It's not long gone 2pm when the 405 meets Baby Strange in a Glasgow City Centre boozer just a stone's throw from their rehearsal room and already the local habitué are well down the road to merriment. A strange mix of '80s glam and cabaret tunes pump out the speakers (I swear I heard the Jungle Book theme playing when I first arrived), muted Wimbledon coverage goes unnoticed on the TV and the natural daylight only manages to break past the outside canopy in spurts. As far as mise en scène goes, it's a world removed from the London Fashion Week show where the trio provided the soundtrack for rock 'n' roll tailor extraordinaire Todd Lynn's Spring/Summer 2016 collection just a week prior.

Made up of singer/guitarist Johnny Madden and brothers Aidan (bass) and Connaire McCann (drums), it was back in 2013 when they first burst onto the scene with 'Pure Evil', a tongue-in-cheek, self-satirical lament of clubbing culture and all the listlessness that can sometimes go with it. In the interim, they've built up a loyal fan base through a mixture of single releases and tours, including spots alongside the likes of Wavves, Palma Violets and Slaves, not to mention slots at Reading/Leeds and the BBC Big Weekend.

The band spoke to the 405 about their recent gigs, Glasgow and how their future album is coming along.

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You shared your latest single 'California Sun' a couple of days ago and in terms of sound it's slightly different from most of your previous stuff. What's the story with that track?

JM: I'd had that song lying around for a while before we started the band. I've done countless demos with it both alone and with the band, but it was only when we started working together that it started to really make sense as a song. We recorded it with Catherine Marks who'd recently been working with Wolf Alice.

That song and even 'VVV' that came before it, seemed to mark a slight shift away from the raw energy driven punk to something slightly more melody orientated. As a band do you think your approach to songwriting has changed at all recently?

JM: I don't think it's been our intention but more a case of us just getting better at writing and learning more about things like dynamics rather than it being a case of "1-2-3-4" and then going at it full pelt. It's about learning how to space songs and as much about knowing when not to play.

How's the album coming along? Whereabouts have you been recording?

CM: It's going great. We've been recording in Glasgow and London. We're going back down soon to record another single.

I know you've always been pretty hands on with the recording process. With the album has that been the same?

JM: It's hard letting other people into our circle but you've got to try and branch out at some point by trying new things and different approaches.

CM: It's easier. Once you're comfortable with somebody it's great. When we recorded 'California Sun' in London it was the first time we've ever had a producer, an engineer and then people around to generally assist. It was a case of "oh right, so this is how it works" because usually we'd do all that by ourselves and stress about every little thing.

JM: It allowed us to focus on the songwriting and have it as good as it could possibly be.

Do you feel any pressure at all to get it out by a certain time?

CM: Only really from ourselves because we want people to hear it as we know it's going to sound amazing. I think to our fans in Glasgow who have been there from the start it feels like it's taking ages, but to most people we're still a new band.

JM: I never feel pressure from a journalist asking me. I felt pressure from myself at first but I think the more time we're taking to work on it the more it makes sense for us to hold back a bit as the songs are getting stronger and we're becoming a better band. When you don't have a lot of cash it takes time. There's no rush.

You've just finished your biggest headline tour so far, how was that? What made you go for venues like the CCA (Centre for Contemporary Arts) in Glasgow?

JM: It was a co-headline tour with Dolomite Minor and it was good that we got to see them every night. It wasn't actually us that picked that venue. Last time we played Stereo and if we had the choice again we'd probably go back there. It's the best venue in Glasgow for that size.

CM: The great thing about the Dolomite Minor tour was that because it was two bands we were able to chip in and get a hotel. That made things so much easier. We managed to get at least 6 hours sleep every night.

JM: We were used to sleeping in the van or someones floor that was still covered in mess from the party that had happened the night before, so even when we had a Travelodge it felt like luxury. The first time we stayed in one I remember getting to the room and sticking the key in and being like "we're fucking staying in a hotel as a band, can you believe it?!"

You played some dates in Scandinavia as well. How did you end up over there?

