Guillemots have made an impressive debut here in England since forming in 2004. Band members are Fyfe Dangerfield, Greig Stewart, MC Lord Magrao, and Aristazabal Hawkes and their first album, Through the Window Pane includes gems of songs like “Trains To Brazil”, “We’re Here”, “Made-Up Lovesong #43” and “Annie, Let’s Not Wait”.
It’s all been quite the whirlwind for Guillemots the last couple of years as they’ve been keeping busy with tours, festivals, radio interviews and UK TV appearances including Friday Night With Jonathan Ross and Top of the Pops.
Their debut album Through the Windowpane was nominated for the 2006 Mercury Music Prize and the band was nominated for best British Live Act for the 2007 Brit Awards. Not only that, but they have a dedicated fan base that as far as they’re concerned, Guillemots can do no wrong.
Just back from touring in Europe, Scottish drummer Greig Stewart is one of the most unique and versatile drummers in music today. The times that I’ve watched him, his presence on stage was amazing and he is the kind of drummer that you “can’t take your eyes off of” when he’s playing.
Greig has been kind enough to answer a few questions that I wanted to ask him for readers of BandWeblogs.com.
Read Greig Stewart’s second exclusive interview with BandWeblogs.com
Jenny May: How and when did you become a drummer?
Greig Stewart: Loved music and drumming seemed natural to me. I came to it quite young. Made my own drums as a kid out of bits and bobs.
What kind of drum kit and gear do you use?
1960s Ludwig drums, 22″bass, 13″rack tom, 16″floor, Ludwig 400 snare. 1980s Premier Resonator, drums 22″ bass, 13″ rack tom, 20″ Ludwig floor, Premier resonator snare. Zildjian 19″ 16″ custom k crash/ride, 14″ new beat high hats, Paiste rude china. Roland Spds sampler. Apple mac, logic.
Oddly enough, you’ve been using Spandau Ballet’s old drum kit. How did that happen?
Well it’s either Spandau Ballet’s or Rod Morgenstein? Basically went into Andy’s Drum Center to buy a snare drum. The kit because of its unusual colour, shouted at me (its duck egg blue). I was told it was custom built for either of the above. Looks and sounds great.
Are you currently using it for live shows and in the studio?
Using the Premier for live at present. Am going to experiment for the new record. Haven’t used the Ludwig for a while.
When you’re not on tour do you practice regularly?
Should do more really. I tend to record onto my computer with new beats. But am now looking to find a teacher to push me more. The usual thing with drums noise is a bit of a problem.
What are your usual practice techniques and what do you use for practice?
Playing along with a metronome is important for me. Rudiments, sticking techniques. Some books on drumming. I’ve got drum practice pads, though find it quite difficult getting along with it as they don’t produce much sound.
Who has influenced you the most in music?
All my friends at school were mad into music (playing and listening). That’s where I heard and got into so much music.
Do you have a favorite drummer?
Toooo many to name! Well here’s some; Ringo, Elvin Jones, John Bonham, Stewart Copeland, Keith Moon, Steve Morris, Seb Roachford, Tony Allen.
What have Guillemots been up to lately? I know you were on tour in the UK and Europe recently, and have a few upcoming shows in the UK, but will you be recording again soon? Also, any upcoming TV or radio appearances that we should know about?
That’s it really for ‘Through the Window Pane’ record as far as touring. We are doing a few festivals this summer. But the main focus is writing/recording the new record in our new studio.
What is the new studio like?
The studio is based in the East End of London. It’s an old synagogue which has a really high roof and lots of different size rooms. Great space for recording and just hanging out.
Guillemots had a small tour across the US and Canada in 2006, including the SXSW Festival in Austin, Texas. Do you have plans to tour the US again anytime soon?
Next year or maybe later this year. We have changed record company recently which made things complicated.
What is a typical day like for you when you’re on tour? From when you wake up to when you go to sleep?
I try and get into some kind of routine. For me; get up about 10, 11ish. Make porridge and cup of tea. Shower. The next thing depends on promotional things. If none, I go for a walk for a few hours. Then late lunch round 3’4 ish. Best not eat too late before the gig. Relax and start getting ready for the gig. Warm ups, practice on pad with sticks. After, I’ll go for a shower and watch a film on the bus. Not really rock and roll. If we have a day off the next day, I’ll partyyyy ooonn!!
What is your favorite song to play from Guillemots repertoire?
The new songs are fun to play “Big Dog”, “Standing on the Last Star”.
Who comes up with all of the ideas for what you wear on stage?
Everybody really. Mc usually though.
So far, where have you enjoyed playing the most? (country/venue) Why?
I enjoyed Barcelona. Love the city/food/people. Walk along the beach then had a seafood lunch. (Thing with Guillemots is often food orientated). The gig was cool with a great atmosphere and then the venue turns into a massive club till late. Sore heads all around.
Did you contribute to the artwork on the ‘Through The Windowpane’ album?
The whole band had drawings/paintings on the album. One of my paintings got on the inner sleeve.
How often do you paint and/or draw? What do you draw?
Got a sketch book which I take on tour. Don’t do enough paintings though. The band did a painting each for charity recently. I tend to draw what just comes out, faces, cartoons, weird objects and usually drivel.
If you were to buy an open minded music lover a new CD as a gift, what artist or band would you want to turn them on to?
Ali Farka Toure, Sandy Denny, Bonny Prince Billy, Bjork. Sorry can’t choose one!
Guillemots will be performing at the 2007 V Festival on the Channel 4 Stage. Also set to play the Channel 4 Stage are The Kooks, Manic Street Preachers, Lily Allen and Mika. The V festival takes place at Hylands Park, Chelmsford and Weston Park, Staffordshire, England on August 18th and 19th.
By: Jenny May