St Andrews’ nightlife feeds on musical development. More so than at other small-town universities. And there’s plenty of choice to satisfy individual tastes. Between BPM, Szentek, Danceworm, DTF, Jazz Nights at the Union, Wax Rooms, and Sound of Sandy’s, the domain appears far-reaching. On the other hand, live bands, particularly of the contemporary rock genre, seem to struggle below the surface. There’s no shortage of talented rock performers, but student awareness of this form of musical entertainment is lacking. The Saint sat down with The Slick — a young, rock-pop St Andrews-based band — to discuss their work and experience as a St Andrews band.
The band comprises four members: Xander (lead guitarist and frontman), Oscar (drummer), Matt (keyboardist), and Pearce (bassist).
Q: What is each member’s role beyond their instruments?
Pearce: “For the most part, Xander writes the songs, Matt handles the recording and production of our songs, Oscar makes use of his connections in the St Andrews music and handles our selection of covers, and I work on the social media and gig management side of the band”.
Although Matt and Oscar have been playing together since their Manchester school days, the four officially formed over second and third year. The band reiterated being inspired by their upbringings in the UK and the Brit-Pop around them.
Q: Who are your primary musical influences?
Pearce: “I’d say our main influences are probably Blur, the Killers, and other popular Brit pop/rock artists. We try to diversify our music so it doesn’t sound too generic”.
The group further explained how it was not just artists inspiring their music, but also the everyday St Andrews experience: “The lyrics typically come from personal experiences of youth and university life. In terms of instrumentality, we’ll usually discuss a new song after hearing Xander’s lyrics and guitar parts and work out what each of the rest of us can contribute together. It’s a lot of fun working out our own little melodies, drumlines, bass riffs, and vocals together cause we can bounce off each other easily”.
St Andrews is not historically known for its bustling contemporary indie-rock-pop scene — besides hosting KT Tunstall in her formative years, opening at venues like The Vic. I asked The Slick of its experience trying to make a start in a Scottish seaside town. Xander responded, remarking on the difficulties incentivising attendance at live shows
Xander: “I feel like in general, on a Saturday, cause that’s when people go out, students just don’t think about going to see live bands. It’s more like an afterthought. We don’t have an established live-band scene”.
Pearce noted how much people are missing out on by neglecting the live rock music hub: “I run Sound of Sandy’s gigs. It’s a shame that more people don’t make an effort. A lot of people actually enjoy it, and there’s definitely a lot of cool, niche talent. St Andrews is a university of well-rounded cool people, and I think that’s reflected in the music”.
Bands like The Slick represent this pool of talented and developing rock groups, proving that the St Andrews live rock scene exists; its inclusion in the St Andrews musical nightlife scene would only add to the maturity of the town’s creative bubble.
The Slick’s most recent single ‘On the line’ is now out on Spotify. After a live show at DRA Ball this past February, the band performs its next gig at Saints Sizzle on Thursday 23 March. Further information and updates can be found on the group’s Instagram: @theslickband.
Image: Jack Dalgleish