Rising Scottish indie rockers Shambolics will celebrate signing a deal with music mogul Alan McGee by headlining Aberdeen’s newest festival.
The four-piece will top the bill at the House of Jack Festival at Unit 51 which kicks off at 2pm on Saturday July 20.
It will be their first show since being signed by Creation records legend Alan McGee, the man who discovered Oasis.
He also signed bands like Primal Scream, Jesus and Mary Chain and My Bloody Valentine to his groundbreaking Creation label.
Shambolics are Darren Forbes (vocals/guitar), Lewis McDonald (vocals/guitar), Jordan McHatton (vocals/bass) and Jake Bain (vocals/drums), all 24 years old.
Having hailed the band as “one of the great Scottish bands” Alan snapped them up for his new label Creation23.
Darren said: “It has been an absolutely fantastic month or so for the band. We knew Alan McGee was interested as we played his question and answer night in April.
“However it wasn’t over the line until he came to see us play in Edinburgh and then he pretty much signed us on the night.
“It is a dream come true to sign for him. We had a big weekend of partying after signing the deal – then it was back to the graft and working in the studio.
“Now we are all just focused on trying to make this happen for the band. We are all big Oasis fans so it is fantastic to have signed with Alan’s label.
“He is going to help us so much in the future.
“If we could have picked to sign with someone it would have been with him. He is real. He is one of the very few real people left in the music industry.
“He will give us the freedom to do what we want.”
Formed in Kirkcaldy in 2016, Shambolics rapidly built up a passionate and devoted fan base across Scotland with their timeless, reverb-washed tracks reminiscent of Stone Roses, The La’s and The Byrds.
The band then scooped the 2017 Scottish Alternative Music Award for Best Rock/Alternative Act.
Shambolics have played major festivals including Reading, Leeds, Isle of Wight and Tramlines. However, the big breakthrough came with 58-year-old music mogul Alan McGee travelling from his home in England to watch the band headline a show in Edinburgh, with the view to potentially signing them.
Did the band feel any added pressure to impress for that show?
“Not really,” said Darren.
“There was a lot of tension before the gig as we were all thinking this could be the night.
“However the way I looked at it was that there were 300 other people out there who had paid money to see us. You just have to treat him exactly the same as the other people in the crowd and put on a good show for them all.
“If we put on a good show for everyone then Alan would enjoy it as well. Which he did, as it was an absolutely bouncing night.”
Shambolics will be holed up in the studio this weekend working on a single which is likely to be released on vinyl in October or November through Creation23.
McGee was so impressed with Shambolics he hailed them as “one of the best Scottish artists out there” and added they were “a classic Creation band with big tunes – and they look great”.
Darren admits the record deal with Creation arrived after a nightmare 2018 when Shambolics came close to splitting.
He said: “To be honest 2018 wasn’t our year as we had a couple of line-up changes.
“There were loads of financial struggles and personal stuff going on that wasn’t good.
“The band were close to coming to an end.
“We fought through it and with the recent tour we wondered what was going to happen as we had not done anything in 2018.
“Everything seemed to be going backwards.
“But then most of the tour sold out and the shows that didn’t were only about 15 tickets away from that.
“We are confident it is all going to blow up for us now because we have spent so long grafting and have all these songs.”
On signing Shambolics last month, Alan insisted Scottish indie music was enjoying a renaissance, and Darren agrees.
He said: “Scottish music is doing great, although the music industry is in a terrible state with the way it is run. Gerry Cinnamon seems to be taking over the world and he has done it all on his own which is amazing. I played a gig with Gerry at the Priory a couple of years ago and there was about three people there. To see him now selling out an arena tour down in England is absolutely bananas.
“Although it is not really my type of music, Lewis Capaldi has broken through in the charts.
“He is one of the only real, genuine people in mainstream music at the moment and takes the mickey out of himself.
“I wish that guitar music would break through into the mainstream again.
“That would be inspiring for young bands as they could think they can do that as well.”
Shambolics’ ascent was underlined with the band racking up in excess of 250,000 Spotify plays for infectious demo When She Goes Home.
On their recent tour they sold out shows in Glasgow and Edinburgh and played a triumphant concert in Aberdeen last month. However it has not been overnight success for the band. There have been many sacrifices to get to this stage, where they are now set to explode on to the British scene.
Darren said: “We have been poor and on the dole with plenty ups and downs.
“It has certainly not been an easy journey to get to here and for me this is just the start now.
“The last few years have been hard graft but we have done our apprenticeship now.
“With the way the music industry is now, it is hard for young bands to keep going.
“It is an easier option for them to give up than to keep carrying on.
“You have to keep fighting through it. That is what we did.”
Shambolics have the honour of headlining the inaugural House of Jack festival in Aberdeen next weekend.
The festival will feature some of Britain’s hottest rising talents and boasts a line-up that includes The Capollos, Vansleep, Gypsy Roots, Nicky Aiken and The Temple Sons, Black Tiles, Plasmas, Pages and Terra Nova.
“Headlining the festival will be a real buzz,” said Darren.
“To headline the event in Aberdeen just three weeks after our first gig in the city is brilliant. When we visited recently it was our first gig there. It was absolutely rammed and close to a sell-out.
“It must have been word of mouth that led to the gig being so packed.
“We have had people from Aberdeen travel to our other gigs in Glasgow and Fife. It is great to see them travel so far to see us as it is a four-hour round-trip.
“I am looking forward to going back to Aberdeen and headlining the House of Jack festival.”