The Last Battle are an Indie Folk Rock band that have released two albums - 2010’s ‘Heart Of The Land, Soul Of The Sea’ and 2014’s ‘Lay Your Burden Down’.
The group comprises of Scott Longmuir (Vocals & Guitar), Caroline Overy (Vocals & Guitar), Jon Bews (Violin), Liam O’Hare (Drums) and Craig Kenny (Bass).
They have toured the U.K and played alongside the likes of King Creosote, Dawn Landes, First Aid Kit, Withered Hand and James Yorkston.
We caught up with Scott Longmuir from the band and had a chat about drunken maggots, doom folk pop and Karate, here's how it went....
Please introduce the band and your music in one sentence....
We are The Last Battle who play ‘Folk Pop Rock’ Music with more of the ‘Rock’ these days
You’re called The Last Battle how did you come about choosing this name?
Our ex bassist is a librarian, he stole the name from the C.S Lewis Novel
You are described as doom folk pop....how, what, did that genre come about?
Ha The doom thing is a bit of joke as lately most of our newer stuff has a bit of doom and despair about it!
How do you feel you have evolved since your debut album Heart of the Land, Soul of the Sea in 2010 to your latest record Lay Your Burden Down?
I think we’ve evolved quite a bit: we’ve kept some of our folky elements, but added more rocky elements in there too. The band line up has changed drastically too, with only myself (Scott – Vocals) and Liam (Drums) being the only original members from the first album, so the sound was bound to change.
Who photographed the album cover of Lay your burden down? Also who is the tattooed model?
Our very talented friend Gillian Anderson who goes by the name Glicious Foto. You should all check her out. The model is also a friend – Megan Lindsay – who has never modelled before. She was quite apprehensive to do it, but we offered her buckfast and she soon changed her mind.
Breathe Bones is a wonderful tune, what is the inspiration behind this?
I’ve just come out of an 8 year relationship and wrote this during it’s darker stages. It’s quite an upbeat song with some dour lyrics over the top. It’s a song about needing space and trying to find it amongst the crap life throws at you sometimes.
What is the process when writing music and the words?
I usually sit down with a guitar and mess about for ages, try different tunings and such, then I’ll hum a melody and maybe a line will come to me. At this point I usually very quickly, roughly record what I’ve come up with on garageband so I don’t forget it, then I keep going back to it until it has some kind of structure, then if I’m happy I’ll usually play it at a rehearsal during break and someone will join in. Before you know it, everyone’s playing along and working out wee bits.
How has social media aided your music?
Quite a good bit to be honest, although I feel personally let down with the way Facebook has been towards bands & businesses, making you pay so that all your posts reach all your fans/customers. That needs to change. But on the whole we’ve been put in touch with so many different people through social media, so we can’t complain that much.
What is the best advice you ever received and who was it from?
I can’t recall who it was but it was “Don’t play for free, unless it’s for charity, and don’t be afraid to ask promoter’s for a fee.” I think too many bands play for free. They’ll spend money on travelling to some place miles away and then play for nothing and are out of pocket, all in the hope that it may get their music to more people. I hate how some promoter’s play on the hopes and ambition’s of musicians just to secure free entertainment.
What does music mean to you?
Music has been the one constant in my life. I wasn’t very popular with the local lads where I lived as a teenager, so I spent a good couple of years hiding in my bedroom playing guitar, writing songs and listening to records. Music has just always been there for me. My Dad played in bands, so from the day I was born it was all around me. Whenever I’ve split from a girlfriend I’ll get one record and just play it to death, really immerse myself in music. It has amazing powers.
How do you feel the folk genre has changed over the years?
We started in about 2009 when the likes of Mumford & Sons were still relatively small. I played in indie post punk bands before The Last Battle, so the natural thing was to take to the acoustic and strip everything back. It had nothing to do with folk to be honest, I was just sick of angular guitar lines and disco beats. Pretty soon we were being described as an indie folk band and because of the Mumford’s boom a year or so later we grew in popularity. I’ve grown tired of the folk tag now, and it’s popularity has certainly waned, I enjoy folk music, but only the good kind. I want our next album to be as far removed from folk as we can get.
