So then…a mere four years after the release of debut album, ‘Nothing Means Everything’, Cumbernauld’s finest, The Dykeenies, are set to release follow-up album ‘Canyons Of Echoes’ on 3 October, preceded by the rather smashing new single ‘Awake’ on 19 September.
Recorded in three studios and in as many years, ‘Canyons Of Echoes’, is what could be loosely referred to as a labour of love, a statement of intent, a…
Ok, we’ll get to that but first let’s backtrack a little shall we ?
The Dykeenies formed in 2005, released a few demos, sold out a few shows in Scotland, built up a fairly sizable and devoted fanbase, contributed a demo version of ‘New Ideas’ to the free download compilation album ‘Have Yourself A Filthy Little Christmas’ released by the Filthy Little Angels record label, released ‘New Ideas/Will It Happen Tonight ?’ as a one-off single on King Tut’s Recordings, played the T-Break Stage at T in the Park and in 2006 signed up with Sony/BMG subsidiary Lavolta. Lovely, great start.
It seemed to be going so well, especially after the band released the well received and Jim Abbiss (Arctic Monkeys, Kasabian, Bombay Bicycle Club) produced ‘Waiting For Go’ EP, were personally invited by the NME to play on their Rock ‘n’ Roll Riot Tour (with The Horrors, The Fratellis and The Macabees), Xfm’s Winter Wonderland festival and moved into 2007 with their own headline UK tour and a high profile Edinburgh gig with Maximo Park as part of Xfm Live Sessions in March. Smashing.
Singles ‘New Ideas’ (re-recorded), ‘Clean Up Your Eyes’, and ‘Stitches’ quickly followed between July and September, garnering great support from radio and press alike, the band went off on another successful headline UK tour (culminating in a rather special show at Glasgow’s QMU) and on 17 September they released debut album ‘Nothing Means Everything’ on Lavolta. Magic.
The album sold pretty well and the band went away to tour the UK, US and Europe, selling out the 1200 capacity ABC in Glasgow and playing on the Radio One NME Stage at T in the Park. Radio seemed to like them, the press (with the possible exception of the NME, ahem) seemed to like them, heck everyone seemed to like them.
Ok there was the odd oft-publicised fallout between brothers being brothers being brothers (hey at least it wasn’t as bad as, well you know…) but the band seemed to be rolling with it (ahem) and the future looked, some might say (sorry) supersonic ?. Do y’know what I mean ? (I’ll get my coat).
So what the heck happened ? Where have they been ?
Well, in short, and through no fault of their own, Sony BMG pulled funding for all their British subsidiaries and the band found themselves without a label and very little money for certain “necessities” that came with the labels such as marketing, press and radio. Naturally, after having a full team behind them, it took a little getting used to doing everything from scheduling recording time to making records all by their selves.
So a bit of a spanner in the works then. “hi ho and so it goes” as the great Kurt Vonnegurt once said.
And they haven’t really been away that long– a sixteen date headline tour followed in 2008 and they played the Underage Festival in August and a one-off show at the legendary King Tut’s in 2009 and they did find time to post a free download of ‘Are You With Me Now ?’ on the band’s website and Myspace, release the ‘Sounds Of The City’ single in April 2009 and play Summer Sundae, Loopallu and T in The Park (again).
But in truth behind the scenes the band have been scheming and working on this album for three years pretty much on and off.
Stephen : “We recorded the album in three different studios – two in London, one in Airdrie. Had the privilege of using Elton John’s studio with James Lewis [The Wombats, Cajun Dance Party,The Pistolas] producing and later on with Adrian Breakspear and Will Hicks at Strongroom before finishing up with Stuart McLeod at Beetroot Studios in Airdrie.
It was great to work that way, and while it didn’t seem to be working at first, we experimented a lot with adding and dropping instruments to really push ourselves, trying new ideas and especially putting a lot of what we were going through into the music and lyrics.”
It’s just that the album was more important and these things just take time, especially if you’re paying for everything yourself, want to get your album right and you lose a band member, guitarist Alan leaving in December 2008.
“There had been a lot of inter-band friction leading to Alan leaving but once he did the rest of us all made peace, sat down and decided to knuckle down and put it all into the music. Writing about Alan’s departure and everything we’d been through helped act as a catalyst for healing and it become quite cathartic in the end. Songs like ‘No Apologies’ and ‘Square Balloons’ were born from this and in a way we were able to say more to each other in the music than we probably ever could personally”, Brian explains.
“We had to scrap twenty odd songs that we’d been working on, faced massive financial constraints paying for the album ourselves and Steven had a bad accident at the start of 2010 which left him with a fractured skull and swelling of the brain. We had to put a hold on recording while he recovered, we needed Steven to come back and play a big part in the recording, would have been wrong not to wait”.
Brian : “I suppose it seems like a long time right enough but it just took time to get it….right. I guess it’s the album I’ve always had in my mind and that takes time. It feels like a very personal album yet we all agree that ‘Canyon Of Echoes’ is a natural progression from ‘Nothing Means Everything’. It makes sense, the songs make sense and we’re ready to tour again and back up the album’s long awaited release. I’m proud of it, it just had to be…right”
Ah, there we go then. Fair enough really.
So here we are heading into autumn 2011 with a band raring to go, The single (video below) will be available as a free download from Blagsound.com, including a free download of the video on Monday 19 September.
The album will be available in both digital (via iTunes, Napster, Spotify etc) and physical formats, with CDs available from the bands website and live shows from Monday 3rd October.
So ‘Canyons Of Echoes’ then, a labour of love, a statement of intent, a…Ach, listen to it yourself, make your own mind up. We think it’s a darned fine album and well worth the wait. It might have taken a while but don’t all good things really ?
18 – Oran Mor, Glasgow
19 – Ironworks, Inverness
20 – Doghouse, Dundee
21 – The Tunnels, Aberdeen
23 – The Cockpit, Leeds
24 – Temple, Birmingham
25 – Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff
26 – Talking Heads, Southampton
28 – Borderline, London
29 – Alter Ego, Manchester
30 – Fubar, Stirling
The band are also headlining EH1 Live Festival in Edinburgh on Sunday 25th September.
The Dykeenies are :
Brian Henderson : vocals, synthesizers
Andrew Henderson : bass guitar, backing vocals
Steven Ramsay : lead guitar, backing vocals
John Kerr : drums, backing vocals