THE EDINBURGH EVENING NEWS - March 27, 2009
The Dykeenies, Studio 24, Calton Road
By Gary Flockhart
It's just gone 4pm on Tuesday and backstage at the Ironworks, a custom-built live music venue in the heart of Inverness, Scottish art-pop four-piece The Dykeenies are carefully preparing for their gig later that evening.
"I'm making the best sandwich anyone will have ever seen," exclaims the band's frontman, Brian Henderson. "So far I've got a nice selection of salami, I've got Italian meats, I've got olives, got my seasonal four-leaf salad, Mexicana cheddar, tomato and a little bit of salsa."
No rehearsal then? "We'll get round to that," laughs the singer. "But first thing's first, eh."
Since forming three years ago in Cumbernauld, The Dykeenies have been on a rollercoaster ride that would have sent many bands staggering off to rehab – so it's encouraging to find that their pre-gig ritual involves making massive sarnies rather than smoking crack.
Their working class roots simply don't allow for any diva-like tendencies to creep in. Instead, The Dykeenies have gone from the glitz and glamour that comes from being one of Scotland's best bands to practically becoming part of the rehearsal studios' furniture again, working as hard as they ever have.
Starting out supporting Mystery Jets and Maximo Park, then playing the NME tour with The Fratellis and The Maccabees, The Dykeenies have packed a lot into their short career.
Having toured up and down the country relentlessly, the rewards include topping the Scottish charts, packing the 13,000 capacity Pet Sounds Arena at T in the Park, and playing to a sold-out 20,000-capacity Meadowbank Stadium supporting Razorlight and Editors.
"Playing at Meadowbank was totally unreal," beams Henderson, whose band play Studio 24 tonight as part of a 15-date UK tour.
"I think it was the most people we've seen at a gig outside a festival. There must have been 20,000 people there and the crowd was just fantastic. It was obviously a great thrill for us to be part of that because it was in Scotland, and every one of us was up for the show."
It was also a thrill for the band to be sharing the bill with Razorlight and Editors.
"Out of the Razorlight lads, we only really spoke to Andy Burrows, and he was a really good guy. He was chatting away to us and, at the time, we had the same agent as Editors, so we had lots of common ground with them too.
"I didn't have any one-to-one dealings with Johnny Borrell (Razorlight's prima donna frontman] but I did see him wandering about backstage. He just kept himself to himself really."
As a bitchy aside, he adds, "Johnny had a room of his own, full of mirrors and stuff. I think his ego alone alone was big enough for that room . . ."
There's been a wave of Scottish bands making the breakthrough in recent years and The Dykeenies are proud to be a part of that.
"Well, not that we're making the same music as The View or The Fratellis or stuff like that, but it's really exciting for us to be out there and be part of the Scottish music scene and to actually breakthrough," confirms Henderson. "There might seem a lot of us, but it's really tough to break out because a lot of us are kind of folky and don't get much success. It's good to see a few of the pop acts coming through.
"We've met The View quite a few times," he adds. "We get on really well with a lot of the bands, and we all kind of hump together."
Having lived out of each others' pockets for most of the last three years, the Henderson brothers Brian, Andy (bass) and Alan (guitar) along with friends Steven Ramsay (lead guitar) and John Kerr (drums) felt a division of direction and, "after torment and tears of a Ginger Spice capacity", Alan left the band.
This change helped the now four-piece gel as musicians, presenting a stronger musical front and equipping them better for trying out new things and diversifying their sound.
Their recipe still combines catchy choruses with anthemic, jerky rock – but they've been experimenting with new ingredients and evolved into a band with broader horizons.
"We're almost there with the new album," says Henderson. "We've written a lot of songs, and we'll probably sit down and write a few more. Our sound is evolving all the time, and we're finding inspiration in new things.
"I think sonically we're just a lot more aware of where we are now. I suppose that we're writing for ourselves, whereas before we were following trends and stuff like that.
"Like all the bands in 2005/2006, we were following the same wave, but now we're doing our own thing, so our sound has really matured."
That new-found maturity Henderson talks of is something that can only come with experience. "After three years of touring and pumping out singles we know we've just touched the tip of the iceberg" he says.
"We're really happy with where we are as a band now and have learned a lot about ourselves and how the whole record industry works. We came into this as five young guys who really just wanted to play and make music and I suppose we were somewhat naive – we are much better prepared for all that now.
"Our fans are so supportive and Scotland's been great," he adds. "We've had number one singles there and we'll be working this year to spread this across the rest of the country".
LEEDS MUSIC SCENE - March 20, 2009
The Dykeenies: Sounds of The City
By Jessica Thornsby
'Sounds of the City,' the first single to be lifted from Scottish four-piece The Dykeenies forthcoming second album, is a strings-infused piece of emotional rock that may occasionally slip into comfortable, cliche territory, but for the most part delivers the goods.
Firstly, ninety percent of this song is fleshed out with four lines of lyrics. Why this should be the case is anyone's guess, especially when The Dykeenies have crammed in quivering strings, epic synths and clamouring-to-be-heard, desperate-sounding riffs, to ensure this song carries a hard-hitting musical punch. The Dykeenies fail to fully capitalise on this stirring, lovingly-created backdrop, by neglecting to write any decent lyrics.
Secondly, occasionally The Dykeenies take the easy, cliched way out. Having their vocalist slowly sing the final line (lifted from the chorus, of course) over quiet, quivering strings, feels like a bit of a cop-out.
But, musically, 'Sounds of the City' more than compensates for these shortcomings, opening with a flawless, slow-burning intro that suggests The Dykeenies are building up to something dramatic, polished, and epic. And they do, as those thumping, build-up drumbeats and strings are engulfed in crashing riffs, urgent vocals and dramatic, pointed drumbeats.
There is an inherent safeness and a slightly conservative, radio-readiness to 'Sounds of the City,' and the empty lyrics will prevent it from making too much of an impact on the listener but, musically, this song gets the dramatic, rock ballad sound spot on.
THE DAILY RECORD - UK - March 14, 2009
Dykeenies make DIY video for new track
Beverley Lyons And Laura Sutherland
The Dykeenies were so determined to have an unusual video for their new single that they made it themselves.
The Scots band, who release Sounds Of The City on April 27, asked various film-makers about using stop-motion techniques but were told it was too difficult. So they did it themselves.
The result is a quirky video which sees stubble disappearing from faces and objects moving on their own.
They play Glasgow's QMU on March 20 and Inverness, Aberdeen, Dundee and Edinburgh from March 24 to 27.
THE DAILY RECORD - UK - February 14, 2009
Dykeenies release special Valentine's Day free track
The Dykeenies have a special Valentine's Day pressie for anyone who has left it until the last minute. The band have announced that fans can get their hands on an exclusive version of "Are You With Me Now" today for free. It can be downloaded from their My Space page at www.myspace.com/gofindthedykeenies.
The Cumbernauld boys are playing a sold-out gig at King Tut's in Glasgow next Wednesday then start a 15-date UK tour, including Glasgow QMU, Inverness Ironworks, Aberdeen Moshulu, Dundee Fat Sams and Edinburgh Studio 24.
THE LATEST - March 5, 2008
The Dykeenies UK Tour that began in late January continues to take no prisoners as it rolls on. The shows and enthusiastic crowds just get bigger and better. On Feb. 29th at the ABC in Glasgow they played a sensational concert to a sold out crowd.
The tour will take an unusual turn next week when the group heads to America!
The band is heading for U.S.A. on March 13 and is Playing South by South West Festival in Austin, Texas.
They'll be gigging at Maggie Mae's on 6th Street at Trinity in Austin, plus a Scottish party at 512 San Jicinto, and playing a bunch of acoustic sets all over town. Four days later the tour in the U.K. continues with a gig the night they return home.
A few words from Brian Henderson of The Dykeenies:
"It's exciting to be out there and be part of the Scottish music scene. Some of you might be wondering what us Dykeenies are currently up to?!?!? We are in fact writing new songs at home and in the studio and are going to be working on Blocks of 5. They are sounding really good in these early stages and are proving to be our most upbeat and melodic pieces yet. We are experimenting with some new song writing techniques and its working nicely.
Here are a few highlights from his SOUND GENERATOR interview with Matthew Sheret:
So, tell us about how you formed The Dykeenies.
We're from a little town near Glasgow and we formed in June 2005. Me and my elder brother Alan kinda hooked up in a band and did some writing and got our other brother Andrew in to play bass and our two best mates to play guitar and drums, and it all kinda started from there. A year on we did the NME tour with The Fratellis, Maccabees and The Horrors and got a record deal from then on
I know you recorded the album with a lot of different people, how did that turn out for you in the end?
Yeah, it worked out brilliantly. We wanted to work with different people because there are a lot of songs that are a bit different, a bit of keyboard and kind of electro, so we wanted to find someone who'd be up for the pre-production we'd need to do those things. It gave the songs a little bit extra, bringing out the keyboards a little more. Then other tracks we just went out to a little mansion for heavier songs, just guitar and no keyboards so it's kind of got an edginess to a lot of the songs.
There's been quite a big wave of Scottish bands in recent years, are you proud to be a part of that?
Well, not that we're making the same music as The View or The Fratellis or stuff like that, but it's exciting to be out there and part of the Scottish music scene and to actually break through. There might seem a lot of us, but it's really tough to break out because a lot of us are kind of folky and don't get much success. It's good to see a few of the pop acts coming through. We've met The View quite a few times, we get on well with a lot of the bands, and we all kind of hump together.
I Like Music, UK - Sept. 17, 2007
The Dykeenies chat to I Like Music
'Nothing Means Everything', the debut album from Scotland's finest, encapsulates all that you will soon come to love about The Dykeenies. Recorded at Rockfield Studios, it grabs you from the off and offers no respite until it's had its filthy way with you.
From forthcoming single and album standout 'Stitches'' anthemic background of glittery new wave guitars, to the uplifting 'Clean Up Your Eyes' - a joyful and moving love song for the 21st Century - each of its eleven songs demonstrate the undeniable talent of this young band.
It's 'Waiting For Go', however, that perhaps captures The Dykeenies at their urgent, epic best. Clocking in at a mere two and a half minutes, it bubbles over with the frustration and burning desire that comes from a youth misspent in satellite towns before climaxing in Brian's towering, megaphone-assisted announcement that "I'm terrified of you, but not running away/ My heart it was the stage, you never played the game.".
"It was one of the first songs we ever wrote," says Andy, "Sitting in a backroom in Cumbernauld, dreaming up ways of how we could get out of it…"
Needless to say, The Dykeenies have found their route out. I Like Music caught up with lead singer, Brian, to talk about the album, recording in the famously haunted Rockfield studios and marriage proposals at T in the Park.
"I Like Music because… it's the reason I get up in the morning." BRIAN, The Dykeenies
ILM: Your new single, Stitches, is out now (released Sept 10, 2007). Can you tell us how the track came about and describe its whole vibe?
BRIAN: It started of with the actual guitar riff. Then, the actual lyrical content of it came about after I had an operation on my jaw and I was given a bit of time off from the band and I thought about the things you can take for granted when you're young. I was thinking about the things I used to enjoy when I was young. Like, when you were young you used to love playing in the rain but now you're more concerned about the way your hair is sitting. And, when you were younger when you fell, you'd run home and ask your mum for a plaster and think it was a cool thing to run back outside and show your friends how your knee was all bandaged up, but you don't get that when you're grown up. So that's what the song's about.
ILM: Your debut album, 'Nothing Means Everything': released September 17th. Which track did you most enjoy laying down in the studio?
BRIAN: Probably my favourite track would be Waiting For Go. It's my fondest memory because it was the first track we properly recorded at Olympic studios in London with Jim Abbas. It took four days and we'd never worked like that before. We wrote it and then did it live which made it sound stronger and it was such a good experience, so I'm really fond of the memory of those four days working on that one song those four days
ILM: And you'll always remember it.
BRIAN: Definitely it's still my favourite song on the album and one I never tire of listening to.
ILM: Your album was Produced by Dave Eringa (Manic Street Preachers, Idlewild), what did you learn from him about making music?
BRIAN: Definitely. Dave it's an outstanding producer, so everything about what he did captured the vibe of the record. A lot of people get lost in making things too perfect, whereas Dave wanted things flawed. So there are little secrets on the record that made it new and added something to it. When we recorded it he set up the vocal room and he had 100 metres of tube lighting and he set it all up to capture the vibe, so little things like that made it relaxed, so there was a warmth to recording.
The days of recording we used this mansion just off Cardigan Bay and every room in the house was used to record a different instrument. The bass was set up in one room and the bass in another room. The living room became the drumming room. That's such a unique way of doing things.
ILM: You also worked at Rockfield Studios in Wales with Dimitri Tikovoi (Placebo). How was that? Isn't it haunted?
BRIAN: We heard the stories that it was haunted but we thought it was a joke. Even on the Oasis DVD for Definitely Maybe they talk about it how the Stone Roses were winding them up telling them that Rockfield was haunted.
But Adam stayed in room number nine and told us one morning that during the night the covers had been pulled off his bed. And on the day we found that out, we heard the story that some girl had claimed she'd been raped by a ghost in Rockfield and she'd said she had the physical marks to prove it.
We were talking about recording the second album and how we'd love to record it at Rockfield and Adam said he definitely wouldn't be staying in room number nine.
It was an amazing place for us even just to visit because of all the bands that have been there. It's the place where Freddie Mercury wrote 'Bohemian Rhapsody'. We'd find footsteps in the snow that couldn't be explained and that didn't lead anywhere. The TV in my room kept switching itself on and off. And the soap kept falling onto the floor every time one of us was in the shower. It must've been the ghost of Freddie!
ILM: Wow, it must be an amazing vibe working there, soaking up the creative energies?
BRIAN: Yeah, even Robert Plant when he split up with his wife, he wasn't recording but he moved into Rockfield for six months and just stayed there because he felt so at home. It's so true; it's such a good place and has such a good energy about it. Some venues have the same vibe; you feel that good things have happened creatively there before.
ILM: How was your homecoming gig at T in the park?
BRIAN: It was amazing yeah. We didn't know what to expect because we hadn't played any of the Scottish dates yet on the tour. So we turned up and The Hold Steady were on before us, but they'd been late as they'd performed at Oxygen the day before, so they were late for their performance. So a lot of people turned up to see them but then left, and 20 minutes before our set the tent looked empty, but by the time we went on stage the tent was packed. It was a case of one in one out, and it was a massive capacity tent, with a good thousand people or so. And it was great hearing the crowd shouting the lyrics back to us.
That's what it's all about isn't it. You can get told how many records you've sold, but it's not until you play live that you get to really connect with fans and see the reaction for yourselves?
It was great to see with songs like Waiting For Go, to see the crowd really get into it; it's like a lager anthem so the crowd get really behind it.
ILM: I read that your set included a marriage proposal?
BRIAN: A guy had been in touch with us via MySpace and said he's a big fan of T in the Park and his girlfriend and him were big fans of the Dykeenies, so he asked us and we said yeah, so half way through the set, we stopped and said this guy Craig wanted to propose to his future wife. She said yes.
ILM: That's brilliant. Can you describe the Dykeenies process of making such good music?
BRIAN: Most of the time it'll start from one member of the band who'll have their own individual idea; either a riff, a chord structure or a theme. Then we'll all get together and chip in and build on it. We always build the songs together, although there'll be one emotion as it can sound a bit disjointed with five different writers. We all muck in and the songs write themselves to be honest.
