So… got the new album today. Wow! I don’t want to come across as fawning but it is a work of genius. Initial standouts (outwith the songs I have heard on here) Calculating Bimbo – the last thirty seconds especially when Stuart and Sarah sing with minimal music. I’m Not Living In The Real World- Mr Jackson take a bow. A wonderful song about the journey to adulthood – kudos for “A Pint of Special Brew, won’t do that again.” Ghost Of Rockscool – the almost gospel like ending brought tears to my eyes. Read The Blessed Pages- Gorgeous, the vocal again moving me close to tears. Anyway, as this is Q&A can I ask who plays the guitar solo – if solo is a word on Little Lou….? And who strums the acoustic on Read The Blessed Pages? Thanks again, early days but love every track on there – don’t leave it as long again! x
Stevie is your man on the Little Lou solo, and on acoustic on Read the Blessed Pages. Ghost of Rockschool moves me a lot as well. Can’t wait til we play that to some real people at shows; whenever we’ve played it with an audience, even of one, it’s benefitted from the connection and communication. Thank god the album’s finally out and we can start playing some more newies.
New album is really good, and well done on the Pitchfork review! Seems a long time ago you were getting 0.6 out of 10 on that site.. Anyway yeah, great album, but WHY did you put the medieval recorder solo on read the blessed pages?? It’s awful. Makes it this records ‘India Song’. Sorry.
Sorry. Stuart told me to play it. I love the recorder though, I don’t really mean to apologise!
I had downloaded your album before when it had leaked, but I must admit, I did not listen to it. I felt like it would cheat the band to listen to the music before it had truly arrived to everyone, and the band must want us all to collectively enjoy it. I’m so glad I made this decision, as I went and bought the album today and it sounds fantastic, all the better after waiting! It really is a great set of songs…just like every other album. I suppose why I am writing this, apart from the irreverent butt-kissing, is to urge everyone to buy the album, even if you have downloaded the leak! B&S deserve it!
That’s some willpower you have there. Well done. I’m glad the anticipation was worth it.
I just want to tell you that I really love your voice and I am very pleased to hear you on lead vocals on the last album.
I would also like to recommend you a nice festival in the French Alps during summer just by a great lake (lac du Bourget): it is such a wonderful place and I would love to hear you here next summer.
Love from François (from Paris)
Didn’t we play there about 6 years ago? In between Slipknot and some other nu-metal crap?
Only 3 sleeps until Monday’s gig – sooooo excited. Cant wait, especially to hear “I didn’t see it coming”.
What has been your most exciting moment of 2010 thus far ?
oh, i’m not sure we’ll be doing that one on monday. Stuart is in charge of the setlist, and he is trying to make the 3 shows different.
most exciting moment? Maybe getting to LA in the spring to start the new record. It felt like the start of something NEW, and about time. There were also a couple of moments with the orchestra, particularly in Birmingham and Manchester, which were undeniably spine-tingling. Watching Edwyn Collins and Teenage Fanclub from the front row with some very special people last Saturday at Bowlie. Also waking up on the sleeper bus on the slip-road at Charing Cross when we returned to Glasgow yesterday morning. I can’t explain how happy I was to be home. (Putting my suitcase in the cupboard where I don’t have to look at it until March gave me quite a thrill as well)
I get the feeling,reading between various lines,that we might not have to wait four years for the next album.Am I deluded?
I think (hope, fervently) that the 4-year wait was an anomaly. I’m not in the mood for sitting about waiting that long again anyway – I was going off my head. We have a plan up our sleeve to do a couple of things this summer and into the autumn / winter. Who can tell what sort of form it will take? I’m sure we’ll have something for you before october 2014 though.
See Sunday’s Pretty Icons made it’s debut at Tokyo – how did it go. Cracking track hope it makes subsequent shows. Now how about persuading Mr Murdoch to air Ghost….. a live classic in the making.
Hope you are all well and not missing Mick too much
Ghost of Rockschool is one that really will be hard without Mick. I campaigned hard for it while he was still about, but to no avail. I totally agree about the live classic potential: it’s a song where having an audience to take along with you really makes a difference. Every time we had a visitor to he studio when we were rehearsing before we set off to record the LP, that song was one that gave me shivers. On this trip, with different trumpet players each night, it’s not really feasible, but round Europe we will be accompanied by Camera Obscura’s Nigel, so maybe he and I will be able to conjure up some of the same flute-y, trumpet-y interplay. Sunday’s Pretty Icons went quite well, for a first time out. In soundcheck i thought it sounded particularly epic. One of my favourites. Hope we carry on with that one.
