InvernessGiGs recently caught up with Dave Bales of Edinburgh based band, but with firm roots in the North, The Sweet Melindas. Dave was kind enough to answer a few of our questions and Frank (invernessGiGs) was kind enough to set them up with a plum support slot for KOBI at Sneaky Petes’s in Edinburgh on 4 November.
Just who are the Sweet Melindas?
The Sweet Melindas are a 5-piece Edinburgh based band, who met at Edinburgh University. We’re all students on different courses; by chance four of us were staying in the same student halls in first year. We talked about setting up the band for a couple years before finally getting round to doing it at the start of this year.
Originally the idea was to have the standard 2 guitars, a bass and drums and just see what happened. However, at the first practice, Greg came along with his Saxophone as a bit of an experiment and there was no doubt we wanted him involved after hearing what he could do.
Right now, Rob (vocal/rhythm guitar), Rory (drums) and I (bass/guitar) all live together with Charlie (lead guitar) and Greg living just round the corner. Our flat is like a maze of instruments, amps, microphones and cables. It’s pretty much where everything happens. It was this that actually led to the name of the new EP ‘Behind the Blue Door’: the flat’s door is a lovely shade of blue!
What is your connection with the North of Scotland?
We actually have quite a connection to the north of Scotland: 4 of the 5 are Northern lads. Rob is from the Black Isle, Rory is from Fort William, Greg hails from Inverurie (and has a very ‘broch’ accent to match) and I come from Forres.
Where did the name of the band come from?
Finding a name for the band has actually been the hardest part of the whole thing. We pinned a blank piece of paper to the wall, with the title “ideas for a band name” and whenever we, or anyone else visiting the flat, had ideas for names, they could write it down. We came up with about 30 names, ranging from The Beatles; to A Company of Parrots; to Phil Atio and the Cumshots(!) before settling on The Sweet Melindas.
It’s actually the name of the restaurant opposite the flat! As of yet, we haven’t eaten there but we’ve been told that, while the menu is heavily fish based, it’s a real treat for locals and tourists alike!
How would you describe your sound, and who are your influences?
I actually had this discussion with a guy at a party last weekend. He described our sound as “Scottish pop”, though when I told Rob this, he didn’t seem to agree (I think he thought that sounded a little bit too much like the Macdonald Brothers). Admittedly, there’s definitely a folky sound to some songs, and I suppose it might be described as indie at other points. To be honest, if people like the songs, it shouldn’t matter what genre it’s given.
We’d definitely say there’s a heavy Scottish influence on the band, though. We’re all huge fans of Idlewild, Snow Patrol, Belle & Sebastian and Frightened Rabbit and we hope that that influence can be heard in the songs.
I hear you are organising some gigs in the Edinburgh area, any plans to play further north?
We have four gigs organised in Edinburgh so far. We are playing on the 19th October (this Wednesday) at Whistlebinkies. We also have two gigs (on the 27th October and 11th November) at Teviot, Edinburgh University’s Student Union. Our agent in the north of Scotland (!) has also managed to organise a gig for us at Sneaky Pete’s in Edinburgh, supporting Inverness band KOBI on the 4th November, so we’re all very excited about that. There are also a couple of gigs in Glasgow in the pipeline though nothing has been confirmed yet.
Being home for most us, we’re definitely looking to play a few gigs up north in the near future. After all, we can’t always expect friends and family to travel down to the central belt to watch us, and the crowds up north are always lively.
Where can we hear your music?
The EP, Behind the Blue Door, can be heard on a number of different websites:
You can visit our myspace at:
However, a facebook page seems to be the new thing for bands to have and not to be outdone, we have our own:
by Frank Finlayson
Photos courtesy of Š Milo Zanecchia Photography
Thanks to The Sweet Melindas