Scottish experimental band SIDCA have been around in one form or another since the mid-90s, but their brand-new LP is a breath of fresh air — a collection of quirky, lo-fi recordings that’s far more charming than the cover art might suggest (that’s just glue, by the way).
Jizz Crate came out late last month as the first release for Aberdeen, Scotland-based label Sharted Jeggings. It’s the product of singer/guitarist David Farhquar and Craig Pert, who handled bass, backing vocals and programming duties. All songs were written by Farhquar, save for “Parcel of Rogues,” which was penned by Robert Burns.
For this latest GOODQUESTIONS Q&A, we spoke with Pert — who started Sharted Jeggings — about the band, Jizz Crate, Scotland’s music scene, tapes and much more. Enjoy.
SOMETHINGGOOD: When/how did you begin making music? How do you describe your style?
Craig Pert: David and his brother Darren (on drums) started SIDCA in the mid 90s, with me joining late 90s. The name comes from a mis-spelling of sitka, as in the spruce tree. We all grew up in rural Scotland and would all cite John Peel’s ten til midnight show on Radio 1 as a formative listening experience in the late 80s. For me it was what came to be known as indie pop and the electronic stuff that he played, and for David it would have been more the metal/Earache bands that caught our ears respectively; and mutually, the Touch n Go bands. I doubt it would surprise anyone to know that there isn’t an overarching design to SIDCA.
More in the hope than in the expectation of prospective interviews, we consciously had a chat about our influences as we were recording. David had imagined the songs as latter-day bothy ballads, which I hadn’t really considered, but it makes sense. These were the folk songs particular to itinerant farm labourers in North East Scotland in the late 19th-early 20th century, they’re characterised by being quite rudimentary and often times fairly obscene: guys from the original gig economy getting drunk on whisky and amusing themselves around the fire.
SG: Who/what were you listening to during the making of Jizz Crate? Were there any specific influences on the album?
CP: I listened a lot to “Different Kind of Fix” by Bombay Bicycle Club. I love the sounds on it. and I wanted something approaching that dissonant-but-coherent feel to the album. “Love is Love” by Lungfish, I pondered how they knew to make the riffs go on just long enough, and Ian Mackaye’s production is just sublime. The Tabs- and Spools- Out podcasts encouraged me to imagine there actually being an audience for the tape. Mark E Smith died that month, so I guess in common with everyone else we revisited our favourite Fall albums. As the cliche goes “He was responsible for hundreds of dreadful records, without ever appearing on any of them.
SG: Speaking of the record, indulge me here — why did you name the album Jizz Crate? How does it relate to the music?
CP: David works at Hobbycraft (a crafting supplies chain) and some PVA glue got burst in transit, hence the image and title. A lot of the tropes David uses in his lyrics and writing and art are about elevating the mundane to an absurd degree. On those grounds I’d imagine that the Jizz Crate is going to re-emerge as a sacred or magical object somewhere in his stuff. I’m struggling with how to express this in an unpretentious way, but I’d say that’s similar to the way I put the music together. That lo-fi ethos of treasuring the artifacts.
Deciding the title during the making of the album was pretty helpful, too. A bit of a statement of intent. I like that it’s a puzzling phrase, and I was definitely mindful that I wanted the album to be a puzzling thing to listen to, distinct from it being a condescending, “aren’t-we-wacky?”- type affair. Naming no names.
SG: The album came out on cassette last month. Are you a tape person? What’s your preferred way to listen to music? How do you find new stuff?
CP: On a purely personal note, doing this album as a tape resonated with my memories of joining SIDCA in the late 90s and David’s edits of our endless jamming. I was interested, too, in the fact that you can’t easily shuffle nor skip tracks on a cassette.
I’m not a die hard loyalist, but there’s something pretty life affirming about doing cassettes. It’s exemplified for me in those two podcasts mentioned above. The ease of access and the corresponding “anything goes” attitude is what I understand as “punk rock”. Regards finding new music, I’ve also self-imposed a rule that states I buy the third thing that comes up on Bandcamp’s Cassette Roulette every pay day, to take me away from my default settings.
SG: There’s a lot of great music coming out of Scotland (we’ve spotlighted several artists on the blog). How do you describe the Scottish music scene right now?
CP: We’re really lucky that for such a tiny country we’ve got such wide fringes. It can feel a little too tribal in terms of genre-specificity, but I can’t compare that relative to scenes elsewhere.
SG: What are you listening to these days?
CP: Literally as I type, “My Brother the Cow” by Mudhoney, which I’d been meaning to revisit after I saw “I’m Now”. Frankly, the movie was more interesting than the album. You’ve got to love “Into Your Schtick”, though. Aidan Moffatt and Hubby’s new one. I don’t know them personally, but the guy(s) at Palace Lido and czaszka (rec.) popped up as followers on Bandcamp and I spent a night this week going through their stuff. It’s really, really interesting, I’d thoroughly recommend it.
You can find Sharted Jeggings/SIDCA on:
Listen to Jizz Crate in its entirety: