by Harsharan Hoonjan
They have the funkiest sound, spliced with sharp pokes of ferocious vibrancy. It’s cool rock and roll fronted by an edgy, grit induced vocalist. This Glasgow based band will make you move AND listen. Sergio Sergio headlined O2 Futures Fest 2012 and performed for the event again in 2013. It’s no surprise the Glasgow based five piece hit the same amazing venue at O2 Academy Glasgow two years in a row. The event only showcases artists deemed as the next big thing. As a guest last year, I witnessed several greats including Parker, The Apparells, Return to the Sun, Taylor Red (who I was reviewing at the time), and Sergio Sergio. During Sergio Sergio’s performance, I got another couple of words from Chris Gore (Taylor Red’s manager) who stated the band is: “Bad ass!”
Well there was a distinct carnivorous feel to the band, and they certainly do something to music.I caught Sergio Sergio again when they performed for The Old Town Food Street Festival at The Three Sisters (Edinburgh). Since the inception of this festival, only the best up and coming Scottish musicians have graced its stages. The band next play King Tut’s on 18th July for the Summer Nights Festival. This will see a whole host of talented acts perform in one of the dinkiest, and greatest live music venues in Scotland. Also, if you manage to look up the meaning of Sergio, you’ll see why this is an epic name for the guys, as they work to save the world through the wonderfulness that is live music.
I was getting ready to interview the lads, however, due to technical issues on my part, I was afraid the interview was a no go. Luckily, a few members helped pull it out the bag, cheers guys! So without further ado, let’s get to the intros, the meat, and well the actual interview…
All five members are: Lee Given (Lead Vocals), Eddie Carberry (Lead Guitar) Paul McInally (Bass Guitar and backing vocals), Chris Smith, AKA Tank (Keyboard), and James Dayer (Drums).
Ed and Paul have been friends since primary school, and had played together for 12 years. They met Chris and James in High School. The band didn’t officially start until Lee joined. They had strict guidelines for their lead singer, and it seems to have worked out well. From sitting with the lads, they are definitely a tight-knit bunch.
Ed: The vetting process for a singer was they need to come in, they need to be able to sing and they need to be like our best mate straight away. That’s a pure big massive ask and we spent so long with no-one that fitted that criteria at all. Lee came in and we were like, “that’s it!”
I had to go back and ask why Tank was called Tank, the interview flowed and I completely forgot about it. Later Chris retold this story:
“I was about 8 and we were in BB (The Boys Brigade) and playing football in a church hall, and I ran into a massive pile of chairs, knocked them all down and then got up and asked if I had scored! Now, it’s nearly 18 years later and I’m still called it lol”
Tank: Paul has a nickname as well. Luther Vandross lol if you watch his video for “Never Too Much”, it’s just exactly how Paul acts, smiles & dances.
Here’s the video:
I first saw you play at Futures Fest last year. How was that?
Paul: Good yea really enjoyed it. We played it in 2012 as well and we were the headline act, the place was absolutely packed. It was obviously a bit harder to get that the next year but, as a band I thought we played as well as we’ve ever played.
James: Playing on that stage is totally worth it, its good experience.
Taylor Red gave you guys a shout out in an interview I did with them last year. Anyone in particular you would like to give a shout out to?
Paul: The Works, extremely awesome. They were on at Futures Fest just before us.
Lee: Cool guys’ man.
Eddie: Taylor Red, we’ve played a couple of gigs with them. They’re really good.
Paul: The Apparells.
The Apparells – yep they’re great too.
I’ve heard you’re like the funkmeisters of Glasgow, is that a good description?
Paul: Punk, Rock, Jazz, Disco.
Ed: Definitely Disco in there.
Paul: We’ve got a quite a unique sound cos we all bring different influences to the table
I think you’ve got a very distinct sound.
Who are your Influences?
Paul: You need to go through the whole table
Lee: It’s mixed from genres to artists. Personally my massive influences are with Led Zeppelin, Robert Plant, Incubus, Prince, a lot of different mixes for me personally man.
Paul: I agree with Lee for Led Zeppelin, and Prince, I’m also into 80s Pop Disco, that’s like my biggest influence, hence the disco sound in our songs.
Tank: Earth, Wind and Fire, Nile Rogers, Neil Diamond, The Calling.
