An end to mess appeal

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IT’S all well and good chasing the old-fashioned notion of a band residing and creating under the same roof but when that existence brings illness...

Such was the case for Glaswegian rock prospects Kassidy when lack of hygiene in their studio living quarters made them poorly.

“We’re still living in the studio,” says guitarist Hamish Fingland. “It’s really cool, but we’ve got a cleaner now who comes every two weeks.

“We give her tea and coffee and she’s like our best friend because it was horrible and we needed her. It was just unhealthy. We were coming in and getting ill.”

And with Kassidy just releasing first album, their major label bosses wouldn’t have wanted the quartet going down with the plague – not least as they have a Leadmill show to do on Monday.

The back-to-the-future band come equipped with bluesy rock ‘n’ roll riffs, sunshine harmonies, epic melodies and shamelessly singalong choruses which hark back to California’s music heyday.

It’s the consequence of exposure to a diet of timeless bands that spans Parliament, Funkadelic and Sly & The Family Stone to The Doors, Mamas & Papas and Buffalo Springfield. Quite frankly, Kassidy could hail from anywhere, any time.

“We’ve all got a huge variety of bands that we listen to so quite a lot of different influences come in from all over the place,” says Hamish, who also cites Tom Waits and Joni Mitchell.

“It’s not that I’ve never been into Scottish music, I just like what I like.

“We all just love good melody and great songs. That’s what I grew up with and subliminally when you’re writing songs you end up with your songs turning out a wee bit like that.

“We never write music to sound like it’s Scottish or to sound like anything. If it’s good we’ll keep it. I don’t know about the others – their parents or friends might have put them on to it – but for me the first guy who properly made me become a music lover was Nick Cave. I ended up reading books on what his head’s all about.”

Fast forward and one classic rock band and a lot of CD purchases later Kassidy have just released first single I Don’t Know, a catchy-as-a-cold insight into their wholesome début album Hope Street.

“It’s a street in Glasgow,” says Hamish. “Me and Lewis Andrew (guitar/keys) used to hand out papers to people to get money in. You know the annoying people at train stations – that’s what we did.

“Then I used to pick Barrie-James O’Neill (lead singer/guitarist) up from there to go to the studio. We all met there when we went to sign our deal. I’ve probably not spent that much time there but when I have it’s been a memorable experience.”

The name of the band follows a similar kind of logic. “A week after we formed when we were first jamming Paul Newman died. We’re all total movie geeks so we sat and watched all the Paul Newman movies. Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid is one we really liked.”

They were first called Cassidy but there’s a rapper with the same spelling. Since then they’ve been labelled everything from a ‘hairy Take That’ to a Scottish Mumford & Sons.

“We are hairy but do Fleet Foxes get called ‘hairy’? There’s many hairy bands out there, although I don’t even have long hair any more. It’s cool, though, because we want to look like our idols.

“As for Mumford...they are a good band but we stand in a line and harmonise is the only comparison. They’re a lot more traditional folk sounding.

“We write big, big melodic songs. It’s almost a criticism we get. People say we’ve got big choruses and that’s what Take That are about so maybe that’s the comparison there.

“They might not be the most indie band in the world but I think they write great songs that make people happy and we want to as well.”

There’s also a sense of escapism about Kassidy’s music, that maybe springs from living in a rainy UK city. Hamish says it’s not quite so cut and dried as that.

“In Glasgow you can be influenced by bands around you because a huge number do well and there’s so much musical talent. But ever since I was a kid I never wanted to be like anyone, have the same haircut as anyone or have the same music, so I didn’t want to make a band like anyone else’s. We weren’t trying to escape Glasgow.”