Wednesday, October 15, 2008

It's happy hour again

The View have managed their usual share of rabble-rousing while recording in rural Wales, and they're ready to put the party on the road again, they tell Chitra Ramaswamy

THE sleepy scene is a valley in South Wales dominated by rolling hills, studded with sheep. Into this bucolic idyll step – or more likely stumble – Dundee's indie-rock rabble-rousers: The View. This is where the band made their second album, Which Bitch, over the summer (though it won't be released until next year), and I'm discovering why it's likely they won't be allowed back. "We got banned from a couple of pubs," admits bassist Kieran Webster. He can't

And it's hard to keep up with them as Webster motors on to a story about a witch's hat and some persistent superglue. In fact, Morrison's reflection on the sessions in Wales as being "absolutely mental – a pure rollercoaster" works just as well as a description for interviewing The View. So, the witch's hat? "That was my birthday present from Owen," explains Webster. "He glued it to his head and then couldn't get it off for six days." What did they do? "We went to the pub," he shrugs. The happy ending came when a tattooist eventually removed it.

The best night of the sessions was working on a track called 'Covers' that Webster felt sounded "a bit like a Paolo Nutini song". Unbelievably, a certain Paisley singer-songwriter happened to be in Wales, also recording his second album. "When we found out Paolo was along the road we went and got him and asked him to do the vocals," says Webster. "He was more than willing. He's a really good sport, is Paolo, and his band came along as well. It had only been us for weeks, so it was good to have some fresh faces… really funny, a good laugh."

The rock'n'roll rampaging of this foursome from Dundee's Dryburgh, who shot to fame last year after Pete Doherty took a fancy to their raucous post-punk sound, is already legendary. The band have been refused entry to the US after frontman Kyle Falconer was convicted of cocaine possession, they've broken numerous bones in drunken brawls and falls, flooded two floors of a hotel after leaving a bath running overnight, and are rumoured to fill their water bottles on stage with neat vodka. "I like to have a vodka and orange before a gig, but just one," says Webster, then adds: "Well, sometimes more."

"My Uncle Mark says they must have put something in the water in Dryburgh when we were all born because all our mates are party animals as well," he continues. "We just do what we've always done but it's just that we get put in the papers because we're in a band. Nothing has changed."

Next up is a 35-date UK tour, their first outing on the road this year. They are itching to get back on the tour bus, having spent all of last year gigging. For the past fortnight they've been back in Dundee, which I presume must be comforting after so much time away. Actually, they've been bored. "It's hard to come back down to earth," says Falconer, who moved to London last year, though he avoids his flat and stays with friends because "it's a shithole; there are tomatoes that have been in the fridge for like a year". "We need to go on the road to keep it together," says Webster. "It's great playing gigs back to back, day in day out, doing what you're good at every day. It keeps you on the ball."

Run through the tracks on the new album and more salubrious stories show their dirty faces. There are songs about post-pub rows in the street, following double yellow lines to find your way home, and one in which Falconer re-imagines Dundee's population as a gang of pirates in Treasure Island, inspired by Mahler and described to me as a mini musical in the spirit of Fantasia. "It's good we've moved on and not been scared to put things like pianos in," says Falconer, who also penned a song for the album, 'Unexpected', about the death of his father.

"We were nervous in the sense that we had all these songs but the record company was saying they wanted to get more," says Webster. "We were saying 'We'll just go in the studio' and they were saying 'No!'. They didn't think we had any tunes but they take it back now, big-style."

Then there's the song about ending up in an Aberdeen jail for the night, 'One Off Pretender'. "We were doing a DJ gig and everyone was shouting and throwing bottles at us," recalls Webster. "A big mob of guys who were there to cause trouble started fighting our mates, so me and Kyle jumped over the decks and started fighting with them. On the way back to Dundee, they (the police] stopped the bus and arrested me and Kyle."

For a band who packed Hats Off To The Buskers with infectious, Libertines-esque anthems about poor hygiene ('Same Jeans'), living on a scheme ('Gran's For Tea') and hairdressers in Dundee ('Wasted Little DJs') – and all this a year before label-mates Glasvegas – their second offering doesn't sound like it's going to disappoint.

Still, though, there is the small problem of not being allowed back into the States, where The View have had to cancel two sold-out tours. "We tried twice to apply for working visas and got advised to leave it and get on with our careers," says Webster. "We've left it over a year now and done another record and not been in trouble so… we're really hoping to get back. It's pretty rubbish. Some people seem to get into America who have done a lot worse." Have they really been on their best behaviour, I wonder, thinking of the witch's hat, Aberdeen, the pubs in rural Wales… To which Webster protests: "Well, we've not been caught for anything."

• The View's tour opens at Velocity, Dunfermline, on Thursday. The new single '5 Rebeccas' is released on October 27

Scotland On Sunday, 15th October 2008


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