To celebrate the return of The OK Social Club and their new release Baby Eat Your Heart Out on 1 June, Third Outing caught up with front man Raff. Enjoy!
3rd: Hello Raff from The OK Social Club. You first came to our attention at Haddow Festival 2012. The Shape Of Things To Come had just been released and you were rocking the Liquid Rooms. How have things changed and developed over the last few years? Has the music evolved over this time too?
Raff: Well the band had only been together for the best part of a year back then and because we were keen to get out and play live as quickly as possible, we just ended up playing a lot of stuff that I'd written before we even knew each other. We were learning about each other while signing our first record deal, releasing our first single and playing going out on the road, It was like trying to get to know someone while on a roller-coaster, drunk. We were due to release our second album over a year ago but had to take time out for personal reasons, but that's actually been one of the positive things that happened, it gave us time to work out how we wanted to approach things, I feel like we would've done something more similar to Nothing In Common had we went right back into it.
3rd: The Shape Of Things To Come, The Late 90's, Gezellig. These were all band defining tracks which put The OK Social Club firmly on the Scottish music map. How are you going to surpass that?
Raff: We certainly feel like our best work is ahead of us now, we probably didn't think that when we recorded our first album, I think at the time it seemed like those were the best songs we'll ever do and we just put all our eggs in that basket. We've now proved to ourselves that we can evolve and better ourselves in the process.
3rd: Looking back your lyrics are very powerful at times, philosophical. Where do you source the inspirations and stories which go into The OK Social Club lyrics? Are there any which mean the most to you?
Raff: I've been thinking about this a lot recently and I really don't know where some of the music, melodies or words come from, it's a very strange thing to be able to do actually. Sometimes I have certain feelings or specific things that I write about but I must just pick things up subconsciously and over time need to express them. I'm very lucky to be able to do it.
3rd: We've just seen you play Dry The River @ Studio24. It was your first live show for sometime. How was it to be back on stage? You got a really good reception in my opinion. Did you miss the live aspect of being in a band? Is it something you found you need to practice or is it just natural for you?
Raff: We had a great time, we were nervous beforehand as it was mostly brand new songs that nobody had heard, plus we have a new member called Lewis who's playing keys and guitars. We only had about three weeks to prepare, It was quite risky I guess but we pulled it off and like I say had a great time. We certainly have missed playing live, I think we are naturally a live band.
3rd: Nothing In Common was a solid first album, what are your expectations for the second?
Raff: It's different to our first, it's a lot deeper, more personal and we think it is just a better record. But we love our pop, so it's still very much pop music. We're looking forward to people's reactions, it certainly went down better than we expected live last night.
3rd: On another subject, the Edinburgh music scene seems to be in demise. HMV is gone, the Odeon lies empty, and many venues are struggling with council noise restrictions. Do we just accept that Edinburgh may have to lose part of its live music tradition? From the point of view of a live act how do you see all of this?
Raff: It's difficult because the people that feel strongly about this are in the minority. It's no coincidence that places where more people embrace new music have better things going on. We need to fight for it, it's great to see a band like Young Fathers doing well and speaking up about it, it'd be easy just to focus on what they're doing but they seem to give a shit about Edinburgh and hopefully more and more people will start to realise how important it is.
3rd: Are there any plans for any festivals this year? Glastonbury has just confirmed its line-up. What's your opinion on a Hip Hop act taking the headline? If we gave you the power to create any Glasto Line up, what would it be?
Raff: We'd love play some more festivals this year, it might be a bit late with this release but hopefully not. It's hard to beat the atmosphere of a festival. Some of our best gigs have been at Festivals. I guess Glastonbury are putting on what's popular and appeals to a lot of people, they're never going to please everyone.
Our Glasto line-up? That's a tough one, we'd have to be in there somewhere, obviously. Arcade Fire are a great festival band, good head-liners, The National are also great live, I'd get The Walkmen out of their hiatus also, I never got to see those guys, one of my favourite bands ever. I'd want an 80's tent, Human League and that, I could go on to make a more elaborate line-up if you'd like ?
3rd: We'll leave it at that! Lets quickly talk about social clubs. Where did the name actually come from? Did you ever go to any social clubs? In fact if Carlsberg did Social Clubs, what would they be?
Raff: Ah, it was the name of a clubnight that myself and my cousin Steven (from The 10:04's) tried to start up, we put on a couple of "guerrilla" style gigs but it didn't really take off. It seemed like it had a nice ring to it though so we just went with that. I was actually trying to change the band name recently but that was vetoed by everyone.