THE CINEMATICS INTERVIEW (FROM THE FUNKY MOFO ARCHIVES)
A conversation with Scott Rinning, lead singer of Glasgow based indie-rockers ‘The Cinematics’.
Being a support band isn’t a particularly glamorous affair, especially when you’ve got to make your own way to the venues and you have to rely on an AA map print out that’s giving you all the wrong directions! But as Scott Rinning of The Cinematics explained, you can’t really turn down an opportunity to tour with a band like The Editors!
We caught the lead singer on his mobile just as he’s arriving at the venue, “can you call back in 5 minutes?” he says. We did just that.
FM: Okay, I’ll fire away with the questions! For our readers who have yet to discover The Cinematics could you tell us a little but about how the band started?
SR:Well, we all live in Glasgow now but originally all the members are from a small town just north of Inverness, there’s a place called Dingwall which, if you look on the map, is nearly off the end of the world! I’ve been friends with the drummer (Ross) since primary school so we’ve been friends since we were like seven. We were in bands and stuff in high school, and afterwards as well, before we went to University. The other two guys in the band, Adam and Ramsay, who are the bass player and the guitarist, because it was such a small town, we kind of knew who they were. It was one of those towns where if you went to a pub 18-year-olds would hang around with 24-year-olds, you know, it was really kind of mixed!
So we knew who they were but we weren’t really friends with them and they were in another band and I went down to Glasgow to go to University mainly just trying to get a loan! Good excuse to get away from your family at home! And just try and pursue the music career forward, there’s not really much of a scene in the Highlands [laughs], believe it or not, unless you’re playing Celtic guitar music, which wasn’t really my scene. So I came down to Glasgow, so did Ross and I met Ramsay one day when I was busking. I did the University thing. I lasted three months. I spent my loan very very quickly and then had to think up another way of making some money. Being in a kind of band and also being a little bit work shy I decided that busking was probably going to be the best way to make money. So I met Ram in the West End and we got chatting and eventually we decided it might be quite a good idea if we all got together and put a band together. So we did, up in Glasgow about two years ago, had a few practices and came up with a few ideas for songs, wrote a few songs and it all seemed to work and kept on going really! That was really long winded wasn’t it? Nevermind!
FM: I’m curious about your name! Why ‘The Cinematics’?
SR: Well, it’s nothing to do with films! We were a band together long before we had the name, obviously. We were trying to come up with ideas but we didn’t want to do one of those annoying brainstorming things where you just pick one out of the hat and go “ah, this will do”.
We wanted the name to have something hopefully to do with what our music was about, kind of what we were trying to do and I think the whole idea looking back on it now it seems a little bit pretentious but it wasn’t, it was genuine. The music was quite… not anthemic but cinematic, it’s emotional and it’s quite kind of engaging … The word seemed to work right with what we tried to do emotionally and musically with what we’re doing if you know what I mean. I can’t really explain it very well. The name seemed to fit our band and our personalities and what we’re trying to achieve, the name seemed to ring right.
FM: Your single ‘Chase’ was released this week. What has the response been so far?
SR:It’s been good, I mean it’s been really good! It was just a limited release so it was only a 1,000 7-inch ltd edition vinyls and you can download it online, stuff like that. But I think they’re all gone as far as I’m aware and someone was looking on eBay and found that it was already on sale for £17 and there’s 5 days of bidding left!
The phone suddenly cuts off and when we call back we are given a new number!
SR: My phone ran out of battery just now!
FM: Is tonight the last date of your support slot with The Editors?
SR: Yes, tonight’s the last night, we’ve been going around with the Editors and We Are Scientists. We did a little stint with Brendan Benson and OK Go as well.
FM: Did you enjoy the tour?
SR: Yeah, it’s been really great especially the Editors stuff because they’re really starting to kick off, all their tickets are sold out, they’re playing to a big audience every night. It’s fun to play in front of more people, you get much more back and everyone seems to be up for it. Our music and the Editors’ music do have some things that are in common. You know, people come along to see the Editors and they’ve never heard of The Cinematics, I think they’re probably going to like what we do, I think we kind of fit quite well together.
FM: Have you got any favourite moments of the tour?
SR:Manchester. We played in the Academy 1 in Manchester and that was in front of about 2200 people. It’s mainly just because it was such a big venue, there was just so many people, that was the exciting moment of the tour! For me anyway!
