Anyone who’s seen the video for Baby Strange’s debut single ‘Pure Evil’ could be forgiven for thinking the Glaswegian trio have an axe to grind with electronic music. For those who haven’t, here’s the pitch: a procession of ecstasy casualties gurn their way through your average Saturday-night club scene, while the words “PURE EVIL” flash up in bright pink neon letters and a soundtrack of scouring, righteous JAMC-style rock’n’roll plays over it. Message, much?
Not according to drummer Connaire McCann, who assures us that, far from pointing and laughing at them, “We were those people in the video. We’d all go out to [legendary Glasgow nightspot] Sub Club and get fucked up every night. We just got disillusioned by it. That’s why we started this band.”
Baby Strange formed last summer when, says frontman Johnny Madden, “we had no jobs, we were living for nothing. We were going out all the time, seeing the same faces, doing the same things. When we sing, ‘I’m tired of my generation’, we mean that we’re part of this generation, and we were bored by ourselves.”
Enlisting the help of Connaire’s 17-year-old brother Aidan on bass, the trio began writing “fast, snappy, in-and-out punk-rock songs” in their bedrooms, but didn’t know whether they’d find favour in a Glasgow scene dominated by, as Madden puts it, “Nasally, whiny Scottish-accented Biffy Clyro wannabe bands, who just seem to regurgitate themselves over and over.” The turning point came when they played their first gig at a friend’s house party, where they unwittingly gassed the audience with spray-paint fumes. It was a roaring success.
Since then, things have moved quickly. They’ve toured with Palma Violets – who Madden credits with showing kids that “you don’t need to be the best guitarist or the greatest singer, but if you can get a vibe going, people will feed off it” – and, alongside Paws, Halfrican and The Amazing Snakeheads, they’re flying the flag for Glasgow’s burgeoning garage-rock revival. The next step, says Johnny, is to take it out of their hometown and into the wider world – but, he warns, “We won’t change for anybody. We didn’t start this band to get signed or get famous. We started it for ourselves.”
Need To Know
For Fans Of: The Jesus And Mary Chain, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
Buy It Now: ‘Pure Evil’ is out now. Second single ‘Friend’ is released on September 9
See Them Live: They play Belladrum Festival (Aug 2), Glasgow Broadcast (21), Fort William Crofter Bar (23) and London Tipsy (Sep 15)
Believe it or not: The video for ‘Pure Evil’ was inspired by Channel 4’s Drugs Live – The Ecstasy Trial programme