Kilgour: making their mark on Glasgow’s eclectic music scene

Kilgour (left to right): Kyle Gray (drums), Isaac Davie (guitar), Fionn Crossan (guitar and vocals) and Euan McMahon (bass)

It can be hard for a band to get noticed in Glasgow – with hundreds of bands trying to make it at any given time it can be tough to find a niche for anyone just starting out. That hasn’t stopped Kilgour however.

The band formed in 2019 during nationwide lockdowns, releasing their dreamy and fuzz-laden debut single, “My Parents Car”, in January 2020 which they followed with “Corners” that summer to deliver a decidedly cleaner, much more laid back vibe, beautifully coupled with moments of unsettling dissonance. Kilgour’s delightfully stripped back acoustic-folky four track EP, “Demonstrations Vol. 1” hit streaming platforms in October, bringing 2020 to a close with a heavy shower of melancholy.

The band returned in 2022 to release two new singles, “Set It Alight” in May and the grungy, yet surprisingly delicate “Solar Head” in August. Each release offering a remarkably mature sound for such a new band, (check out our full review of Solar Head, here).

They’ve indicated plans are afoot for a full album release next year and have already enjoyed a number of live shows – this dedication and determination has earned them a deal with Scottish record label Last Night From Glasgow.

The band played one of their first headline shows on the 15th September at the Hug and Pint, a vegan bar, eatery & music venue on Great Western Road in Glasgow’s west end, and they invited us along to watch them in action. It’s great little venue comprising a bustling pub and restaurant upstairs and an intimate, grungy basement venue fitting up to 120 people eager to hear local music.

Prior to the show, I sat with the Fionn, Isaac, Kyle and Euan outside the venue, all surprisingly at ease after the soundcheck – it’s their first interview, they tell me, between mouthfuls of chips. Here’s how it went…

“I wrote most of the tunes that we’ve released so far in the first lockdown, sitting in my parents’ house.”

Fionn Crossan, founding member of Kilgour

Kilgour started with Fionn Crossan and bassist Euan McMahon, before sending demos to guitarist Isaac Davie who, after hearing Fionn’s songs and lyrics, knew immediately that he wanted in. With drummer Kyle added to the lineup, the band was ready to start performing – and the response so far has been incredible. Fionn explained it used to be a bit of a challenge to “drag people along” to local gigs before the pandemic, but once venues started opening up again, gathering an audience has proved to be a breeze!

I think [the pandemic] reignited the flame when it comes to playing gigs. We’ve played our first headline shows in Glasgow and Belfast, and we sold out Glasgow. We technically sold out Belfast – we were two tickets away. The response has been great since we started putting out music – people seem way more interested in music in general at the minute.” says Fionn.

Their Hug and Pint show came hot off the heels of their gig at the legendary King Tut’s Wah-Wah Hut on Sauchiehall Street, which was a huge moment for the band. Rightly so! Some of the biggest names in music have graced the King Tut’s stage since it’s inception in 1990 – I’m talking about bands such as Blur (one of the very first acts), Oasis, The Verve, Stone Temple Pilots, Radiohead, Skunk Anansie, Coldplay, Paolo Nutini… the list goes on. Fionn recounts the experience of playing the iconic venue, and confesses he and the guys were all rather nervous before the show, “and during!” cuts in guitarist Isaac, causing a ripple of laughter and agreement.

After a brief discussion about the backstage facilities at King Tut’s (and an enthusiastic review of the dressing rooms backstage), Kilgour talk more about their inspirations for the band. With influences including Pavement, My Bloody Valentine, and Nirvana, music of the nineties definitely had an impact on Kilgour. Lyrically, the band leans towards one of Fionn and Issac’s favourite bands – Scottish indie legends, Frightened Rabbit.

I ask how their song-writing process works, and Kyle cuts in with a grin describing how the rest of the band “just do what Fionn tells us,” before the four dissolve into laughter. Fionn agrees, to an extent, and explains it’s fairly typical for him to have a ‘full-band demo’ that he’s pulled together before showing the rest of the guys their individual parts, but follows up to reassure me there’s leeway and collaboration involved – “I’m not a dictator or anything. With rehearsals and live shows, I like to keep it looser than the recordings” he says.

I’m a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to the recordings, but I like that when we play the songs, we’re just four people playing in a room – rather than recreating any recording.”

Fionn Crossan, Kilgour

As showtime approaches, the excitement begins to grow for the band. Fionn signals he’s ready and feeling good about it, with the others nodding in approval. “We’ve got a decent crowd coming!” he tells me, and comments on how the gigs they’ve played this summer have already outweighed his expectations. Originally from Northern Ireland, Fionn talks about how he’d spent years in bands playing the Belfast music circuit, and finding it difficult to branch out of the city – unlike Glasgow where there’s comparatively much more going on according to the frontman – “this is a city for music”, he says.

Kilgour are delighted with the direction their band is going in, but they’re taking each day as it comes, and enjoying the journey it takes to get there. “We’re going to be re-releasing the four singles we’ve got so far, then record an album and hopefully put that out at the end of the year. The year after that, we’ll get into the gigging and touring,” Fionn tells me, and when asked about where the band see themselves heading, he begins to say “I try not to have end goals…”, before the other three chime in. “Wembley!”, says Kyle. “Bigger than U2!”, laughs Isaac.

“I’m just happy with going along and seeing what happens,” Fionn finished.

With the gig about to start, we headed inside to grab a quick pint before the show. By the time the band took to the stage at around 10pm, the basement had filled with people, ready to hear what the Glasgow music scene has to offer – and Kilgour didn’t disappoint. The gig was an emotional one, as each member seemed genuinely grateful to the crowd for showing their support. A mix of friends and fans had arrived to show their support. At one point a chap turned to me, pointing towards the stage with great pride… “that’s my nephew!” he said excitedly… although I didn’t see which member he was pointing to.

As they played their new singles, “Set It Alight” and “Solar Head”, several people in the audience could be heard singing along, and those that weren’t were murmuring appreciatively. Kilgour were practiced, talented, and looked like they were having a damn good time. The set was short but proved to be a great taster of what Kilgour have to offer. If Glaswegian-grunge sounds up your alley, this might just be a band to keep your eye on.

Listen to more from Kilgour on Spotify:

You can find more information about Kilgour via their Linktree, here. Artists/ bands interested in interviews and reviews with IAMUR can get in touch with the team, here.

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