Long Fin Killie - an interview with Luke Sutherland

S: ok, I'm not going to ask you why you're called Long Fin Killie, but are there any Kilmarnock supporters in the band?

L: No, I'm afraid not, we're all from around Perthshire.

S: Good, you answered carefully there, though I suppose St. Johnstone are pretty neutral.

For what it's worth, I've been very impressed with the new lp - it seems to be the best of the three to date. Are you aware of this yourselves that it's one of your better works?


I think that the approach to it was really very very different so the end product was alsovery very different. With the first 2 records there was lots of the songs came out of basically a lot of jamming involved... what we would do is practise in this place called Jordanstone, there's this mansionhouse there owned by a lady by the title of Lady Duncan of Jordanstone, she allows us to practise there in her stone walled laundry, would you believe in the heart of the Perthshire countryside for the last 8 years. So what we basically do is go out there and jam and we'll record these'grooves', if you like, and take out the bits we like best about them and hammer them into the shape of songs, very often the stuff we like most, certainly in the past the largest wealth of contradictions in a song like, say, Heads of Dead Surfers, where the drums are vaguely tribal, vaguely hip-hoppish, classical-sounding violin, guitar that sounds like it's sampled, bass that's played with a stick, 3 different types of voices, on paper it just sounds like junk basically, it's thrown together, but hopefully once it's arranged and set down and properly recorded you've got something coherent, that sounds fresh in some ways I guess.... but with Amelia we did it in 3 sessions.

S: It's a quite varied album I suppose, there's a drum 'n'bass feel to Lipstick ( a surprise single for me), the other stuff is very free and easy

L: Well, Lipstick was a complete remix by Jamie and Grant at Chamber Studio, it was nothing to do with the group certainly this was entirely the point in the past when we've remixed stuff ourselves you tend to get a little bit precious - d'you know what I mean? - and you don't deconstruct as mercilessly as you might, so we got Jamie and Grant to give us their take on it and as you say you get something which sounds completely different

S: yes, it's a good contrast...

Any plans for any further collaborations, or for Mark E. Smith to join the band now that the Fall have split?

L: Oh, they haven't have they?

S: Well, they've had another bust-up, but this happens every few months or so.

L: But they have a record coming out soon.

S: And a tour, but it's probably Mark just fighting with the other menbers of the band.

L: That would be nothing new, there are no other collaboration plans, but it's interesting you talking of fighting and bust-ups, etc - when we recorded wth him I was so afraid after all the rumours I'd heard, as you had, and the MES formulative temper, but he was completely lucid, very friendly, very anxious that he'd done something that we thought was good, - he had his own ideas obviously and he came in and it was fantastic - he was very, you know,"are you happy with it, will I do it again?", do you know what I mean, he was really wonderful.

S: So I wanted to ask why the lp's are named after tragic heroes and heroines of history.

L: Well the first record was called Houdini for no other reason that the key track on it, I think, was called How I Blew it With Houdini... I say key track because it seemed to encapsulate lots of the elements of the other songs, and was quite long and, I daren't use the word epic because it sounds a little grandiose, but it's very long, you'll take my meaning I guess...

and when I started doing interviewsfor the record journalists started pointing out to me that they thought that it had a fitting metaphorical worth in that Houdini was an escapologist, he was a magician, and in the same respect, he was a slippery character if you like, they found that quality in the music in that they weren't able to pin it down. I was obviously flattered, I thought it was a nice idea. I called Valentino that to show that it was a continuation in that resect musically, and certainly lyrically as well, the concerns on Houdini are racism, sexism, homhobia, the same on Valentino. Amelia is really taking on that again, but is a departure musically.

S: You mentioned Heads of Dead Surfers earlier, do you think that you're not so much pressured, but maybe you're trying to shake of the classic track - big in the F50, your best known song - to put something else forward that's completely your own?

L: Well, certainly as far as the reviews went, MES's references started and ended with the first reviews we got for Houdini.

So it's just me then? ok I'll shut up and in best time-honoured chat show tradition let you plug your book.

Oh, crikey... I've writtem a book, it's called Jelly Roll, about a jazz band on a tour of the highlands of Scotland - one of them's black, it's semi-, well, vaguely autobiographical, and it just charts the ridiculous situations they get themselves into in the course of this 9-date tour of Scotland.


S: That brings us to tours of Scotland - any tours for the locals in the central belt?

L: Well, hopefully - we're not going to be touring properly till spring so February/March - Maybe some one-offs before then but I don't really know now to be honest. We're doing a b rief tour with Mouse on Mars and Tortoise but it's really just the continent and typically it only comes as far north as London.

S: That's not very far north!

L: No, I'm sorry, so it does look like being March time.

S: Look forward to see you playing then.