ILM: You're on tour from next week. What's your favourite track to play live?
BRIAN: Probably Pick You Up. There's an acoustic version that's been available for a while and everyone's learned the words from that version and it's become one of the crowd favourites and even though people haven't heard the full band version they sing a long to every word. It's quality to do that. Live it's got such a massive sound. Plus it's easy to sing as well.
ILM: Your band is made up of brothers and best friends, you obviously know each other well. Can you tell me the best characteristic and worst habit about each other?
BRIAN: Alan Henderson (guitar): He's got anger issues, a really bad temper, but at the same time he always mucks in.
Andrew Henderson (bass): He doesn't speak very good English, but at the same time he's always there to lend a helping hand.
Steven Ramsay (guitar): He's terrible. No, I'm joking, he's an all round good guy and makes a brilliant cup of tea but he can't make toast, that's his downfall.
John Kerr (drums): He's probably one of the laziest folk I've met in my life. He doesn't tidy up and he doesn't like to set up his own gear. But, at the same time he's easy to communicate with when you're working with the band, so he's easy to work with.
Me (Brian - vocals and keys): I don't have any negative characteristics. I'm just a likeable guy.
ILM: You guys are from Cumbernauld, a Glaswegian new town that was voted the worst city in Britain in 2005. Sounds harsh. What's the best and worst thing about it?
BRIAN: The worst thing is definitely the shopping centre; it's the most terrible looking thing I've ever seen. But it's listed, so the folk, the conglomerate that own it refuse to knock it down and it just sits there. Everyone in Cumbernauld knows it's horrible. It's been voted the ugliest building in Britain. Kevin Mcleod of Grand Designs and Janet Street Porter have done programmes on it. But they won't take the hint. They invest more money into it and they add on little extensions to this horrible shopping centre. They just won't admit that it's disgusting.
The best thing about Cumbernauld is the Abronhill centre for young kids. It helps them out and gets them off the street.
ILM: What is your advice for young people just starting out in their careers on achieving their dreams? Doing what they want career wise?
BRIAN: First and foremost, start a band with people you feel comfortable with. Friends are always the easiest to start a band with because you've known them for a long time and are a lot more familiar with them, so if you don't like something you'll say and its easier to communicate with each other. Once you're writing songs you need the best team for the job, so you need to make sure you can communicate well with each other.
The Dykeenies are Brian Henderson (vocals & keys), Alan Henderson (guitar), Andrew Henderson (bass), Steven Ramsay (guitar) and John Kerr (drums)
icScotland.co.uk - Sept. 11, 2007
EXCLUSIVE: The Dykeenies,
Q&A By Richard Mooney
We sat down with Steven Ramsay from the Dykeenies recently. He told us about the band's new album, what's been going on in the past year, what Myspace has done for the band and their favourite Glaswegian nightclub.
So for those who don’t know already, who are the Dykeenies?
We’re made up of three brothers and two best friends. We’ve all been friends for quite a while now. The brothers decided to put a band together a few years ago and we all knew each other from school. Once we got the band together, we started writing a few songs and then there was a lot of interest in getting these songs developed. So we realised we could do something here and we basically just took it from there.
Whereabouts are you all from?
We’re from Cumbernauld, just a few miles outside Glasgow.
Where did the name Dykeenies come from?
The name comes from the 1980’s movie Willow, written by George Lucas and starring Val Kilmer. There are midgets in the film and they call the taller people, the humans, Dykeenies. We thought it was a strange name and that no one else would have it.
The last year has been pretty massive for you all. What’s that been like?
Yeah, we only got signed last October. We’ve not been signed that long and since then we’ve had the NME tour, we’ve played with big bands like the Fratelli’s and Maximo Park and the no.1 hit in Scotland. So yeah it has been quite a successful year.