Of course it’s strange without Mick – I think it’s strange for him, too. Dave is doing a great job though – he’s a lot of fun to play with.
As you have been on the road for more or less a year do you or any of the band get homesick or really miss the little things?Like a proper cup of tea?Fish and chips?The BBC?Even the weather?
of course, there are things people miss. although we’re used to missing things these days, we have been at it a while and I suppose you know it’s not forever. when we were in Australia I missed needing to wear a coat. I always miss the presence of the BBC Iplayer at the top of the screen when we’re out of the country. (how hard would it be for licence-payers to get a log-in so they can watch when they’re out of the country?) I always miss the people back home, and having a dog to walk.
but there are things you miss when you get home too. For instance, Stuart and I miss Tender Greens in Hollywood, where we went pretty much every day while we were recording the LP. I wish there was one in every town. I would be drowning in mint lemonade.
could have done with knowing about tendergreens few weeks ago when I was in LA, staying on sunset blvd…was only there a week so was a whirlwind trip. Plan to go back though so where else is it cool to hang out? I did ask before I went but was neglected 🙁
well, it’s all about the company you keep isn’t it? we were regulars at Tender Greens and Sharky’s up on Cahuenga and Hollywood. Occasional diversions to Kung Pao Kitty. All highly recommended, especially with company as scintillating as the Studio B crew. can you tell most of what we did (besides play music) was eat, within walking distance of the studio? Stuart and I both spent many mornings in the parks – he was into the Runyon Canyon yoga, and I usually headed in the opposite direction, up Mount Hollywood with Todd and Abbey and June, the studio dogs.
hey there, I was just wondering if you have any tips for a budding musician trying to record his violin… all I’ve got is a mediocre condenser mic, and a fair bit of skill with the instrument. any tips for getting as close to a studio kind of sound as possible? Is it pretty much essential I buy one of those mics that clamp onto it’s body?
thanks in advance.
I don’t think the contact mics are actually what you’d use in the studio: they’re more for use playing live to get as much volume as possible when there are other noisy things going on. The one I use is a schertler. Maybe Mick will chip in and tell you what sort of mics are good for recording violins in the studio.
Me and my husband really enjoyed your Bowlie 2 event in December, best weekend we’ve had in a long time! I was wondering if it’s likely you’ll be arranging a similar event this year?
I’d think it’d be very unlikely. I hope we do get another one together one day, but I don’t imagine for a minute it’ll be this year. There are ATPs every December though – obviously they won’t be as fun as ours, but they’re there if you need a fix.
Sorry Sarah but you know I have been badgering you guys to play ….Rockschool and I see last night in Vienna Mr Murdoch finally gave in. My question….Was it as awesome as we thought it would be? I really hope so so I can get to hear the next time I see you. thanks x
we took Rockschool for a spin in Munich too, the night before Vienna, and I think it’s a good ‘un. heads were bobbing, and we enjoyed playing it, so I think and hope it will make regular appearances. only 8 gigs left though – i can’t help but wish we’d got it together sooner! there’ll be other years, other tours…
According to setlist.com the most played song you have performed live in the last year or so is ‘Sleep the Clock Around’.Surely it must be ‘Arab Strap’!!? Have you ever done a gig where you havn’t done Arab Strap?
Certainly not in living memory. We did try to do a gig and NOT finish with ‘Sleep The Clock Around’ the other day, but Stuart thought he might not sleep if we didn’t do it, so we played it as an encore.
I suspect you’re right though – we only really started playing ‘Sleep…’ in 2001, but I’m pretty sure we played ‘Arab Strap’ more or less every gig before that.
Hi Sarah, I was just wandering if you guys ever play Isobell Campbell’s songs but with you singing or something? It would be pretty cool to see Family Tree live…
p.s. Please play Waiting for the Moon to Rise in Leeds! I know I mentioned Family Tree but I like you’re songs even more, don’t worry. x
Someone requested Family Tree during a gig recently, and Stuart asked if i was up for it – but I think the fact that I might not have been able to command all the words might have been the least of our problems! it’s been a long time since we played that one. (You know Family Tree is a Stuart song, not one of Isobel’s?) I have a feeling that we played Is It Wicked Not To Care in Japan once, and a fan came up from the audience to sing it, but besides that we’ve not played Isobel’s songs since she left.
hmmm. I dunno about Waiting For The Moon To Rise. I would definitely rather sing Family Tree than that one!
