Fitting in amongst the inebriated comedians, dreadlocked jugglers, jazz-handing dancers and distraught theatricals at this year’s Fringe are a mix of known and unknown bands from around the world. Amongst them is a nine-piece Soul-Funk combo from the musical melting pot of Melbourne: Saskwatch. I had a cross-continental chat with band member Liam McGorry before he jetted off with the band to Blighty.
Given you’re several thousand miles away from Bigfoot’s stomping ground, where does the band’s name come from? And how did you form?
That’s really down to the band’s trumpet player, Nick. He was travelling in Canada, heard the name and just loved it so wanted to call the band that.
We met when we were all at university together in Melbourne. We started busking on the street and from that we got more and more serious and began writing our own music, moving from doing jazz covers to doing more soul style music and it just kind of grew.
Were there any specific bands that influenced your move in the soul-funk direction?
Well obviously the classics: James Brown, Otis Redding, Aretha Franklin soul wise and modern bands like The Black Keys and a lot of great Melbourne bands like The Bamboos and The Cactus Channel. There are so many bands that we’ve taken our influences from.
So your trip to Edinburgh is part of promoting your first studio album Leave It All Behind. How did that come about?
We’d sort of been writing our own material for the last year and a half and began to realise we had about twenty or so songs and thought it might be time to record something. Gradually we got it together with our friend Cam engineering and over time we paired the collection of songs down into more of an album. It’s great to have it finally all together. It comes out in Australia in mid-August and, hopefully, worldwide just after.
Unusually, the album was funded by a Melbourne record shop, which sounds like one of those great stories from the sixties.
Well the record shop, Northside Records, is run by a guy called Chris Gill who DJs as well as runs the store. He really supports local bands and the music scene, particularly local soul music. Thanks to being friends with Chris we were able to get the album out through his brand new label, which is incredibly exciting.
The Fringe is often seen as a springboard for performers. Are you hoping you’ll be able to use this to develop your audience?
Yeah, definitely. Touring overseas is a big priority for us particularly in Europe. We’ve all been to Europe on different occasions and loved it. We played Glasgow last year and that was great, but if we can use the Fringe as a springboard to help us tour Europe and to help us make a dent over there, that would be really great.
So now’s the chance for you to indulge in a little salesmanship; tell us when and where people can catch you during the Fringe.
Well the first week we’re there we’re playing Late and Live following on after some comedians – which I hear is an experience – and then from the 20th to the 26th August we’ll be playing at the famous Spiegeltent at the Assembly Rooms.