No Place Like Home: Glaswegian laptop-rock duo MEMES take us on a musical tour of their city

Scottish laptop-rock duo MEMES released their latest slice of elastic post-punk, “Heavy Night”, this month. Riding on a gloriously funky bassline, the song’s lyrics document the goings on outside of John McLinden (one half of the duo alongside cousin Paul)’s window on Glasgow’s Sauchiehall Street.

“John lives on Sauchiehall Street, which is the hub of nightlife in Glasgow. We often practice in the flat and watch the steady stream of people making their way home after a heavy night.” says Paul.

“We see them starting their evening, clean cut, well-dressed and in buoyant mood, then at the end they fall out of pub doors in dishevelled, disorientated states. It’s that disintegration that became the inspiration for this song.  

The song is dedicated to the people who spill the contents of their takeaway trays onto the pavement, who stare blankly at bouncers when told they’ve had too much to drink, and who can’t articulate their addresses when they lean in the windows of private taxis.”

Given their position as window-sill anthropologists of Scotland’s most populous city, who better to ask for a virtual tour of Glasgow than MEMES themselves?

What makes Glasgow a special place for music?

The punters. Glasgow has always had a reputation for lively crowds and it’s true.

Is there a scene or a sound that you’d describe as being specific or special to Glasgow?

There is a DIY punk scene that is a big thing in Glasgow at the moment and is largely centred around a really cool independent venue called The Priory. But there are lots of other cool sounds and scenes too. Guitar music always thrives in Glasgow but there has always been an appetite for electronic music here, and Glasgow is a haven for traditional music, so there’s a real mix. 

Give us a quick history lesson – who are some of your favourite bands and artists from Glasgow?

Bert Jansch, Sluts of Trust, Amazing Snakeheads, Sensational Alex Harvey Band, Life Without Buildings.

And who should we be looking out for right now?

Kapil Seshasayee, The Dunts, Zoe Graham, Gallus.

What impact do you think living in the city has had on your sound and songwriting?

Glasgow is a lively town with a good sense of humour and that’s the kind of vibe and sound that we try to create.

Where are your favourite local places to play or see live music?

The best Glasgow venue for live music has to be the famous Barrowlands, it’s the perfect size to create a great sound and atmosphere and it just has good vibes all round. There are loads of great independent venues in Glasgow too, like Hug & Pint, King Tut’s and Broadcast.

Independent music venues around the country have been under threat, first from rising costs and developers, and more recently as a result of the pandemic and lockdown – how are your local venues coping?

I think now that venues are open again, it’s a big relief. So if you’re from Glasgow and you’re reading this, get out to gigs in local venues (especially our gigs)…

Aside from the bands, who are some of the local heroes working to keep music thriving in Glasgow?

Anyone running or working in any of Glasgow’s venues and scene are all heroes and we’re grateful for them.

Check out MEMES’ Glasgow Playlist:

1. Sluts of Trust – Leave you wanting more
From one of our favourite Scottish albums. They left us wanting more…

2. The Amazing Snakeheads – Where is my knife?
All round great band and inspiration to lots of Glasgow artists.

3. Bert Jansch – Black Waterside 
One of the greatest guitar players of all time. Jimmy Page would later pinch this song from Bert…

4. Zoe Graham – Gradual Move (alternative version)
Love this stripped back version of Zoe’s track Gradual move.

5. Kapil Seshasayee – The Pink Mirror
Kapil is one of the most interesting and innovative artists in Glasgow at the moment.

6. The Dunts – Learn
There are loads of good tunes to check out from The Dunts and their live shows are phenomenal.

7. Gallus – Perfect Ending 
Loving this new track from Gallus. It’s worth checking out their live vids on YouTube too.

8. Life Without Buildings – The Leanover
Really cool and interesting song from one of Glasgow’s cult bands.

9. Talking Heads – Once in a Lifetime
David Byrne was born near Glasgow and we love Talking Heads. This track is an all time great.

Catch MEMES on tour around Europe in October:
13th October – FR – Le Supersonic, Paris
14th October – BE – Super Fourchette, Brussels
15th October – BE – Le Salon, Silly
16th October – NL – Left Of The Dial, Rotterdam
18th October – NL – Paradiso, Amsterdam 
19th October – DE – Haldern Pop Bar, Rees 
21st October – UK – The Waiting Room, London (w/ Sprints)

“Heavy Night” is out now on all of the usual digital platforms.

Follow MEMES on Facebook / Instagram / Twitter

Interview by Paul Maps

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