James: I’ll probably say I’m a lot heavier than everyone else like. AC/DC, Iron Maiden, Led Zeppelin and Prince as well, I just love everything.
Ed: John Frusciante is a big one people tell me, it’s true!
Ed: Steely Dan, Led Zeppelin, there’s loads; I’ve been put on the spot! Being asked what kind of music I like!
Ed: I like to listen to all that folk music that’s going around just now like Mumford and Sons. I can’t find a way to transpose that into what we do.
You’ve pointed out a great mix of different genres, which will of course help your creativity.
Paul: I think that lends a lot to the band, we can bounce off ideas and clash with ideas. Sometimes in a bad way, sometimes in a good way, everyone brings something different to the music.
Tank: I can be quite bad and give these guys into trouble for wasting time!
Lee: Tank’s like the Dad of the band!
Tank: I like having things set out and things going to plan, but these guys are like very very creative people. Nine times out of ten it’s definitely worth it because they come up with some good sh*t!
Yea, I think you need someone who takes charge as well as creative types
Tank: I wouldn’t say I take charge; I sit there in a huff.
Lee: Like ‘I’m no talking!’
Tank: Then they all give me puppy eyes.
Ed: We’re like there’s Tank over there, he’s no looking. happy. Cut it out!
Lee: Two hours later…
Tank: Ninety percent of the songs have come from a wee kind of mess about.
Ed: it’s the most fun thing to do though. I don’t find it as fun to put the songs together. You kind of lose a wee bit of it when you’re doing that. Tank’s like: “you need to stop f*cking about, you need to do that!”
Tank: We’ve got a bit more disciplined. We had started dreaming and things were added to a pile. Instead of working with what we’ve got, we’d just add something new onto the pile. We did that over and over, so we’ve just got hundreds of ideas. But with the last couple of months we’ve been a bit more disciplined and have tried to finish what we’ve started.
Tell me a bit about your songs and writing them. What’s the process behind it all?
Lee: The process changes from song to song and it could either be Ed’s got a riff or maybe got a lyric from myself or from someone we met. Paul would be like, I just came up with this bass line and we’ll run with it, we all chip in.
Paul: We just try and jam about with an idea for a wee while. Then we record it, we normally just do a three hour session in the studio.
Ed: We’ll put a disc on record everything that’s going on, then we’ll go home and just cut it all up. Going, “I like that bit and that bits cool”, and we’ll go back and jam with it a bit more. We start putting it all together and go, “right what’s happening, where are the lyrics coming from?” We’ll work out who’s part is rubbish, who’s part is good. We just start building it up from there. Sometimes it works. Sometimes we get half way through it and we’re like aaah I don’t know if this is going anywhere.
Paul: Let’s dingy if for a while!
Ed: It’s good fun.
Paul: We’ll be recording for 3 hours and get 30 seconds worth of good material. That’s not much for everything you do but it’s worth it in the end I suppose.
Lee: We came up with a song a few weeks ago which started with Paul’s dance!
Lee: Paul’s dance!
Tank: It originally started with James.
James: Yea thanks guys, it was the drum beat!
Tank: It was an epic drum beat.
Ed: James made Paul dance, Paul danced, threw money at him. From that dance he came up with some bass.
James: It was the interpretation.
Tank: It just kind of escalated from there I suppose.
Ed: Sometimes that’s all you need, that spark.
I was eager to put a song name to the influence that is Paul’s dance. The lads informed me the music for this song has been recorded, and once they find an appropriate name for it, they’ll let me know. That’s another thing to look forward to.
That Westwood song…
Can you tell me about that Westwood Song?
Paul: Westwood? He’s a prick and we wrote a song about it!
James: Yea he’s a massive d***e
Ed: It wasn’t written about Westwood originally, that whole chorus part. Originally we had just the chorus and the chorus was: “I will go to the Westwood show”.
James: It’s related to The Chili’s song: “By the way”
Lee: It’s cool that nobody really knows what that song is about.
James: See this is how it works, it all means something different to everyone in the band.
Paul: Westwood was probably like a word that fitted in. We needed two syllables that ended with Wood at the time – Westwood!
James: Think we can all agree though, we hate Tim Westwood!
A few members in the audience were in agreement with you!
