> Bottle Rockets: Glasgow Band chat – Headlining King Tut's, TRNSMT, plus winning BBC Introducing + SAMA Awards - SNACK: Music, film, arts and culture magazine for Scotland

Bottle Rockets: Glasgow Band chat – Headlining King Tut’s, TRNSMT, plus winning BBC Introducing + SAMA Awards

Bottle Rockets are a four-piece rock/alternative band from Glasgow (although let’s not get hung up on genres) who have already picked up awards from SAMA and BBC Introducing. They’re also headlining King Tuts very soon, and yet, you might not have heard of them.

Let’s change that, and make sure you are fully informed before they become household names. SNACK caught up with John (Tamburrini, guitar) to discuss shoegaze, imposter syndrome, TRNSMT, and more.

To the outsider looking in, you’ve made a big splash in a short space of time. How is the band feeling right now?

To be honest, it kind of blows our minds how much we’ve been able to achieve in a relatively short amount of time. Our first single came out at the tail end of 2021, so we’ve been a band now for over 2 years. We’re independent artists, so any form of gratitude or spotlight really goes a long way for us, and we are always really appreciative of anyone who supports us. 

As of right now, things are starting to get hectic but also scary. It’s weird how at the start of the year we thought things were really quiet for us, and now in the space of a month or two, things are starting to get really busy – which is really exciting as this is what we want to do full time. With everything going on and juggling our day-to-day jobs and Uni, we are just taking it one day at a time as we are quite anxious people.

The single ‘Winter Baby’ is your first release of 2024 – to our ears, it’s a moody little rock number. Can you tell us about it from your viewpoint?

‘Winter Baby’ is definitely the moodiest and darkest we’ve sounded sonically – we wanted the single to jump right at you right away. We spent a lot of time in the latter half of 2023 listening to a lot of Deftones, Smashing Pumpkins, Paramore, and a lot of shoegaze like Slow Pulp and Cocteau Twins. 

Seemingly a habit we are getting into when it comes to songs is coming back to old ideas and vamping them up to fit the band. Kenzi (Murray, singer), who writes the predominance of the songs, comes more from that songwriter/pop background, so we feel like we try to balance all our influences to try to best suit any track. 

‘Winter Baby’ was an old idea that Kenzi came up with that encapsulates a profound sense of melancholy and nostalgia; emotions that are deeply intertwined with one’s identity, evoking a longing for the innocence of childhood and facing the sadness of its irretrievability.

Is there a general process of songwriting for the band?

Either Kenzi has a particular idea she has in terms of a topic she’d write about at the time or myself would record a demo of an idea I had. I’m always obsessed with experimenting with new guitar tunings – a lot of my guitar ideas are based on the melodies and chord progressions of math rock.

Are you able to tell us about any other releases you have lined up for this year?

At the moment, we are scheduled to get back into the studio with Jamie Holmes (producer) who’s dealt with all our singles, at the start of May, so it is fast approaching. We’re hoping to get a single out before we play TRNSMT! 

Bigger picture though we are working on releasing an EP, which is really scary – we don’t think we’ve quite nailed how we want to sound sonically and we think that’s a great position to be in. You’ll notice that all our singles are different but one thing that’s always been a characteristic is the songwriting and having these huge and wide choruses.

You’ve played King Tuts before, but now you are headlining, what’s your thoughts on this gig?

We love King Tuts – we are practically residents at this point. The promoters over at Tuts have showed us a lot of support, and we even played our first gig there! After initially saying no as we didn’t think we were ready, they stayed persistent with us, and without that, I don’t think the band would have ever taken off – as I’ve mentioned before, we are quite nervy, so we just needed to take a chance and play live. But to now headline and have a sellout is a surreal feeling – that venue will always have a special place in our hearts.

You won a SAMA last year (for Best Rock/Alternative) and you’ve recently been named Scottish Act of The Year 2024 by BBC Introducing. How are you coping with the attention?

To be honest, we did not think we would win either, and we were happy enough to be included with some of the most amazing Scottish artists, so it’s all a major shock to us. I think we all suffer from imposter syndrome, so we feel as if we are always undeserving of any attention we get and would rather pass the spotlight to our other talented friends who are artists.

What’s been the most pleasing and surprising aspects of being in Bottle Rockets so far?

I think it’s how close-knit we’ve all become. We’re all the best of friends and have gone on holidays with each other and each of our respective groups of pals. Also, being able to somewhat get over the hump of playing live – I’m super proud of the guys and all the work we’ve put in to get this far, and we’ve come a long way in terms of stage presence and confidence.

After King Tuts, what’s next?

We are just taking each day at a time and every gig. We’re yet to announce it, but in May we are playing our biggest show to date at one of Glasgow’s biggest venues, so that’s super exciting. We are also really excited to set foot outside of Scotland and play our first gig out of the country down in Liverpool as part of Sound City. And lest we forget, we are somehow playing TRNSMT this year, so that will be the highlight for the rest of our lives!

Bottle Rockets play King Tuts on 18th April

Photo credit: @georgemcfadyen_

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