We recently had a chat with Greig from Glasgow’s The Kimberly Steaks about living and chemical imbalances, murdering burgers and living and dying in West Central Scotland. Don’t ask, just read on.
You released your debut LP last year through All in Vinyl records titled To Live and Die in West Central Scotland. How was it received?
The reception has been great! We really didn’t expect so many people to hear it, and considering that word of mouth is really the only promotion we get, it’s been really surprising. We’ve had quite a few orders from far-flung places like Indonesia and Pakistan; and loads from Japan. It’s pretty weird to know that people so far away are listening to songs I wrote in my flat and recorded in a house a few miles away.
How was the recording process for To Live and Die…?
Like most of the punk bands in central Scotland, we did it with budget producer-extraordinaire Boab of Punk Rock Rammy. He was moving house at the time, so we moved all the gear into an empty bedroom and recorded the whole thing there in two days in January last year. It was the first time I didn’t drink or smoke during a recording session, so I guess that’s why it sounds better than the older stuff!
You have a new EP out 20th March called Chemical Imbalance. Does the way the material written for it or the way you recorded differ in any way to how the debut record was?
It was written in the same way – we always have the music and vocal melody perfect before the words get written. I tend to write quite a lot and we discard a lot of songs so I don’t bother writing words for them unless we’re definitely going to use them. The only difference really was that the EP doesn’t really have a central theme and all the songs are about something different, whereas all the songs on the album were about boring everyday life in a dreary town. For the recording itself, we did it again with Boab – but in an actual studio this time.
The EP is going to be released through Round Dog and Don’t Ask Records, who have been great friends for years. What made you decide to release the record through these two labels?
I’ve been friends with Fraser of Round Dog/The Murderburgers for years and he’s always been a fan of the band and really supportive of everything we do. The label hasn’t even been going for a year but he’s already doing really well. All of the releases have been great so far. He’s just released the debut album by Don Blake which is just perfect pop-punk with great insightful and philosophical lyrics. It deserved to be heard by a lot of people and I think it really captures everything that’s good about UK pop-punk. I met the guys from Don’t Ask through their band, Austeros. Stuart from The Murderburgers was driving us on tour and let us hear their first EP and all of us just loved it instantly, so we got in touch and got them up to Scotland for a couple of gigs at the end of last year. What they’re doing as a band and a label is just so similar to what our band is about, so I’m really happy to work with them on this release.
What can you tell us about your influences and experiences that helped you to write the latest project? Your music has been described as equal parts pop and punk, are there any bands or artists in particular who have influenced you?
I guess our influences are pretty obvious from the music, and we’re not exactly doing anything new. I just hope that we do it well enough to pay homage to the bands that have influenced us and get a few people interested in a sub-genre of punk that sadly seems to be forgotten about these days. Like a lot of people my age, I got into punk through Dookie and Smash and proceeded to find everything Green Day and The Offspring ever recorded. Avalanche Records in Glasgow used to have a Lookout! Records section and a lot of the CDs were under a fiver, so I would buy whatever ones had the most songs on them. This way I came across The Queers, Screeching Weasel, Squirtgun and loads more. I still think some of those albums are among the best American punk records ever recorded. More recently I think we’re inadvertently influenced by a lot of bands we play with and see live a lot, like The Murderburgers and Wonk Unit. Also pretty much everything that Dirtnap Records release.
And last: what’s it like being a pop-punk band from Glasgow, and what’s the DIY scene like in Scotland?
The DIY scene in Scotland is gradually getting a lot better. 10 years ago it was pretty much non-existent outside of hardcore punk, but thanks to a few dedicated people, there’s now a healthy gig-going audience. I think the fact that the Scottish bands have gotten a lot better over the last few years has also helped a lot. It’s great to see so many out-of-town bands coming up to Dundee for Book Yer Ane Fest at the end of the year, and last year we had Stuck in Springtime Fest in Glasgow which was absolutely packed even though we didn’t have any of the usual names that tend to appear at UK punk festivals. I’d like to think that people are starting to look further than the very few “trendy” bands that seem to represent UK punk. Hopefully this will get noticed and get some of the lesser-known names some well-deserved attention.
Chemical Imbalance is officially released 20th March, but you can stream it right now for free on Bandcamp or a pay-what-you-want download!