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Interview with Homework

One of the great things about music is discovering new bands. It’s not often you hear a new band and instantly know they’re for you. That’s what happened the first time I heard Homework.

It didn’t take me long to go through their back catalogue, as they had only released three songs on their self-titled EP at the time, but each one was a winner. Described as having a ‘delicious warm, melodic, fuzzy, slacker vibe’ the EP sets out Homework’s stall and, along with a series of gigs, have cemented their place in the Glasgow indie scene.

I was lucky enough to start chatting with them online after the release of their new single Dummy Run and they were gracious enough to agree to this interview.

The band originally formed in “late 2019” according to Santiago but “the beginning of the ‘stable- line-up era Homework’ was late 2022 when Andrew joined”. Santiago went on to say “The pandemic caught exactly as we were going to play our first gig in April 2020. We all disbanded, our original drummer moved to Estonia, and then it was just Michael and I playing guitar in the park until we could move back into the studio. I personally managed to use all the free time to write quite a few songs that I keep in my back pocket to this day”.

The band wear their more obvious influences proudly and comparisons to early Teenage Fanclub and Pavement have been made (which can’t be a bad thing in my opinion). When asked if this was accurate Andrew said “I want to give a shout out to late Teenage Fanclub too! A real standout in their catalogue for me is Shadows from 2010. Otherwise, I think Yo La Tengo is a big one for me in terms of how I think about Homework’s sound - the organic, jammy kind of song structure, the playfulness, the humour mixed with sincerity.” Santiago added that his love of “jangle pop, the loudness of J Mascis, all things The Vaselines and Sonic Youth” are definite influences.” As far as the Fanclub and Pavement comparisons go, Michael admits “I’d love to say we try and steer clear of leaning into it for the sake of originality but it’s definitely something we end up leaning into.”

The band were on the bill, organised by Glas-Goes Pop, supporting Norman Blake of Teenage Fanclub fame on New Years Eve 2023. Andrew said it was “bizarre and a dream come true. I tried my best not to embarrass myself on the night but I'm happy to do so now. Teenage Fanclub are the band I’ve seen live more than any other by some margin. Norman’s songs have been a comfort and inspiration to me since I first started seriously getting into music as a teenager and will continue to be for the rest of my life.” Michael echoed this saying “This gig was an absolute dream. We’d actually met Norman and the rest of the Fanclub when they did their in store in Mono a few months earlier so the fact he remembered us, or at least pretended to, was a thrill in itself.” Lizzie received some huge career advice from Norman saying “Me and Norman had a brief encounter and talked about how you can’t start drinking too early or you won’t be able to stay out late - I’d call that words of wisdom.” Absolute golden advice, I'd say.

I asked the band who they would like to support in the future. Andrew said “I wouldn’t know where to start! It’s such an honour to be asked to support anyone and we’ve already been pretty lucky.” Lizzie added “It’s still insane to me that we’re allowed to support anyone. Please let us support your band! We’re nice!” Santiago picked out feeble little horse, indie guitar heroes from Pittsburgh, saying that “would be a really fun one” with Michael agreeing saying “those guys rock.” 

The band recently made their way to London for a gig at The Finsbury, supporting Pedalo and Starter Car. “This gig rocked!” said Andrew. “We were way too ambitious as usual and tried to cram in too many songs which probably made for quite a manic stage presence. The crowd were really receptive though and we got lots of nice comments after the fact.” Santiago added “It was very exciting to finally make it south and Pedalo and Starter Car put on quite a show. More of those please.” Michael said “It was loads of fun, we’d love to do more! Getting to play with Pedalo, who are good friends of ours, was a treat and Starter Car were a really nice surprise. We need to get better at timing our sets though!”

As far as the future goes, there are no further gigs planned down south “at the moment but if anyone who this might concern is reading this, you know who to contact” said Santiago. I also asked about festivals and Lizzie said “I would simply cease to exist if we ever make it onto a festival bill, that would be so gratifying.” Personally, I can’t think of a better band to listen to on a sunny day with a beer in hand so it would be great to make this happen. Neither of their EPs have had a vinyl release but Michael hinted “maybe for the album.” We will, of course, be happy to stock it at Hair of the Dog Vinyl if and when this comes about!

I’m always fascinated to know who bands are listening to and Homework were more than happy to share. Andrew’s “current obsession is Kaneko Ayano. I just saw her live and she and her band were phenomenal - such a powerful and cathartic performance. Her album from last year is so good.” Santiago has “had Lightheaded on repeat lately” and saw their label mates “The Umbrellas the other night and they are amazing!” Andrew also gave a shout out to another Slumberland Records band, The Reds, Pinks and Purples, saying “I got into them at the start of the year and went about a week when I listened to nothing else”. Lizzie added “I’m listening to A Tribe Called Quest, Octopus, Orbital and The Nu’Rons” whose track Hurry Up Tomorrow is a particular favourite. To make sure I had even more new music to discover, Michael said “I’ve been listening to quite a lot of Gretel Hanlyn recently. I’ve managed to miss seeing her quite spectacularly both in Glasgow and when I was at End of the Road festival last summer.”

Finally, I had to ask the band about vinyl. None of the band are big collectors but Andrew said “I’ll buy a copy of a new release every now and then, either because I know the band or based on reviews, without ever having listened to it beforehand. I’ve gotten some crackers this way that I really treasure - Mediation of Ecstatic Energy by Dustin Wong and Loud City Song by Julia Holter are two that come to mind where I knew nothing about the artists prior apart from words I’d read online and now I love them.” He also picked up “a copy of a demos and outtakes collection Horsegirl released for Rough Trade, reduced to a fiver. And now when I listen to that record it will remind me of our wee trip to London.” Santiago managed “to amass a small but respectable vintage Pink Floyd and Beatles vinyl collection back home in Argentina” whilst Lizzie added “I don’t collect vinyl at present, although I’d love to! Unfortunately I’ve other things to be fiscally irresponsible with!”

I asked them what they’d be looking for in the Hair of the Dog Vinyl crates next time they’re down In London. Lizzie was straight in with “Clap Your Hands Say Yeah’s ‘The Skin of My Yellow Country Teeth’ or their studio album. Great tracks and delightful artwork by Dasha Shishkin.” Andrew would be “flicking through the sale or pre-owned shelves to see if something fun pops out at me.” Santiago also likes “being surprised by the bargain box” but would splash out for “Kraftwerk 1 & 2! Or any of their albums with the original covers before they remastered them.” Michael has an admirable approach having recently picked up an album by Timbuk3. He “had never heard of them before but that name is undeniable, the cover art was good too. I think I’ve just outed myself as only looking at the pictures!” 

I urge you all to listen to this wonderful band “so we can get those Spotify big bucks and buy ourselves yachts” as Lizzie said. They deserve to be huge and we can’t wait to see them back down south as well as getting our hands on their first vinyl release. Thank you to Michael, Santiago, Andrew and Lizzie for agreeing to this interview- there’s a drink with your names on it when we finally meet in person!

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