I've been a fan of Scottish band Appendix Out and their melancholy folk tales since they released 'The Rye Bears A Poison' album in 1997. Since then they've released a slew of 7" singles as well as two equally compelling full-lengths(1999's 'Daylight Saving' and 2001's 'The Night is Advancing'). 2001 also saw the release of AO mainman, Alasdair Roberts'solo record, 'Crook of My Arm.' I was eager enough to email Ali a few questions which he kindly answered below.


PB : How did the band come together?

AR : I’ve been writing songs since my late teens and at first was just recording them at home and occasionally playing together with my friend David, but never really playing in front of audiences. After moving from the small town of Callander, Perthshire, to Glasgow in 1995 the band grew to include the people who played on the first LP ‘The Rye Bears A Poison’, and we played our first live shows in 1996. Louise and Eva left,Tom and Gareth joined and we made some more records and played live more. Even though the line-up has been fairly stable for the past three or so years, the name ‘Appendix Out’ doesn’t just refer to the group of Tom, Gareth, David and me- I just made a short record with an entirely new band of Americans which should be out later this year.

PB : How did your recent collaborations with Will Oldham andJason Molina from 'Songs:Ohia' come about?

AR : I’m not really sure how that happened. One of us (I don’t know who) had the idea that we should record together. The idea was that if anything good came out of it then we would make it into a record. We each brought some songs and some ideas to Will’s brother’s house in Kentucky and recorded for three days.

PB : Are there differences between North American and European audiences?

AR : To be honest, I feel I haven’t played enough in North America to know. I would assume that there is no general difference. Perhaps the times I’ve played in America, crowds have been more appreciative because they realise that I’ve travelled a greater distance to be there and I’m there less often than in Europe.

PB : On your new record(Travels in Constants) you describe it as psychedelic.Is the band moving in a new direction?

AR : That record was actually made during the same period as my solo record (‘The Crook of My Arm’) and the last Appendix Out LP (‘The night is advancing’). The solo one was recorded in July 2000, the TIC one in August and 'The Night is Advancing' in September. The three currents were moving simultaneously, but of course I always hope that I/we will not retread the same ground with every new record.

PB : It seems as if music inspired by folk/country/blues is more popular than ever. How do make yourselves stand out?

AR : I don’t think that the influence of country music or blues can be felt very strongly in my music. Although I enjoy some of that music, at the moment I’m more interested in British/Irish folk music, and in working themes and ideas from those musics into my own.I don’t know how the band makes itself stand out, or if it even does. I hope that, although I am interested in that traditional music, that’s not my only interest (musically or otherwise) and not the only strain that I would draw on when writing my own songs. Hopefully other influences are discernible in the music (eg. Italo Calvino, Tony Conrad, herbal lore) which mean that it couldn’t be thought of as belonging to some kind of ‘revivalist’ or retrograde movement.

PB : Future plans? Another solo record? Tours? More collaborations?

AR : I am hoping to make a record of British traditional supernatural and death ballads, in more of a rock format than my solo record. I think it will be called the Alasdair Roberts Death Band. I am also slowly writing new songs with a view to perhaps making an EP or mini-album at some point. Touring is often discussed but never seems to happen. Maybe in the summer, but I don’t know where.

PB : Thank you













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