Neighbours, everybody needs good neighbours. In the proverbial 'Stella Street' that is Lost Map, we've got a fair few characters - Rozi Plain, always mowing the lawn; the various Canaveral Kids mucking about on the street corner, swilling Buckfast; Ed Dowie twitching his curtains. And someone new has just moved into the Savage Mansion at No. 15 ... it's Mr Craig Angus, and his chums.
We're releasing a new single by Savage Mansion this month - 'Do You Say Hello To Your Neighbours?' b/w 'Honeymoon' - as part of our PostMap postcard singles series. We're launching the single on Friday May 26th, with a party at The Hug & Pint in Glasgow. Support comes from Vital Idles and Mush, and tickets are only £5. You can purchase advance tickets from the link here ... and if you buy in advance we'll send you your postcard with your tickets. Oooh.
It's important to get to know our new neighbours ... so without further ado, here's a special wee Q&A with Craig ...
Q. Hello Craig, please introduce us to the band that is Savage Mansion.
Hello, good too meet you. Savage Mansion is my indie rock vehicle featuring a revolving cast – but more often than that I’m joined by my good friends Taylor Stewart on drums, and Andrew McPherson and Jamie Dubber on second guitar and bass. Susan Bear, Simone Wilson and Conor Quill have played a few gigs too. I’m lucky to have so many talented friends who’ve been so enthusiastic
Q. Hello Craig, please introduce us to the person that is Craig.
Hello, my name is Craig, I’m a 26 year old Capricorn. I grew up in sleepy Perth and moved to Glasgow in 2008 to study (Scottish Literature, for those interested). I enjoy watching live sports, I like reading and I like to cook. I am really, really looking forward to getting dog at some point in the next few years, I love dogs and I love spending time with dogs, my friends dogs, dogs in the pub, dogs in the park, in the street. One of these days I’m going to get a beautiful wee rescue dog, and we’ll sit and watch Curb Your Enthusiasm together through the cold winter months
Q. You used to be in a band called Poor Things and now you are in Savage Mansion, what’s the story there?
Yes I was in a band called Poor Things with my best mates from school, we were in an awful teenage band, the same as everyone’s adolescent bands really although ours was particularly bad, but we ended up in Glasgow after school so we started something fresh. It was a lot of fun! We released an album in 2014, then a split single with Catholic Action and a great 7” with Sharptooth, Halfrican and Pinact. We wrote a second album, we demoed it, and then we decided to call it day.
We’re still very close friends and I think it was 100% the right thing, I enjoy – and maybe needed – to have the creative outlet that I get with Savage Mansion.
Q. [INFLUENCES QUESTION ALERT] please tell us about your influences, be they musical or non-musical. They could be Steely Dan or crisps sandwiches or even a nice hat for example.
I actually love Steely Dan! There’s a cheeky Steely Dan reference in the SM song Bring Down The City Hall. My Old School. An old vocal warm up of ours was singing Dirty Work the whole way through. I also like doing that song in Tony Soprano’s New Jersey drawl.
I’m a paid-up member of the Stephen Malkmus fan club and would go as far as to say that discovering Pavement, and then his solo material, when I was around 16/17 was a life changing moment. I think The Strokes set me on that path towards enjoying guitar bands but Pavement pushed it further and further and got me more into the alternative. And he’s such a terrific lyricist too, you can really derive meaning from the words but he knows how to throw and amusing turn of phrase into the mix. It’s entertaining and disarming in equal measure.
Other influences are Talking Heads, Modern Lovers, The Replacements (I read a biography on them earlier this year and it was probably in my top five books, of any kind), Neil Young, Pixies, all that stuff
In terms of contemporary artists I’m inspired a lot by Cate Le Bon – her last two records have been incredible – and I stumbled across Fred Thomas this year, he’s another incredible lyricist, his album Changer is this quite melancholy examination of aging, the passing of time around his 30s/40s, but it’s so, so, so funny.
My other favourite band are Parquet Courts. A band that I listen to most weeks and never tire of.
Q. Tell us a little bit about how Savage Mansion write songs and the kind of things you like to write songs about please (e.g. crisps sandwiches).
I find myself writing songs about cheery stuff like automation, how human beings are being transformed by the internet and social media. A couple of years ago I moved back to Perth to work for a while and I ended up writing a lot about my geographical circumstances, about how that town and it’s people had changed, it sounds a bit heavy but I think there’s a lot of comedy in all of that stuff, tragicomedy maybe. Basically writing songs is me getting my anxieties out, about this crazy world we inhabit
Q. Tell us about the song ‘Do You Say Hello To Your Neighbours?’ Do you say hello to your neighbours? I say hello to my neighbours. Just today we had a conversation about weedkiller in fact. It was pretty boring.
I met my childhood neighbour for a pint last year and the next day I had the “do you say hello to your neighbours” hook bit in my head, and I could kinda hear the chords too, it was a bit of a gift really. I went home and played around with it pretty quickly after work. I think that song is about changing communities, I think people know each other less in suburban neighbourhoods than they used to, because it’s become so easy to communicate long distances online, or on your mobile? I’m not sure. I remember knowing all my neighbours as a wee guy, four doors up and down, I’m not sure it’s the same anymore
And I wonder what that means for kids; the neighbour in question I would have buzzed on her door and we’d have gone off and got up to mischief, but we were essentially friends by proximity. Kids are all probably friends on WhatsApp groups now. Maybe not.
That’s a huge digression and is completely irrelevant, but basically I finished the song quite quickly, in some way it’s about that person but in a greater sense it’s an examination of ‘community’, particularly in small places
Q. Tell us about the song ‘Honeymoon’.
Honeymoon is, very specifically, about breaking your leg halfway across the world, and then watching lots of episodes of US crime drama ‘The Practice’.
Q. Why is your band called Savage Mansion? Has it occurred to you that your band is almost called Sausage Mansion? That would be a pretty terrible name for a band.
That would be a terrible name, awful, I’m glad I didn’t go with that.
The straightforward explanation is that it was one of the working titles for one of the last Poor Things songs, I was toying with the idea of using a stage name but I quite liked the name Savage Mansion, seeing it on posters kinda makes me laugh. Some friends of mine used to leave in what was essentially a giant, dilapidated house in Glasgow, and they bestowed the name of the Savage Mansion upon it, and I don’t think anyone is more pleased than them with this.