Might be a daft question but do you (i.e. the band) have a formal holiday?After 12 months in each others pockets do you relish the idea of two weeks away from each other?Or do you all live in the same house like The Monkees?Does Mr Murdoch say ‘right you lot back here in 2 weeks,don’t be late’?
i for one can’t wait to get back to business. i would much rather hang about with those boys than try to finish songs indoors on my own on a sunny day. i guess a lot of us still do stuff at home or in the office when we’re not on tour. at the moment, Stuart is the one trying to get us all in one place at the same time, but sometimes it could be someone else trying to crack the whip…
we don’t all share a house like the monkees – but Richard has moved in next door to me. he’s spending some of his time off on a busman’s holiday with Snow Patrol.
How has your fashion sense changed since the creation of belle and sebastian?
fashion sense? moi?
a ha ha ha ha ha ha etc.
Has ‘Come On Sister’ been remixed for the single version?Just heard it on BBC 6 and it just sounds slightly different.Or is it my radio?
Well spotted. There’s a little bit less of it as well, isn’t there? (I think)
you’ve said recently that you like playing in ‘strange’ locations. Have you ever considered St Michael’s cave in Gibraltar. It has a seating capacity of a 100 so it might be one of those ‘loss leader’ gigs!
Sounds appealing. It won’t happen of course… Unless you make it!
Seen the curry menu.Judging by that veggies must way outnumber carnivores.Who was the transgressor who had the chicken?Was it that Murdoch showing off again or was it bought in?These things are important (!)
It was all bought in – there was also a prawn something-or-other, and we were all just dolloping a bit of everything we fancied on our plates. if i could draw a venn diagram in this answer-box, there’d be 3 circles, representing chicken, prawn, and vegetarian options. you would have richard floating about outside the circles entirely, being a flavour-phobe; stuart and bob in the intersection between all 3 sets; chris, mick and john in just the veggie bit; stevie in the veggie / prawn intersection; and me in the chicken / veggie intersection. (Marisa was upstairs watching ‘Wonders of the Universe’ in a little veg / chicken / prawn intersection of her own.)
I’m so sad…I asked in another Q&A if the band could play I can See your future at Primavera Sound, Stuart answered that he would have asked you if you felt like doing it, but nothing…So sad, that’s our favourite of the last record, we saw you 4 times since you’ve been playing songs from the new record, at Latitude, Barrowlands, Milan and Primavera Sound, and none of these times you played it…my husband promised that if you’d play it at Primavera, he would have washed the dishes for an entire week!! An now, I will have to wash them as always!! I also saw Stuart after Interpol at Primavera, and wanted to remind him to remind you to sing that song, but he seemed in a hurry and just said Hello.
Will there be a time when you’ll play it live?? (if you let me now when and where, I’ll manage to come, wherever it is!).
Keep on doing these grat songs!
We did have a go at it before the Milan show – your request didn’t fall completely on deaf ears. But I’m afraid until we manage to do another show with an orchestra, or at least a handful of french horn and flute players, it’s probably just not going to happen. Sorry…
So that’s it with touring for a while I guess.Even though it must be fun and satisfying to tour and do it well what kind of feeling do you get when it ends?Sadness,relief,anti-climatic,pleasure,exhaustion?And what now for the good ship B&S?
All of the above, pretty much, and plenty more besides. But I think the good ship B&S is about to set sail on an exploratory voyage into recording in new and old ways, and as long as there are new songs to learn I’ll be excited to get to work.
Brilliant video for ‘Come on Sister’.How long did it take you to learn to drive the street sweeper?Nice to see a cameo from Pumpkin as well!
That’s not a streetsweeper – it’s a steamroller!
It was really quite easy to drive – just a lever for going back and forwards, and the steering wheel. No brakes or clutch or anything. I was doing 3-point turns within seconds of hopping aboard. The guy who showed me what to do did make a few subtle enquiries as to my driving ability before he allowed me to try it out – he pointed out it was ‘3 tons of destruction’. It was pretty cool actually. And Paul, the director of the video, was VERY trusting in my abilities, and got down on the floor right in my path to film me.
What was the first instrument you learned to play?
Recorder, when I was 4 or 5. What I actually wanted to play was flute, but I was way too small, so I learned recorder since a lot of the fingering is the same, with a plan to take up the flute as soon as I could reach the end of it. I was pretty impatient though.
