what we do in the charts. But it’s not that we’re trying to get it there, we’re just doing what we love. Even if it’s a style of music that’s maybe faded a bit.

James: Also, everybody brings different inspiration to the band, so it all kind of mashes together into something unique.

EN4: Is there anybody you all listen to and think “that’s how I want us to sound”?

Ross: It always changes for me. Week to week, honestly.

Keir: I love music that much, one day I’ll be like “I want to sound like The Jam”, the next it’ll be someone else.

Dylan: Yeah, you don’t just take one thing, you’ve got to take it all in.

EN4: Completely different topic: where’s the name from?

James: I dunno, the name was there before I was!

Keir: If you want me to be honest, it’s not a good story: I was watching a film called “The Frontiers” and I thought, that’s cool man! Me and Ross had a name before, but it was a bit dodgy. (Laughing) We’ll not go there!

EN4: So what do The Frontiers have coming up? You’ve got a tour planned?

Keir: It’s called the “It’s Alright Tour” after our single which we just released today. That’s doing really well, already a couple hundred downloads.

Dylan: The gigs are the 29th, 30th and 31st of March, in Hamilton, Bathgate, and Glasgow.

Keir: We’re in The Record Factory in Glasgow in June as well, but that’s gonna be our sort of second stage. It’s all just about promoting the single, which is tough for a band without management. We kinda fell into a lot of stuff playing here in Glasgow, actually: someone heard us and liked us, and told us “I’ll record your single for you and send you on tour.” And well, we weren’t really gonna say no!

EN4 News: More recording coming up too?

Ross: Nothing booked, but we’re definitely gonna get on that.

Keir: Yeah we have plans for an EP at some point, and hopefully get our main songs recorded in the summer, so watch out for that.

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