JM: It was a guy Craig from thisispostcards who puts on loads of DJ sets and gigs all over. He got some funding and was like "do you want to go to Scandinavia and do some gigs?" So we ended up playing in Malmo and Oslo.

CM: He paid for travel and he paid for the gigs. It felt like we were gonna get mugged at some point - we were like "where's the catch?" The crowds were really good. In Malmo we also had Glasvegas DJ'ing so it was a good atmosphere.

JM: There were guys bouncing about and singing the words which was pretty surreal.

Your tour schedule has always been quite intense. Is that borne out of a love purely of playing live or is it more of a desire to improve and get tighter as a band?

CM: We'd probably tour more if we had the money to do it.

JM: We would love to do it more but there are things in the way. It's pretty fucking gutting just how much it costs to do a tour.

How was the Slaves tour? It took place as the band seemed to be right at the height of their hype so I imagine it would have been pretty wild.

CM: Again, it was surreal because we've known them for a while and when we first met they were playing Tuts to around 30 people, most of whom were our pals who we'd got down on the guestlist. In the space of a year they've went from that to being where they are now.

JM: We met them around last January/February time and had planned to play a co-headline tour for this January but then they went on Jools Holland, started blowing up and that was that. The tour was brilliant though. They're lovely guys, a great live band and really accommodating. I couldn't speak any more highly of Slaves actually.

You recently performed at Todd Lynn's Spring/Summer collection show. How did that come about and how did it differ from a normal gig?

JM: Todd heard the band and asked us to come down. I loved playing in that environment.

CM: It was weird. Really weird. Compared to doing a show it was easy. We'd play two songs, stop, then repeat.

Aidan: Everyone was looking at the clothes rather than us so you just stand and play which is fun.

And you got to meet PJ Harvey...

JM: Yeah, it was cool to meet her after it. She had really nice things to say about the band which was good to hear as she's an icon.

When Paul Weller was asked about The Jam and their dress sense he said it was "important for a band to have a strong look of unity" as it fed into the music. Is that something you'd go along with?

JM: 100%. It always has been. If you look at Elvis, then The Clash & Sex Pistols, they all look brilliant. I've found that most of the greats had a good look.

CM: With some bands, even if you don't like the way they look it's important they have a look.

JM: Clothes and rock and roll just go hand in hand. If you're willing to go on stage and play to X amount of people then at least put in a bit of effort.

There was a lot of talk about bands and how they interact with politics after Faris Badwan's comments in the run up to the election. Last year, as a young band in Glasgow, did you notice the referendum feeding into the music scene and having an influence?

CM: When you spoke to them, yeah, but I don't think many bands made anything out of it in their music.

JM: I think bands are scared to talk about politics in case folk who disagree with their views end up turning against them, especially in the case of something like the referendum which was so polarising.

AM: Most bands will all have pretty strong views when you speak to them but I don't think it's really feeding into the music.

You've never hid how much you're influenced not just by dance music but the clubbing scene in general. What did you make of the Arches closing?

JM: It's a total fuck up basically.

CM: Fair enough something has to be done when it comes to people dying on drugs, but the way they've went about it they've totally fucked it. It's sad when you take in all the other things that have nothing to do with clubbing such as the art exhibitions and events that go on during the day. If they start closing venues for having drug issues like that there'd eventually be nowhere left in Glasgow. The same goes for most cities.

JM: They seem to think that if they close down one place where they've had these problems then that's the solution. The people that have been in there doing drugs are only going to move on to somewhere else. It's cut around 130 jobs as well.

AM: It's just a reaction to bad hype and to show that they're trying to do something about it. They don't really think they're going to solve the actual problem.

Still speaking of venues, bands like yourselves and the Amazing Snakeheads (rip) have played the late night residences in Broadcast and made it a home. What is it about that venue in particular you like so much?

JM: It's like our hub. Loads of bands we know hang around there and there's a good vibe going on in it.

What other bands coming out of the city right now would you recommend?

JM: Psychic Soviets are really good and the same goes for Halfrican. I was DJ'ing at Catholic Action's gig last week and got to see them; they were great live.


You can visit Baby Strange by heading here.