Interview with Static Satellites

Here at Record Weekly, discovering new artists and chatting to rising talent is a firm favourite pastime. And oddly, the pandemic-induced lockdown has bequeathed the opportunity to do that a fair bit. That’s where Static Satellites come in. This indie-rock four-piece from Glasgow and West Lothian is really going places, so I caught up with their drummer, Ciaran, to talk progress, the Scottish music scene and fantasy festivals…

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Static Satellites, King Tut’s, Glasgow

Hi guys, how are you doing?

Hey! Not too bad thanks. Obviously, like every other band in the country right now, we are absolutely gutted we can’t play gigs. We’re all itching to get back on stage and hope we can do it soon!

Let’s get introduced properly — tell me a bit about yourselves and how you formed as a band.

It’s a bit of a crime this band didn’t form sooner than it did. Ross (the singer and brains behind the outfit) and I (Ciaran) met one another when we played in the backing band for a West Lothian singer-songwriter called Cameron Adam. Despite numerous attempts, the band never came to anything.

Ross and I, however, kept in touch and tried to make something work. We auditioned loads of bass players and lead guitarists but, again, nothing seemed to be working out.

Sam eventually joined the band on bass, who Ross knew from school and, not long afterwards, Ally joined the band on lead guitar. Ally and I have known each other since we were kids and we had recently been playing in a blues/rock band together which hadn’t taken off, so once that fell apart, I invited him to join Ross, Sam and I. In hindsight, we should have all got together a lot sooner, but everything instantly clicked when we finally did.

Without sounding cheesy, the band as it is today obviously panned out for a reason. In any case, who are your biggest musical influences?

The best thing about this band is how different all our influences are. I think it’s a real strength because we all offer something a little bit different to our sound. I, for example, like bands such as The Twilight Sad and Pixies, while Ross is a fan of a lot of singer-songwriters. Sam is a massive Muse fan and Ally’s keen on bands such as The War on Drugs and The National. We agree more on bands we don’t like than ones we do like!

Haha, that’s brilliant. Earlier in the year, I was up in Glasgow and Edinburgh, and started to read The Skinny. The features were ace and all the gigs that were scheduled to be on in the area were right up my street. What’s the Scottish music scene like for you? Do you manage to secure gigs quite readily?

The Scottish music scene is so eclectic and different; it’s a joy to be apart of it. You only have to scratch the surface to find loads of exceptional unsigned and undiscovered talent. We’re in a lucky position because half the band are from Glasgow and the other half are from West Lothian, so we are kind of part of two local scenes.

The West Lothian scene is exploding at the moment. You obviously have Lewis Capaldi, but there are tonnes of really established Scottish bands like The Snuts, Luke La Volpe, and Mark Sharp & the Bicycle Thieves, who are going from strength to strength. As well as that, there are local bands like The Volts, The Morning Retakes, Megan Black, and Fake Lips, who are all worth checking out.

Similarly to the wider Scottish scene, you don’t have to look very far in West Lothian to find somebody you’ll like.

If you could curate your own festival, who would be the headliners? Which smaller, on-the-rise artists that you know would you also put on the billing?

It seems unfair to pick one particular local band out to be the headliners, so, for the sake for fairness, I’ll say Static Satellites will be the headliners! That should keep everybody happy! 

We’ve been really lucky to play with a whole host of different bands and artists we wouldn’t otherwise have known about. My festival would definitely include Radials, Nuclear Club, Ten Eighty Trees, The Morning Retakes, Voodoo Bandit, Kendama, Megan Black, Pages, Plush, Connor Clark And The Matador Kings, Volka, Moonrunners, Luke La Volpe, Gary Ovens, Attic Choir, Fake Lips, The Ranzas, and anyone and everyone we have played with. People should definitely check out all of those artists.

Now, gigs and festivals are things I just about remember at the moment. This year has been incredibly unsettling for everyone, so how have you all coped? Have you been able to write any new material?

I never thought I would miss being in a dark sweaty room full of strangers. Everyone in the band has been coping well, but obviously it’s not ideal and we would rather be our gigging and rehearsing as much as possible.

Ross has been busy coming up with new ideas and sharing them with us all. When we are allowed to go back into a studio, we’ll have a lot to get through, which is exciting.

Right at the start of lockdown, I got a bit creative a made a lyric video for our latest single ‘Fortify’, using stock footage of the Apollo 11 mission to the moon. It started off as way to cure my lockdown boredom and as a bit of an experiment but, in the end, it turned out so much better than I expected.

That particular single, ‘Fortify’, is an indie-rock masterpiece of solid guitar riffs and captivatingly deep vocals. Has this been well received since its release?

Thanks very much! We released ‘Fortify’ right at the start of lockdown, which was just a coincidence but I think it really helped us. It’s been our most popular release to date, and we have been blown away by the positive feedback and how much folk have been enjoying it. It’s one of our favourite songs to play live and the track we normally open our set with.

We’re glad everyone else seems to be enjoying it too. We obviously haven’t had a chance to play it live since we released it, so I’m looking forward to thrashing it out live again. 

What’s next in your grand plan? Do you still have gigs on the agenda for later this year? Do you have any new material that you can tease?

We recently starting planning something we are all getting excited about. It’ll be a new way of doing things for us, as well as an opportunity to take part in something we haven’t had a chance to do before. We obviously don’t want to give anything away just yet but, without a doubt, something will be landing before the end of the year. 

Cryptic clues aside, we’re heading back into the studio in September to record some new tracks. We’ve been working with a really talented producer called Mark Marrow, who’s based in Edinburgh. He recorded and produced ‘Fortify’ as well as our last single ‘Waster’, so we’re excited to have the chance to work with him again!

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Ciaran of Static Satellites

You can keep up with the band on Instagram, listen to their back catalogue on Spotify and be the first in line for gig tickets here.

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