FM: I hear there’s an album in the pipeline! Have you recorded any tracks for it yet?
SR: We’re halfway through. We’ve been recording in between this touring that we’ve been doing, we’ve just been trying to fit in everything all together. We were going to go in the studio and just do one… to do all together at the same time then we got these tours with The Editors, We Are Scientists and Brendan Benson and they were great, great opportunities and we didn’t want to say no because we might not get them again so we had to kind of chop it down and fit the recording in with the tour.
We got half of it done, we were recording it in the middle of nowhere, it was out in the country in one of these residential studios where you… I don’t know… There was this little house and the studio was across from the house. It was great, all you were doing was recording while you were there but at the same time it felt like a bit of a holiday cause you’re in the middle of nowhere and we were just playing pool and table tennis when we weren’t recording. You could play as late as you wanted all through the night and make as much noise because there was no one for miles, it didn’t matter. I think we’re going to go back to the same place to record the rest of it in November so we’ll the album finished for in the New Year. Might need to go back and do a few bits here and there the start of next year but it will probably be finished the end of this year and we’re looking to release around springtime, spring next year. We don’t have the tracklist yet.
FM: Do you have any expectations about the music business?
SR: I try not to think about it, not to be naive, I’m not naive about it. We’re lucky, for example the producer that we’re recording with, a guy called Barney who engineered for Arctic Monkeys, Kasabian… I mean he’s done lots of stuff. He’s really great, I mean he really seems to be… He likes all the bands that we like so after we’ve finished a day’s recording we’ll all get drunk and we’ll listen to the same bands and he’ll take part in a jam with us, stuff like that.
When we’re recording he’s got all these really good ideas on what we should be doing and if he comes up with an idea we usually like it. But at the same time I think producers are definitely there to turn round and tell you you’re doing something shit when you’re doing something shit and he’s not afraid to do that either. He becomes another member of the band!
Meeting the right people, I suppose, with the bands like The Editors and We Are Scientists, we seem to get along well with them. I think at the moment the beast seems to be on our side but that can change very very quickly for no particular reason what so ever. I’m doing the best I can doing the thing I’ve always wanted to do. I’m hoping I can get to do it for a little while longer.
FM: Now, your first single was produced by Stephen Hague, how did that happen?
SR: Our record label actually said “What record producers do you want to work with?” and we said “Well, what do you mean?” This is our first record, if we were going to work with whatever producer we wanted we were obviously going to start reeling off these big names! And they just said “Well, who do you want to work with? You decide!” So we put forward these producers that we really wanted to work with and I think they just went off and sent a demo to these guys. It turned out that Stephen really liked the band as well. I mean, we see him a lot, whenever we’re in London we’ll meet up with him, he’s got a vegetarian restaurant in London which he owns, we always go down and we’ll have a meal there if we’re about. I mean he quite likes our band, we picked him as one of the guys because he’s worked with New Order and we really liked a lot of stuff he’s done with Blur. Everything came together and it just worked out really well.
FM: That’s brilliant! It must be absolutely… I mean, I don’t want to say a boost of confidence but it must give you a warm feeling inside…
SR:It was good to know as well that it wasn’t just about money. I can remember the first time we met Stephen, he came up to Glasgow to meet up with us to talk about what we might do and he seemed really genuinely interested. You can tell when someone’s being genuine, you know what I mean? It did seem that he was actually properly into the band, that was the bit I liked about it was that there was a guy here who I respected and who obviously respected me and that was a good place to start working I think. Yeah, it did feel good, I was very pleased.
FM: Finally, what are your plans for the near future?
SR:Finishing the new album! To try and make this album as good as we physically, mentally, possibly can and then just get out in the world a little bit and let as many people as possible hear! Just work as hard as you can and keep writing and keep working that’s really all I can do I suppose! I think writing happens for me… it can happen anywhere. I’m not one of these people that need to find a tiny little space where no one can hear me, if it happens it happens, I keep writing all the time. Keep travelling and keep playing. The best part of it is playing live anyway. Yeah, that’s definitely what it’s all about for me. The performance aspect of it, when you’re caught in the moment of it and all those people are enjoying it, that’s what I enjoy about being in a band!
FM: I’m going to let you get on, thank you ever so much for your time!
SR:Not a problem, thank you very much!
Jo Whitby & Céline Lux