Identity and connection
What about “Who are you”? It’s quite a catchy number, very echoic as well.
Paul: It’s always been about the same idea. It’s always had the same theme.
Ed: Which is singing about someone or maybe you are someone who’s homeless or destitute in some way.
Paul: Someone with a lack of identity kind of thing.
Lee: It can be interpreted in any way, someone maybe looking in the mirror saying that to themselves. It could also be to the homeless guy on the street man.
Paul: That’s why we have Lee, for his wonderful insights.
Tank: We had a lot of things on board before Lee came in, when he came in, it was like: “I think this should be this or we should do it that way”, and it’s been great.
The Exhale story
What about Exhale?
Ed: That’s an interesting one.
James: Lee tell the story behind Exhale.
Lee: It’s one that’s quite personal to me.
Ed: That was a good night though!
Lee: The song’s about my inability to smoke cannabis. It was Ed that had the lyric idea. “What I just passed to you was not a cigarette.” I just became a big paranoid baby, and I cannae handle it.
Paul: He’s getting better though!
Ed: He walked home from my house one night from the South Westside of Glasgow to his own house in the North Eastside of Glasgow. He walked a good bit until he found a taxi place.
James: He had no money or phone.
Lee: I just freaked out man!
James: We thought he was dead.
Ed: We were all sitting in the kitchen, he walked out, and we thought he was gonna be sick. After about two hours we were like, he’s passed out. Went through and he’s not there. We looked everywhere and he was just no there.
James: So we just rolled another joint!
But you were okay in the end, as you’re here to tell the tale?!
Lee: I got home eventually but aye it was a ropey night.
Paul: That night changed him.
These songs are based on their second last EP titled: “Mama Quilla”, which is based on the mythological Goddess of the Moon. The latest EP also contains some outstanding tracks. Unfortunately, we didn’t get round to chatting about that. For a quick listen before you buy check out:
I know it’s a hard question as you might say they all are, but what is your favourite song?
Paul: Everyone’s got their own favourites, which are personal to them.
James: I like the one at the end of today’s set.
Lee: The last song we played today was probably be released as a single, in the summer.
Paul: That’s not on the EP yet, that’s still to be recorded.
Lee: I think we all have our own wee favourites, we don’t admit it though. All the songs mean something to everyone man we’ve all got our heart in them.
*Bursts of laughter*
Lee: I just want to say, see the band that drinks together…
Lee: Our second video will be released with our new single.
This will again be after the King Tut’s gig in July, so everything will go on from there.
Ed: Peter Stewart did the first video for us, can’t fault him, we’ll work with him again.
Lee: He’s a great guy to work with. It will be another couple of months till the next one.
If their debut music video is anything to go by then the next video is worth the wait. The song and video to “I Am The Moon”, depicts a painful yet harrowing tale of love. The term “Ill-fated lovers” has been redefined within 4 minutes and 14 seconds.
Here it is:
Tours and gig stories
Have you got a Scottish tour lined up this year?
Paul: That will all happen after the summer night’s thing. King Tuts is the main thing that will kick start the summer for us.
Ed: We have a few things lined up, doing a few English gigs, nothing in concrete but if that was to happen that would be August/end of September. We’re just kind of taking it as it comes with the rest of Scotland.
Definitely getting that Perth gig on the go, we were up in Aberdeen last year too. It would be good to get back up there again too. We’ve never played Dundee or Dunfermline or anywhere further afield. It would be kinda cool to get into some really really wee places. Really small places like Inverkirk, that would be cool.
Lee: So rapey man!
What’s been your best gig to date?
James: I think for the sheer fun Perth.
Paul: As a band I think we just had so much fun when we were up there.
Ed: For me, it had to be the Tut’s gig in January that was outstanding! Even though we had a technical issue on the first song with my guitar string breaking, it was unbelievably professional, I just got back on it again.
Lee: You dealt with it like a boss!
Ed: When it was time to start the next song nobody even noticed it happened. It was just so professional, aww I loved that gig by a mile. Anytime I was standing up and looking round it was like a sea of people that you couldn’t make out because the lights were in your face. My knees were shaking, I was like: “I’m gonna fall over”.
