The Felt Tips
The Felt Tips are a Glasgow based trio bringing us the sounds of perfect Indie Pop. They are Andrew, Miguel and Neil. I exchanged emails with the lovely Andrew where we covered topics such as Ozzy Osborne and rainbows. Erm, and one of my questions caused the band to have a little 'huff' session. Thankfully they are still talking to each other as this guarantees more wonderful tunes from them...
SoundsXP: So I take it that you've got a fetish for colouring-in books? That's why you're called The Felt Tips, right? I love colouring-in books personally. I never go over the subject's outline.
Andrew: Yes we love colouring in, but not as much as Ozzy Osborne. Glad you take care and time with your own felt tipping. It's when people ask us about the name that we remember just how twee it is. I think we picked it primarily because it's fun and we didn't want anything too serious sounding. Anyway we like being felt tips now.
SoundsXP: Are you originially from Glasgow or are you based there?
Andrew: No, Miguel is from Almeria in Spain and Neil and myself are from Aberdeen. We formed in Glasgow.
SoundsXP: Are you still looking for a drummer? What is it with drummers? Everybody's always looking for one and never finding one. They're the musical equivalent of the holy grail.
Andrew: Yes, we're still looking and they are hard to find. But then again, it took us years to find each other so we can't only accuse drummers of being awkward. In general, bands should be given more credit simply for finding like-minded people to play with and also for getting along with each other well enough to stick together. It’s an underrated quality.
SoundsXP: I really like Devoted Boyfriend. Is that part-autobiographical? Are you devoted boyfriends?
Andrew: Thanks. Some of the songs are autobiographical but this one is about somebody we know. In general, we advise people not to talk about themselves too much when in our company if they don't want to end up as fodder for songs. Oh, and we're all exceptionally devoted boyfriends, but not in the sense of the song.
SoundsXP: What can you see looking through windows with your binoculars? Being Peeping Toms come with consequences you know. Have you seen Rear Window?
Andrew: No, is it any good? Sounds like it might be right up our street! But seriously, we have already learned to be discreet after getting into trouble pursuing our favourite pastime.
SoundsXP: Daughter on drugs is a rather sad song ey? Glasgow has a terrible drug problem (as a lot of areas do) Has your environment inspired that song?
Andrew: Well we don’t know that much about drugs to be honest! Except Neil. I suppose the difference between Glasgow’s well known drug problems and this song is that the song is more about how middle class parents might react to heroin use. So I guess we know a few middle class parents.
SoundsXP:What/who does influence you?
Andrew: The obvious ones are Belle and Sebastian and The Smiths. We also feel influenced by Pulp, Gorkys Zygotic Mynci, Hefner and, me personally, Split Enz.
SoundsXP: Hmm, you're labelled as indie pop but sometimes I can hear a country twang to your music. Is that a fair observation or an absolute catastrophic statement?
Andrew: Yes, it’s fair enough. Glaswegians have a thing for country and maybe it’s infected us.
SoundsXP: Three's a crowd. There are three of you. Tell me about the juicy arguments that you must have. Don't tell me that you get on. We don't want to hear that...
Andrew: We mostly argue about your question on 'the most famous thing to come out of Glasgow' these days.
SoundsXP: Do you like gigging? Where have you gigged of late and do you know where you're gigging next?
Andrew: Yup, most of the time. We played about 20 gigs last year, mostly in Glasgow. When we get a new drummer we’ll try to play outside Glasgow more, as it’s not fair if one city gets to enjoy us much more than others. We recently played Sweden; Gothenburg to be exact. They were dancing on the stage. Maybe they do that all the time over there. Anyway, we’d love to do something like that again – maybe Spain or Japan this time.
SoundsXP: What/who do you think is the most famous thing to come out of Glasgow (bar yourselves)
Andrew: Sorry, we can’t agree on this one. We all had bands and musicians to suggest but because we can’t agree we all took a huff and nobody will answer the question now.
SoundsXP: What is next for you musically? Writing/Recording any new songs? Is it easy for you to create music or do you find the process challenging at times?
Andrew: More of the same we hope – does that sound unambitious? What we want to do is write really enjoyable songs that look at life’s drama and dreariness from novel perspectives. We’re not concerned about coming up with a new sound as such. The secret to writing songs for me is to be patient. Not a thing for ages and then suddenly an idea I love comes along and songwriting seems easy again!
SoundsXP: For your next single you should have the front cover as a colour-me-in picture and supply a small packet of felt tips with it. People can then colour in while they listen to your music. Will this catch on do you think?
Andrew: Yes – that’s a superb idea. We’ve already toyed with similar ideas. All we need is an artist. Maybe an artistic drummer, or is that possible?
SoundsXP: I love the observations of love/sex in 'Not tonight'. Has your heart been broken or are you a great observer of this thing called love?
Andrew: Just now we’re all smugly in relationships, but you never know…
SoundsXP: What will bring colour to the lives of The Felt Tips?
Andrew: Don’t worry about us. Everything’s quite fine with us at the moment. Although we are rather partial to pretty rainbows!
Then pretty rainbows you shall have, Andrew, though remember that there has to be a little rain to create one. If any drummers are reading this you know what to do next. For non-drummers reading this you also know what to do - go to The Felt Tips website and allow a little colour to enter your lives.