Introducing Interview: Outblinker

Prior to their debut album being released later this year, Scottish band Oublinker are set to release a brand new EP next month. The product of a musical pilgrimage to record on a remote Orkney island, The Remains Of Walter Peck is inspired by a dear friend of the band, and is an ode to the transitory nature of everything.

We caught up with the band to find out more…

Hi Outblinker, could you introduce yourselves please?
Hey! We are Chris, Luigi, Dave, Jason, and Graham.

How did you all meet?
Graham: All of us have played in bands and projects in and around Glasgow. Chris and Dave got in contact with my older brother Jason and I about getting together and starting something new. Eventually that progressed to us recording what would become our EP Pink/Blue. And that is when we met Luigi. He was recording the session.

Luigi: We met because we are all part of the music scene and our electrical brain Chris Cusack brings us together in order to make this psycho tutti-frutti-tanti-synth band.

We’ve read that The Remains of Walter Peck is based on a real man who had a big influence on the band both personally and musically – can you elaborate on this?
Chris: Yeah, Walter – if that was his real name – was indeed a very close friend. He passed away at a painfully young age, but not before leaving us with some considerable food for collective thought. Not to mention setting in motion a chain of events that would culminate in a rag-tag gang of humans travelling to a remote island in the Orkneys – surrounded by seals, tractors, killer whales and buildings older than the pyramid – to record one album and one EP’s worth of music.

It was a pretty surreal experience for all concerned, but nothing compared to Walter’s own experience as he readied himself for leaving this life so soon.

The issues he brought us face to face with during that time – our inescapable mortality, the futility of art, the redundancy of fame – are all recurring themes in the music that resulted from that trip. Thanks also, in no small part, to copious supplies of creative stimulants, of which he would surely have approved.

How is this different from your debut Pink/Blue?
L: In this record we are 5 and not 4 like on Pink/Blue, the songs have been written in the beautiful old-church-converted-in-studios in Orkney Islands and Benjamin Power has performed and co-produced the record with us.

Jason: Pink/Blue was conceived while Outblinker was a 4-piece (pre-Luigi) through repeated lengthy practice room jams and then recorded in one day, which I think is reflected in that record. The session ‘…Walter Peck’ came from was an intense week-long hermetic immersion in the creative process, with a real focus on composition and getting the best out of ourselves. Working with a producer was also a new element for a few of us, with Ben proving to be absolutely invaluable throughout.

You say that this release is a precursor to an upcoming album out in the Autumn. Can we expect more of the same on the album?
L: The album is going to have all songs from the same recording session and you can expect tracks of the same style .

We are still working on it and we are excited about it, it is gonna sound insane!

J: ‘…Walter Peck’ and the subsequent album are stylistically similar, but there’s different themes running through each. While the album has a track or two we’ve played while on tour, the music on this EP is all new and as yet unheard live.

G: Yeah, I’d say the EP and the album are like cousins or something. Although a good portion of the music stems from the same incredibly satisfying and rewarding recording session we did up in Orkney with Ben P, they both have a very distinct and differentiating sound and feel. Cousins and that.

What is it like being a band in such a busy music scene like Glasgow, what are the pros and cons?
L: It’s beautiful because the city is full of people who love and live music 100%.

We are really lucky to be part of it.

C: Luigi is being typically generous. Glasgow is a stupidly small city for its disproportionate musical reputation and definitely too smart for its own good sometimes. Then again, no band embodies that more than ourselves.

J: The biggest thing we owe Glasgow is its geographic proximity to each of us.

Who have been your main influences growing up and as a band?
L: I think there is no specific influence at all in our music, I would say we all love noise rock, psychedelic music and synthesizers…

C: Nirvana were the band that saved me from a lifetime of “Slippery When Wet” and “Love In An Elevator” and since then the likes of Portishead, Godspeed You Black Emperor and Converge have all played their considerable part.

J: Personally, lots of doom metal and minimalist artists… As a band, coffee.

G: My tastes vary and evolve all the time. I could go from listening to some of my favourite Autechre records (a band Jason and I are big fans of) to sticking on a John Coltrane/Rashied Ali duet, or maybe some Death Grips. I get pretty intense with my listening, and tend to go through periods of dialling into just a few specific things, internalising everything I can, and then moving on.

And how do you think they have helped you develop your sound as a band?
L: Loving synthesisers and amplifiers is the only way to play this music.

C: Despite repeated invitations, Kurt Cobain has yet to attend a practice or gig, so I can honestly say his influence of late is waning.

J: Patience is a really undervalued element when writing music. Letting the music breathe without becoming stale is something I think we do relatively well, and that must have been implicitly informed by listening to tracks like Neu!’s ‘Seeland’ while fending off weed-induced freakouts.

G: I guess I try to avoid the obvious when it comes to playing in this band and – being the drummer – I do my best to pick up all sorts of rhythmic inspiration from the music I listen to, and very often that comes from sources other than drummers.

What can we expect at an Outblinker live show?
L: Very loud and powerful music, an incredible drummer and lots of synthesisers through loud amplifiers!

G: The live element of music is very much my greatest love of this world, and to fully experience this band is to see a live show. This is where the music, both composed and improvised, is at its best and meets the visual side to our band.

Any plans to hit the road soon, if so where can we catch you/find out about any new dates?
C: Since we’re a DIY act and therefore unavoidably lashed to reality, work and study mean that the …Walter Peck EP will be followed by a limited run of UK dates. On the bright side, come summer when we can fully commit to our adolescent fantasies, a full European tour beckons, book-ended no doubt by appearances on Letterman, Ed Sullivan and Happy Days.

Huge thanks to Outblinker for answering our questions! 

The Remains Of Walter Peck, the new EP from Outblinker, is out 6 May via Stabbed In The Back Records.

Mari Lane

Mari Lane

Editor, London. Likes: Kathleen Hanna, 6Music, live music in the sunshine. Dislikes: Sexism, pineapples, the misuse of apostrophes.