Interview - Giant Head Collective

Giant Head Collective are a Scottish band which weave Americana and Southern Rock with our Celtic influences. Let's have a chat with Mark about their music.

- Hi Mark and welcome to this interview. Tell us about your latest release Lost Highway.
Hi, thanks for chatting with us. Well Lost highway is actually a tune I wrote called Gone. Originally it was supposed to have that driven Americana/Country Rock sound it has now but in 2015 the band at the time took it in a different direction sonically. It wasn’t that I didn’t like that version of Gone, it was driven and upbeat, it was just that I still wanted to hear how it sounded as intended so I rerecorded the music. When I started collaborate with Scott Mulhearn he heard the music and wrote his own lyrics and came back with this great vibe that sat so well with the music that I thought this works as its own song. So let’s run with it.

- How would you describe your sound?
Southern Rock, Americana, Scottish Rock. Depending on the song different elements come to the fore and take over. Its kind of hard to pigeonhole us into one strict genre or sound though. It’s kind of why we are calling the album Pandora’s Box. We are kind of unleashing every sound we have on the world.

- What do you write about?
I write the music first and the tempo/melody gives me a direction. Once I come up with the hooks the title and occasionally words give a strong direction on where to go. When Grant Barbour (All To Do, Beauty Of Rain etc) takes a track and runs with it he pretty much clicks with the idea/vibe and then takes it in a direction that I hadn’t thought about. With Scott, he takes a tune and comes back with something completely leftfield but equally as awesome.
I have plenty of music and lyrics I have written as well but as I can’t sing I’m relying on the guys picking up on it. There is a track called Couple Of Clowns that takes a swing at Sectarianism that is a horrible undercurrent in not only Scotland, but all around the world. That will make it out someday. Other subjects are the value of water (Beauty Of Rain), the seven deadly sins (Sin). There is also a track called Other side of Me that will feature on the album which is about aspects of someone’s personality that they are ashamed of having. So all in all we write about lots of things, nothing is taboo

- What do you listen to when you are home?
Tom Petty still amazes me and listening to Mike Campbell is a masterclass in serving the song, ZZ Top, Cadillac Three, Big Country. We have a playlist on our Spotify Page that sort of is a musical compass of songs that get our juices flown. Personally, I’m a song guy over an album guy. There are maybe a handful of albums where I like just about every song on it. Meanwhile just about any artist can come up with one or two great songs that people deserve to hear.

- Your favourite live performance so far?
Celtic Music Festival in Germany

- Tell us a funny story that happened in studio or on stage.
The whole experience of playing that festival from setting off to arriving back home is a tale in itself. Within 30 mins of leaving Glasgow, the drummer was on his 4th can of beer, the bass player had a sore foot (which turned out to be Cellulitis and immediately on our return was in hospital for a week) When arrived in Genk in Belgium for our overnight stop the drummer decided to go on a walkabout and ended up climbing an 80 Metre mast. Then after the gig in which the bass player hobbled around the stage and at the end of the last long the drummer literally collapsed off the back of the drum riser. The rest went and enjoyed the complimentary rider to the extend that no-one was fit enough to share the driving back to Scotland. It left yours truly to drive the 17 hrs straight from Germany. I can laugh now!

- Your favourite albums?
Tom Petty – Wildflowers, ZZ Top – Eliminator, John Hiatt – The Tiki Bar Is Open, Favourite songs is a different matter, those can come from anyone.

- A musician you would like to meet for a beer?
Mike Campbell, without a doubt.

- What would you ask backstage if you were the most important band on earth?
Just a few beers and know that the audience enjoyed the show as much as us.

- What are your plans for the next future?
We have enough music written for another 2 albums so we will be releasing them as we go. In addition we will play live with Grant on vocals and if the budget allowed we would get Scott over to sing his songs. Hopefully we can break into the festival circuit and would love the opportunity to play in Europe again (with better logistical arrangements this time!)

Giovanni Gagliano

Passionate about music I wrote my first article for "Given To Rock" in 2012, reaching now 30K global followers. I am also a musician, gigging around London.

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