THE LOVING SOUNDS OF BOWS

by Bret Miller
Bows is the project of former Long Fin Killie member Luke Sutherland. With his new project he has made an eclectic, fiery, atmospheric masterpiece called Blush, out now on Too Pure records. If you missed this album when it came out last summer, give it a listen and fall in love with the beats, guitar textures and lovely female vocals thata make up Bowsí sound.

Your music is what I like to call ĎLove Songs for Insomniacs.í This is what I listen to in the middle of the night.

Thatís definitely what is for, listening to it at that time of day.

What does the name of the group mean?

It is Scotland slang. To be in someoneís bows is to be in their arms, to be in an embrace. The idea behind the band was it to embrace, if you will, different people. The band has no fixed members, it is a collective, and they are drawn in to do their bits and pieces and go off and do whatever else. Bows refers to the collective nature of the band and itís also a romantic association I guess. Being in someoneís arms, itís quite cozy.

How did you come to your present sound from your days in Long Fin Killie?

It was a natural progression. The beats are more programmed in Bows but the beats are similar, Long Fin Killie dabbled in drumíníbass the drums where always quite experimental, very expressive. In terms of its lushness and dreaminess, that was always something that Long Fin Killie had. I think that the thing that is lacking here that Long Fin Killie had is the dynamics. There were far more obvious rock elements like guitar-wise. Where here, the guitars are disguised as violins. The first track, Big Wings, the sound that people keep asking me Ďwhere did you get those violins fromí are just guitars. The last track on there as well, Rockets, is all guitars, there are no strings there at all. The use of guitars is very different. I just loop pure guitar sounds many times, I donít use any chorus or effects, reverb mainly, but I donít interfere with the actual guitar sound.

Tell us about your book, Jelly Roll.

Iíve just finished another one, but Jelly Roll has been shortlisted (one of four) for the Whitbread Award which is quite big. I didnít win but I went along to the Ďdo anyway in a tuxedo. It was good fun but it was really weird writing the book. Iíve been writing as long as Iíve been playing music. It just so happened that things took off with the music. Iíve been sending stuff off to periodicals and magazines since I was fifteen and getting absolutely nowhere. I was getting ton and tons of rejections. I was in university in my second year when I started writing Jelly Roll. Itís about a jazz band touring in the Highlands of Scotland. Out of university, the band took off. Long Fin Killie were in a car crash in 1997 and I spent that time finishing the book. I was 28 by the time I finished it. Instead of sending bits and pieces to magazines, I sent it to agents. I sent out 16 synopses out, descriptions of what the book is about and I had four people get back to me saying that they would like to read everything I had written up to that point. Of the four, one guy said ĎIíll represent you.í Now the bookís on the shelf.

Too Pure seems like the perfect record label for you. How did you get there?

I remember hearing Super Electric on the radio for the first time, by Stereolab. At the time there was a lot of stuff in the press about Stereolab, the Faith Healers, Moonshake, P.J. Harvey, and I went to see all these groups. It was a very exciting time for that label and for music in England in general. There were a lot of good things happening before all the doors closed with fucking Britpop and all that nonsense. I came away as a fan and before we got signed they had Mouse On Mars and Pram and Seefeel.

Be sure to buy the Bows album, its called Blush and it is an exceptional collection of lush breakbeats and strings sure to please.

Click here to listen to Blush on mp3!

bows links

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