Paul: We like to get involved with anything; we don’t make a big deal of it. It really doesn’t matter how wee a place is or how small a club. Doesn’t matter if we play in a wee bar at the East end of Scotland or O2 Academy.
Lee: It’s the same gig to us isn’t it?!
Any charity gigs coming up?
Paul: We did a charity gig in March. It was all run by Tank. Lots of people turned up which was good.
Everyone has always got something that means something to them.
Tank: Macmillan Cancer Support is something that means a lot to all of us.
Ed: We wanted to do something, hence the name of the title: “Do Something”
There was a lot of good feedback.
Echo Bass and Jamie Allanach from Raj were there too
Ed: That magician was good.
Tank: Robert Devennie.
Comedian Stephen Buchanan was good as well.
Chirs: He is some comedian, look him up, Bantervillle.
Sounds excellent and I will do!
Ed We do like to get ourselves about, play lots of gigs and meet new people. You make friends doing this kind of thing, it’s good to know people and have a connection, not to push yourself forward but just to meet everybody else.
Paul: We’ve been gigging now for a couple of years. The bands that we play with are great bands, but we also get on with them really well.
Lee: We’re all just friends.
Paul: That’s it good pals with other bands that we know.
The Music Scene
It is easy to make connections in the music scene? Can it be cut-throat at times?
Tank: It depends on your attitude, if you’re very social, if you are up for a laugh then its fine. Most musicians are fine, there is no real competition.
Lee: it’s like a union kind of thing, like you’re all in it together.
Paul: We can appreciate what everyone is trying to do.
Like brothers and sisters.
Okay, so what’s been your worst gig? You don’t have to name the place, just let me know why it was your worst.
Tank: We were hammered.
Paul: It was Hogmanay.
Lee: We were on at 11 O’clock.
Paul: We were still on a high from Futures Fest, we just thought we’d swagger in and it just didn’t go as well as we thought.
Lee: We were literally all at one stage ready to go. The music started man and Paul’s pure at the bar. We were like f*ck.
Ed: The guys in the gig were like those guys had loads of people at the O2 Academy so they had loads of bouncers and bar staff on and then nobody came. I don’t know the whole town was really quite that night wasn’t it?
James: It’s Hogmanay though; loads of people go places and buy tickets!
Chirs: We played a free gig for them the month after to make up for it. We redeemed ourselves.
Lee: That was a good gig actually.
James: Yea you learn from your mistakes, and we do like the venue. They do a lot for musicians.
Have you ever used your name when not performing?
Ed: I would normally do the total opposite of that!
James: We’ve got a lot of people who recognise us or will assume we are in a band.
Paul: We’ll promote it but I think we’re quite proud of the tunes that we’ve made. If you can get that out there, then it’s great. We’ve got a modest following.
What have been people’s responses to your music?
Paul: We had a great review from a friend once!
Ed: We were chatting to a guy who was a friend of a friend. It was my friend who was going on a train and he met his friend on a train. So we were chatting away and he was like: “how is your band?” I was like aye not bad. His friend was like what’s your band called, I said Sergio Sergio.He was like: “I’ve got you on my IPad man!” Then he showed me our songs all loaded up in his IPad, that was great review.
Paul: That lassie on Facebook.
Ed: She saw us at a gig, and she tracked us down and wanted to buy a ticket.
James: Factory wasn’t it?
Paul: We were playing at Factory in the West End, that’s right.
Great stuff guys!
Any final words or messages for fans?
Lee: In terms of messages for fans moving forward, we’re planning on a big summer ahead,
Paul: Watch this space
Lee: Aye Watch this space as they say. All the support that has been given to us, up to this point is much appreciated. And even to some close friends of the band man. Who are constantly helping us out, and are looking to try and push the band forward. We really appreciate everything they do for us man!
Lovely, thanks guys, enjoy tonight!
Sunny Future and One Summers Night
Watch Sergio Sergio perform like never before, starting with:
18th July, “Summer Nights Festival”, at King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut, Glasgow
As the lads say, it all starts from this gig, from the sounds of things; we should invest In Sergio Sergio early this summer. Feet of Clay, Lemonhaze, and The Responsible will also be performing. That’ll be one sizzlin’ night then! Come along, because in addition to a great website (with a cool slider to enter), there is a dedicated page going out to all you fans.Just follow the links.