Just read a question where the author had a Scottish Terrier named Stuart. My little guy is a Border Collie named Stevie. We need to get a few more Scottish dogs with all of your names and get a canine tribute band going. Someone has to have a Mick or Beans, right?
Anyway, I was just listening to Write About Love again, and as usual find myself loving your vocal harmony choices. Particularly on Blue Eyes of a Millionaire, Calculating Bimbo and Ghost of Rockschool. Do you typically come up with these things, or does Stuart have it all plotted out, or maybe (possibly more likely) are there intense negotiations between the two of you. Whatever the answer is,keep doing it. Your vocal melodies and harmonies are the most pleasing things to my ears in all of music. Thanks
I met a dog called Beans in Milwaukee, 2006. Picture the scene: a St Patrick’s day parade, our tour bus parked up at the side of the road. I spotted Chris getting off the bus, and shouted ‘Beans!’, whereupon a small Boston terrier ran across the street and jumped on me. For it was his name, too.
I’ve got a friend with a dog called Micky (close enough?), and I know dogs called Sadie and Bobby. Looks like finding a Richard might be the toughest job.
As for your kind comments about vocal harmonies – actually on those songs I’m mostly just singing in unison with Stuart. But when I stray from his vocal melody it’s pretty much always just what comes to me. He’s fun to sing along with.
Who (if any) is the early riser?I suspect Stuart may go jogging before breakfast.Or you might go for an early morning doggy-walk.Or do you all live the rock star life and sleep till lunchtime?
I think it’s hard to compete in the early-riser stakes with people who have small children. So Bob is probably the unlucky winner of the early riser prize these days, unlikely though it may seem.
Hi, is there a definitive list anywhere of who wrote the lyrics for each B&S song? Or would it be easier to ask which ones did Stuart Murdoch not write? 🙂 I love all the different styles of lyrics epsecially yours Sarah and am always fascinated to know who writes what but sometimes I’m not even sure who is singing so I can’t use that as a clue.
There isn’t a definitive list, no. And yes, it’d be easier to tell you which ones Stuart didn’t write. He even wrote some of the words for some of mine and Stevie’s songs (Scooby Driver, Asleep on a sunbeam, Jonathan David, Step Into My Office spring to mind), and some songs where the basic musical background was Stevie’s or Mick’s or Chris’s, Stuart wrote the words and sometimes the melody (I’m thinking Don’t Leave The Light On Baby, Black and White Unite, Sunday’s Pretty Icons, Wandering Alone, Love On the March, Act of the Apostle part1 … there are almost certainly more).
But here, if you want a list, you’ve got it.
Stevie definitely wrote all the words for: Chickfactor, Seymour Stein, The Wrong Girl, Roy Walker, To Be Myself Completely, I’m Not Living In The Real World, Last Trip, Long Black Scarf, Mr Richard, I Took A Long Hard Look, Travelling Light; and most / part of: Legal Man, Step into my Office, Jonathan David, Storytelling
Isobel wrote all the words for all her songs: Is It Wicked Not To Care, The Gate, Beyond the Sunrise, The Magic Of A Kind Word, and contributed to the lyrics for Legal Man.
I wrote the words for Waiting for the Moon to Rise, I Didn’t See It Coming, I Can See Your Future, and most of Scooby Driver, Storytelling and Asleep On A Sunbeam, and added the odd line to Legal Man here and there. Pretty sure that’s all. I’m not very prolific.
Anybody going to the Olympics next year?
not that I know of – though I know Jessica Ennis has a couple of devoted fans in the group, so maybe they’ve got ringside seats sorted out. I’d be quite up for seeing some diving, synchronised swimming, sailing, rowing, and pretty much any high-speed winter sports… maybe gymnastics, too. But I will probably save my visits to London for when it’s a bit less hectic than during the Olympics. Also, correct me if I’m wrong, but i heard tickets were hard to come by.
Did you know Reykjavik has underfloor heating under its pavements? And that they do not allow dogs downtown? Are you planning on touring soon? (Please? :P)
I didn’t know about the ban on dogs in Reykjavik. That will never do! But I did know about the geothermally heated pavements, yeah. Genius.
No touring for a while I’m afraid for B&S – but you can catch Stevie (and Bob) on the “(I Can’t Get No) Stevie Jackson” tour, in November.
I saw your name on some…. digital poster…. apparently you’re going to Portugal next year. Will that be part of a TOUR? (A) And don’t you miss your dog(s?) a lot when on tour? 🙁
Portugal’s news to me. Maybe one of the boys is dj-ing.
