Award-winning spoken word artist, Kevin P. Gilday and multi instrumentalist, Ralph Hector, otherwise known as Kevin P. Gilday and the Glasgow Cross are currently gearing up to release their debut album, Experience Essential on Monday 18th June.
Combining contemporary spoken word with a soundtrack of post-punk and electronica, the duo have already supported Akala in their home city and are making quite the impression on the local Glaswegian music scene.
We caught up with Kevin recently to get the lowdown on this atistic project and what the album entails, take a look below.
Hi Kevin! Let's start at the beginning shall we? What’s your earliest memory of music?
I have some wonderful early memories of my parents' (rather eclectic) record collection being played. I remember sitting entranced in a smoke-filled living room (apparently people didn't care about second hand smoke in the 80s) listening to songs from Talking Heads, Patsy Cline, Deacon Blue, Orange Juice, Squeeze - a whole host of weird influences that went on to form my future taste in music.
How did you first get into spoken word?
Ironically, I got into spoken word to escape being in bands. I had been the frontman in various bands since I was 15 and had grown tired of the whole dynamic, the fact that everything needed to be approved by everyone like a four-way marriage. Spoken word seemed like a chance to express myself without the shackles of other people - to write, rehearse and perform on my own schedule. Being free of ever carrying an amp again was also a major bonus.
Who approached who about teaming up and creating music together?
I had collaborated with The Sea Kings, a band Ralph played bass for, to record a single for record store day. We really clicked and I ended up annoying Ralph to lend his talents to all sorts of projects including stage plays, wedding bands and composing some original music for my poetry. When we heard the results, the project grew from being a purely studio project, into a fully-fledged band. Things have just spiralled from there and now we're releasing an album - the whole process has been excitingly ramshackle.
Which other artists do you draw influence from?
The lyrics of Mark E. Smith, Yoni Wolf, Aidan Moffat, Nick Cave, Frank Ocean. The Glasgow poetry scene. The films of Luis Bunuel and David Lynch. The literature of Ballard and Borges. The art of Francis Bacon. Obscure Japanese professional wrestlers.
Are there any themes or messages you wanted to approach when writing your debut album?
In many ways the album brings together my best work from my spoken word career, so it's a bit of an overview of my outlook on life. There's definitely an underlying theme of control, or lack of, in the modern world, but there are also really personal pieces on there, tracks about how your personal choices can contribute to your own downfall. Looking back over these tracks I think there's that balance between the specific and the universal, personal stories expressed in relatable ways.
Your music is quite unique, how would you describe your sound to a stranger?
Firstly, we are a combination of spoken word and experimental music. That palette has ended up being quite broad, taking in krautrock, electronic, post-punk, post-rock, minimalism and soundscapes. But we're all about how those separate influences mesh together into a really unique whole when combined with the poetry. I think this album feels like a smorgasbord of experimental sounds.
Why should people go and check out your debut album?
Put simply, there's no-one out there doing what we do. The way the spoken word is contextualised within these dynamic compositions really stands out, it's a really original proposition. We know we're not for everyone but I think that if you get it, then you'll really get it.
What are your thoughts on the Glasgow music scene?
I love the introverted nature of the scene. I think that's the reason Glasgow produces such unique bands, the fact that for the most part we're left to our devices away from the core of the music industry. By the time someone from Glasgow gets discovered they're usually already ensconced in their own weirdness. I love that the rest of the world looks at us and wonders what the fuck is going on up here.
What was the first gig you went to in Glasgow?
It was The Vines at the Barras. In all honesty I don't remember much about the gig itself, just the smell and the feel. The collective bounce and the flying pints. Glasgow's venues are iconic because of the history that takes place inside them, not the rooms themselves.
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