Tell us about the new album, Nothing Means Everything.
From all the songs we had to date we went in and recorded them, then whittled it down to the songs that are actually on the album. We worked with three producers on it. We did one tack with Jim Abiss, who’s done the Arctic Monkeys. We did a track with Dmitri Tikovoi, who's done Placebo.
He brought out the electro side of our music and then we worked with Dave Eringer, who’s worked with the likes of the Manic Street Preachers and he brought out more of a guitar based sound within the album.
It’s a journey through the album with these different producers who have worked on it. Each song is different and each song is interesting in its own way. rather than it all coming from the same producer and all sounding similar. So we were pretty pleased with the outcome of it.
What is your favourite tracks on the album?
My favourite songs from the album are Clean Up Your Eyes and Stitches.
What are the bands major musical influences?
There’s so much variation through the band music wise. We all listen to different styles of music, ranging from Michael Jackson to David Bowie, to Paul Weller and classical rock. So when we write songs each person’s influences come out and when it’s all put together, we have our sound.
Has MySpace helped you?
Yeah, it gives people information about where and when the gigs are. When we were just starting out it gave everyone a lot of useful information, but even now it’s just growing and growing. We’re getting two to three thousand plays a day, when we used to only get a few hundred. We can also contact people and be more intimate with our fans. You can be more one-on-one with them. So yeah it has helped us and is still helping us.
Do you think websites like MySpace and Bebo websites help bands a lot?
It helped us out in the start, but now with the more and more people who are joining it a lot of things are opening up with Myspace. But Bebo is trying to take over from Myspace and there are a lot of people trying to get on the both of them.
Bebo isn’t my thing at all.There’s two Dykeenies Bebo pages, none of which are actually run by the band. As I said Myspace really helped us in the start, but now it does seem as if there is a bit much of it.
Where’s your favourite night club?
We like the Garage, ABC is good as well and sometimes we go to Firewater. When we’re in town it can be pretty annoying when people recognise you and start annoying you. Not everyone, but some guys laugh at you or try and wind you up. So that can be quite annoying. It doesn’t happen often, but we do like our privacy just like anyone else.
Steven Ramsay is a lead guitarist and vocalist for the Dykeenies. They’re from Cumbernauld and their new album ‘Nothing means Everything’ hits the street on Monday 17th September 2007.
Contactmusic.com, UK - Sept. 7, 2007
The Dykeenies – Stitches Video
Scottish 5-piece The Dykeenies release their new single, Stitches on 10th September 2007 through Lavolta Records, Stitches follows the album, Nothing Means Everything released September 17th.
Scotland have well and truly taken the band to heart - the last single brought widespread coverage including a host of features in The Daily Record and a Scotland on Sunday front cover - and now with 'Stitches' The Dykeenies are ready to infiltrate the mainstream. Produced by Dave Eringa (Manic Street Preachers, Idlewild), 'Stitches' is an anthemic and uplifting look back to the band's childhoods and its epic declaration of, 'Still I adore the taste of rain, and the bounce of bone on ground', is already prone to sparking mass sing-a-longs during the live shows. It will steal your heart and refuse to leave your head.
'Stitches' will be accompanied by a UK tour and London residency shortly to be announced, and will be available on CD, 7" picture disc, 7" coloured vinyl and download.
The Dykeenies are Brian Henderson (vocals & keys), Alan Henderson (guitar), Andrew Henderson (bass), Steven Ramsay (guitar) and John Kerr (drums)
Q4 Music , UK - Sept. 7, 2007
New to Q: The Dykeenies
Cumbernauld’s The Dykeenies got their big break two years ago in a talent competition, albeit a credible one set up by venerable Glasgow venue King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut. Their stratospheric take on indie rock should see the quintet, featuring three brothers – Alan, Andrew and Brian Henderson - go much, much further. Current single Stitches establishes the template: twisting rhythms and enormous, synth-powered choruses.
Their debut album Nothing Means Everything is released on 17 September.