Ahead of their debut digital release, Andrew Still of Algorithm chats (virtually) to Frank Finlayson of IGigs.
How do you put together a band during a pandemic?
The idea for Algorithm started in 2018 at a time when I had become disillusioned with my own song writing. Having released 8 albums as The Galipaygos and 2 as Mr Still I felt I needed a new challenge. I have always loved disco and electronic music and fell in love with House music in Ibiza (a long time ago) so I bought a laptop, put the guitar to one side and started again from scratch programming drum patterns, synth lines and experimenting with samples. The plan was always to have a female singer to front the band so that I could explore a different song writing narrative.
Having recruited Ali Brown in 2018 he and I began to add live bass and guitar to these early tracks. When the pandemic hit we carried on working remotely sending song ideas back and forth by email. If anything, being in lock-down meant there was more time to focus on the project, to develop the songs and learn more about the software that I use and improve my production techniques.
My heart goes out to everyone in the creative industries in The Highlands whose livelihoods have been devastated by the pandemic but the truth is we weren’t ready to play live so we have simply made the best possible use of the time. I would estimate I have written 30-40 tracks since last March so it has been a very productive year.
And who are Algorithm?
Algorithm is Amy Mullen (vocals), Andrew Still (guitar/ beats/synths), Ali Brown (bass) and Bev Fraser (Sax/ EWI – electric woodwind instrument)
You’ve discovered a new singer, how did that happen?
Amy joined in June 2020 and since then the band has gone from strength to strength. She runs Stagecoach in Inverness so she comes from a performing background having trained as a dancer. We had originally discussed collaborating on some songs that she had written but, when I heard her sing, I suggested that she join Algorithm instead!
Bev Fraser joined more or less at the same time to complete the line-up.
You all come from diverse musical backgrounds. What is the common bond that gels you together?
With the exception of Amy we have all been in numerous successful Highland bands over the years but together we are exploring new genres of music – Synth Pop, Funk, Disco and House and we have all found this to be very inspiring.
Your debut single really captures that 80s synth sound. Who are your influences from that era?
I grew up in the 80s so the list of potential influences is too long to mention but really the starting point was 90s acts like Daft Punk, Basement Jaxx and Moloko. We make no secret of the fact that our aim is to write catchy upbeat pop songs that get you dancing and singing along.
What was the inspiration for the video for your single ‘Left Unsaid’?
The video is really just a play on the song title itself. ‘’Left unsaid’’ meaning unspoken, quiet or silent. This led to the ‘’Shh’’ idea and I thought if we could sync the finger motion to the beat of the track, we could create something that was visually interesting. We reached out to friends during the winter lockdown, asked them to self-film ‘’Shh’’ videos and we were blown away with the help we received with over 100 people submitting videos in total. My daughter (Eva Still) pieced the footage together on her mobile phone so she deserved the most credit.
And finally, how much are you looking forward to playing live?
Yes, that is ultimately the goal. However in the meantime our focus is on releasing as much music before then as we can. We have other tracks in the pipeline and the goal is a record and release a debut album before the end of the year.
You may not be able to catch Algorithm live any time soon but you can check out ‘Left Unsaid’ when it is released digitally on the 5th March 2021. For further details on Algorithm go to their website at algorithmband.co.uk and also at www.facebook.com/algormusic