In your opinion, what is the BEST album/record ever released?
Wow such a hard question. I can only name albums that have played significant roles in my life, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re the best, but the ones that I’ve made a connection with. The main albums from over the years that will always take me back to certain times in my life are Oasis ‘Definitely Maybe’, Idlewild ‘Hope Is Important’, Bright Eyes ‘I’m Wide Awake it’s Morning’, Frightened Rabbit ‘Midnight Organ Fight’, Spiritualized ‘Ladies & Gentleman We Are Floating In Space’, The Strokes ‘Is This It’, The Streets ‘A Grand Don’t Come For Free’, Neil Young ‘Zuma’ and Thin Lizzy ‘Live and Dangerous’.
Tell me a fascinating fact about one of your band members?
I’ll tell you one about myself: At 9 years old I was one of the youngest Black Belts in Karate in Britain at one point, and I was also British Sparring Champion. I did Karate, Tae Kwon Do and Freestyle kickboxing from the age of 7 up until about 19 then I discovered girls, drinking and music and everything went to shit.
If you had a chance to put together your own ‘super group’, who would be in it? (Only living members please)
I’d have the Arctic Monkey’s Matt Helder’s on drums, because, no matter what you think of their music, he’s actually a really great drummer, on bass I’d have the girl from Haim simply because of her bass faces, I’d have the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s guitarist Nick Zinner on guitar, as well as Prince, and up front singing I’d have Tom Waits. It would sound a bit mental.
What classic song would you have liked to have recorded and why?
Probably ‘I Want You Back’ by The Jackson 5 because it’s just a perfect pop song.
First gig you ever went to?
Michael Jackson ‘Dangerous’ Tour in about 1991 with my Mum and Dad
Do you think maggots get drunk when they bury alcoholics?
Where did you record your debut and latest album and what made you choose that studio?
We recorded at our friends home studio on the outskirts of Edinburgh and we chose it because we got to go in and do it for free
Name three people (alive, dead or fictional) that you would like as party guests?
Emma Watson because I’d just gaze at her, Limmy because he’d bring the laughs, and Tom Waits because of the stories he’d tell.
There are many good bands and musicians out there, who would you ask the readers of musicmuso to look out for?
Penny Black is a new young band from Edinburgh who we’ve invited to come play with us in August. They’re moody and atmospheric and not trying to rip off Bombay Bicycle Club or Vampire Weekend like most new bands in Scotland seem to be doing just now and getting heaped with praise for doing so.
Rick Redbeard is the singer of a Glasgow band called The Phantom Band signed to Chemikal Underground. Last year he released a gorgeus solo album called ‘No Selfish Heart’ which is mainly just him and an acoustic guitar and this deep baritone vocal of his. One of my favourite albums of 2013. Definitely worth checking out.
Being from Edinburgh, what is your favourite part of the Fringe festival?
When all the tourists go home
Who would you like to know has your music on their iPod, MP3 or cassette walkman?
If you could describe your music in the form of a fictional character, who would it be?
Do you think we can ever live in a world where a chicken can cross the road without having its motives questioned?
What are your plans for the remainder of 2014?
Just to try and get through it in one piece!!
We gave Scott a few minutes to get his breath prior to piling back in with a few quick fire questions....
Coffee or Tea? Tea
Coke or Pepsi? Diet Coke
Drum machine or the real deal? Real
Mac or PC? Mac
Fry up or Sunday roast? Roast
Lemmy (Motorhead) or Ozzy (Black Sabbath)? Lemmy
CD or Vinyl? Vinyl
Car or Motorbike? Car
Acoustic or electric? Electric
Oasis or Blur? Early Oasis 94-95 / Early Blur 98-2000
Shower or Bath? Shower
Tattoos or Piercings? Tattoos
Robert De Niro or Al Pacino? De Niro
God or Google? Google
4th July - The Old Bridge Inn, Aviemore
13th July - Scott Solo set at The Lemon Tree, Aberdeen
New Album 'Lay Your Burden Down' OUT NOW on iTUNES
We'd like to thank Scott for taking the time to chat to us and wish him every success with his new album and forthcoming live shows.
Interview by Mark Wincott