Having three members and being Scottish may have helped and hindered Sucioperro in equal measures - the majority of journalists seem unable to write about them without referring to a certain other popular Scottish alt-rock trio (yes, we realise the irony of mentioning this ourselves!) Over an impressive ten year career, 'The Sooch' have released three studio albums and eight EPs, played countless live shows and have managed to carve out their own identity, gathering momentum and fans along the way. With the release of fourth album Fused rapidly approaching, Pete Lewins caught up with JP Reid (Dragon), Fergus Munro (Goose) and Stewart Chown (Spider) to talk about looking back and moving forwards.
This year marks the 10 year anniversary of the band, which is a great achievement. What has enabled you to maintain enthusiasm and stand the test of time?
Dragon: Heart, belief, hope and love.
Goose: We love to make music and we believe only in making the music that we want, when we want. This means that the only pressure on us is from us. Speaking personally, JP is a great writer and very prolific so we’re always getting new bits and pieces in the inbox to keep us all excited and moving forward.
Spider: Fortunately we all still love playing music as much as we did when the band started. For all the other dramas that can come from being in a band, I guess our passion for doing it has always been stronger. There's still music to make, albums to release and fun to be had. Plus, there have got to be some bands left when all the hipsters get dropped from their labels, haven't there?
Will you be doing anything special to commemorate the occasion? What do you recommend fans do to honour this milestone?
D: For us, planning the next ten. As for fans, listen to our complete discography, drink whisky and play poker.
S: Releasing a new album and going on tour which is a pretty good cause for celebration in itself!
If you had the chance to go back 10 years, what one piece of advice would you give yourselves?
D: Don’t lose heart.
You previewed the first track from Fused a couple of weeks ago in the form of 'A River of Blood'. It definitely sounds more like Pain Agency than The Heartstring And How to Pull It. What’s made you take the heavier route again?
D: Instinct. We are still exploring our identity and it’s important to keep moving forward and making our own space. I consider all of our previous albums to be heavy in many different ways, for example 'Hands' (from THSAHTPI) is as heavy as 'Hate Filters' (from PA) as far as I’m concerned.
G: I don't know why the sound seems to have shifted this way; you just trust your instincts. JP spent a while, shortly after the HSAHTPI tour, in the studio and pretty much drank and recorded. I think it's fair to say when we heard the result we knew then that we had the fourth album.
S: There was definitely no conscious decision to make a heavy album - it's the songs that felt right to record when we decided to do a new album. The thing is, if fans of the band want another Pain Agency, they should really just go and listen to Pain Agency again - we will never make the same album twice, there's absolutely no point. Album five is going to be full of African gospel music.
Will 'A River of Blood' be given the EP treatment?
D: No, the album as a complete piece of work is the focus this time. The Heart String project involved over 30 songs and was a real experimental period for us. In many ways we consider that to be a triple album and this is the fall out.
S: There aren't going to be any singles from this album - River is the first in a trilogy of videos we'll be releasing to accompany the record. We released a few singles/EPs on the last album and they all had at least 4 or 5 B-sides so I guess we maxed out our quota for singles for a while!
Fused will be released through your own label, Medals For Everyone. How did that come about?
D: The eagle must eventually leave the nest and either fly or splat!
G: Yeah, it was simple. We wanted to get the record out as quickly as possible. We have actually had a reasonably good track record on working with small labels to help us release but now we go it alone.
What can fans expect from the new album?
D: Truth, dirt, humour, groove, beauty, magic, melody, heart, love, existentialism, fun and riffs.
G: Just pure heavy rock man! And an amazing physical package, I can't say much more but the hard copy is definitely worth picking up.
S: Alternative metal funk. They can expect to hear a record that we're all really proud of that feels really organic. It's an interesting listen.
There's a lot of animal imagery associated with the band and in your lyrics. Why is this?
D: We are all animals.
G: "We're animals. We're born like every other mammal and we live our whole lives around disguised animal thoughts." Barbara Kingsolver, Mammals.
S: Certainly a lot of it stems from JP's lyrics, but we've all got an affinity for animals. There are some amazing creatures out there.
On the last tour you played as a 5-piece with the additions of Gordon Love and Hooligan Sadikson from The Fire and I. Is this something that is going to become a permanent feature and how much input have the guys had into the new album?
D: Yes, hopefully. They contributed a lot of vocals and ideas to the album and definitely feel like part of the team.
Will Hooligan and Gordon be receiving new alter egos too? And if so, what will they be?
G: Gordon's the stag. Hooligan is the otter. I just made those up. I don't think they'll stick. We'll see, maybe after a proper bit of touring we'll find something!
When are you guys back on the road again?
G: September in Scotland, October in England. More dates will be announced later in the year.
Tour dates, ticket links and more can be found at www.sucioperro.com
Fused is released digitally on 8 August and physically on 3 September. It is available through sucioperro.bandcamp.com where you can also buy expanded editions of previous albums.