I get lucky in some places when we’re on tour, where I have friends with dogs who let me join in the fun. Any dog will do! But I miss getting out and about for walks with dogs when I don’t run into any pups for a while, yeah.
Which kinds of dogs do you like the most? Big, small? Oh and have you ever met a real dog on wheels?
well, my dog is pretty small, but frankly you wouldn’t want her to be any bigger, so feisty and stubborn is she: she’s all terrier. but I love plenty of huge dogs too. my favourite dogs are always the ones that can’t quite contain their excitement when they see their favourite people, dogs, ball, etc… I’m always envious of people who have dogs that can just be off the lead all the time, walking along doing their own thing. it brightens my day to see a dog taking itself out for a walk on its own. i’d hesitate to say I don’t like any kind of dog, but I much prefer the look of dogs with proper noses, not flat wrinkly faces. and i feel sorry for wrinkly, stinky bassetts and all those over-bred dogs.
my dog looks like a dog on wheels, actually. some small children have tried to ride her. (she didn’t like that much). But of course I was well acquainted with Patch, the eponymous dog from the record sleeve, when he lived with Joanne above Nice ‘n’ Sleazy’s.
Hi! Can you settle an argument? Is it Sarah or Isobel paraphrasing Marx on “Marx and Engels”? I’m sure it’s Sarah but my friend disagrees.
well, your friend is wrong.
Sarah, I trust you to tell me the truth.
Does the song Tigermilk really exist?
Is there somewhere I can hear it?
i think it is on the Fans Only dvd; it’s an instrumental, but it does exist.
This is quite a long time after the event but I was wondering why when on the tour (in December 2010) you played three nights in Glasgow rather than say one in Glasgow and then nights in Edinburgh and Aberdeen for example.
A combination of it being late december, the Barras for the first time in 10 years or thereabouts, incorporating a saturday night, right at the end of a uk tour which itself came at the end of a big block of tours of more distant lands… We hoped it would be a big homecoming party, so I suppose we weren’t over-keen to go on elsewhere afterwards. And as it turned out it’s lucky we never booked shows further north, as we probably wouldn’t have made it through the icy roads. Doing Glasgow AND Edinburgh would seem a bit of a weird one anyway – it’s a treat to find a good venue in one town and settle in over a couple of days. And fair to say with the festive season approaching, and a lot of miles behind us, we were in a Glasgow kind of mood. We’ve done Edinburgh and not Glasgow fairly often too, I recall, and I imagine we will again.
Hi, did i just see you in Stockholm?
It’s entirely possible. I was “skiing” at Sälen at the start of the week, and now I’m wandering about the city til tomorrow when I set off home again.
Hi Sarah ! I’m one of the backers on Kickstarter and I just wanted to thank you for the lovely purse you made for me. I got it in the mail this morning…I love it, it’s so pretty! Thanks again xxx
Oh, hi Fanny! I’m really glad you like it. I was just thinking to myself, I wonder if anyone has received their parcels yet – Fi said she’d posted them on Thursday. Delighted that we have one satisfied customer so far!
My girlfriend reckons your mum taught her at a girls’ school in Blackburn. Could this be true?
It’s perfectly possible!
I live in Paris and we have a pop-rock festival at the end of the summer called Rock en Seine.
I think you did not play at this festival. Is there any chance to see you there this year or in the next couple of years?
I have even been learning French again this year, so I would love to come to Paris. Who knows what’ll happen?
Hello! Do you happen to know if you guys will be selling any tees or totes or posters for this go around in the States? My kids are going without me so I need to know how much money to send along with them to get me some goodies. I’ll be there in spirit!
We’ve had some really nice posters made and yeah, tshirts, bags…
For my little boy and I, “I Didn’t See It Coming” is our favorite feel good song. We sing it in the car or when we want to cheer each other up. He especially loves the video. Who did the video- such wonderful eye candy?
The video for that song was by our friend Lesley Barnes, she’s a really amazing illustrator, you should look her up! http://Www.lesleybarnes.co.uk
Alright Sarah, I was hoping to buy the Scotland T shirt .Me and my mate do stuff for auacity and guile. Im too drunk and youre too sexy, iknow bit rude but fancy dropping it of we could do a swap or maybe share a brandy im handy and randy in clydebank
randy and handy in clydebank. how could she possibly refuse? and such a short bus journey! just past YOKER!
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